People are parting with serious money for their pick of the latest phones. But if you’re on a tighter budget, there’s no need to miss out. The best budget phones can still pack a punch, without breaking the bank. Here’s a quick guide to getting yourself a great phone deal – and you won’t need […]

People are parting with serious money for their pick of the latest phones. But if you’re on a tighter budget, there’s no need to miss out. The best budget phones can still pack a punch, without breaking the bank. Here’s a quick guide to getting yourself a great phone deal – and you won’t need to compromise on all the features you’ve come to love.


How to find the best budget phone for you

Firstly, work out what it is you want from your phone. Most of the budget phones available today are pretty good all-rounders – but selecting one will be far easier if you’ve got a particular feature in mind.

Are you a gamer, a movie buff, or a photography whizz? Are you keen to explore the virtually limitless world of 5G? Or are you happy with Insta and YouTube on the go? Working out what matters most, is key to finding the right budget phone. You could even list things in priority order, if that helps.


For gamers

The Huawei P30 Lite is the perfect choice if you want the latest spec, without paying a premium. It’s got a powerful Kirin 710 chipset, which gives you that all-important performance. And you get 4GB RAM and 128GB ROM – so plenty of storage for games and apps.

The P30 Lite also has a 6.15″ Full HD display, and really impressive graphic processing technology – called Mali-G51 graphics – that’ll enhance your gaming experience right from the ‘ready up’. The GPU comes with Turbo 3.0, which is specially designed to optimise Fortnite and Minecraft, along with 17 other awesome games. Turbo 3.0 also improves your battery life in the P30 Lite and, like most Huawei phones, it’s got quick-charge tech built in.

On top of all this, this budget Huawei phone has a slick design. The end-to-end display makes it look like a premium device and allows you to completely immerse yourself in every level, mission, and battle.

The P30 Lite is available now for £329 on Pay As You Go – a bargain compared to some of the flagship phones geared towards gamers. Or, if you’d rather spread the cost, it’s £19 upfront and just £29 a month for Unlimited data on a Pay Monthly plan.


For 5G

When it comes to 5G, we’ve got you covered. This new mobile technology is going to change the world for players, streamers and, basically, everyone. If you don’t quite believe us, you can find out more about 5G now.

With all this in mind, 5G Ready phones don’t quite come under the ‘budget phone’ label, but it’s worth knowing which one’s the cheapest on Three. That’ll be the all-round awesome Samsung Galaxy A90 5G – available for £43 a month, with £49 upfront. As well as being 5G Ready, you’ll be able to enjoy all the best bits of the Samsung Galaxy range: like 3 rear cameras, with an ultra-wide mode; a powerful processor; instant live gaming – where you can play directly from your newsfeed or messenger; and game-optimising Neuro Game Booster. NGB is built in and gives you a higher resolution, brighter screen, and a fast refresh rate. Vital stuff in a 5G world.


Best budget camera phone

When it comes to camera features, Chinese tech giants, Huawei are the ones to beat. We love the camera on the Huawei P30 Pro, but it does come at a higher price. If you can’t justify splashing out on this beauty, you might also want to go for the P30 Lite, which can give you amazing photos on the go. As well as being a best buy for gamers, the ultra-wide triple camera is great for taking pics. A 48MP sensor on the first camera, is backed by a wide-angle f/1.8 lens. The second camera gives you 8MP resolution, with a 13mm ultra-wide-angle lens. And the third is a 2MP depth sensor, with an f/2.4 lens for creating bokeh effects. Did you get all that? It also comes with a 24MP front-facing camera with an f/2.0 aperture and a Super Selfie Night Mode. So, you’ll be able to perfect your pout, 24-7.


You can record video from both the front and rear cameras in Full HD, 1920 x 1080 pixels, with Optimised Image Stabilisation (OIS) on the rear camera, for those spontaneous moments.

As well as all this, rear camera shooting modes include: Wide angle lens, Night, Portrait, Pro, Slow-mo, Panorama, Light painting, HDR, Time-Lapse, 3D Panorama, Stickers, Documents, Ultra snapshot, Capture smiles, Audio control, Timer. And front camera shooting modes include Portrait, Panorama, AR lens, Time-Lapse, Filter, 3D Panorama, Stickers, Capture smiles, Mirror reflection, Audio control, Timer. The spec is pretty impressive for a phone at this price, so if you’re a photographer on a budget the P30 Lite could be the phone for you.


Best overall budget smartphones

If you’re after an all-rounder and keen to find the best budget phone of 2019, then you won’t go far can’t go wrong with the Xiaomi Mi 8. And it’s arguably one of the best budget Android phones. You get an edge-to-edge display, a super-compact design, a dual-lens 12MP rear camera, and 4Kk video recording. In fact, leading independent rating experts, DxOMark , rank the Mi 8 as one of the world’s best smartphone cameras. It also comes with an impressive Snapdragon 845 AI processor, so it can handle apps and multitasking like a dream.

You can get your Xiaomi Mi 8 on Three from just £19 upfront and then £22 a month. Or if you prefer Pay As You Go, you can get it for £389.  If you’re still not convinced, here’s what Tech Advisor have to say:


“This is a phone with features and performance in line with the likes of the Galaxy S9, LG G7 and OnePlus 6, and it costs a fraction of the price.”


Another great all-rounder is the Honor 10 Lite. And it looks good too. It’s the first Honor smartphone to feature the cutting-edge ‘Dewdrop’ display. So, there’s only a small camera notch and you get more than 90% screen – perfect for streaming and playing.  You also get a whopping 24MP front camera and there are some serious photo functions, which make taking selfies a dream, day or night. It runs the latest Android software – Android Pie, 9.0 – and gives you 64GB internal storage, so you shouldn’t have space issues.

When snapping selfies with the front camera, there are in-depth beauty tools in Beauty Mode and a Portrait mode that gives you the trendy Bokeh background blur. The large 3400mAh battery is another great feature, and you can expect 1-2 days of use, depending on how much gaming and streaming you do.


Best smartphones for £300

If you’re an Apple fan, you can get an iPhone 6s for just under £300. It has loads of the iOS features we all love – like Touch ID, Apple Pay, Siri, and a 4.7” Retina HD display. The iPhone 6s features a 12MP rear-facing camera, as well as a 5MP front-facing camera. And it can record 4K video, as well as 1080p video at 30, 60 and 120 frames per second.

If you prefer a budget Android phone that comes in under £300, then Samsung is always a top choice. The Samsung Galaxy A40 is £219.99 on Pay As You Go, and packs a lot of features beneath a sleek, 5.9″ FHD+ Infinity-U display. It’s powered by a 3100mAh battery and has a dual camera system with a 16MP low-light lens and ultra-wide camera. And with a 25MP selfie camera, you can perfect that pout in no time. It’s definitely one of the best phones for £300.


Best smartphones for £200

If you’re trying to keep the costs right down, then you could go for something like the Samsung Galaxy A10. It comes in at £139.99 and packs a lot into its 6.2″ body. You get an HD+ Infinity display and Dolby Atmos 3D sound – so it’s great for watching movies and gaming. You also get a 13MP rear camera and a 5MP front camera. And, like the iPhone 6s, you’ll be able to take bright, clear pictures. The Galaxy S10 battery also has a slightly larger battery than the budget iPhone 6s, and you get 3,400mAh capacity.

With a decent spec, and access to great services like Samsung Pay, Samsung Smart Switch, and Samsung SmartThings, we think the Galaxy S10 is one of the best budget phones for £200.


So, there you go. If you’re bored of budgeting, it’s good to know that you can get a feature-packed phone that ticks all of your boxes, without compromising on quality. Another way of making a new phone more affordable, is by trading in your old one. With Three trade-in it’s quick and easy to get a quote and get your cash.

Please note that the option to trade-in your phone or tablet isn’t available right now. Following government guidance, our trade-in partners have decided to temporarily suspend their services to protect their staff. We’re working hard to bring trade-in back to you as soon as possible.