• Top 10 Best Budget Smartphones in the UK 2021 (Samsung, Nokia and More) 1
  • Top 10 Best Budget Smartphones in the UK 2021 (Samsung, Nokia and More) 2
  • Top 10 Best Budget Smartphones in the UK 2021 (Samsung, Nokia and More) 3
  • Top 10 Best Budget Smartphones in the UK 2021 (Samsung, Nokia and More) 4
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Top 10 Best Budget Smartphones in the UK 2021 (Samsung, Nokia and More)

Smartphones have become ubiquitous with modern life but some of the costs associated with the latest models can be eye-watering. Luckily, as technology improves, the demand for cheaper mobile phones has also grown and now some of the best budget smartphones on the UK market can easily compete with flagship devices for everyday tasks – and offer a good camera and battery to boot. 


While some budget buys can stretch up to £400, several come in under £200 and even under £100 for a basic model! Whether you're after a phone for everyday use, for work or for gaming and movies, there is an affordable option. Our list of the cheapest, best value smartphones includes great brands like Motorola, Samsung and Nokia, all available online from Amazon, Argos and more. 

  • Last updated: 14-09-2021
  • 91 views
Table of Contents

How to Choose a Budget Smartphone in the UK - Buying Guide

There are several features worth looking out for when considering which budget smartphone is the best for your situation. You'll want to ensure that it's running an up-to-date operating system, for example, as well as making sure the camera and screen resolutions are suitable. Here are our top tips. 

Pick the Right Operating System for the Apps That You Regularly Use

Pick the Right Operating System for the Apps That You Regularly Use

When looking at smartphones, you're usually faced with a choice between an Apple iPhone running iOS or an Android device. While Apple has a lot of models towards the upper end of the smartphone market, there are a few budget offerings out there that can sync up nicely with other iOS products.


However, you'll most likely be dealing with Google's Android operating system when on a budget, as it is open source and has a whopping 72% of the world's market share. There are numerous versions of Android, depending on the device, and many will be able to automatically update to the latest version.


There isn't a huge difference when it comes to the types or variety available on iOS and Andriod, as most popular third-party apps are available on both systems. If you use Google Drive or Apple iCloud predominantly for work, however, it would make sense to opt for the relevant operating system.

Balance Your Internal and External Storage to Suit You: 64 GB Is a Safe Start

Balance Your Internal and External Storage to Suit You: 64 GB Is a Safe Start

Next, you'll want to make sure all of the aforementioned apps fit comfortably on your device without it running out of space. Much like a computer or laptop, modern smartphones have both internal storage and ways of adding external storage when necessary.


Depending on how 'budget' the phone is, you'll often be looking at somewhere between 32 and 128 GB of internal storage. While 32 GB would suffice for basic usage, if you're planning on playing games, downloading videos on Netflix, music on Spotify, or taking a lot of high-quality pictures, you'll need much more.


Thankfully, nearly all budget smartphones come with a microSD slot to increase the amount of storage. This comes with the bonus of being able to quickly and easily transfer files from a laptop or PC if you're limited with your cloud storage space. MicroSD cards can vary in size from 2 GB all the way up to 1 TB for some microSDXC options.

Look For 4 GB of RAM or More for Androids, Though Apple Requires Less

Look For 4 GB of RAM or More for Androids, Though Apple Requires Less

RAM, while very different to internal storage, is an integral part of a phone's capacity to run well. In short, random access memory (RAM) is how your smartphone deals with applications and internal systems that are being run at any given time


The bigger the RAM, the quicker your phone will run as your apps have more space to use. When it comes to smartphones, you may see memory denoted as something like 4/128. In our example, this would stand for 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal storage.

16 Megapixels or Higher Takes a Great Photo

16 Megapixels or Higher Takes a Great Photo

When it comes to smartphones, the most used feature outside of messaging and surfing the web is easily the camera. Some budget smartphones are able to offer such a low-cost device by sacrificing camera quality, while others will include multiple, high-quality lenses on both the front and rear.


A high number of lenses is a good indication of a phone camera's quality, but you'll want to check how many megapixels (MP) a camera has to determine the resolution of the pictures it's able to take. In simple terms, a device with a 64 MP rear camera will be able to take a clearer and more detailed picture than one with a 16 MP camera. 


Generally, the higher the MP the better, but keep in mind that there are other factors such as image stabilisation and other software features that can improve the quality of a photo. It's also worth knowing that typically, the front selfie camera is almost always worse than the rear.

Look For a Battery Capacity of Over 3000 mAh for Continued Use

Look For a Battery Capacity of Over 3000 mAh for Continued Use

Phone batteries are measured in milliamp-hours (mAh). A phone with a large 5000 mAh battery will serve you very well on a single charge, easily lasting you multiple days with moderate use, but those with even a 2000 mAh battery will be more than enough if you're able to charge it most evenings.


If you're an avid consumer of media, then we'd recommend opting for at least 4000 mAh as using a bright screen continuously will leave your phone in the red after about 5 hours or so. If you find yourself near a plug socket most of the day, you won't have to worry too much about being caught in the lurch with even the smallest of batteries!

Phones Go Up to 17 cm in Length – Will It Fit Comfortably?

Phones Go Up to 17 cm in Length – Will It Fit Comfortably?

As you'll likely be carrying your smartphone around with you every day, it's important to make sure that you pick one that feels comfortable in your hand as well as your pocket


Some of the larger budget smartphones on the market can be as long as 17 cm while some of the smaller choices can be nearer 12 cm – and of course, a larger size usually means it'll feel weightier in your hands. 


If you find yourself watching a lot of YouTube, Twitch or Netflix while out and about, a larger screen with HD resolution is the way to go. If you still mostly use your smartphone as a phone, then you may prefer a smaller, lighter device.

Top 10 Best Budget Smartphones in the UK

Now that you've had a look through all the different features and specifications, it's time to take a look at our top 10 list. Whether you're planning on stretching your wallet as far as it can go or searching for a great bargain, there's something for everyone below!

10
OSAndroid (MIUI 12)
Storage128 GB
RAM4 GB
Camera48 MP rear, 8 MP front
Battery5000 mAh
Dimensions16.18 x 7.53 x 0.89 cm; 190 g
9
OSiOS
Storage64 GB, 128 GB, 256 GB
RAM2 GB
Camera12 MP rear, 7 MP front
Battery1821 mAh
Dimensions13.8 x 6.7 x 0.7 cm; 148 g
8
OSAndroid (Oxygen OS)
Storage128 GB, 256 GB, microSD slot
RAM8 GB, 12 GB
Camera64 MP rear, 8 MP front
Battery4500 mAh
Dimensions15.92 x 7.35 x 0.79 cm; 750 g
7
OS Android 11
Storage64 GB
RAM6 GB
Camera48 MP rear, 8 MP front
Battery4470 mAh
Dimensions16.8 x 7.97 x 0.91 cm; 210 g
6
OS Android 10
Storage64 GB, microSD slot
RAM4 GB
Camera48 MP rear, 8 MP front
Battery5000 mAh
Dimensions16.52 x 7.57 x 0.92 cm; 180 g
5
OSAndroid 11
Storage 64 GB, microSD slot
RAM 4 GB
Camera48 MP rear, 8 MP front
Battery 5000 mAh
Dimensions16.72 x 7.64 x 0.9 cm; 203 g
4
OS Android 11
Storage128 GB
RAM6 GB
Camera12 MP rear, 8 MP front
Battery3140 mAh
Dimensions14.4 x 6.94 x 0.82 cm; 143 g
3
OSAndroid 11
Storage128 GB, microSD slot
RAM6 GB
Camera64 MP rear, 32 MP front
Battery4500 mAh
Dimensions15.99 x 7.51 x 0.84 cm; 189 g
2
OSAndroid 10
Storage32 GB, microSD slot
RAM2 GB
Camera8 MP rear, 5 MP front
Battery4000 mAh
Dimensions16.6 x 7.7 x 0.8 cm; 620 g
1
OS Android 10
Storage128 GB, microSD slot
RAM4 GB
Camera64 MP rear, 13 MP front
Battery5000 mAh
Dimensions16.52 x 7.57 x 0.91 cm; 175 g

Compare the Best Budget Smartphones

Image
1
Motorola  Moto G30 1

Motorola

2
Nokia 1.4 1

Nokia

3
Samsung Galaxy A52 1

Samsung

4
Google Pixel 4a 1

Google

5
Samsung Galaxy A22 1

Samsung

6
Motorola  Moto G10 1

Motorola

7
Nokia X10 1

Nokia

8
OnePlus Nord CE 5G 1

OnePlus

9
Apple iPhone SE 2020 1

Apple

10
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 1

Xiaomi

Name

Moto G30

1.4

Galaxy A52

Pixel 4a

Galaxy A22

Moto G10

X10

Nord CE 5G

iPhone SE 2020

Redmi Note 10

Features

An Unbeatable Quality to Price Ratio

Our Top Pick for a Phone Under £100

The Best Value Samsung Galaxy in the Series

A Smooth Android Experience From Google

5G-Ready With an Ultra-Wide Camera

Great Battery and RAM for a Snip

Take and Edit Pro Pics With a Full HD+ Screen

With This Storage and Camera, It Should Cost Double

The Best Budget Apple Phone

Incredible Features at an Incredible Price

Price£158.00£89.99£399.00£319.00£199.00£129.99£199.99£281.78£399.00£200.97
OS Android 10Android 10Android 11Android 11Android 11Android 10Android 11Android (Oxygen OS)iOS Android (MIUI 12)
Storage128 GB, microSD slot32 GB, microSD slot128 GB, microSD slot128 GB64 GB, microSD slot64 GB, microSD slot64 GB128 GB, 256 GB, microSD slot64 GB, 128 GB, 256 GB128 GB
RAM4 GB2 GB6 GB6 GB4 GB4 GB6 GB8 GB, 12 GB2 GB4 GB
Camera64 MP rear, 13 MP front8 MP rear, 5 MP front64 MP rear, 32 MP front12 MP rear, 8 MP front48 MP rear, 8 MP front48 MP rear, 8 MP front48 MP rear, 8 MP front 64 MP rear, 8 MP front12 MP rear, 7 MP front48 MP rear, 8 MP front
Battery5000 mAh4000 mAh4500 mAh3140 mAh5000 mAh5000 mAh4470 mAh4500 mAh1821 mAh5000 mAh
Dimensions16.52 x 7.57 x 0.91 cm; 175 g16.6 x 7.7 x 0.8 cm; 620 g15.99 x 7.51 x 0.84 cm; 189 g14.4 x 6.94 x 0.82 cm; 143 g16.72 x 7.64 x 0.9 cm; 203 g16.52 x 7.57 x 0.92 cm; 180 g16.8 x 7.97 x 0.91 cm; 210 g15.92 x 7.35 x 0.79 cm; 750 g13.8 x 6.7 x 0.7 cm; 148 g16.18 x 7.53 x 0.89 cm; 190 g
Link

Phone Accessories for All Budgets

Phone Accessories for All Budgets

Got a bit left over from your budget to upgrade the headphones it came with? Or, seeing as you've got a shiny new phone on the way, what about a new case? Check out more of our recommendations below for all the best accessories at the best prices. 

Summary

It can be difficult feeling like you have to upgrade your phone every year or two, signing up to monthly contracts with little flexibility, so we hope you've found something that's taken your fancy in our list of SIM-free, budget online buys. Hopefully, you'll be scrolling through some more of our recommendations on your new device soon enough!

Author: David Sexton

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