Trying to find a cheap phone that's actually one we could recommend used to be like finding a needle in a haystack. But thankfully, more and more manufacturers are targeting the low-end market.
Many features once-exclusive to flagship phones have made their way into what we consider to be budget territory. But what exactly is the budget or affordable territory. We started out by putting a max budget of AED 1000 but soon realized that many phones that we would actually recommend hover above that.
Thus, we changed our price ceiling to AED 1,499 which can land you a phone that's not just good but really good. We even have an iPhone in this list which would have been unthinkable a few years back.
Every cheap phone here should be just fine for casual use by anyone looking to save some cash on a discounted iOS 11 or Android Oreo device. Chances are pretty good that we'll soon see even more Oreo on this list, and perhaps some Android P phones once that OS launches later in 2018, thanks to Google's Android One initiative.
1. Moto G6
This budget phone wears a flagship design
Weight: 167g | Dimensions: 153.8 x 72.3 x 8.3mm | OS: Android Oreo | Screen size: 5.7-inch | Resolution: 1080p | Chipset: Snapdragon 450 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32GB w/ microSD support | Battery: 3,000mAh | Rear camera: 12MP +5MP lenses | Front camera: 8MP
The Moto G6 had a tough act to follow: itself, really, with the 2017 Moto G5 Plus. Thankfully, the latest budget smartphone from Motorola fully delivers on the hype.
When it comes to the flagship-level specs and features to be found here, this model touts an all-glass design, dual-lens rear cameras, an 18:9 aspect ratio display, headphone jack, USB-C charging and the very latest Android Oreo update.
Launching at AED 1,049, this phone is an unbeatable value. It provides decent specs with clean Android software, making this the best choice out there if you're looking for a new phone, but don't have loads of cash on-hand.
Read the full review: Moto G6
2. iPhone SE
iOS on an incredible budget
Weight: 113g | Dimensions: 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm | OS: iOS 11 | Screen size: 4-inch | Resolution: 1,136 x 640 | Chipset: A9 processor | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 32/1128GB | Battery: 1,624mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 1.2MP | Fingerprint Sensor: Yes
Apple's return to the four-inch form factor is a successor to the iPhone 5S, but packs a serious punch in the performance department, bringing specs that put in on par with the iPhone 6S.
The fact that you can usually get this smartphone for under AED 1,500 makes it an absolute steal if you're a loyal iOS user. Sure, it doesn't come with all of the bells and whistles of a brand new iPhone 8 or iPhone X, but complete with iOS 11, it still holds up well.
Read the full review: iPhone SE
3. Nokia 6.1
A startlingly good successor to last year's Nokia 6
Dimensions: 148.8 x 75.8 x 8.15mm | OS: Android One (Android P incoming) | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | CPU: Snapdragon 630 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB w/ microSD | Battery: 3.000mAh | Rear camera: 16MP | Front camera: 8MP
Available at AED 899 which is even less than the top-ranked Moto G6 costs, the Nokia 6.1 is a phenomenal choice if you're looking for a phone with solid specs and a high-quality build.
There are certain elements where the Nokia 6.1 falls below the Moto G6, particularly its single rear camera to Moto's two but in a lot of other ways, the Nokia 6.1 handily bests the Moto G6.
It's more powerful, with a faster chipset, more RAM and internal storage space, and if you enjoy stock Android, this is the choice to make.
Read the full review: Nokia 6.1
4. Honor 7X
18:9 aspect ratio comes to the mid-range
Weight: 165g | Dimensions: 156.5 x 75.3 x 7.6mm | OS: Android Nougat / EMUI 5.1 | Screen size: 5.93-inch | Resolution: 2,160 x 1,080 | CPU: Kirin 659 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32GB w/ microSD | Battery: 3,340mAh | Rear camera: 16MP + 2MP | Front camera: 8MP | Fingerprint Sensor: Yes
The Honor 7X gets the title for offering a flagship level of design quality for such a low price. For AED 999, you'll nab a phone with a large 18:9 aspect ratio display, enough power to run pretty much anything on the Google Play Store, and dual rear lens cameras to take photos with greater depth of field.
We typically don't expect much from phones below the AED 1,000 price mark, but 2017 and now 2018 has really made us rethink this. While options higher up on this list represent a better value, as well as a blending of hardware and software that will simply appeal to more people, the Honor 7X is the company's best stab yet at a device that will captivate the mainstream.
Read the full review: Honor 7X
5. LG Q6
Honey, I shrunk the LG G6
Weight: 149g | Dimensions: 142.5 x 69.3 x 8.1mm | OS: Android Nougat | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 2,160 x 1,080 | CPU: Snapdragon 435 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32GB w/ microSD | Battery: 3,000mAh | Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 5MP | Fingerprint Sensor: No
The LG Q6 is the midrange take on the company’s 2017 flagship smartphone, the LG G6. As you can see for yourself, much of the G6’s visual pizazz has made the transition to the more budget-friendly class intact.
It features the familiar tall aspect ratio, a nearly bezel-free design, and commendable build quality that yields a smooth feeling in the hand. However, given its lower asking price, not every single one of the G6’s finer qualities makes an appearance.
The plastic back, for example, is prone to scratching. You won't find a fingerprint sensor here either. Predictably, the Q6’s internal specs are decidedly ho-hum and don’t pack adequate muscle to hustle through some of the more demanding 3D games available on the Google Play Store.
The budget smartphone arena is competitive as ever and the Q6's downsides are hard to forgive. But, as it's available for as low as AED 891, you're still getting a whole lot of phone for the cash.
Read the full review: LG Q6
- Looking for the best phones and not restricted to a budget? Here are our top picks.