Best budget smartphone 2019: The best cheap phones you can buy in the UK (TechsamirBD)

April 08, 2019


Looking to save money on your next smartphone? We reveal the best budget phones you can buy in the UK in 2019
Aren't modern smartphones excellent? It's like having a mini-supercomputer in your pocket compared to the bulky handsets of old. Technology, on the whole, has been getting better every year and – crucially – much cheaper, too. You no longer need to hand over wallet-wilting sums of cash for your annual smartphone upgrade. Move your gaze away from those usual smartphone flagship big-hitters and you'll find yourself a fantastically priced bargain, as there are some cracking budget smartphones to be found.
Yes, those headline-grabbing flagships such as Samsung's Galaxy S10 and the iPhone Xs are wonderful, but you no longer have to spend top dollar for a great smartphone experience. Would you like to know more? Well, that's where we come in. These are the very best budget smartphones you can buy in 2019.

Every year, Expert Reviews puts hundreds of smartphones to the test so you don't have to, with the best coverage in the UK. That means we can definitively give you a heads up which budget smartphone is perfect for you. Take a look below and you'll spot our regularly curated list of the best budget smartphones you can buy, as well as a helpful budget smartphone buying guide.

How to buy the best budget smartphone for you

Picking the perfect budget phone isn't easy and there are all sorts of factors to consider when making your purchase. Before you head to the checkout, you'll want to make sure you have all the bases covered, so to make your decision a little bit easier, we've highlighted the main criteria you need to look out for.

Should I buy a phone on contract or SIM-free? 

Budget smartphones are, as you'd expect, cheaper to buy outright than other handsets, with prices starting at around £50 in some cases. As a result, if you have the cash, we recommend that you buy one SIM-free. You can then find the right SIM-only deal from any network and sell your phone when you want to upgrade. If you don't have the cash upfront, you'll need to go for a contract deal, but these don't tend to be great value for budget phones as you end up spending so much more by the time your contract period ends.

Which smartphone operating system do I need?

With budget phones, there isn't much choice when it comes to mobile operating systems. Bar one exception, every budget smartphone is running on Google's increasingly-popular OS, Android. Rest assured, though: Android is very easy to use whether you're a first-time user or mobile veteran. Just make sure to check which Android version the phone is running as older versions may no longer be supported with regular security updates and lack in essential features. 
If iOS is more your thing, you only have one choice. Apple's dinky iPhone SE might belong in the tooth, but it's still on sale and remains an excellent budget Apple device. Generally speaking, iOS offers a far more streamlined experience, with apps appearing first on Apple's storefront, but lacks the sheer customizability of Android.

What should I look for in a smartphone display?

While flagship phones are fitted with the best, biggest and highest resolution screens, you can still find budget smartphones with high-quality displays. Cheap handsets these days usually have a minimum screen resolution of 1,280 x 720, but some slightly more expensive alternatives offer Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) resolution displays for sharper viewing. 
Nearly all of the budget smartphones we tend to advocate use liquid crystal display panel technology, that is quite adequate. However, we're now starting to see AMOLED displays crop up at the lower end of the scale as well, as with Samsung's budget phones, which produce even better colors and much deeper blacks. Read our full reviews if you want to know the details of how good a phone's screen is.

Battery life and performance

Budget phones, as the name suggests, aren't equipped with top-end internals. But that's not to say their performance is bad – far from it as we're starting to see reasonably high clock speed chips make an appearance in handsets at the bottom end of the spectrum. To get a good idea of what to expect from a phone's performance, you'll want to look at the clock speed of the chip (measured in GHz) and how much RAM is inside (anything more than 4GB will suffice). 
Battery life is a crucial aspect of whether a phone is good or not, and each phone's stamina is different. When considering your next budget phone, keep an eye out on the phone's battery capacity (measured in mAh) – the higher the number, the longer you can expect the battery to last on a single charge. If you're stuck, we've rounded up the longest-lasting phones in one place

How much storage do I need?

It's amazing how much storage you can eat through on a phone with apps, games, and images taking up a lot of space. You'll want at least 16GB of onboard storage and you'll want to look out for phones with a microSD card slot, as you can cheaply add more space when your internal storage eventually fills up. 

Best budget smartphones to buy in 2019

1. Motorola Moto G7 Power: The best budget phone is back

Price: £179 | Buy now from Amazon
Motorola hit a rich vein of form with the first six generations of the Moto G-series of phones, and its seventh iteration is no different. This time around, there are four different Moto G7 phones to wrap your heads around, including the bigger-screened G7 Plus, the regular G7 and the even cheaper Moto G7 Play. 

To be clear, the phone we're recommending above all the others is the Moto G7 Power, which adds a large 5,000mAh battery to the mix. What this means is that the G7 Power lasts significantly longer on a single charge than the rest of the competition and it still only costs £179. It's also a stunning budget smartphone in all other departments; the camera is just as well-suited for lighter wallets, and the performance is rather good for the price too. The Moto G7 Power is the very definition of a budget smartphone and, at this price, there's simply nothing better.
Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 1.8GHz Snapdragon 632; Display: 6.2in 1,570 x 720; Storage: 64GB; Camera: 12-megapixel; Operating system: Android 9; Weight: 193g

2. Motorola Moto E5 Plus: Best budget battery life

Price: £140 | Buy now from Amazon

Another Motorola phone on the podium, the Moto E5 Plus is an exceptional choice if long-lasting battery life is at the top of your agenda. Fitted with a massive 5,000mAh battery, the E5 Plus will effortlessly reach an entire day on a single charge, with a little juice left over for the odd game of Fortnite before you go to bed.

Elsewhere, the E5 Plus is a very capable smartphone and while it might be a bit down on the feature count, it more than makes up for it in other areas. Aside from its lengthy stamina, the E5 Plus' screen is gorgeous, its design should draw admiring glances on the commute and it'll be able to handle any Android application you'd care to throw at it. E5 Plus is very, very good.
Key specs – Processor: Quad-core 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 425; Display: 6in 1,440 x 720; Storage: 16GB; Camera: 12-megapixel; Operating system: Android 8.0; Weight: 197g

3. Vodafone Smart X9: The best budget phone for £100

Price: £99 (with £10 top up) l Buy now from Vodafone

If your smartphone buying budget can't quite stretch into triple figures, then Vodafone's Smart X9 is the perfect choice. So long as you top up a minimum of £10 (or if you're already a Vodafone customer) the Smart X9 costs a mere £99 and punches well above its featherweight pricing.
This is a budget phone that's disguised as something much more expensive. Not only does it look good, with a rear-mounted fingerprint reader, svelte curved sides and a dual camera array, it also performed well in our tests, outdoing phones that cost quite a bit more. If funds are tight, there's simply nothing better than the Vodafone Smart X9.
Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 1.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 450; Display: 5.7in 2,160 x 1,080; Storage: 32GB; Camera: 16-megapixel and 5-megapixel; Operating system: Android 8.1; Weight: 153g

4. Honor 10 Lite: Dazzling design and high-end features

Price: £190 | Buy now from Amazon
Honor isn’t exactly the biggest smartphone brand in the UK – it’s actually an offshoot of Huawei – but the 10 Lite shouldn't be overlooked. While it isn't the cheapest phone on this list, Honor's latest budget phone is much more feature-packed than a lot of them, with a 19.5:9 display, top-end specs and fancy reflective design that dazzles when the phone catches the light.
And that's not all. While it might not possess the same photographic prowess as the Moto G7, the Honor 10 Lite's dual-camera arrangement is excellent, capturing crisp and well-defined details for your Instagram vanity shots. The only problem – and the reason why it misses the podium – is that its battery life isn't quite as good as some of the competition.
Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 2.2GHz Kirin 710Display: 6.21in 2,340 x 1,080; Storage: 64GB; Camera: 13-megapixel and 2-megapixel; Operating system: Android 9.0; Weight: 162g

5. Apple iPhone SE: The cheapest iPhone

While it might be getting on a bit, the iPhone SE is still a solid choice if you're craving an Apple phone that doesn't break the bank. While other phones such as the iPhone Xs are breaking the four-figure mark, the dinky iPhone SE is still doing the rounds in some places and remains a very capable little device.
It might not be the fastest, or flashiest, iPhone to date, but if you're willing to make a few sacrifices, you can get the typical iPhone experience without having to remortgage your home. The camera is still pretty decent, it should be able to handle any application on the Apple store without breaking too much of a sweat and its tiny size is interesting enough in its own right. Get the iPhone SE if you aren't too keen on the Android experience.
Key specs – Processor: Dual-core 1.8GHz Apple A9; Display: 4in 1,136 x 640; Storage: 16GB, 64GB; Camera: 12-megapixel; Operating system: iOS 9.3; Weight: 112g

6. Xiaomi Redmi Note 4X: A superb choice from abroad

Price: £150 | Buy now from Gearbest

Okay, you're probably thinking: Xiao-who? But don't let that put you off: you may not have heard of Xiaomi, but that doesn't mean its latest budget handset isn't worth a mention. The Redmi Note 4X is a superb choice – provided you can find one in the UK.
And that's its sticking point, as the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4X – along with the rest of the firm's handsets for that matter – isn't yet sold in the UK. Yes, you can pick one up through a grey import seller, such as GearBest, but you have to factor in the extra shipping costs and import tax. That said, Xiaomi's latest can still be picked up for around £150 all things considered, making it a solid choice for your next budget handset in 2019.
Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 2.0GHz Snapdragon 625; Display: 5.5in 1,920 x 1,080; Storage: 4GB; Camera: 13-megapixel; Operating system: Android 7.0; Weight: 165g

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