Looking for a phone that packs a punch, but doesn't batter your bank balance? Check out our guide to finding the best budget phone for you.
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. Want to get yourself a great phone deal without compromising on all the features you’ve come to love? We’ve put together a quick guide to help you out.
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 picking one will be far easier if you’ve got a particular feature in mind. – 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.
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 6.15in Full HD display with graphic processing technology – Mali-G51 graphics. That impressive combo will 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. And like most Huawei phones, the P30 Lite has quick-charge tech built in.
On top of all this, this budget Huawei phone has a slick design. The edge-to-edge display makes it look like a premium device. So, you can 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, why not spread the cost with a Pay Monthly plan. You can get the P30 Lite with Unlimited data for £19 upfront and just £29 a month.
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 can enjoy all the best bits of the Samsung Galaxy range. Like 3 rear cameras with seriously impressive camera tech, a powerful processor and instant live gaming. There’s a built-in Neuro Game Booster too, giving 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. 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.
Record video from both the front and rear cameras in Full HD with Optimised Image Stabilisation on the rear camera. Perfect for capturing those spontaneous moments.
As well as all this, there are loads of rear camera shooting modes. From 3D Panorama to Night and Portrait modes, the P30 Lite’s got you covered.
And the front camera has a whole host of shooting modes too – selfies have never looked so good.
So, if you’re a photographer on a budget, the P30 Lite could be the phone for you.
Best overall budget smartphones
Want to find the best budget phone of 2019? Then you can’t go wrong with the Xiaomi Mi 8 – it’s arguably one of the best budget Android phones.
Leading independent rating experts, DxOMark, rank the Mi 8 as one of the world’s best smartphone cameras. With its dual lens 12MP rear camera, and 4K video recording, we can see why.
And it with an edge-to-edge display and a super-compact design, it looks good too.
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 has 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. There are some serious photo functions too, making 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.
Snapping selfies with the front camera you’ve got a choice of beauty tools in Beauty mode. And Portrait mode gives you that Bokeh background blur. The large 3400mAh battery is another great feature. 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.
Want a budget Android phone that comes in under £300? Then the Samsung Galaxy A40 is £219.99 on Pay As You Go. It packs loads of features beneath that sleek, 5.9in FHD+ Infinity-U display and is powered by a 3100mAh battery.
The Galaxy A40 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 you can get for under £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 6.2in 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.
All of that plus access to great services like Samsung Pay, Samsung Smart Switch, and Samsung SmartThings.
So, if you want one of the best budget phones for £200 the Galaxy A10’s an excellent choice.
There you have it. If you’re bored of budgeting, it’s good to know that you can get a pocket-friendly phone without compromising on quality.
And if you’ve got an old phone lying around somewhere, why not put it to good use? Trade it in for some cash that you can put towards making your new phone more affordable. Check out Three trade-in and see how easy it is to get a quote and some cash.