Best cheap phones 2017: our top budget mobiles

Cheap phones

Update: The price of the Huawei Nova has dropped significantly in the UK meaning it can now make its way into our best cheap phone list. Read on below to find out if it's the phone 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 8, 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. Huawei Nova

A mid-range phone that flirts with the high-end

Weight: 146g | Dimensions: 141.2 x 69.1 x 7.1mm | OS: Android 7 | Screen size: 5-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 1920 | CPU: Snapdragon 625 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32GB | Battery: 3020mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 8MP

High-quality aluminium build
Decent battery life
Poor low-light camera performance
Emotion UI needs work

The Huawei Nova has dropped significantly in price since it first launched in September 2016 so now it fits into our best cheap phone list and packs a lot of spec considering its low cost.

Huawei's Nova comes with a very high-quality finish that makes it feel like a top-end phone with a fingerprint scanner on the rear and a Full HD 5-inch screen on the front.

If you're also looking for a cheap phone that packs great battery life, the Huawei Nova will suit you well too.

Read the full Huawei Nova 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. 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

6. 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

7. 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

8. 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

9. 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

10. Honor 6A

A dependable budget phone that cuts a few corners

Weight: 143g | Dimensions: 143.7 x 71 x 8.2mm | OS: Android 7 | Screen size: 5-inch | Resolution: 720 x 1280 | CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 | RAM: 2/3GB | Storage: 16/32GB | Battery: 3020mAh | Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 8MP

Decent camera
Exemplary battery life
720 display feels like a step down
No fingerprint scanner

The Honor 6A seems like a bit of a downgrade compared to the Honor 5C that was available before it, but it comes with better battery life and an improved camera.

It also features Android 7 Nougat software and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 chipset that should give you a stable experience.

Sadly there's no fingerprint scanner, like there was on the Honor 5C, and the screen has been bumped down to HD rather than 1080p, but this is still a good handset to go for if you're looking for something on a budget.

Read the full review: Honor 6A