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

The best cheap phones offer reliability, longevity and decent performance at an accessible price point. Previously, the budget mobile aisle was shorthand for poor quality, but in 2024, there are plenty of affordable handsets that punch well above their weight without compromising on 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, our roundup of the best cheap phones should help give you a head-start.

Our current best cheap phones guide includes big hitters like the Samsung Galaxy A55, Google Pixel 8a and iPhone 13, though if you're after a device from a lesser-known manufacturer, then the Nothing Phone 2a is worth considering.

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. Oh, and if you're visiting this page during Amazon Prime Day (that's July 16 or July 17), check out our dedicated roundup of the best Amazon Prime Day phone deals for a list of available bargains.

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 A55 display

(Image credit: TechRadar / Max Delaney)
The best cheap Samsung phone

Specifications

Weight: 213g
Dimensions: 161.1 x 77.4 x 8.2 mm
OS: Android 14 w/ One UI 6.1
Screen size: 6.6-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2340
CPU: Samsung Exynos 1480
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB / 256GB
Battery: 5,000mAh
Rear camera: 50MP + 12MP + 5MP
Front camera: 32MP

Reasons to buy

+
Premium, stylish design
+
Long-lasting battery
+
Large 6.6-inch display

Reasons to avoid

-
Slightly disappointing camera results
-
Mediocre charging speed

Samsung's Galaxy A series smartphones regularly rank among the best Samsung phones for value, and the company has again delivered a supremely well-rounded (and great-looking) product with the Samsung Galaxy A55. 

For starters, Samsung has ditched the Galaxy A54's plastic casing in favor of a new and strikingly classy metal build on its latest mid-tier champion. The Galaxy A55 looks and feels like a premium device, despite being almost half the price of the Samsung Galaxy S24, and it boasts a suite of near-flagship specs, too. 

The phone's chipset, for instance, is a highly capable Exynos 1480, which delivered smooth browsing and gaming performance during our testing. The A55's 6.6-inch Super AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate is also impressive, and won't make you feel as though you're missing out on one of the best phone displays. 

You'll get a long-lasting 5,000mAh battery and 25W wired charging with the Galaxy A55, as well as four cameras: a 50MP main, a 12MP ultra-wide, a 5MP macro camera and a 32MP selfie snapper. The latter set are unchanged from the Galaxy A54, but they should still prove versatile enough for most amateur mobile photographers.

It's worth noting that the similar-looking Samsung Galaxy A35 is a essentially cheaper version of this phone, though the Galaxy A55 packs a superior processor, which should mean it lasts you longer.

The best cheap iPhone

Apple iPhone 13 Green

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)
The best cheap iPhone

Specifications

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
RAM: 4GB
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 8a in aloe green showing

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

Specifications

Weight: 188g
Dimensions: 152.1 x 72.7 x 8.9 mm
OS: Android 14
Screen size: 6.1-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2400
CPU: Google Tensor G3
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB / 256GB
Battery: 4,492mAh
Rear camera: 64MP + 13MP
Front camera: 13MP

Reasons to buy

+
Great design and color options
+
Useful AI tools for writing and photo edits
+
Seven years of Android updates coming

Reasons to avoid

-
Underpowered compared to Snapdragons
-
Middling battery
-
Cameras are better on more expensive Pixels

If you're a fan of Google's streamlined OS and aren't fussed about joining the AI revolution, then the Google Pixel 7a remains an attractive, now-even-cheaper option in 2024. However, its successor, the Google Pixel 8a, takes the crown as the best cheap Pixel phone by virtue of it being the cheapest way to access Google's latest and greatest mobile AI tools.

Features including Circle to Search, Call Assist, Magic Editor and Google's Gemini assistant are all present and correct here, with Google's unprecedented seven-year update commitment to the Pixel 8a set to ensure that this phone gets even better with time.

The Pixel 8a gets the basics right, too. It's got a pleasant-looking display, the camera is decent (at 64MP, it has the highest megapixel count of any Pixel phone, though you'll find the same cameras on its predecessor), and it's also a really compact device, at a comfortable 6.1-inches.

Certainly, there are flaws. The Pixel 8a doesn't rectify the battery issues we encountered with both the Pixel 7a and Pixel 6a, and you'll technically get faster performance from phones running the latest Snapdragon chipsets.

That said, compromises must be made to keep any phone's price down. Google's thoughtful AI features clearly have an audience, and the Pixel 8a is one of the nicest and most inexpensive ways you can get onboard.

Read our full Google Pixel 8a review

The best display on a budget

Honor 90 display

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

Specifications

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. At launch, the phone retailed for a not-so-cheap £449.99, but given that its successor, the Honor 200 Pro, was released in June 2024, you can now pick up the Honor 90 for a much more reasonable price. 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 and Google are committing their latest mid-range devices. But then again, the Honor 90 offers more base storage, faster charging and better display credentials than almost all of its category 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

Specifications

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

FAQs

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 A55 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 8a offers an affordable way into Google's AI-powered 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
Phones Editor

Axel is TechRadar's UK-based Phones Editor, reporting on everything from the latest Apple developments to newest AI breakthroughs as part of the site's Mobile Computing vertical. 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.

With contributions from