The truth is, you simply don’t need to spend big for a top-quality smartphone. But the less you spend, the greater your chances of choosing a dud.
We’re here to help you buy the best smartphone for you, whatever your budget. Keep reading to find out more about the latest mid-range smartphones announced at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2018. For a quick overview, here’s a video:
Top five best mid-range phones – see our pick of the very best affordable handsets.
Nokia 6 (2018) and 7 Plus: what you need to know
Nokia 6 (2018)
Nokia is launching a new version of the 6, released last year. The Finnish brand says the new version will offer 60% better performance than last year’s model, thanks to its Snapdragon 630 chipset and 4GB of Ram. We won’t know if that’s true until we’ve sent the new model to our test lab.
Nokia introduced the Dual-Sight mode with the 8, released towards the end of 2017. This means you can take photos and videos on both the front and rear camera at the same time. The new Nokia 6 (2018) also has this feature with its 16Mp rear and 8Mp front cameras.
The new Nokia 6 should cost around £245, and it will be available to buy in May.
Is the Nokia 6 (2018) set to be a cracking phone? Find out whether its predecessor is any good by heading to our Nokia 6 review.
Nokia 7 Plus
The Nokia 7 Plus is a little pricier than the 6 (2018) – we expect it to cost around £350, and it will be available sometime in April.
It has two rear cameras – a 13Mp telephoto lens, as well as a 12Mp wide-angle one. This means you should be able to zoom in on objects without seeing a drop in quality. You can also take photos and record videos on both the front and rear cameras at the same time – to take nice photos of landmarks while also proving you’re there.
If you like watching videos on the move, you’ll probably enjoy this phone’s enormous six-inch, Full-HD screen. Nokia also claims the 7 Plus will power through two days before running out of battery – we can’t wait to put this grand claim to task in our battery-life assessments.
Is Nokia capable of making a good smartphone? Check out all our Nokia mobile phone reviews for the answer.
Alcatel 5: what you need to know
French brand Alcatel is also trying to take a slice of the mid-range market with the Alcatel 5. We don’t currently know when it will go on sale, though it’s set to cost around £200.
It has a palm-stretching 5.7-inch display with an 18:9 aspect ratio. This means it’s twice as long as it is wide, to aid one-handed use. Screens with this aspect ratio are typically found on more expensive models – so it’s nice to see this feature trickling down the price ladder. The Alcatel 5 also has very narrow bezels on either side of the screen, for a more premium look.
If you’ve ever struggled to get everyone into a selfie, you’ll likely appreciate this phone’s two front cameras. One of them is a wide-angle lens, to help you get more people in one shot.
Read our Alcatel mobile phone reviews to find out how its handsets have previously fared in our tests.
Sony Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact: what you need to know
Sony Xperia XZ2
The Sony Xperia XZ2 is the imaginatively-named successor to last year’s Xperia XZ1.
The XZ2 has a large 5.7-inch screen, which is half an inch larger than that of its predecessor. It also has slightly curved corners, representing a move away from the angular design of most other Sony phones.
It also has a so-called ‘Dynamic Vibration System’. Ultimately, this means the XZ2 analyses audio when you’re listening to music or watching a video – and vibrates along with it, to make you ‘feel’ the audio, too. We’ll leave it up to you to decide whether this is something you’d enjoy, or something that might prove irritating.
Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact
As you’d have probably guessed from the name, this is essentially a smaller version of the XZ2. The XZ2 Compact has a smaller five-inch screen, and will more comfortably fit in your pocket.
Neither the Xperia XZ2 or XZ2 Compact has a traditional headphone socket – a feature that’s slipping away from smartphones. If you want to listen to music through headphones on this device, you’ll have to connect via the USB-C port – Sony provides an adapter for traditional wired headphones in the box. Alternatively, you could invest in some new headphones.
Pricing hasn’t yet been revealed for these two new phones. They’ll likely be more expensive than the Alcatel 5, and Nokia 7 Plus and 6 – but a cheaper alternative to the latest high-end flagships such as the Samsung Galaxy S9. They should be available to buy sometime in March 2018.
Head to our Sony mobile phone reviews to find out whether it’s a brand worth considering.
The best cheap mobile phones
We’ve found brilliant Best Buys that don’t cost anywhere near the same price as phones such as the £999 iPhone X. Indeed, our cheapest Best Buy costs around £200 – proof that you don’t need to spend big for top quality.
Unfortunately, there are also some cheap smartphones that are so irritating to use that you’ll regret not doing your homework.
If you’re restricting your budget on your next smartphone, make sure you check out our handpicked list of the best cheap mobile phones.