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Best cheap mobile phones

By Oli McKean

Looking for the best cheap mobile phones? We reveal the best budget phones on the market, so you don't end up with a dud.

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The best mobile phone for you doesn't always have to be the latest Apple iPhone or Samsung smartphone. But if you want to spend less, it can be difficult to tell the difference between a true bargain and a cheap handset to avoid.

To help you get the most for your money, we've put together the best-value models – including our cheapest Best Buys and a good choice if you want to spend no more than £100.

Just want to browse all the handsets we've tested? Take a look at all our expert mobile phone reviews.

The best cheap mobile phones 

We test mobile phones at every price point, from the expensive £600+ iPhone 7 and Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge to the super-cheap sub-£100 models. And while some inexpensive models are definite Don’t Buys, there are a few affordable gems out there that shine in our tests. 

Here, we handpick the very best of the more affordable mobile phones. This includes our cheapest Best Buy, which costs just £170, making it a genuine bargain.

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It's a few years old, but this smartphone is still one of the best we've ever tested. It's light and compact, so might suit you if you're not a fan of larger 'phablet' style phones, plus its display is sharp and clear. You can currently pick up this phone for around £260.

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This is our cheapest Best Buy mobile phone, currently costing around £170 depending on the colour you opt for. Its battery life is impressive, offering more than 25 hours of call time or nearly ten-and-a-half hours of web browsing. And while it's not quite the fastest phone you can buy, it still keeps things running smoothly.

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Costing around £210, this is a good value Best Buy mobile phone. The display on the curved screen is generally clear to read, plus it's a good phone for listening to music via headphones. You should be pretty pleased with the snaps it takes, though it struggles a little in low light.

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A decent choice if you're looking for a sub-£200 mobile phone. We're fans of the long battery life, decent call quality and expandable memory. Though it misses out on being a Best Buy as we didn't find its operating system particularly intuitive – and the camera could be better.

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If you're on a tight budget, you need look no further than this £100 smartphone. While it can be a little awkward to hold, it combines a clear screen, expandable memory and great battery life in a very affordable package.

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How we find Best Buy mobile phones

We go further than anyone else when testing mobile phones. Each handset is treated in exactly the same way, so you can see how each device compares against its rivals. And because Which? is independent and we buy every sample we test, you can trust our reviews to give the full, honest and impartial truth about a product. 

A long-lasting battery is essential in any mobile, which is why we’ve designed a tough battery test. We charge up each phone and then time how long it lasts when making calls before charging it again to see how long it gives us when browsing the web continuously. 

We also know that more and more people use their phone as their main camera. So we put the front and rear cameras through their paces, too, taking test shots in nine different conditions to see whether the phone is a match for a standalone camera.

What do Janet Jackson and Rachmaninov have in common? We won't go into any direct musical comparisons, but they do both play a part in our mobile phone testing. With so many people listening to music through their phone, we've designed a test to assess whether the phone can take the place of an iPod. We play a series of six songs covering everything from Janet's 'Rhythm Nation' to Rachmaninov's 'Symphony Number 2'.

Now find the perfect mobile phone for your budget by checking out our mobile phone reviews.

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