Best budget smartphone 2020: the top cheap mobiles around
The best cheap phone can't just be an acceptable handset with a low price tag; since there are so many devices at a low price point, there's a lot of competition with phones vying to be the best tool for you.
To help you work your way around all the budget handsets and phone brands, we've made this list of the best cheap phones you can buy.
Don't be put off by the 'best cheap phone' title though. That doesn't necessarily mean bad phones, as these affordable handsets have good build quality, decent performance, competitive cameras and more, all without costing too much.
When you call a phone cheap, that can mean a lot of things, and compared to a £1,000 iPhone, a decent mid-ranger could be seen as cheap. For this list, we're using a £200 price tag as the cut-off point.
That doesn't mean all the phones come close to that price, with some being less than £100, and that's because when we review a handset, its price is important in how we rate it, and there are plenty of double-digit-price devices that are great. There's nothing for under £10 though.
Bear in mind, these won't be smartphones that have all the bells and whistles of flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S20, OnePlus 8 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, Huawei P40 Pro and Google Pixel 4, but they have commendable specs and features considering the price.
Some brands do particularly aim for the budget phone market, so there may be a fair few Motorola and Xiaomi phones on this list at any one time for example, but there are also some others too.
We’re always updating this list, and in fact the phone at the top of the list is a recent addition, so it’s worth checking back regularly to see if anything unseats it.
- Best phone | Best Android phone | Best iPhone
Best cheap phones at a glance:
- Oppo A5 2020
- Moto G7 Power
- Huawei P Smart (2019)
- Honor 10 Lite
- Motorola One Macro
- Realme 3 Pro
- Redmi Note 7
- Moto E6 Plus
- Nokia 4.2
- Redmi 7A
Best cheap phones:
Oppo isn’t a massive name in the west, but it has started selling phones here, and some of them – such as the Oppo A5 2020 – are well worth paying attention to.
This has a price that’s the definition of budget, yet packs in a spacious, bright, and vibrant 6.5-inch 720 x 1600 screen, and a massive 5,000mAh battery, which in our tests lasted well over a day between charges.
It also sports a surprisingly expensive-looking (albeit plastic-clad) design, and a quad-lens camera. The actual performance of that camera isn’t special, and nor is the middling Snapdragon 665 chipset, but for the money the Oppo A5 2020 makes some very smart compromises.
Read our full review: Oppo A5 2020
This is the best budget smartphone when it comes to battery, with the Moto G7 Power packing a mammoth 5,000mAh power pack.
It’s also awkwardly big, but for those who want two days (and sometimes more) from a single charge no other smartphone around can match the Moto G7 Power right now.
The Moto G8 Power has now been announced though, so don't be surprised if that takes this phone's place once we've put it through a full review.
Read our full review: Moto G7 Power
The Huawei P Smart 2019 was for a long time the best cheap phone you could buy and it's still one of the best.
It packs a usable camera, plenty of storage and great battery life as well as a screen and design that punch way above their weight.
There is very little between the Huawei P Smart and the Honor 10 Lite, as they're practically the same device, but the P Smart has the edge with its slightly sharper design.
Read our full review: Huawei P Smart (2019)
The Honor 10 Lite is a little unlucky to be ranked below the Huawei P Smart (2019) as it's almost identical.
But if you're a frequent Snapchatter or selfie addict the 24MP front-facing camera on the Honor 10 Lite is the one for you.
If you're thinking "isn't there a Honor 20 Lite out?" you're totally right, but there's very little difference between that and the Honor 10 Lite, save the price tag, so we're keeping the older device up here for now.
Read our full review: Honor 10 Lite
The Motorola One Macro is a great budget phone, but not for the reasons its name might make you think. Yes, it has a dedicated macro lens, but in our review we found both this and its 13MP main and 2MP depth sensors to perform poorly.
Rather, the Motorola One Macro is good in most other ways, from its decent 6.2-inch 720 x 1520 screen, to its durable design, and its 4,000mAh battery, which provides above average life.
If not for its cameras the Motorola One Macro would be a great budget all-rounder, as things stand it’s a great budget almost all-rounder, ideal for anyone who doesn’t care much about smartphone photography.
Read our full review: Motorola One Macro
Sporting an eye-catching and robust design, along with a bright capacious screen, decent speakers, generous specifications and a powerful chipset, the Realme 3 Pro really does have an odd character of its own.
Though its software design might be divisive, it has no major issues. It has a class-leading camera for the price point, along with dependable stamina and the handy option of very fast charging.
Read our full review: Realme 3 Pro
Xiaomi should be proud, the Redmi Note 7 is a real achievement – one that puts many other smartphone manufacturers to shame.
It's difficult to find many other phones than can offer what the Redmi Note 7 does at its price point, and as long as you can look past the software with a few minor niggles and the services it tries to push, you'll be happy with your purchase.
Read our full review: Redmi Note 7
The Moto E line of Motorola's smartphones is traditionally its most affordable, and the Moto E6 Plus is no exception, but it still manages to sport a decent, durable design, a dual-lens camera, and solid battery life.
Speaking of the battery, it's removable here too – how often do you see that in a smartphone?
Of course, it's got all the trappings of a budget phone too, so it's not as snappy or powerful as many higher-end devices, but then you'd expect that if you're paying less than £100 for it.
Read our full review: Moto E6 Plus
Nokia is known as a great budget smartphone manufacturer, but few of its phones actually fall below the £200 threshold we had for this list. The Nokia 4.2 is one such device, and it'll do you well without costing you much.
Sure, its specs are a little on the low side, but that's to be expected in a phone at this price, and there are very few compromises you might notice.
But at its core, the Nokia 4.2 is a standard and conventional Android phone, and at a glance it's not that different from a mid-range or even high-end device with the same design.
Read our full review: Nokia 4.2
Xiaomi has its sights set on the budget smartphone segment, and the Redmi 7A (from its sub-brand Redmi) is one of its most affordable handsets right now.
There's a lot to like in the Redmi 7A, given it's a cheap phone, from the chunky 4,000mAh battery to the small size, which is great for one-handed use.
It's not perfect, and performance-wise you might find it a little slow, but that's okay given the super-low price.
Read our full review: Xiaomi Redmi 7A