We’ve just tested and rated the latest affordable smartphones from Alcatel, HTC, LG and Motorola – and the results reveal that shopping for a smartphone on a budget can be a gamble.
The best we tested can power through 22 hours of continuous calls, or more than nine hours of web browsing. Plus you can rely on it to snap decent photos, and treat you to phone chats that sound clear.
The worst, on the other hand, has a less-than-vibrant screen – and takes a painfully slow four hours to charge from flat to full.
So while you’ll need to do your homework to find a lower-priced phone you can rely on, the good news is that there are reasonable models out there which won’t break the bank.
Discover the latest winners and losers in our mobile phone reviews.
Latest affordable smartphones on test
Alcatel Pixi 4 (5)
The super cheap Alcatel Pixi 4 (5) has a five-inch touchscreen, rounded corners and a smooth matte-plastic back. You can’t browse the web on the fast 4G network, so it’s probably not the best choice for those who want to stream video or download music on the move, but it does cost less than £100, which should make it attractive to budget-conscious shoppers all the same.
Read our full Alcatel Pixi 4 (5) review to find out more.
HTC Desire 825
If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to pricey phablet-style phones, such as the Apple iPhone 7 Plus and Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, you might be tempted by the HTC Desire 825 (£195). It has a large 5.5-inch touchscreen, a 13Mp rear camera, and two holes at the bottom for attaching a lanyard. Head to our full HTC Desire 825 review for more tech specs and our full verdict on whether it’s worth buying.
LG X Cam
The LG X Cam (£200) has two rear cameras – a 13Mp main camera, and a secondary 5Mp snapper which you can use to take a 120-degree photo. When using just the 13Mp camera, you’ll get a 78-degree shot – so using two cameras might be useful for taking a broader shot of beautiful landscape, for example. Discover how its photo quality stands up to scrutiny – as well as whether it’s a good overall choice – by reading our LG X Cam review.
Motorola Moto E3
The budget-friendly Motorola Moto E3 (£100) has a removable battery, which should make it easier to identify and fix any battery-related problems. You may find the large speaker port on the front of the phone a little brash, but is it otherwise a decent budget buy?
Our full Motorola Moto E3 review reveals how it scored in our independent tests.
Best cheap smartphones
We’ve tested smartphones across the full price range, from £20 to more than £700, and our test results show that there’s no direct link between price and quality. The cheapest Best Buy smartphone costs less than £200 – while we’ve tested a £499 model that doesn’t quite meet the mark.
We ignore prices when we award overall scores to smartphones – all our recommendations are based purely on how they fare in our independent lab tests. So you can trust our reviews to truly separate the best from the worst.
Head to our best cheap smartphones to discover some the budget-friendly phones that won’t let you down.
Huawei Honor 6X
If you have a little more to spend, you may come across Huawei’s latest mid-priced smart phone: the Huawei Honor 6X.
It costs around £225 (the price varies depending on the colour you go for) but it comes with some features more commonly seen on higher priced phones, such as a fingerprint scanner to help you quickly unlock your phone and help improve security.
Plus, it has two camera lenses on the back – the main 12Mp camera and a secondary 2Mp sensor. Huawei claims that these two lenses suppress blur, and that you can expect sharp pictures with accurate colours.
Find out more about this phone and our first impressions by reading our full Huawei Honor 6X First Look review. We’re currently putting it through a battery of tests in the Which? lab, and we’ll be bringing you our full results in February 2017.