Skip to main content

Best budget smartphone 2020: the top picks of the cheap mobiles around

Best cheap phone
(Image credit: Motorola, Oppo)

These days you can get some really good phones for not a whole lot of money. Chipsets are now good enough that you can get solid performance without having to spend much, and once high-end features are starting to trickle down to budget handsets.

There’s plenty of choice too, with many manufacturers pumping out cheap smartphones at a rapid rate. That in turn means plenty of competition and incentive for companies to make the best phones possible at the lowest prices possible.

Some of these phones will soon be cheaper than ever too as Black Friday is on November 27 and Cyber Monday is set for November 30. We’d expect a number of handsets to get reduced during those sales periods.

Exactly which phones will be discounted is unclear, but during last year’s Prime Day we saw sales on handsets from Sony, Huawei, Motorola, Nokia, and even Google and Samsung, among others.

So it’s entirely possible that the likes of the Moto G8, Huawei P Smart (2019), Nokia 4.2, and Sony Xperia L4 (all of which are on our list below) will be even cheaper than normal. We’ll highlight all the best deals below, but you might want to keep an eye on our best mobile phones deals page too.

However, there are a lot of cheap phones available and not all of them are good, which is where this guide comes in, as we keep it constantly updated with all the best phones you can get for roughly £200 or less.

So whether you wait for a sale or buy one of these handsets now, you can be sure that anything we’ve listed below is not just cheap but also good value.

Best cheap phones at a glance:

  1. Moto G8
  2. Oppo A5 2020
  3. Huawei P Smart (2019)
  4. Honor 10 Lite
  5. Motorola One Macro
  6. Realme 3 Pro
  7. Moto E6 Plus
  8. Nokia 4.2
  9. Moto G7 Power
  10. Sony Xperia L4

Moto G8

(Image credit: TechRadar)

1. Moto G8

The main Moto G8 handset, and perhaps the best

Weight: 188.3g | Dimensions: 161.3 x 75.8 x 9mm | OS: Android 10 | Screen size: 6.4-inch | Resolution: 720 x 1560 | CPU: Snapdragon 665 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB | Battery: 4,000mAh | Rear camera: 16MP + 8MP + 2MP | Front camera: 8MP

Strong performance
Great battery life
No NFC feels like a miss
Only 720p display

The Moto G8 is even cheaper than the Moto G7 was at launch, which is a remarkable achievement. Despite that, it’s an improvement in a number of ways, and arguably the best of the Moto G8 range (once you factor in price).

It offers great life from its 4,000mAh battery, delivers strong performance with its Snapdragon 665 chipset and 4GB of RAM, and has a triple-lens camera which - macro lens aside - is impressive for the money. The screen is big too, and the Moto G8 has a more premium design than many phones at this price.

It’s not quite the perfect budget handset, as the screen is only 720 x 1560, and there’s no NFC. But it comes very, very close.

Read our full review: Moto G8

Oppo A5 2020

(Image credit: Future)

2. Oppo A5 2020

One of the very best budget phones

Weight: 195g | Dimensions: 163.6 x 75.4 x 9.1mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.5-inch | Resolution: 720 x 1600 | CPU: Snapdragon 665 | RAM: 3/4GB | Storage: 64/128GB | Battery: 5,000mAh | Rear camera: 12MP + 8MP + 2MP + 2MP | Front camera: 8MP

Superb battery life
Spacious screen
So-so performance
Unimpressive camera

Oppo isn’t a massive name in the west, but it has started selling phones here, and some of them – such as the Oppo A5 2020 – are well worth paying attention to.

This has a price that’s the definition of budget, yet packs in a spacious, bright, and vibrant 6.5-inch 720 x 1600 screen, and a massive 5,000mAh battery, which in our tests lasted well over a day between charges.

It also sports a surprisingly expensive-looking (albeit plastic-clad) design, and a quad-lens camera. The actual performance of that camera isn’t special, and nor is the middling Snapdragon 665 chipset, but for the money the Oppo A5 2020 makes some very smart compromises.

Read our full review: Oppo A5 2020

Huawei P Smart (2019)

3. Huawei P Smart (2019)

Super stylish for the money

Weight: 160g | Dimensions: 155.2 x 73.4 x 8mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.21-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2340 | CPU: Kirin 710 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32/64GB | Battery: 3,400mAh | Rear camera: 13MP + 2MP | Front camera: 8/16MP

Slick design at great price
Ample storage
Only one speaker
Camera can overly process

The Huawei P Smart 2019 was for a long time the best cheap phone you could buy and it's still one of the best.

It packs a usable camera, plenty of storage and great battery life as well as a screen and design that punch way above their weight.  

There is very little between the Huawei P Smart and the Honor 10 Lite, as they're practically the same device, but the P Smart has the edge with its slightly sharper design.

Read our full review: Huawei P Smart (2019)

Honor 10 Lite

4. Honor 10 Lite

A worthy rival to the Huawei P Smart

Weight: 162g | Dimensions: 154.8 x 73.6 x 8mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.21-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2340 | CPU: Kirin 710 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32/64GB | Battery: 3,400mAh | Rear camera: 13MP + 2MP | Front camera: 24MP

Premium look for low cost
Great display
Micro USB port is dated

The Honor 10 Lite is a little unlucky to be ranked below the Huawei P Smart (2019) as it's almost identical.

But if you're a frequent Snapchatter or selfie addict the 24MP front-facing camera on the Honor 10 Lite is the one for you.

If you're thinking "isn't there a Honor 20 Lite out?" you're totally right, but there's very little difference between that and the Honor 10 Lite, save the price tag, so we're keeping the older device up here for now.

Read our full review: Honor 10 Lite

(Image credit: Future)

5. Motorola One Macro

A great handset but not for its macro skills

Weight: 186g | Dimensions: 157.6 x 75.4 x 9mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.2-inch | Resolution: 720 x 1520 | CPU: Helio P70 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB | Battery: 4,000mAh | Rear camera: 13MP + 2MP + 2MP | Front camera: 8MP

Good screen
Dependable battery life
No NFC
Bad cameras

The Motorola One Macro is a great budget phone, but not for the reasons its name might make you think. Yes, it has a dedicated macro lens, but in our review we found both this and its 13MP main and 2MP depth sensors to perform poorly.

Rather, the Motorola One Macro is good in most other ways, from its decent 6.2-inch 720 x 1520 screen, to its durable design, and its 4,000mAh battery, which provides above average life.

If not for its cameras the Motorola One Macro would be a great budget all-rounder, as things stand it’s a great budget almost all-rounder, ideal for anyone who doesn’t care much about smartphone photography.

Read our full review: Motorola One Macro

Realme 3 Pro

6. Realme 3 Pro

The Realme 3 Pro makes a great impression for a cheap phone

Weight: 172g | Dimensions: 156.8 x 74.2 x 8.3mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.3-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2340 | CPU: Snapdragon 710 | RAM: 4/6GB | Storage: 64/128GB | Battery: 4,045mAh | Rear camera: 16MP + 5MP | Front camera: 25MP

Class-leading camera
Great screen and fast charging
Fussy software
No NFC or USB-C

Sporting an eye-catching and robust design, along with a bright capacious screen, decent speakers, generous specifications and a powerful chipset, the Realme 3 Pro really does have an odd character of its own.

Though its software design might be divisive, it has no major issues. It has a class-leading camera for the price point, along with dependable stamina and the handy option of very fast charging. 

Read our full review: Realme 3 Pro

Moto E6 Plus

(Image credit: TechRadar)

7. Moto E6 Plus

One of Motorola's cheapest smartphones

Weight: 149.7g | Dimensions: 155.6 x 73.1 x 8.6mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.1-inch | Resolution: 720 x 1560 | CPU: Helio P22 | RAM: 2GB/4GB | Storage: 32GB/64GB | Battery: 3,000mAh | Rear camera: 13MP + 2MP | Front camera: 8MP

Reliable battery life
Solid design
Only okay camera
No NFC

The Moto E line of Motorola's smartphones is traditionally its most affordable, and the Moto E6 Plus is no exception, but it still manages to sport a decent, durable design, a dual-lens camera, and solid battery life.

Speaking of the battery, it's removable here too – how often do you see that in a smartphone? 

Of course, it's got all the trappings of a budget phone too, so it's not as snappy or powerful as many higher-end devices, but then you'd expect that if you're paying less than £100 for it.

Read our full review: Moto E6 Plus

Nokia 4.2

(Image credit: Future)

8. Nokia 4.2

The best cheap Nokia phone

Weight: 161g | Dimensions: 149 x 71.3 x 8.4mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 5.71-inch | Resolution: 720 x 1520 | CPU: Snapdragon 439 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32/64GB | Battery: 3,000mAh | Rear camera: 13MP + 2MP | Front camera: 8MP

Sharp design
Good-looking UI
Sluggish performance
Underwhelming display

Nokia is known as a great budget smartphone manufacturer, but few of its phones actually fall below the £200 threshold we had for this list. The Nokia 4.2 is one such device, and it'll do you well without costing you much.

Sure, its specs are a little on the low side, but that's to be expected in a phone at this price, and there are very few compromises you might notice.

But at its core, the Nokia 4.2 is a standard and conventional Android phone, and at a glance it's not that different from a mid-range or even high-end device with the same design.

Read our full review: Nokia 4.2

Moto G7 Power

9. Moto G7 Power

The best cheap phone for battery hogs

Weight: 193g | Dimensions: 159.4 x 76 x 9.3mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.2-inch | Resolution: 720 x 1570 | CPU: Snapdragon 632 | RAM: 3/4GB | Storage: 32/64GB | Battery: 5,000mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 8MP

Massive battery
Good gaming performance
Bulky design
Wi-Fi can be patchy

This is the best budget smartphone when it comes to battery, with the Moto G7 Power packing a mammoth 5,000mAh power pack.

It’s also awkwardly big, but for those who want two days (and sometimes more) from a single charge no other smartphone around can match the Moto G7 Power right now.  

Note that the Moto G8 Power has now been launched, but it's a bit too expensive for this list right now.

Read our full review: Moto G7 Power

Sony Xperia L4

(Image credit: TechRadar)

10. Sony Xperia L4

The Sony Xperia L4 keeps you away from high-cost contracts

Weight: 178g | Dimensions: 159 x 71 x 8.7mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.2-inch | Resolution: 720 x 1680 | CPU: Helio P22 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 64GB | Battery: 3,580mAh | Rear camera: 13MP + 5MP + 2MP | Front camera: 8MP

Two camera fields of view
Decent display quality
Dated chipset
Slow-charging, small battery

The Sony Xperia L4 edges its way into our best cheap phones list because while it’s certainly lacking in some areas, it offers things that many rivals don’t.

For one, its triple-lens camera gives you two fields of view to choose from (normal and wide-angle), as well as a depth sensor, while its screen packs an unusual 21:9 aspect ratio – ideal for many films and games.

It’s also a decent 6.2-inch 720 x 1680 screen offering good image quality, and the interface uses a vanilla take on Android, so it’s slick and bloat-free. All that said, the chipset is dated and the battery offers average life at best – as well as being slow to charge, so this isn’t a phone for power users.

Read our full review: Sony Xperia L4