Best smartphones of 2016: The 25 best mobile phones you can buy today

Best cheap phones of 2016

Can’t afford to spend a fortune on your smartphone? Want an inexpensive first smartphone for your kids? Then you have plenty to choose from. These days you can buy some cracking handsets for well under £200, and get a decent smartphone for £100 if you know where to look. 

You don’t have to confine yourself to budget smartphones necessarily, though. It’s always worth keeping an eye out for the flagship, top-end phones from a few years back, as these often tumble in price, and can offer even better value than the more recent budget models. And you can find them going for a song second-hand, then this may also be another route to getting a high-end smartphone for a low-end price.

We’ve collected our eight favourite budget phones below, and with prices starting from £90, there’s something here for even modest budgets.

1. Motorola Moto G 3rd Gen (2015)

Price: 8GB, around £155 inc VAT

Motorola claims top spot in the race for best budget smarphone for the third year in a row with the third generation Moto G. It sports a new look, Moto Maker customisation and faster internals, alongside beefed up waterproofing and an excellent 13-megapixel rear camera. All-in-all, the Moto G 3 is the best budget smartphone money can buy. If you can’t stretch your budget to a flagship phone, this is the next best thing. Click here to read our Motorola Moto G 3 (2015) review 

2. OnePlus X

Price: £199 inc VAT


The OnePlus X shrinks the screen size down to a (relatively) compact 5in, and combines high-end hardware from 2014 with a lovely AMOLED display and elegant glass and aluminium chassis. For £199, this is probably all most people need to know, but now that OnePlus has made the OnePlus X invite free there’s one more reason to buy one. Click here to read the OnePlus X review

3. Motorola Moto E 2nd Gen

Price: 8GB, around £100 inc VAT

Motorola Moto E (2015) Review - camera close

Motorola has a knack for creating impressive budget phones, and the second-generation Motorola Moto E is no different. With a faster processor and the welcome arrival of 4G support, Motorola is onto another budget winner in 2016. Click here to read our Motorola Moto E review

4. Honor 5X

Price: £190 inc VAT

We don’t particularly like the Honor’s Emotion UI Android skin, but everything else about the Honor 5X is more than decent. It’s the only handset below £200 we’ve come across with a fingerprint reader, and its metal body and 5.5in Full HD display make it – despite slightly laggy performance – a very tempting buy. Click here to read our Honor 5X review

5. Sony Xperia M4 Aqua

Price: 8GB, around £180

Sony’s mid-range smartphone may be at the higher end of the budget price range, but its slim, stylish, metal-and-glass design makes it look a lot more attractive than most of its slightly cheaper rivals. Combine this with the same level of water resistance as the Xperia Z3+, an HD display, a 13-megapixel camera and an octa-core processor and you have a powerful handset at a reasonable price. Click here to read the Sony M4 Aqua review over at our sister site, Expert Reviews

6. Wileyfox Swift

Price: 16GB, around £125 inc VAT

British smartphone manufacturer Wileyfox has ambitions similar to those of the hugely successful Chinese startup OnePlus. Its debut handset squeezes style out of a rather simplistic design and crams a load of features into a phone that costs very little. The biggest plus, however, is that it comes loaded with the flexible and frequently updated Cyanogen OS Android-based OS. Click here to read our Wileyfox Swift review

7. Microsoft Lumia 640 XL

Price: 8GB, around £180

If you’re in the market for a budget phablet, you won’t go too far wrong with the Lumia 640 XL and its 5.7in display. It’s a Windows phone, which means you don’t get access to the same choice of apps as you would with an Android handset, but as a starter smartphone it’s a good choice. As an extra tempter, it comes with a year’s free subscription to Office 365. Click here to read our Nokia 640XL review

8. Microsoft Lumia 640

Price: 8GB, around £130 inc VAT

The Lumia 640 is a huge step up from its predecessor, the Lumia 630, and a great small-screened alternative to the larger Lumia 640 XL. It has a great-looking screen, snappy performance and 4G. For those who enjoy having Windows 8.1 on their phone, you’d struggle to find better at this super-low price. Click here to read our Nokia Lumia 640 review

9. Honor 4X

Price: 8GB, around £145 inc VAT

Honor 4x review: It isn't pretty, but the Honor 4x is practical and very cheap

The 4X has good battery life, a decent camera and reasonable performance. Add a large, bright 5.5in display and a price lower than £150 and you have a winning recipe. Some might not get on with the Huawei Emotion UI Android overlay, or the lack of Android Lollipop, but if that doesn’t bother you, the 4x offers a lot for very little cash. Click here to read our Honor 4x review

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