Best cheap phones 2017: our top budget mobiles

We rundown the best budget phones on the market

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. 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 S7, iPhone 7, LG G5 and HTC 10 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 gently all those amazing features from the flagship devices are slowly 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. Lenovo P2

The phone with two day battery life

Weight: 177g | Dimensions: 153 x 76 x 8.3mm | OS: Android 6 | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 1920 | CPU: Snapdragon 625 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32GB | Battery: 5100mAh | Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 5MP

Phenomal battery life
Attractive metal build
Heavy and large
Limited camera

The Lenovo P2 is the best cheap phone you can buy right now. It has some incredible spec and it's all packed into an attractive package that looks like a premium phone that many won't even realise is a cheaper device.

The P2 offers two-day battery life. When we were testing this phone we were able to get through a full two days of using the phone without having to plug it in and put it on charge.

There's a powerful processor inside, considering the price of the phone, and it also features a great, bright 5.5-inch Full HD display. It's a heavier device than anything else on this list, but it's worth it considering how great the battery life on the Lenovo P2 is.

Read the full review: Lenovo P2

2. 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 6.0.1 | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | CPU: Octa-core 1.5 GHz | 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

The first of three entries in this list from Motorola, it's the Moto G4 Plus. It's the highest spec budget phone from the company from 2016 and features some of the best features we've seen on a phone at this price point.

The spec is much the same as the Moto G4, but it also comes with a fingerprint scanner and an improved camera - that's what the Plus means as it's the same size as the normal Moto G4.

The 16MP rear shooter is arguably the most impressive phone camera at the sub-£200 mark. If you want to be able to take good photos but can't afford to buy a high-end phone, this is the best choice for you.

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. Before you buy, note it may be worth waiting for the newly launched Moto G5 Plus that's expected to come out in the next few months.

Read the full review: Moto G4 Plus

Moto G4

3. Moto G4

The second best Moto G yet

Weight: 155g | Dimensions: 153 x 76.6 x 9.8mm | OS: Android 6 | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 1920 | CPU: Snapdragon 617 | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16GB/32GB | Battery: 3000mAh | Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 5MP

Bright Full HD display
Impressively powerful
Lack of Moto Maker options
No NFC

Motorola has made some major upgrades to one of its best phones you can buy right now - the Moto G.

The Moto G4 is the first time the phone line has adopted a 5.5-inch Full HD display and it's an impressively powerful device as well. Compared to some of the other phones to follow on this list, this is going to give you the best gaming performance below £200.

Battery life is impressive on the Moto G4, but it's not a perfect phone as there's no NFC and no customization options you get with other Motorola devices. That said, the rest of the Moto G4 makes it one of our favourite cheap phone you can buy right now.

Much like the G4 Plus, you may also want to wait for the full release of the Moto G5 that's expected to be available in the coming months.

Read the full review: Motorola Moto G4

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 £189, 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 of 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 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 the the three Moto G4 products available. 

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. Bush Spira E3X

A true newbie

Weight: 186g | Dimensions: 148 x 74 x 8.8mm | OS: Android 6 | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | CPU: N/A | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB | Battery: 3000mAh | Rear camera: 21.5MP | Front camera: 8MP

64GB of storage
Fast charging
Temperamental camera
Inconsistent battery life

This is the very first time we've included a phone from Bush in our best cheap phone list, and the Spira E3X has made a real impact on the low-end of the market.

For only £199 you'll get some features usually reserved for the most expensive flagship phones out there. It comes with 64GB of storage so you can fill it up with video and music, plus there's fast-charging for the 3000mAh battery too.

The display is also strong on the Spira E3X and the design feels premium in the palm of your hand so it may be a good choice for you if you need a cheaper phone.

7. 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: Quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A53 | 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 processor 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 G5.

Read the full review: LG X Screen

8. Honor 5C

Honor's last low cost phone

Weight: 120g | Dimensions: 142.6 x 71.8 x 7.1mm | OS: Android 6.0 | Screen size: 5-inch | Resolution: 720 x 1280 | CPU: Quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A53 | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16GB | Battery: 2300mAh | 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 Marshmalllow software and a powerful Kirin 650 processor.

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

Read the full review: Honor 5C

9. Moto E3

The Moto E3 is brilliantly cheap, but not brilliant value

Dimensions: 143.8 x 71.6 x 8.5mm | OS: Android 6 | Screen size: 5-inch | Resolution: 720 x 1280 | CPU: 1GHz quad-core | RAM: 1GB | Storage: 8GB | Battery: 2,800mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 5MP

Solid build quality
Excellent battery life
Weak performance
Only 8GB of storage

The Moto E3 isn't our favorite cheap phone in the world right now... it's not even the best cheap phone from Motorola - those are the Moto G4 Plus and Moto G4 up above.

But if you're looking for a truly cheap device, the Moto E3 is still a good option you could take a look at. We particularly liked the battery life and the build quality of the Moto E3 when we reviewed the phone.

There are issues such as the lack of NFC support, which means you can't use Android Pay, as well as limited space, but if this won't be an issue for you then the Moto E3 may be perfect for you.

Read the full review: Moto E3

10. Sony Xperia E5

Sony's latest budget phone

Weight: 147g | Dimensions: 144 x 69 x 8.2mm | OS: Android 6 | Screen size: 5-inch | Resolution: 720 x 1280 | CPU: Mediatek MT6735 | RAM: 1.5GB | Storage: 16GB | Battery: 2300mAh | Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 5MP

Attractive design
Nice display
Slow performance
No fast charging

Sony's latest budget phone may be one of the cheap phone choices for you in 2016. It comes with a great looking design, which is something you don't always get at the lower end of the market.

There's a good display so you can watch video on your phone without getting frustrated and the camera set up is acceptable considering the £150 price tag.

It also comes with Android 6 Marshmallow software, 16GB of storage, microSD support up to 256GB and a 2300mAh battery to power it all.

Read the full review: Sony Xperia E5

Also consider

Don't want to buy any of the phones above? Here are some other choices which didn't quite make it into our top 10.

BQ Aquaris M4.5

You may not have heard of BQ before, and this is the first time the company has made it into our best cheap phones list. It's still quite a small company, but the Aquaris M4.5 does feel like a step in the right direction for budget handsets.

It comes with a bright 4.5-inch screen that while not Full HD is still an impressive set up and has two decent cameras as well as good battery life.

Read the full review: BQ Aquaris M4.5

Smart Prime 7

Vodafone Smart Prime 7

Here's one of the few UK exclusive devices on our list of the best budget phones you can buy right now and this one is from one of the country's biggest networks.

The camera isn't great and it doesn't come with much storage, but if you're looking for a cheap and cheerful smartphone you'll like the Vodafone Smart Prime 7 with its clear screen and smooth performance.

Read the full review: Vodafone Smart Prime 7