Best cheap phones 2017: our top budget mobiles

Update: Now the Moto E4 Plus and Nokia 6 have both entered the best cheap phone list and these may be two of the best affordable handsets for you. 

In the past, the term 'best cheap phones' was usually a warning rather than a tempting proposition, with shoddy build quality, sluggish performance, laughable screen resolution and woeful cameras typically featuring on such handsets.

But this isn't the past, this is the present, and the market abounds with top budget phones.

While the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S8, iPhone 7, LG G6 and HTC U11 steal headlines around the world, there's a lot of intriguing (and cheap) stuff going on in the world of budget phones.

Sadly, smartphone innovation isn't cheap – and most of it is reserved for high-end contract handsets. There is however such a thing as a good cheap smartphone, and ever so slowly all those amazing features from the flagship devices are trickling down to the budget phones.

Here's a selection of our favourite cheap phones that cost under £200.

  • Don't need to worry about cost? Check out our best phone list

1. Moto G5

The best cheap phone right now

Weight: 145g | Dimensions: 144.3 x 73 x 9.5mm | OS: Android 7 | Screen size: 5-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 1920 | CPU: Snapdragon 430 | RAM: 2/3GB | Storage: 16GB/32GB | Battery: 2800mAh | Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 5MP

Part-metal body at a low price
Crisp, vibrant HD display
Not the snappiest chipset
No NFC

Motorola's latest Moto G is now our best cheap phone in the world right now. The Moto G5 comes with a new metal design as well as a 1080p display and a fingerprint scanner on the back of the phone.

You won't get the fastest chipset on this list or NFC with the Moto G5, but as an all-round product the new cheap Motorola phone will serve you well.

Read the full review: Motorola Moto G5

2. Moto E4 Plus

The phone to buy if you want great battery

Weight: 198g | Dimensions: 155 x 77.5 x 9.6mm | OS: Android 7.1.1 | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 720 x 1280 | CPU: MediaTek MT6737 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 16GB/32GB | Battery: 5000mAh | Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 5MP

Huge battery
Fingerprint scanner
Limited power
Iffy camera

Second place in our list now goes to the Moto E4 Plus that features  phenomenal battery life, a fingerprint scanner and a premium feel design, plus it's a lot cheaper than the Moto G5 above.

It is a little limited with its power, but it makes up for it by being able to last for a whole two days from a single charge. If price and battery are the most important features for you, the Moto E4 Plus will suit you perfectly.

Read our full Moto E4 Plus review

3. Nokia 6

Premium affordability from an iconic name

Weight: 169g | Dimensions: 154 x 75.8 x 7.9mm | OS: Android 7.1.1 | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 1920 | CPU: Snapdragon 430 | RAM: 3/4GB | Storage: 32GB/64GB | Battery: 3000mAh | Rear camera: 16MP | Front camera: 8MP

Premium design at affordable price
Fingerprint scanner adds security
Disappointingly slow to charge
Not the most comfortable in hand

Nokia is back and the Nokia 6 sits in third place in our list of the best cheap phones right now. It comes with a gorgeous, premium-feel design, a fingerprint scanner in a comfortable position and a great camera.

If you want to buy one of the new Nokia phones, you want to go for the Nokia 6 as it features the highest spec and works the best out of all the new handsets. We particularly like the price tag for the Nokia 6 too considering what it offers for your money.

Read our full Nokia 6 review

4. Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus

Solid specs, strong camera and superb price

Weight: 158g | Dimensions: 143.7 x 71.9 x 8.6mm | OS: Android 6 | Screen size: 5-inch | Resolution: 1280 x 720 | CPU: Snapdragon 430 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32GB | Battery: 2700mAh | Rear camera: 16MP | Front camera: 8MP

Great design for a low price
Smooth performance
Screen is ‘only’ 720p
No HDR for camera

For just £170, Wileyfox has done wonders with the Swift 2 Plus. It looks and feels like a much more expensive phone, with an attractive aluminium build and smooth performance.

Its camera is capable of taking decent shots, its fingerprint sensor works well, and the Cyanogen UI is a genuinely thoughtful enhancement to the stock Android operating system.

Read the full review: Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus

5. Moto G4 Play

Another phone raising the budget bar

Weight: 137g | Dimensions: 144.4 x 72 x 9.9mm | OS: Android 6 | Screen size: 5-inch | Resolution: 720 x 1280 | CPU: Snapdragon 410 | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 8GB/16GB | Battery: 2800mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 5MP

Excellent value
Simple, appealing design
No gyroscope
Multitasking is a struggle

This is the lowest price phone out of all the Moto G products available right now. It features a 720p screen, but despite that the spec on this Motorola phone is still good including 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, an 8MP rear camera and a 5MP front-facing selfie shooter.

The best part is it's running Android 6 Marshmallow software and Motorola has confirmed it will soon be upgraded to Android 7. That means you'll have the latest software, something many high-end and expensive phones are still waiting to get.

Read the full review: Moto G4 Play

6. Moto G4 Plus

The high-end of Motorola's budget line

Weight: 155g | Dimensions: 153 x 76.6 x 7.9-9.8mm | OS: Android 7 | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | CPU: Snapdragon 617 | RAM: 2/4GB | Storage: 16GB w/ microSD | Battery: 3,000mAh | Rear camera: 16MP | Front camera: 5MP

Great camera
Bright, crisp display
Plastic build
No NFC

You may be wondering why we haven't included the Moto G5 Plus before the Moto G4 Plus in our best cheap phones list, but that's because Motorola raised the price for its latest Plus model, making it less of a bargain.

The spec for the G4 Plus is much the same as it was on the Moto G4, but it also comes with a fingerprint scanner and an improved camera.

The 16MP rear shooter is arguably one of the most impressive phone cameras at the sub-£200 mark. There's no NFC so you won't be able to use Android Pay on the Moto G4 Plus, but a bright display and strong performance is sure to make up for it.

Read the full review: Moto G4 Plus

7. Moto E4

Who knew the low-end could be so good?

Dimensions: 144.7 x 72.3 x 9.3mm | OS: Android 7.1.1 | Screen size: 5-inch | Resolution: 720 x 1280 | CPU: MediaTek MT6737 | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16GB | Battery: 2,800mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 5MP

Slick design
Fingerprint sensor
Weak performance
Isn't all metal in some markets

The Moto E4 isn't our favourite cheap phone in the world right now... it's not even the best cheap phone from Motorola - those are the Moto G5, Moto E4 Plus, Moto G4 Plus and Moto G4 Play. 

But if you're looking for a truly cheap device, the Moto E4 is still worth a look. We particularly liked the slick design, Android 7 software, fingerprint sensor and the value of the phone.

There's still the issue of it only having 16GB of storage and the performance isn't fantastic, but if you can get over those things the Moto E4 could prove a great choice.

Read the full review: Moto E4

8. Wileyfox Swift 2

Wileyfox does it again with this feature-rich budget blower

Weight: 155g | Dimensions: 143.7 x 71.9 x 8.6mm | OS: Android 7 | Screen size: 5-inch | Resolution: 720 x 1280 | CPU: Snapdragon 430 | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16GB | Battery: 2700mAh | Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 8MP

Great design
Android 7 out of the box
Camera poor in low light
Only 720p screen

Another Wileyfox device has made it onto our best cheap phone list, and this one costs even less than the Swift 2 Plus listed above. We love the Swift 2 for its combination of low price and good spec. There's a 5-inch screen, 13MP rear shooter and Android 7 software right out of the box.

Our highlight of this phone is the design - it feels premium, while coming with a low price point. If you're looking for a lot of features for not much money and you like the design of the Swift 2, we'd recommend this as your next affordable phone.

Read the full review: Wileyfox Swift 2

9. LG X Screen

An always-on second screen

Weight: 120g | Dimensions: 142.6 x 71.8 x 7.1mm | OS: Android 6.0 | Screen size: 5-inch | Resolution: 720 x 1280 | CPU: Snapdragon 410 | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16GB | Battery: 2300mAh | Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 8MP

Solid build quality
Second screen
Poor front camera
Fake-metal is unnecessary

LG's latest budget handset comes with one major selling point - it has a second, always-on display. No other phone that's under £200 is going to be able to offer you that and that's one key reason to buy the LG X Screen.

The spec may not be as impressive as say the Moto G4, but it still comes with 2GB of RAM, a Snapdragon 410 chipset and a 13MP rear-facing camera.

If you're a fan of LG, the X Screen may well be the best product you'll be able to buy right now if you don't want to shell out on a flagship phone like the LG G6.

Read the full review: LG X Screen

10. Honor 5C

Honor's impressive low cost phone

Weight: 156g | Dimensions: 147.1 x 73.8 x 8.3mm | OS: Android 6.0 | Screen size: 5.2-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 1920 | CPU: HiSilicon Kirin 650 | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16GB | Battery: 3000mAh | Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 8MP

Great value
Solid performance
Part metal frame
Scatty camera

Honor used to be a specialist in low priced phones, but most recent releases from the company have skewed a little more on the expensive end of the market. That's except for the Honor 5C though.

The Honor 5C is a strong choice for your low cost mobile upgrade. It comes with a 5.2-inch Full HD screen, Android 6 Marshmallow software and a powerful Kirin 650 chipset.

There's also a 13MP rear camera, alongside an 8MP selfie shooter to capture your gorgeous face and send it to your friends and family.

Read the full review: Honor 5C

What's next? The Chinese company has just revealed the Honor 6A, which is a device that will replace the Honor 5C. It's out now and we expect to have a review of the phone very soon.

Upcoming cheap phones

Should you wait for a new cheap phone to be announced? There's sure to be many more upcoming phone announcements in 2017.

Motorola has confirmed the Moto G5S and Moto G5S Plus are launching by the end of August 2017, but both phones are too expensive to fit into this list as each is over £200.

We're also in the process of reviewing the Wileyfox Spark X, Honor 6A and Wileyfox Spark 2, which all have a chance of featuring in this list if any of them perform well enough.