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Best Budget Smartphones of 2022

Phone advice | by Denise Timmis | Sep 08, 2022

Best Budget Smartphones of 2022

After a budget-friendly smartphone that doesn’t dent your wallet? You’ll find one here. From top-quality cameras to long-lasting batteries, there’s a cheap phone for everyone in our selection. Ready to find your perfect match? Check out our favourite affordable phones below.

 

Best cheap smartphones overview

 

 

The best budget smartphones to buy in 2022

 

  • Huawei Honor 9

 

Overview: Affordable all-round performance. That’s precisely what you get with Huawei’s Honor 9. The compact smartphone sits easily in hand and features a handy fingerprint sensor below the screen. Its glass design looks and feels buttery smooth, too.

 

The Honor 9’s 3200mah battery lasts a full day, while a dual-lens set-up includes a powerful 20MP camera that takes crisp shots. For budding photographers, we recommend dabbling in the handset’s aperture mode, which lets you alter subject focus.

 

Buy the Huawei Honor 9

 

The Specs

 

Price

£149.99

Display

Type

IPS LCD

Size

5.15 inches, 73.1 cm2 (~70.0% screen-to-body ratio)

Resolution

1080 x 1920 pixels, 16:9 ratio (~428 ppi density)

Protection

Corning Gorilla Glass 3

 

BODY

Dimensions

147.3 x 70.9 x 7.5 mm (5.80 x 2.79 x 0.30 in)

Weight

155 g (5.47 oz)

Build

Glass front (Gorilla Glass 3),

glass back, aluminium frame

SIM

Hybrid Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by

 

Storage

Card slot:

microSDXC (uses shared SIM slot)

Internal:

32GB, 64GB, 128GB

 

Main camera

Dual

12 MP, f/2.2, 27mm (wide), PDAF, 2x lossless zoom
20 MP B/W, f/2.2, 27mm (wide), 1/2.7"

Features

Dual-LED dual-tone flash, HDR, panorama

Video

4K@30fps, 1080p@30fps (gyro-EIS),

1080p@60fps

 

Selfie camera

Single

8 MP, f/2.0

Video

1080p@30fps

 

Battery

Type

Li-Po 3200 mAh, non-removable

Charging

Fast charging 18W, 40% in 30 min (advertised)

 

 

  • iPhone SE 2020

 

Overview: Searching for a budget Apple device? Say hello to the iPhone SE 2020. Available in various colours, the SE 2020’s compact frame is neat and tidy, fitting in hand like a glove. Its Retina HD display is bright and responsive, even though it’s an older model, while a powerful A13 Bionic chipset ensures superfast browsing, streaming, and gaming speeds.

 

Camera-wise, a 12MP single sensor snapper with advanced image processing takes crystal-clear photos. The iPhone SE 2020 isn’t the best in the battery department but should last a full day with moderate use. However, it supports fast charging, which ramps up your battery to 50% within 30 minutes.

 

Buy the iPhone SE 2020

 

The Specs

 

Price

£210-£230

Display

Type

Retina IPS LCD, 625 nits (typ)

Size

4.7 inches, 60.9 cm2 (~65.4% screen-to-body ratio)

Resolution

750 x 1334 pixels, 16:9 ratio (~326 ppi density)

Protection

Ion-strengthened glass, oleophobic coating

 

BODY

Dimensions

138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3 mm (5.45 x 2.65 x 0.29 in)

Weight

148 g (5.22 oz)

Build

Glass front, glass back, aluminium frame

SIM

Nano-SIM and/or eSIM

 

IP67 dust/water resistant (up to 1m for 30 mins)
Apple Pay (Visa, MasterCard, AMEX certified)

 

Storage

Card slot:

No

Internal:

32GB, 64GB, 128GB

 

Main camera

Single

12 MP, f/1.8 (wide), PDAF, OIS

Features

Quad-LED dual-tone flash, HDR, panorama

Video

4K@24/30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/120/240fps,

 HDR, OIS, stereo sound rec.

 

Selfie camera

Single

7 MP, f/2.2 HDR

Video

1080p@30fps; gyro-EIS

 

Battery

Type

Li-Ion 1821 mAh, non-removable (6.91 Wh)

Charging

Fast charging 18W, 50% in 30 min (advertised)
Qi wireless charging 7.5W

 

 

 

  • Samsung Galaxy S9

 

Overview: Samsung fan? Then you’ll love the Galaxy S9’s price and performance. The durable device is lined with a Gorilla Glass 5 screen, protecting it from bumps and falls. Its bright 5.8-inch Super AMOLED display covers most of the screen, so it’s easy to use with one hand. Interestingly, the display automatically adjusts to your screen brightness habits, which is perfect for when you’re on the move.

 

Its Exynos 9810 chipset means the phone is fast and responsive, even when using multiple apps. Need a brilliant camera? The Galaxy S9’s 12MP single-sensor camera and wide aperture range take impressive snaps in all conditions. There’s also a fun super slow-mo mode, which can turn a 0.2-second action shot into a 6-second slow-mo video.

 

Buy the Samsung Galaxy S9

 

The Specs

 

Price

£144.99-£154.99

Display

Type

Super AMOLED, HDR10

Size

5.8 inches, 84.8 cm2 (~83.6% screen-to-body ratio)

Resolution

1440 x 2960 pixels, 18.5:9 ratio (~570 ppi density)

Protection

Corning Gorilla Glass 5

3D Touch (home button only)

Always-on display

 

BODY

Dimensions

147.7 x 68.7 x 8.5 mm (5.81 x 2.70 x 0.33 in)

Weight

163 g (5.75 oz)

Build

Glass front (Gorilla Glass 5),

 glass back (Gorilla Glass 5), aluminium frame

SIM

Single SIM (Nano-SIM) or Hybrid Dual SIM (Nano-SIM,

dual stand-by)

 

IP68 dust/water resistant (up to 1.5m for 30 mins)

 

Storage

Card slot:

microSDXC (uses shared SIM slot) - dual SIM model only

Internal:

64GB

 

Main camera

Single

12 MP, f/1.5-2.4, 26mm (wide),

1/2.55",

1.4µm, dual pixel PDAF, OIS

Features

LED flash, auto-HDR, panorama

Video

4K@30/60fps,

1080p@30/60/240fps,

720p@960fps, HDR, stereo sound rec.,

gyro-EIS & OIS (30fps)

 

Selfie camera

Dual

 

Features

8 MP, f/1.7, 25mm (wide), 1/3.6", 1.22µm, AF
2 MP (dedicated iris scanner camera)

Dual video call, Auto-HDR

Video

1440p@30fps

 

Battery

Type

Li-Ion 3000 mAh, non-removable (11.55 Wh)

Charging

Fast charging 15W
Quick Charge 2.0
Qi/PMA wireless charging - market dependent

 

 

 

  • Sony Xperia XA1

 

Overview: Sony’s Experia XA1 is a fantastic option if you want a cheap mobile phone under £100. For just £94.99, you’ll get a pocketable design and a whopping 23MP camera which takes fantastic pictures for its price. The 720p screen is bright but features a relatively low screen resolution. This means text may look less clean and sharp in close-up.

 

There’s no lagging when flicking between apps, thanks to its Android 7.0 operating system and relatively powerful chipset. To top it off, there’s also a USB slot for easy file transfers and charging, while a memory card slot means you can boost storage space.

 

Buy the Sony Xperia XA1

 

 

The Specs

 

Price

£94.99

Display

Type

IPS LCD

Size

5.0 inches, 68.9 cm2 (~70.9% screen-to-body ratio)

Resolution

720 x 1280 pixels, 16:9 ratio (~294 ppi density)

Protection

Corning Gorilla Glass 4

 

 

Body

Dimensions

145 x 67 x 8 mm (5.71 x 2.64 x 0.31 in)

Weight

143 g (5.04 oz)

Build

Glass front (Gorilla Glass 4), plastic back,

aluminium frame

SIM

Single SIM (Nano-SIM) or Dual SIM (Nano-SIM,

dual stand-by)

 

Storage

Card slot:

microSDXC (dedicated slot)

Internal:

32GB 3GB RAM

 

Main camera

Single

23 MP, f/2.0, 24mm (wide), 1/2.3", PDAF

Features

LED flash, HDR, panorama

Video

1080p@30fps, HDR

 

Selfie camera

Single

 

Video

8 MP, f/2.0, 23mm (wide), 1/4", AF

 

1080p@30fps

 

Battery

Type

Li-Ion 2300 mAh, non-removable

Charging

Pump Express+ 2.0

 

 

 

  • Google Pixel 4XL

 

Overview: Camera buffs; this one is for you. The Google 4XL’s advanced software, sharp lenses and wide aperture range deliver clarity and precision. Its Live HDR+ mode provides accurate previews of pictures, while a Super Res Zoom mode takes crisp shots of close subjects. The cherry on top? The 4XL’s Astrophotography mode lets you capture starry night skies for Insta-worthy pics of the heavens.

 

The Google 4XL is no slouch, either. Its Snapdragon 855 chipset and 6GB RAM offer fast processing speeds, while its gorgeous 6-inch OLED screen and 90HZ refresh rate mean it’s highly responsive. Battery stamina is where the 4XL falls short. Its 3700maH cell will likely need a charge in the day to see you through. However, an 18w fast charger is included for a rapid boost.

 

Buy the Google Pixel 4XL

 

 

The Specs

 

Price

£209.99-£309.99

Display

Type

P-OLED, 90Hz, HDR

Size

6.3 inches, 98.0 cm2 (~81.3% screen-to-body ratio)

Resolution

1440 x 3040 pixels, 19:9 ratio (~537 ppi density)

Protection

Corning Gorilla Glass 5

 

Always-on display

 

Body

Dimensions

160.4 x 75.1 x 8.2 mm (6.31 x 2.96 x 0.32 in)

Weight

193 g (6.81 oz)

Build

Glass front (Gorilla Glass 5),

glass back (Gorilla Glass 5), aluminium frame

SIM

Nano-SIM and/or eSIM

 

Storage

Card slot

No

Internal

64GB 6GB RAM, 128GB 6GB RAM

 

Main camera

Dual

12.2 MP, f/1.7, 27mm (wide), 1/2.55",

1.4µm, dual pixel PDAF, OIS
16 MP, f/2.4, 50mm (telephoto),

1/3.6", 1.0µm, PDAF, OIS, 2x optical zoom

Features

Dual-LED flash, Pixel Shift,

Auto-HDR, panorama

Video

4K@30fps, 1080p@30/60/120fps,

1080p@30fps (gyro-EIS)

 

Selfie camera

Dual

8 MP, f/2.0, 22mm (wide), 1.22µm, no AF
TOF 3D, (depth/biometrics sensor)

Features

Auto-HDR

Video

1080p@30fps

 

Battery

Type

Li-Po 3700 mAh, non-removable

Charging

Fast charging 18W
USB Power Delivery 2.0
Wireless charging

 

 

 

  • Samsung Galaxy A50

 

Overview: The Galaxy A50 has some serious stamina. Its supercharged 4000mah battery lasts up to 35 hours (yes, really) and supports fast charging when you need a quick lift. Its 6.4-inch Infinity edge-to-edge display looks gorgeous too, as does its smooth and luminous back cover.

 

Its camera isn’t a great performer in low light and won’t offer anywhere near the same quality as, say, the Google Pixel 4XL. However, if you want a budget smartphone with a fantastic battery and display, you can’t go wrong with the Galaxy A50.

 

Buy the Samsung Galaxy A50

 

The Specs

 

Price

£139.99

Display

Type

Super AMOLED

Size

6.4 inches, 100.5 cm2 (~84.9% screen-to-body ratio)

Resolution

1080 x 2340 pixels, 19.5:9 ratio (~403 ppi density)

Protection

Corning Gorilla Glass 3

 

Body

Dimensions

158.5 x 74.7 x 7.7 mm (6.24 x 2.94 x 0.30 in)

Weight

166 g (5.86 oz)

Build

Glass front (Gorilla Glass 3),

plastic back, plastic frame

SIM

Single SIM (Nano-SIM) or Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)

 

Storage

Card slot

microSDXC (dedicated slot)

Internal

64GB 4GB RAM,

64GB 6GB RAM,

128GB 4GB RAM,

128GB 6GB RAM

 

Main camera

Triple

25 MP, f/1.7, 26mm (wide), PDAF
8 MP, f/2.2, 13mm (ultrawide), 1/4.0", 1.12µm
5 MP, f/2.2, (depth)

Features

LED flash, panorama, HDR

Video

1080p@30fps

 

Selfie camera

Single

25 MP, f/2.0, 25mm (wide), 1/2.8", 0.9µm

Features

HDR

Video

1080p@30fps

 

Battery

Type

Li-Po 4000 mAh, non-removable

Charging

Fast charging 15W

 

 

 

 

  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro

 

Overview: The Mate 10 Pro is jam-packed with fantastic features. Its screen boasts OLED technology for stunning clarity and colour. Its dual camera set-up performs well in low-light and macro shots, while a 128GB internal drive gives plenty of storage. It also looks the part, with a protective Gorilla Glass back panel creating a refined finish.

 

A 4000mah battery gives you over a day’s battery (but could even last for two with moderate use), while Super Charge tech gets you powered up to 50% within 30 mins. Sadly, the 10 Pro doesn’t feature a headphone jack or a MicroSD Slot. It also doesn’t support fast charging, but with that massive battery, this isn’t a dealbreaker in our eyes.  

 

Buy the Huawei Mate 10 Pro

 

The Specs

Price

£239.99

Display

Type

OLED, HDR10

Size

6.0 inches, 92.9 cm2 (~80.9% screen-to-body ratio)

Resolution

1080 x 2160 pixels, 18:9 ratio (~402 ppi density)

Protection

Corning Gorilla Glass (unspecified version)

 

Body

Dimensions

154.2 x 74.5 x 7.9 mm (6.07 x 2.93 x 0.31 in)

Weight

178 g (6.28 oz)

Build

Glass front (Gorilla Glass),

glass back, aluminium frame

SIM

Single SIM (Nano-SIM) or Dual SIM (Nano-SIM,

dual stand-by)

 

Storage

Card slot

No

Internal

64GB 4GB RAM, 128GB 6GB RAM

 

Main camera

Dual

12 MP, f/1.6, 27mm (wide),

1/2.9", 1.25µm, PDAF,

Laser AF, OIS
20 MP B/W, f/1.6, 27mm (wide), 1/2.7"

Features

Leica optics, dual-LED dual-tone flash, panorama, HDR

Video

4K@30fps, 1080p@30/60fps

 

Selfie camera

Single

8 MP, f/2.0, 26mm (wide), 1/3.2", 1.4µm, AF

Video

1080p@30fps

 

Battery

Type

Li-Po 4000 mAh, non-removable

Charging

Fast charging 22.5W, 58% in 30 min (advertised)

 

 

 

  • Samsung Galaxy A51 5G

 

Overview: Pretty in plastic, the Samsung Galaxy A51 sports smooth curves and intersecting lines to the back. Under the light, these lines burst into rainbow tones for a beautiful finish. There’s room for improvement, though. The A51’s fingerprint scanner is poor, while its punch-hole camera design divides opinion.

 

But, there’s still plenty going for it. For example, the A51 features a stunning 6.5-inch Super AMOLED screen, while its quad-lens camera set-up boasts a 48MP camera for clear and bright shots. 5G connectivity is available, too. And an internal 128GB drive and microSD card slots offer all the storage you’ll need.  

 

Buy the Samsung Galaxy A51 5G

 

The Specs

Price

£199-£239.99

Display

Type

Super AMOLED

Size

6.5 inches, 102.0 cm2 (~87.4% screen-to-body ratio)

Resolution

1080 x 2400 pixels, 20:9 ratio (~405 ppi density)

Protection

Corning Gorilla Glass 3

 

Body

Dimensions

158.5 x 73.6 x 7.9 mm (6.24 x 2.90 x 0.31 in)

Weight

172 g (6.07 oz)

Build

Glass front (Gorilla Glass 3),

plastic back, plastic frame

SIM

Single SIM (Nano-SIM) or Dual SIM (Nano-SIM,

dual stand-by)

 

Storage

Card slot

microSDXC (dedicated slot)

Internal

64GB 4GB RAM,

128GB 4GB RAM,

128GB 6GB RAM,

128GB 8GB RAM,

256GB 8GB RAM

 

Main camera

Quad

48 MP, f/2.0, 26mm (wide), 1/2.0", 0.8µm, PDAF
12 MP, f/2.2, 123˚ (ultrawide)
5 MP, f/2.4, (macro)
5 MP, f/2.2, (depth)

Features

LED flash, panorama, HDR

Video

4K@30fps, 1080p@30/120fps; gyro-EIS

 

Selfie camera

Single

32 MP, f/2.2, 26mm (wide), 1/2.8", 0.8µm

Features

HDR

Video

4K@30fps, 1080p@30fps

 

Battery

Type

Li-Po 4000 mAh, non-removable

Charging

Fast charging 15W

 

 

 

 

 

How to choose the best budget smartphone

Choosing a new phone is never an easy decision. How do you know which one is right for you? Well, cheap phones don’t have everything, so you’ll need to consider which features are a must and which are a nice-to-have. Here are some things to think about before choosing your budget smartphone.

 

Storage

 

Storage needn’t be sacrificed when buying a budget phone. In fact, you can pick up a smartphone for under £100 and boost its storage by using its memory card slot—such as Sony’s Xperia A1. If you need lots of storage, keep tabs on a device’s internal drive and whether it has a memory card slot.

 

Battery life and performance

 

While budget phones may not boast the same processing power as flagship gadgets, they still offer top performance. Look at the clock speed of the chip (measured in GHz) and the available RAM (4GB and above should cut the mustard) to get an idea of how fast the phone is.

Battery stamina is crucial when you’re out and about. Choose a phone with a high battery maH rating for longer battery life. The higher the number, the longer you can expect the phone to last from a single charge.

 

Camera quality

 

You can find great cameras on budget smartphones, like the Google Pixel 4XL. In fact, its camera gives many flagship phones a run for their money. But, this high snapping standard tends to cost a tad more than handsets that come under the £200 mark.

 

Display

 

Although flagship devices have superior screens, you can still find many budget smartphones with top-draw displays. Most cheap phones feature screen resolutions of at least 720p, and some even offer Full HD displays like the Huawei 10 Mate Pro.

 

Bagging a great deal

 

A brilliant way of saving money is buying a refurbished phone. Refurbished phones allow you to get a top-tier device for a fraction of retail prices. You can also get your hands on many much-loved models that’ve been discontinued over the years.

Another way to get a great deal is to buy a SIM-free smartphone. That’s because you can get an affordable SIM-only deal after you’ve bought your phone. By going down this route, you won’t need to pay as much per month as you would with many phone contracts, as you’ll be paying for the SIM, not the phone. It also offers flexibility, as you can swap your smartphone for a newer model in the future without having to pay out on a contract.

 

Buy a budget phone with Envirofone

 

At Envirofone, you get a brilliant device for less. Our selection is jam-packed with affordable phones from the world’s leading brands, including Apple, Samsung and Google. We also ensure that every second-hand item is returned to its former glory through a 100-point testing process, so you’re never disappointed.

 

Every reconditioned device comes packaged in a protective padded box. We also ship it out to you for free and slap on a 12-month warranty. But there’s more! You can send your old device to Envirofone for money towards your next purchase. So, browse our range of cheap refurbished phones today for tech that doesn’t harm the planet (or your wallet).

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