The best cheap phones 2024: top budget mobiles in the UK

The best cheap phones boast style, reliability and decent performance, on top of their customary affordability. Previously, the budget mobile aisle was shorthand for poor quality, but in 2024, there are plenty of affordable smartphone options that punch well above their weight without compromising on important features.

We've reviewed countless phones, including the best phones around, and we can confidently say that there are a number of cheap models that offer more than just an affordable price. So, while the ultimate decision is yours, we thought we'd give you a head-start by rounding up all the best cheap phones we've tested.

Before you read on, it's worth noting that Nothing has just released the Nothing Phone 2a, which retails for a very respectable £319, while Samsung has just released the Galaxy A55, which starts at a slightly higher £439. We've currently got both phones in our testing labs, which prevents their inclusion on this list (for now), but there's a good chance that they'll make the cut once our full reviews are live. The Google Pixel 8a is set to be announced on May 14, too, so keep that in mind before committing to the Google Pixel 7a.

Of course, if you're able to spend a bit more, then one of the best Android phones, best iPhones, or best camera phones might be a more suitable fit.

Quick List

The best cheap phones in 2024

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Below, you'll find full write-ups for each of the best cheap phones in our list. We've tested each model extensively, so you can be sure that our recommendations can be trusted.

The best cheap Samsung phone

Samsung Galaxy A54 review Awesome Violet front straight

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
The best cheap Samsung phone


Weight: 202g
Dimensions: 158.2 x 76.7 x 8.2 mm
OS: Android 13
Screen size: 6.4-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2340
CPU: Exynos 1380
RAM: 6/8GB
Storage: 64GB/128/256GB
Battery: 5,000mAh
Rear camera: 50MP + 12MP + 5MP
Front camera: 32MP

Reasons to buy

Good cameras for the price
Good-looking screen
Looks more expensive than it costs

Reasons to avoid

No wireless charging 
A little thick and heavy

Samsung's Galaxy A54 is a slightly updated version of the A53, which means it's a phone that's made for 2024 needs and sensibilities. It looks a lot like the Samsung Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus, and you may be tempted to think it's one of those much better phones. Hold it, and you'll quickly be disabused of that notion. It's a little heavier than the more expensive phones, and the bezels are not as thin.

Noting that it costs half as much as the S23 line, though, you should be happy enough to pocket the rest of that cash. That additional thickness also goes toward hosting its 5,000mAh battery, which means it'll last all day, according to our testing (with 23W fast charging to get it back up and running quickly). The cameras are fairly decent, too, and perform well in good light.

Finally, Samsung's four years of software updates and five of security updates mean you can keep this phone for a while with confidence that it'll be supported almost as well as an iPhone. It's worth bearing in mind, though, that the superior Samsung Galaxy A55 has just been released, so that device may well replace the Galaxy A54 on this list once we've reviewed it fully.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy A54 review

The best cheap iPhone

Apple iPhone 13 Green

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

2. Apple iPhone 13

The best cheap iPhone


Release date: September 2021
Weight: 174g
Dimensions: 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.7mm
OS: iOS 17
Screen size: 6.1 inches
Resolution: 1170 x 2532
CPU: Apple A15 Bionic
Storage: 128GB / 256GB / 512GB
Battery: 3,240 mAh
Rear camera: 12MP (main) +12MP (ultrawide)
Front camera: 12MP

Reasons to buy

Strong battery life
Powerful internals

Reasons to avoid

No 120Hz screen
No Ceramic Shield on rear

Despite now being over two years old, the standard iPhone 13 remains on sale at Apple, with the arrival of the iPhone 15 having brought its price down to an extremely reasonable £599 in 2024 (you'll likely find it cheaper elsewhere, too). The iPhone SE (2022) is even more affordable, at £429, but the iPhone 13 is a markedly better phone for a not-much-higher price.

The iPhone 13 didn't prove a game-changer for Apple’s series of smartphones, but it remains an important iteration that offers better battery life, a better processor and a better camera setup than its predecessors. If you’re looking for a fast and capable smartphone, and don’t need the extra features of a pricier Pro model, then the iPhone 13 continues to be a top choice.

The highlight of the iPhone 13 is its battery life. Previously, iPhones hadn't been synonymous with strong battery life, but during our testing, we were hard-pressed to run the iPhone 13 out of juice. The phone's A15 Bionic chipset, meanwhile, is incredibly powerful, and paired with 4GB of RAM, it’s capable of running multiple apps and tasks quickly and efficiently. 

Read our full iPhone 13 review

The best cheap Pixel Phone

Google Pixel 7a phone showing screens camera and Android 13

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
The best cheap Pixel phone


Weight: 193g
Dimensions: 152 x 72.9 x 9 mm
OS: Android 13
Screen size: 6.1-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2400
CPU: Google Tensor G2
Storage: 128GB
Battery: 4,385mAh
Rear camera: 64MP + 13MP
Front camera: 13MP

Reasons to buy

Fantastic photos with the powerful Google camera
Great performance from Google Tensor G2
Good price

Reasons to avoid

Shorter support than Apple and Samsung
Middling battery
Too expensive for the compromises 

The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro are quite pricey and powerful smartphones, and so the Pixel 7a steps in for those who'd prefer a cheaper option. The 7a offers almost everything the Pixel 7 does – but it's cheaper at £449.

The Pixel 7a has a pleasant-looking display, the camera is amazing (at 64MP, it has the highest megapixel count of any Pixel phone), and its a really compact phone, too, at a comfortable 6.1-inches.

Certainly, there are flaws. We've found that the Pixel 7 doesn't have all-day battery life and is supported for fewer years than Samsung or Apple options. However, slick Android software and Google's thoughtful AI features have an audience, and the Pixel 7a is one of the nicest and most inexpensive ways you can get onboard.

Bear in mind, though, that the Google Pixel 8a is set to be announced in May. That phone will likely have better specs than the Pixel 7a, but it will presumably also drive the 7a's price down further. Either way, we'd suggest waiting until then before pulling the trigger on this particular phone.

Read our full Google Pixel 7a review

The best display on a budget

Honor 90 display

(Image credit: Future / Axel Metz)
The best display on a budget


Weight: 183g
Dimensions: 162 x 74.1 x 7.8 mm
OS: Android 13
Screen size: 6.7-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2400
CPU: Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 Accelerated Edition
RAM: 8GB / 12GB
Storage: 256GB / 512GB
Battery: 5,000mAh
Rear camera: 200MP + 12MP + 2MP
Front camera: 50MP

Reasons to buy

Rich, eye-friendly display
Premium-looking design

Reasons to avoid

No IP water-resistance rating
Only two years of software updates

The Honor 90 has a downright fantastic display, and its cameras are among the best on this list. The phone retails for a not-so-cheap £449.99, but given the price of comparable Samsung and Apple devices these days, we'd still deem it an affordable option in 2024. Think of it as the 'best alternative cheap phone'.

The Honor 90 sports a 6.7-inch quad-curved AMOLED display with a resolution of 2664 x 1200 and an adaptive refresh rate of up to 120Hz. It’s big, bright and more than suitable for gaming and watching movies, thanks to HDR10+ support and HDR certifications from streamers, including Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

On the back, you're getting a triple-camera system that comprises a 200MP main lens (with a 1/1.4-inch sensor), a 12MP ultra-wide lens (with a 112° field of view) and a 2MP depth sensor that helps the camera accurately gauge distance.

Less impressive is Honor’s software and security support commitment to the Honor 90. You’ll get two years of Android updates and three years of security updates with this phone. That’s markedly fewer than, say, Samsung is committing to its Galaxy A54 device. But then again, the Honor 90 offers more base storage, faster charging and better display credentials than almost all of its mid-range rivals.

Read our full Honor 90 review

The best cheap phone for durability

Nokia XR20 Review Listing

(Image credit: Future)
The best cheap phone for durability


Weight: 248g
Dimensions: 171.6 x 81.5 x 10.6mm
OS: Android 11
Screen size: 6.67-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2400
CPU: Snapdragon 480 5G
RAM: 4GB / 6GB
Storage: 64GB / 128GB
Battery: 4,630mAh
Rear camera: 48MP + + 13MP
Front camera: 8MP

Reasons to buy

Extremely durable
Free one-year screen replacement
Excellent software and security longevity

Reasons to avoid

Can’t customize Google Assistant button
Can’t run two SIM cards and a microSD card at the same time

The Nokia XR20 is the first rugged smartphone to launch under the Nokia banner with the help of HMD Global, which now owns the brand. Unlike other rugged smartphones that stand out due to their designs, the Nokia XR20 is meant to blend in with its slim profile and sleek look.

In terms of durability, the XR20 is IP68 certified, MIL-STD-810 rated, and is the first rugged smartphone to feature Corning Gorilla Glass Victus. The device also features a red emergency button along with a dedicated, non-customizable Google Assistant button.

However, what really sets the XR20 apart from the pack is the fact that HMD Global has guaranteed that the device will receive four years of security updates with three years of OS updates. The company also includes free one-year screen replacement. Put simply, if you want a reasonably-priced phone that can take a beating and will continue to be supported for years to come, the XR20 is for you.

Read our full Nokia XR20 5G review


What is the best cheap phone?

The best cheap phone for you will depend on what you do (and don't) value in a smartphone. If you prefer a Samsung, then the Samsung Galaxy A54 could be for you. If you're already embedded in Apple's ecosystem, then the iPhone 13 remains a top choice. Alternatively, the Google Pixel 7a offers an affordable way into the Google ecosystem, while the Honor 90 has a great display and a strong set of cameras.

How to choose the best cheap phone for you

Even the best cheap phones don't have it all; that low price means there are almost always weaker elements, so the first step to choosing one is deciding which aspects are most important to you, and what you can live without.

Do you need excellent battery life? A sharp screen? Or capable cameras? Perhaps you require a high refresh rate, or consider 5G to be vital.

Another consideration, which isn't specifically price related, is the screen size; a smaller screen makes a phone easier to use with one hand, and easier to fit in small pockets, while a bigger screen can make apps, games and videos more pleasant to watch and interact with.

Whatever the case, once you've decided what you do (and don't) need, you can read through the entries above to find a phone that fits. Whatever balance you ultimately decide on, there's likely to be an ideal option above, and we've tested all of these phones extensively, so you can be sure they're good.

How we test

We only include a handset on this best cheap phones list once we've fully reviewed it, so you can be assured that every entry has been tested in full.

Our testing process involves using the phone as our main handset for days, or even weeks, testing all the key factors, from the power to the battery life, the cameras, the screen, and beyond.

That means we know exactly how each of these handsets performs in reality, not just on paper, and we use that knowledge to rank them, while factoring in their all-important price and value.

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Axel Metz
Senior Staff Writer

Axel is a London-based Senior Staff Writer at TechRadar, reporting on everything from the latest Apple developments to newest movies as part of the site's daily news output. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion. 

Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned an NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme. 

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