Technology, on the whole, has been getting better every year and – crucially – much cheaper, too. You no longer need to hand over wallet-wilting sums of cash for your annual upgrade. Move your gaze away from those usual smartphone flagship big-hitters and you’ll find yourself a fantastic bargain, as there are some cracking best budget android phone to be found.

Yes, headline-grabbing android flagships such as the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and Oppo Find X2 are wonderful, but you no longer have to spend top dollar for a superb smartphone experience. Want to know more? Well, that’s where we come in. These are the very best budget smartphones you can buy.

We put hundreds of smartphones to the test so you don’t have to, with the best coverage in the UK. That means we can definitively tell you which budget smartphone is perfect for you. Take a look below and you’ll spot our regularly curated list of the best budget smartphones you can buy, as well as a helpful budget smartphone buying guide.

Top 10 Best Budget Android Phone In UK 2021

Here are the best budget android smartphone for your budget that we have chosen.

1. Xiaomi Poco X3 NFC

It’s rare to get a 120Hz screen on a budget, but that’s exactly what you get with the Xiaomi Poco X3 NFC. That can make interactions feel smoother, and its 6.67-inch 1080 x 2400 screen is large and fairly sharp too, as well as supporting HDR10.

And it’s not just the screen that stands out, as the Poco X3 NFC also has a fairly powerful Snapdragon 732G chipset, which offers excellent gaming performance for the money. With a big 5,160mAh battery too (which we found offered up to two days of life with moderate use) this really is a remarkable cheap phone.

There are some compromises, most notably when it comes to the camera, which isn’t as good as some others at this end of the market, but for gaming, video, and most general use, the Xiaomi Poco X3 NFC is hard to beat without spending quite a bit more.

The Best Budget Android Phone In UK 2021
The Best Budget Android Phone In UK 2021

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2. Moto G9 Power

Motorola consistently makes some of the best cheap phones, and the Moto G9 Power is among its best affordable handsets yet, thanks in large part to its massive 6,000mAh battery. That’s far bigger than the batteries in most phones of any budget, and it translates into almost two days of life with average use.

But the Moto G9 Power also has a similarly massive 6.8-inch screen, which – while only 720 x 1640 – means it’s great for watching movies on.

With expandable storage too, plus 20W fast charging and a triple-lens camera (led by a 64MP lens), there’s a lot to like here, though it’s a bit on the bulky side and only offers average performance. Still, there aren’t many powerful phones at this end of the market, so that’s not the biggest of issues.

The Best Budget Android Phone In UK 2021
The Best Budget Android Phone In UK 2021

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3. Samsung Galaxy A21s

Samsung’s smartphone offering doesn’t begin and end with the pricey Galaxy S line of handsets, and the savvy buyer can scoop us some well-made, affordable options for not much money. The Galaxy A21s is one such device, with an eye-catching design, massive 6.5in screen and exceptionally long battery life.

If you aren’t keen to hand over flagship-sized sums for your latest phone upgrade, then the Galaxy A21s is a fashionable choice. What’s most impressive, for instance, is that the Galaxy A21s benefits from a total of four rear cameras, with a massive 48MP sensor sitting among its photographic arsenal.

It may have some difficulty competing against budget hallmarks from rivals such as Motorola and Xiaomi, but where it counts the Galaxy A21s is a solid choice, excelling in most areas. If your buying budget simply can’t stretch above £200, then this is the phone to get.

The Best Budget Android Phone In UK 2021
The Best Budget Android Phone In UK 2021

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4. Realme 7

The Realme 7’s main attraction is its smooth 90Hz 6.5in display, a feature that until recently only flagship phones carrying price tags well north of £500 were capable of. This lends onscreen animations extra fluidity that other budget phones simply can’t match.

CPU performance is on a par with the slightly more expensive Xiaomi Poco X3 NFC, battery life is better than its predecessor at 18hrs 26mins and for graphics performance, the Realme 7 beats pretty much all its rivals.

Couple that with a set of four rear cameras – including a 48MP main shooter, an ultra-wide-angle, a macro and a depth snapper – and you have one hell of a good-value phone.

The Best Budget Android Phone In UK 2021
The Best Budget Android Phone In UK 2021

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5. Redmi Note 9

It’s easy to get lost in the ever-confusing sea of entry-level smartphones from Redmi. However, this one stands out thanks to its great on-paper value for money.

The Redmi Note 9 sits comfortably under £200 and comes with a total of five cameras, a Full HD+ display, a huge battery, and the latest Android operating system.

You get dual-SIM support, microSD expansion, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a Gorilla Glass 5 display. Also offered are 18W fast charging and 9W reverse charging which could come in handy if a friend’s phone needs a quick top-up. This shouldn’t be much of a problem for the Note 9 since it comes with a massive 5,020mAh battery.

The Best Budget Android Phone In UK 2021
The Best Budget Android Phone In UK 2021

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6. Oppo A9 2020

The Oppo A9 2020 is a budget handset the manages to excel in multiple areas – with an attractive design, a 48Mp quad-camera and a massive 5000mAh battery that outshines even some of the most expensive phones on the market.

It’s not without faults, of course. Though the battery life is excellent, there’s no fast charging. Though the night mode on the camera is stellar, the user-experience of taking photos really needs refining to be simpler and cleaner.

For the price point, however, you’re getting a very good camera phone that feels high-end and a device that won’t die on you quickly. For these reasons we’d definitely say that the Oppo A9 2020 is a budget contender.

The Best Budget Android Phone In UK 2021
The Best Budget Android Phone In UK 2021

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7. TCL 10 5G

Anyone who tells you that getting 5G on a phone is going to cost you a lot of money hasn’t come across the TCL 10 5G: not only does it offer 5G, you also get a very decent screen, processor and camera as well, all for a little under £400 if you’re buying direct and SIM-free.

Some corners are cut to get the phone to this price – no waterproofing, no wireless charging – but you can’t have many complaints considering the amount you’re paying. TCL is relatively new to the smartphone scene, even though it’s a veteran in the electronics industry, and we’re impressed with what it’s pulled off here.

Apart from the 5G that’s on board, it’s perhaps the display that has the most appeal here. It’s bright and vivid, and you get a host of software tweaks that you can apply to really make the colours pop if you need to.

The Best Budget Android Phone In UK 2021
The Best Budget Android Phone In UK 2021

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8. Realme X50 5G

This phone has a silky 120Hz display. Android’s menu screens scroll by with uncanny smoothness, making this feel slicker and quicker than any other phone near the price.

It’s not all an illusion of performance either. The Realme X50 5G has a Snapdragon 765G processor, which gets close to the real-world results of a flagship phone at a fraction of the cost, despite having much less raw power than a true top-end chipset.

The “G” part of that Snapdragon 765G’s name means it has been clocked for gaming. Android’s most demanding titles, like ARK: Survival Evolved, run much better on the Realme X50 5G than any other phone in this list.

The Best Budget Android Phone In UK 2021
The Best Budget Android Phone In UK 2021

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9. Samsung Galaxy A20

The Samsung Galaxy A20 costs just under £220 and gives you pretty good features for the money. This includes a 4,000 mAh battery that lasted a very impressive 13 hours and 46 minutes our battery test, a roomy 6.4-inch AMOLED display and solid dual rear cameras with Live Focus mode. Another plus is 15-watt fast charging; the Galaxy A20 got to 30% in just 30 minutes.

The Samsung Galaxy A20 is available through multiple carriers, including Verizon, Boost and Republic Wireless. However, there are some drawbacks at this price, including a design that can scratch easily and somewhat laggy performance from the Samsung Exynos 7904 CPU.

The Best Budget Android Phone In UK 2021
The Best Budget Android Phone In UK 2021

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10. Xiaomi Redmi Note 8T

If you’re looking for the best feature-packed phone that costs less than £150, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8T is one of your best choices.

In your hand, the dual-glass design feels fantastic and made from scratch-resistant toughened Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on both sides.

If taking ultra-crisp photos is your thing, you’ll love this versatility that this lens offers. We’re also treated to 1080P video at 60fps, 4K @ 30fps and even a super-slow-mo mode which can capture 1080P video @ 120fps.

And best of all, this is all crammed into a super-slim 8.35mm body that only weighs 190g. Considering its dual-glass design and huge 4000mAh battery, this is super-impressive.

The Best Budget Android Phone In UK 2021
The Best Budget Android Phone In UK 2021

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How to choose the best budget android smartphone for you

Picking the perfect budget phone isn’t easy and there are all sorts of factors to consider when making your purchase. Before you head to the checkout, you’ll want to make sure you have all the bases covered. To make your decision a bit easier, we’ve highlighted the main criteria you need to look out for.

Should I buy a phone on contract or SIM-free?
Budget smartphones are, as you’d expect, cheaper to buy outright than other handsets, with prices starting at around £50 in some cases. As a result, if you have the cash, we recommend you buy one SIM-free. You can then find the right SIM-only deal from any network and sell your phone when you want to upgrade. If you don’t have the cash, you’ll need to go for a contract deal, but these don’t tend to be great value for budget phones as you end up spending much more by the time your contract ends.

What should I look for in a smartphone display?
While flagship phones are fitted with the best, biggest and highest resolution screens, you can still find budget smartphones with high-quality displays. Cheap handsets usually have a minimum screen resolution of 1,280 x 720, but some slightly more expensive alternatives offer Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) resolution displays for sharper viewing.

Nearly all of the budget smartphones we recommend use LCD panel technology, which is more than good enough. However, we’re starting to see AMOLED displays crop up at the lower end of the scale as well, which produce even better colours and deeper blacks. Read our full reviews if you want to know how good a phone’s screen is.

Battery life and performance
Budget phones aren’t equipped with top-end internals. But that’s not to say their performance is bad – far from it as we’re starting to see reasonably high clock speed chips make an appearance in handsets at the bottom end of the spectrum. To get an idea of what to expect from a phone’s performance, look at the clock speed of the chip (measured in GHz) and how much RAM is inside (anything more than 4GB will suffice).

Battery life is crucial and each phone’s stamina is different. When considering your next budget phone, keep an eye out on the phone’s battery capacity (in mAh) – the higher the number, the longer you can expect the battery to last on a single charge. If you’re stuck, we’ve rounded up the longest-lasting phones in one place.

How much storage do I need?
It’s amazing how much storage you can eat through on a phone with apps, games and images. You’ll want at least 16GB of onboard storage and look out for phones with a microSD card slot, as you can cheaply add more space when your internal storage eventually fills up.

Conclusion

To sum up, we have made a very detailed assessment, comparing every aspect of hundreds of budget  smartphones on the market to include in this list. Surely you will not be disappointed with the money spent to buy them.

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