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Technology.

Updated: 17 Jan 2022

Best cheap mobile phones

Looking for the best cheap Android phone, or a deal on an iPhone? We reveal some of the best budget smartphones on the market
Louise Muyanja
Best-cheap-mobile-phones

There's no need to spend a fortune to find the right mobile phone - in fact for many people, a budget phone might be more than adequate enough. Here, we reveal our pick of the best cheap mobile phones that offer you great value for moneyand three we think you should avoid.

We test mobile phones at every price point, and while some inexpensive models are definite Don’t Buys, there are a few affordable gems out there that are definitely worth considering. 

To help you get the most for your money, we've put together the best-value models – including what we think is the best choice if you want to spend no more than £100. And to help you avoid making a dreadful decision with your next smartphone purchase, we've highlighted a few cheap mobiles to steer clear of.

Love a bargain? We round up the best mobile phone deals each month to highlight some great discounts. 


Which? is bringing legal action against Qualcomm. If you bought an Apple or Samsung phone after 1 October 2015, you could be affected. Find out more.


Best cheap mobile phones

  • 77%
    £249.00

    The photos and videos aren’t perfect but this phone performs brilliantly in every other area. It’s easy to use, has a great battery life and is impressive on a quick 15-minute charge. It is worth bearing in mind that it doesn’t have 5G.

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  • 73%
    £245.00

    This cheaper offering from a brand better known for high-end phones doesn't compromise on quality. The battery lasts an amazing 44 hours, plus it's quick and easy to navigate around the beautiful display. It's one of the best phones at this price point.

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  • 66%
    £99.00

    This bargain phone's main strengths include a long battery life and user-friendly interface. It doesn't have the best camera or display, but it might be worth considering for the price.

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Pricing, recommendations and test scores correct as of January 2022.

The worst cheap mobile phones

Unfortunately, it's not all good news. While there are some bargain buys to be snapped up, there are other cheap mobile phones that aren't worth you spending a penny on.

Below, we highlight three cheap smartphones that you should avoid. They have horrible displays, take awful photos, and you won't be writing home about their battery life.

  • 28%
    £80.00

    A slow processor, woeful cameras and poor battery life make this cheap smartphone one of the worst we've ever tested. Also, considering that the face scanner is practically unusable, there's absolutely no reason to buy this cheap phone.

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  • 39%
    £99.39

    You deserve better than this phone when buying an affordable smartphone. You don’t get much in terms of storage and it has a slow processor, which can become very frustrating when waiting for things to load. Its short-charge battery life is pitiful so you would always need to remember to fully charge it overnight.

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Pricing, recommendations and test scores correct as of January 2022.

How much should I expect to pay for the best cheap Android phones?

Many phones that cost less than £100 make it into our Don't Buy hall of shame. That said, our tests show that it is possible to find a few hidden gems in this price bracket.

Sub-£100 phones won't have all the latest features, but can be perfectly suited to basic tasks like web browsing, and of course, making calls and sending messages.

We recommend spending at least £150 to up your chances of bagging a decent smartphone – if you're buying it up-front and Sim-free, rather than on a contract. Even 5G connectivity can be found on cheap phones, but importantly you should be able to get a sharp and bright screen, and long battery life without spending more.

And while it's true that the very best mobiles can cost upwards of £1,000, we've found some superstar Best Buy smartphones for less than £250. Browse our mobile phone reviews to find out how they compare to all their rivals.

Another way to save on a phone is to wait for a good discount – head to our guide to the best mobile phone deals.

What about cheap Apple iPhones?

If you have your heart set on an iPhone, you're less likely to find one for anywhere near as cheap as some good, budget Android models. 

But there may still be some options available. One is to consider buying a second-hand or refurbished mobile phone – you could save a packet, but there's more risk of ending up with a model that won't last.

Read our guide to Apple iPhones – you'll find plenty of advice here on how to choose, and can find out how much you may have to spend.

What to look for in a cheap mobile phone 

We've compiled a checklist of essential features and things to consider to help you find the best cheap smartphone:

  • Choose your operating system carefully – Apple iPhones are expensive, and you'll struggle to find a recent model new for less than £300. If you’re looking to spend £200 or less we suggest you consider an Android phone (for example, Samsung, Motorola and Xiaomi make mobiles at this price point).
  • Screen size and resolution – In the past, cheaper phones tended to have small and cramped screens. That’s no longer the case – there are some great models on the market with 5-inch displays and bigger. You'll want a larger screen if you spend a lot of time browsing the web or typing emails. If you’re going for a big handset, look for a phone with a resolution of at least 720x1,280 pixels – this should provide a crisp display. If you're sticking with a smaller, 4-inch model then something with a resolution of 540x960 pixels may be sufficient. 
  • A micro-SD card slot is a must – Phones at the cheaper end of the market often have smaller memory capacities – 32GB or 64GB is common. To ensure you don’t run out of space for storing apps, music and photos, make sure you opt for a phone with a micro-SD card slot. This will let you dramatically increase the onboard storage – often for a small extra outlay. 
  • Battery life – Buying a phone on a budget doesn’t mean you have to put up with lousy battery life. We test each phone to see how long it lasts when making continuous calls before charging it up again to see how long it manages when browsing the web. Our tests show that many cheap phones can manage a day of normal usage without the need for a mid-day charge. But there are some that simply don’t make the grade – we highlight such battery issues in our reviews. 

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