The best budget phones [Updated]
Smartphones are all more popular than ever but the top models can come with an eye watering price tag. So here’s our round-up of the best smartphones that you can buy for less than £200.
What is a budget smartphone?
Budget smartphones can connect to the internet, run apps and perform basic feature phone tasks such as playing media and taking photos. You can now pick up a decent model for under £200, or free on a contract for under £15 a month (with a free handset).
Thanks to this wallet-friendly price tag there’s plenty of competition in the budget phones market, so cast your eyes below for our guide to the best cheap phones worth owning.
For more information read our guide to choosing the best smartphone.
The best cheap smartphones
Nokia Lumia 620
This is the best budget Windows Phone (WP) that we’ve seen. While the WP operating system might not be as well known as Android or iOS, it’s easy to use with large tiles that display live information, such as incoming messages.
The Lumia 620′s 3.8-inch display is a reasonable size for its price (around £160 or £13/month) and because it’s pretty compact the phone is easy to use one-handed. The screen resolution can’t match that of premium models, but videos and webpages still look sharp.
WP doesn’t have the same choice of apps as Android or iPhone but the Lumia 620 is compatible with Microsoft Office and comes with Nokia Drive, a sat nav app that offers turn-by-turn voice navigation and lets you download maps so you can use them offline.
For more information read our Nokia Lumia 620 review.
Nokia Lumia 520
The Nokia Lumia 520 costs just £100 on a pay as you go deal or £7/month on a contract. Its four inch display is among the best we’ve seen for a phone at this price, making it a good choice for watching movies or browsing the web on the go. Sound quality is above average and the sensitive touchscreen can be controlled even when wearing gloves.
Like the Lumia 620, the Lumia 520 available in a range of bright colours and you can buy swappable cases for around £20.
For more information read our Nokia Lumia 520 review.
HTC Windows Phone 8S
The 8S is another brightly coloured Windows Phone device with a four-inch display – the same size as the iPhone 5’s screen. It costs around £180 on on a pay as you go deal or £11/month on a contract.
The phone is easy to use and its battery life online is pretty good, though the battery is sealed into the phone so you can’t buy a replacement if it develops a fault. Like other WP smartphones, the 8S has a battery save mode that turns off some power hungry features, and can access Nokia’s Drive sat nav app.
For more information read our HTC Windows Phone 8S review.
LG Optimus L5 II
This reasonably-priced Android smartphone is a replacement for the LG Optimus L5, with a better screen and slightly more powerful battery and processor.
The phone costs around £150 on on a pay as you go deal or £14/month on a contract. Its 4-inch touchscreen isn’t the largest but is still a good size and is easier to hold than devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S4.
The LG Optimus L5 II runs on one of the latest versions of the Android operating system (4.1 a.k.a. Jelly Bean) and so comes with multiple home pages and access to thousands of downloadable apps. However it only has a tiny memory.
For more information read our LG Optimus L5 II review.
Samsung Galaxy Fame
This compact smartphone is easy to slip in your pocket, although its 3.5-inch display feels small and the low resolution (320×480 pixels) means that text and icons look fuzzy.
Like the LG Optimus L5 II, the Galaxy Fame runs on one of the latest versions of the Android Jelly Bean and comes with multiple home pages and access to thousands of downloadable apps through Google Play. However, it also has a very small internal memory.
The phone costs around £110 on on a pay as you go deal or £10/month on a contract.
For more information read our Samsung Galaxy Fame review.
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