There’s never been a better time to buy a low-cost smartphone. With flagship phone sales levelling out, manufacturers have put more effort than ever into making truly competitive low-cost phones that pull in premium features without the high price tag.
As such, we’ve collated a list of some of the best phones money can buy right now, assuming you’re on a tight budget. Using the same £250 price limit as our Best Budget Phones roundup, below you’ll find a host of devices that punch above their weight in terms of features, performance and design, considering their price.
Best Budget Phone Deals
Budget phone buying advice
There are a lot of affordable smartphones out there and although swinging for the lowest price tag can be tempting, it doesn’t make sense to skimp on a product you’ll likely end up using almost every day for months or years at a time.
Try and buy from an established brand that you know and trust, not only as bigger companies’ products are usually held to higher quality standards, but should anything go wrong with your purchase, more established players also typically offer more robust customer support systems.
Don’t expect affordable phones such as these to feel like miniature flagships; such phones most obviously sacrifice hardware and/or camera performance to cut costs, while others opt for lesser build quality or less-premium materials – such as polycarbonate instead of glass or metal.
The display and camera used to be two of the most obvious indicators that you were using a budget handset but even these fundamental pieces of phone hardware have improved massively in recent years. Entries like the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 highlight this shift perfectly.
There are also devices, like the Motorola Moto G8 Power, which place a focus on excelling in one specific area (in this phone’s case, battery longevity) whilst still feeling like a more conventional affordable phone in other respects.
One other advantage of buying a more affordable smartphone is that, if you’re after a contract, such devices are more likely to come with zero upfront costs, lower monthly pricing and, potentially, shorter-term plans. As such, they also make great first-time options for those new to smartphones, those who are accident-prone and kids.
1. Oppo A9 2020 (8GB RAM, 128GB)
Now: £179 (£40.99 off)
The superb Oppo A9 2020 comes with plenty of power, heaps of memory, a rich camera experience and a huge 5000mAh battery. Now, it also comes with a discount, courtesy of Amazon.
2. Samsung Galaxy M31 (6GB RAM, 64GB)
Now: £220 (£25 off)
This Amazon-exclusive Galaxy M31 is something of a hidden gem, with its combination of affordability, 64Mp camera and whopping 6000mAh battery. And now it come with a discount on top.
3. Motorola Moto G8 (4GB RAM, 64GB)
Now: £170.43 (£9.56 off)
The Moto G8 delivers a modern viewing experience with a punch-hole front-facing camera, a versatile triple camera design and a 4000mAh battery.
4. Samsung Galaxy A20e (32GB)
Now: £149 (£20 off)
One of the most affordable members of Samsung’s A-series smartphones, the Galaxy A20e still boasts powerful features, like a dual-sensor main camera comprised of a 13Mp wide and a secondary 5Mp ultrawide-angle snapper.
Better still is the discount it’s currently enjoying on Amazon. (Discount varies by colour, check before purchase)
5. Huawei P30 Lite (4GB RAM, 128GB)
Now: £191.99 (£138 off)
One of the last Huawei phones (for the time being) to come complete with Google Play Services and the Play Store, the P30 Lite is still a solid Android smartphone that packs a triple main camera and a dewdrop front-facing camera.
6. Xiaomi Redmi Note 8T (4GB RAM, 64GB)
Now: £159.99 (£19.01 off)
A quad-camera setup, fronted by a 48Mp main sensor, a fast-charging 4000mAh battery and face unlock at this price is pretty hard to find – save for in Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 8T.
7. Samsung Galaxy A21s (3GB RAM, 32GB)
Now: £149 (£30 off)
One of the new entry-level Galaxy devices for 2020 comes in the form of the A21s, with a fast-charging 5000mAh battery and a 48Mp camera leading the spec sheet. Now with an Amazon discount.
8. Nokia 7.2 (4GB RAM, 64GB)
Now: £198.99 (£51 off)
HMD Global’s promise of 3 years of software updates isn’t lacking here and neither is the clean Android One user experience offered by the Nokia 7.2. You’ll also find a pleasing HDR display and a tidy discount with this Amazon deal.
9. Samsung Galaxy A10 (2GB RAM, 32GB)
Now: £119 (£20 off)
Samsung’s simplest A-series entry in 2019 comes in the form of the Galaxy A10. It may possess only a single rear camera but it does embrace the near-borderless display trend of its pricier siblings. (Discount varies by colour – check price before purchase).
10. Huawei P Smart 2019 (64GB)
Now: £149.99 (£50 off)
The capable Huawei P Smart benefitted from a complete refresh for 2019 and this new model boasts great specs at an aggressively-low price. This Very.co.uk deal sees £50 knocked off the already competitive RRP.
Again, if you’d like to know more about the current affordable phone landscape, give our Best Budget Phones roundup a read.
When is Black Friday 2020 – should you wait for a better deal?
Black Friday will take place on Friday 27 November, immediately followed by Cyber Monday on 30 November. Traditionally the biggest sales event of the year, it may yet throw up some even greater tech deals – but with so much uncertainty around finance and retail, and no guarantees regarding what discounts we will see, we advise you not to wait: if you see a deal you like, on a product you need, and you can afford the outlay, buy it today.