It's a great time to buy a mid-range phone. There are impressive options out there from Google, Apple, Oppo and more top brands. Plus, they're starting to offer the sort of tech that used to be reserved for big-hitting flagships.
For instance, the standard of the cameras we've seen on this year's mid-range phones has been very, very impressive. The Oppo Reno 8 Pro fell down slightly on its secondary lenses, but its main camera and selfie camera really shone, making use of MariSilicon X image processing technology that makes photography easy.
Elsewhere, we loved the simple, affordable and infinitely usable Google Pixel 6a. It comes in a small, compact and affordable package at £399 but offers more than most phones at the same price.
As ever, with mid-range phones, you'll have to make one or two sacrifices to get those fantastic features. Elsewhere the phone will fall a little shorter and that's how the brand achieves that price-tag, rather than just making another flagship. As a result, it pays to re-examine your own personal preferences and priorities in a phone before buying a new mid-ranger.
There's no exact science to 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.
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Read on for our full round-up of the very best mid-range smartphones on the market today. There are some great value offerings in this list that our experts have loved testing.
- How to choose the best mid-range phone
- Best mid-range phones a glance
- The best mid-range phones to buy in 2022
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- Best all-rounder: Google Pixel 6 (£599)
- Best premium mid-range: Oppo Reno 8 Pro (£599)
- Best for iOS: Apple iPhone SE (3rd gen) (£469)
- Best budget mid-range: Moto G200 (£319.99)
- Best mid-range display: Honor 70 (£479.99)
- Best small mid-range phone: Google Pixel 6a (£399)
Still unsure which model to go for? Our expert reviewers have tested a variety of handsets at a range of prices. Here are the best mid-range smartphones that you can buy in 2022.
Google Pixel 6
- Smooth UI and Google software
- Great camera
- Google Tensor chip
- Display not 120Hz
- Battery life could be better
The Google Pixel 6 is one of the best mid-rangers out there right now, thanks largely to its intelligent Google Tensor chip. This powers a smooth UI backed up with Google software which provides a great overall experience.
If you want to spend a little more and get a few more features then the Google Pixel 6 Pro is a great option. It scored an impressive 4.4 stars in our full Google Pixel 6 Pro review. Right now, it's pretty affordable too and there are some great deals to be had, thanks to the impending arrival of the Google Pixel 7 release date.
Buy the Google Pixel 6:
Oppo Reno 8 Pro
Best premium mid-ranger
- Sleek and eye-catching design
- Good camera with powerful image processing
- 4K video shooting
- Bright, clear and responsive 120Hz display
- Speedy fast-charge facility
- Hit-and-miss zoom photography
- Can heat up during intensive use
- Only one storage option (256GB)
We were impressed with this new offering from Oppo. In our full Oppo Reno 8 review we gave the phone an impressive four-star rating, citing its fantastic image processing and fantastic display.
It's not the slimmest looking phone on the market, perhaps, but we found it had a very satisfying hand-feel, felt premium and was nice to use.
With this being the 'premium' offering on the list, it does out-perform some other entries in some respects. However, you'll need a slightly larger budget to pick one up.
It's also well worth considering the Samsung Galaxy S22. It hasn't taken this spot because — by Samsung at least — it's still priced above the £600 upper boundary we set. However, it does occasionally slip below.
Apple iPhone SE (3rd gen)
Best mid-range iOS experience
- Seamless iOS experience
- 5G connectivity
- Excellent camera results
- Small display
- A15 Bionic chip, same as iPhone 13
- Wireless charging capability
The iteration of Apple's most affordable phone — the iPhone SE — adds 5G connectivity, more storage and a more powerful processor.
It can be purchased for just over £400 but the iPhone SE (3rd gen) uses the same A15 Bionic chip used in the iPhone 13 and iPhone 14 with great results.
The main drawback is a smaller display. While the phone is nice and compact, the small screen is less well suited to video streaming, editing images, or similar tasks. Overall, though, the SE 3 is a good value entry-point to the Apple line-up.
Certain that you want an iPhone? Head over to our best iPhone guide to see how other models compare to the iPhone SE. Or, for more on how the new model compares to its predecessor, try out our iPhone SE 2020 vs iPhone SE 2022 guide.
Buy the Apple iPhone SE (3rd gen):
Motorola Moto G200
Best budget mid-range smartphone
- Powerful 5G processor
- 108 MP triple camera setup
- No expandable storage
- No 3.5 mm headphone jack
- Clean Android 11 software with no unwanted apps
- 5000mAh battery easily lasts for more than a day
- 144Hz refresh rate gives smooth performance
The G200 is the most impressive mid-range Android phone we have recently tested, largely thanks to it boasting a top-end Snapdragon 888 Plus 5G processor that gives it lots of power for £319. On top of that, it's got a versatile triple camera set-up and very strong battery life, while the 144Hz refresh rate keeps the display and apps running silky smooth. Sure, the back is made of plastic and has no expandable storage, but those are compromises we are willing to make.
Buy the Motorola Moto G200:
Best mid-range display
For the price bracket, the Honor 70's display is stunning. It's silky smooth to use too, thanks to its 120Hz display and high touch-sampling rate.
The 6.67-inch OLED panel impressed us in testing and we also liked the camera, complete with 'solo cut mode' to give creators even more freedom when shooting videos. Read our full Honor 70 review for more information or check out buying links below for the latest deals.
Google Pixel 6a
Best small mid-range phone
- Compact form factor
- Powerful and slick to use
- Solid camera
- Google's Tensor Chip performs well again
- Not much cheaper than Pixel 6
- No fast-charger included and max charge speed 18W
- No wireless charging
- 60Hz display
The new, smaller version of the Google Pixel makes a few compromises on specs - but it's still a fantastic handset. Thanks to that notably compact form-factor and 6.1-inch display it's a great option for any users with smaller hands, or those who just want a nice pocketable phone, rather than a larger phone at the 6.7-inch display size that has increasingly become standard.
You'll have to settle for a 60Hz display and ditch wireless charging, but otherwise it's a fantastic little phone. It combines Google hardware and software to great effect, giving users a notably smooth experience at just £399. We could possibly see discounts soon too, as the release of the Pixel 7 approaches.
Here are some top tips on how to choose the right mid-range model for you.
- Shop around: Leading tech giants like Apple, Google, and Samsung offer their own affordable phones, including the Pixel 6a and iPhone SE (2022), so you'll never have to settle for a 'lesser' brand. But there are plenty of phone makers in this space that shouldn’t be overlooked – namely Xiaomi, Oppo, Realme and OnePlus.
- Compromise: When it comes to choosing the right mid-range phone, the key will be to compromise. Understand that you can’t have every premium feature in one package – that’s a luxury for the top-end handsets – and instead, focus on what you need the phone for. Is it a two-day battery life? Top camera lenses? High refresh rate display? That will narrow down your options and help you save cash.
- Read reviews: While the spec sheet for a phone will tell you everything you need to know about screen size, camera specs, storage options, battery life, and processor – expert reviewers will give you an honest view of how the handset performs in the real world. Here at RadioTimes.com, we get hands-on time with lots of phones, like the Poco F4 GT and a wide array of the best budget smartphones, too.
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