On the lookout for a budget smartphone this year? You've come to the right place. The RadioTimes.com team have tested some fantastic phones, some of which had very appealing price tags.


It's worth bearing in mind that a budget phone often comes with a compromise or two, and if you want all the latest and greatest features you might have to spend a little more. Hence, it's a good idea to think about what features you prioritise in a phone before choosing.

There's no exact science on where the budget, mid-range and premium — or 'flagship' — categories begin and end. This varies from publication to publication and from brand to brand. In our case, we've chosen to define a budget smartphone as anything under £300, a mid-range smartphone as anything between £300 and £600, and a premium smartphone as anything above £600.

Of these premium smartphones, only some of them are actually regarded as flagships. A flagship is a phone that leads a whole brand's offering, or at least one of their most premium lines. The term is a naval one as, historically, the flagship in a navy would be the largest, most valuable ship with the most firepower.

In this guide, we are referring to the SIM-free price of the handsets, but it's worth considering that with most SIM packages you buy the cost is spread monthly rather than being entirely up-front. This could potentially give you a bit more flexibility in your budget.

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Best budget phones to buy at a glance:

Best budget phones to buy in 2024

Samsung Galaxy A53

Best all-rounder

Samsung Galaxy A53


  • Great value
  • 120Hz display
  • Well designed
  • Expandable storage
  • IP67 rating
  • Good battery life


  • No plug adaptor or fast charger in box
  • No wireless charging facility
  • Plastic build

It's the moment we've been waiting for: the Samsung Galaxy A53 has just slipped under the £300 mark, making it eligible for our budget phones list. The phone launched at £399 and is a great all-rounder, with a great screen and a solid easy-to-use camera.

In our full Samsung Galaxy A53 review, it scored an outstanding 4.3 stars thanks to its brilliant value proposition.

The display is a crisp and responsive 120Hz panel and the handset has a nice look and feel to it, too. Plus, the battery will keep you juiced up all day.

Samsung Galaxy A53 | £242.50 at Amazon

For the latest in the Samsung A series, check out our release date page for the Samsung A34 and A54.

OnePlus Nord CE 2

Best under £300

OnePlus Nord CE 2


  • Great all-round package
  • Sleek OnePlus styling
  • Fantastic value


  • No IP rating

The Nord CE 2 punches above its weight in this price bracket, offering solid performance and attractive styling, and at £299, it has a strong place on this list.

OnePlus is a brand that's made its name offering good value, and the Nord CE 2 is no exception. Powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 900 processor and 8GB of RAM, the phone performs well and offers 5G connectivity on a shoestring, too.

Check out our full review of the OnePlus Nord CE 2 for all the specifications.

Did you know Samsung has just announced the Samsung Galaxy Buds FE release date and Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE release date?

Honor X7

Best under £200

Product image front and back of Honor X7


  • Thin and light
  • Very affordable
  • 6nm Power-efficient Snapdragon 680 chipset
  • Good battery life


  • Feels cheap
  • Not compatible with Netflix app

With this slim price tag, the Honor X7 stands out for its user experience and overall value offering.

It has a sleek, slim design and a long-lasting battery. Admittedly, the handset feels a little cheap to the touch, but it seems the money Honor saved on the body shell has been spent on internals instead — we'd rather that way than the other way around!

Don't expect all the bells and whistles of a top-end phone, but the Honor X7 is a fantastic value proposition.

Buy the Honor X7 SIM-free:

Nokia C21 Plus

Best under £110

Nokia C21


  • Ultra-affordable
  • Good battery life


  • Quite basic

The Nokia C21 Plus is a fantastically affordable option, available for just £109.99. Really you'd be hard pressed to find a smartphone out there for this price, and there's not many left in stock.

It packs a 6.5-inch HD screen, a 13MP main camera with a 2MP depth sensor, plus a 5MP selfie camera. We think it's quite a nice design for a simple sub-£100 phone and Nokia has also promised two years of security updates, so there's some peace of mind to be had for the phone's longevity. It also has Nokia's signature durability and can withstand a few knocks and drops.

Nokia C21 Plus | £109.99 at Amazon

Motorola Moto G62

Best budget 5G

Motorola G62 review image


  • 5G for under £200
  • Responsive 120Hz display
  • Solid battery life


  • Low power – only 4GB RAM
  • LCD display
  • Disappointing camera zoom function

Motorola's Moto G62 is a great affordable option that offers good battery life and 5G connectivity, all for under £200.

The camera is serviceable too, and we quite liked the 120Hz display, though it is only a basic LCD panel. With a relatively sleek handset which has a nice, tactile feel, it beats out others in the price range which can be clunky or plastic-y. Read our full Motorola Moto G62 review for more information or check out buying links below.

Buy the Moto G62 SIM-free:

Xiaomi Poco F5

Best for battery life

Poco phone F5 product image.


  • Long battery life
  • Quick to charge
  • Fast performance
  • Good value for money


  • Trimmed down features
  • Image stabiliser unremarkable during testing

If you’re looking for a phone that’ll last you all day and won’t break the bank, then the Poco F5 will serve you well with its nearly 14 hour battery life. Sticking with the stand out battery, the handset charges fully in just under an hour, so you can rest assured that even if you do somehow run out of battery, you’ll be back to full juice in no time.

That’s not all the Poco F5 is bringing to the table. The snappy performance will handle most of what you’ll throw at it, even if it is held back by the reduced feature set.

Overall, you’re getting a crisp OLED display that’s perfect for streaming and browsing photos, and a 5G-ready handset for a fraction of the cost of higher end smartphones. If you are looking for that extra bump in performance and you don’t mind spending a bit more, the Poco F5 Pro is a great mid-range upgrade.

Xiaomi Poco F5 | £449 £399 (save £50 or 11%) at Xiaomi

For great deals on consoles, take a look at the best PS5 deals and Nintendo Switch offers.

Samsung A33 5G

Best budget display

Samsung A33 5G smartphone


  • Great design and finish
  • OLED display rich in colour and contrast
  • Water and dust protection IP67
  • Long battery life


  • No wireless charging
  • Image stabiliser unremarkable during testing
  • Low light photos not great

Like its predecessor, the A33 5G is a fantastic all-round budget smartphone with a few notable upgrades, including 5G. It’s also got fantastic build quality, something that is lacking in other phones around this price bracket, and IP67 water and dust protection for added peace of mind.

It’s not without its drawbacks. The lack of a headphone jack means you’ll either need to invest in bluetooth headphones or a USB-C headphone dongle, potentially upping the price of the handset.

While its battery life might not hit the highs of the previous model, it will still last you a solid 13:48 hours - perfect for if you forget your charger. Overall, thanks to yet another fantastic Samsung display and the added benefit of 5G, the A33 5G definitely earns its spot on this list.

Samsung A33 5G | £279.99 at Amazon

Choosing a budget smartphone

How much should you pay for a budget phone?

While there are some exceptions, phones start to get good at around the £200 mark. The sign of a truly great budget mobile is when you start to wonder why anyone in their right mind would consider spending four times as much for something that seems pretty similar 95 per cent of the time. This happens quite a lot.

The closer you get to £100, the more likely you will see fundamental performance problems that may well get on your nerves. This includes sluggish typing inputs, lag when navigating or major stuttering when switching between your apps. Especially if you use your phone a lot, you'll want to try and avoid these issues when possible.

Get to the £200-£300 mark, and you can take your pick of advanced features. You can have 5G, great gaming performance, higher-end design elements like a glass back cover or a surprisingly high-quality camera (or two).

No phone offers all of these in one package until you spend significantly more, so you will have to think about which matters most. And to get the most for your money, consider moving away from household names like Samsung to companies that you may never have considered before, like Xiaomi, Oppo and Realme.


For news, reviews and deals, check out the RadioTimes.com Technology section. For more budget buys, take a look at the best budget smartwatches, and here are the best smartphones for older people.