If you’re looking for an affordable smartphone without breaking the bank, you’re in the right place. At Future Tech Business, we thoroughly test and review a variety of budget phones to bring you our top ten favorites that cost $250 or less.
When evaluating these phones, we consider important factors such as battery life, performance, camera quality, and software support. These aspects often suffer when the price of a phone is lower.
Currently, the Samsung Galaxy A14 is our top pick for the best cheap phone. It offers a great combination of features and is available globally, including in the US and UK.
However, the other nine phones on our list offer different combinations of features that might suit your preferences better. Whether you’re looking for a phone with a more stylish design or one with a headphone jack, we’ve got you covered.
Our selection includes phones from trusted brands like Samsung, Nokia, Xiaomi, Motorola, and Realme that provide excellent value for your money. To learn more about each model, be sure to click through to their individual full reviews.
Whether you’re purchasing a budget phone for yourself or for a family member, young or old, there’s an affordable option out there for everyone.
1. Samsung Galaxy A14 – Best overall
Image: Hannah Cowton / Foundry
The Samsung Galaxy A14 is indeed the best budget phone you can buy. It offers a winning combination of good design, excellent battery life, simple software, and four years of software support until 2027.
Compared to its predecessor, the Galaxy A13, the day-to-day performance of the A14 is much improved thanks to a better chipset and 4GB of RAM. While it may not handle demanding mobile games like Call of Duty, it performs well for tasks such as calls, texts, messaging, video apps, and social media.
The A14 comes with 64GB of storage, which may be a bit low for some users. However, it does have a microSD card slot that allows you to expand your storage capacity. Considering the affordability of this phone, it’s hard to complain about this limitation. Additionally, if you’re interested in 5G connectivity, you can opt for the slightly more expensive 5G version, which is otherwise identical.
It is worth noting that the Galaxy A14 has a 60Hz display, while other budget phones may offer smoother 90Hz or 120Hz technology. If this doesn’t bother you and you’re not particularly concerned about having an outstanding smartphone camera, then the Galaxy A14 is a top choice for a budget phone.
2. Motorola Moto G62
Image: Jon Mundy / Foundry
Like most cheap phones, the Moto G62 comes with a few cons, such as sacrificing performance, camera quality, and fast charging to save money. However, the phone makes up for these limitations with its solid plastic built quality, which surpasses other phones at this price point. The phone also comes with a clean version of Android 12 that has changes only made where Moto can improve, not just add things for the sake of it.
One of the standout features of the Moto G62 is its superb always-on display, which allows users to quickly view and open notifications that other phone brands do not offer. Despite having an LCD rather than an OLED panel, the always-on display is still of excellent quality. While the performance may occasionally stutter, the attractive software design is a great alternative to Xiaomi’s cluttered UI, despite the strength of that brand’s budget phones.
The phone’s triple cameras on the back may not all be of equal quality, but the 50MP main sensor still delivers excellent daytime shots. Additionally, the Moto G62 boasts great battery life from its 5000mAh cell, which can sometimes last until the end of the day with 50% battery remaining.
Overall, if you’re looking for a great cheap phone option, the Moto G62 is one of the best budget phones you can get with its solid build quality, clean Android 12, excellent always-on display, and respectable camera and battery performance.
3. Nokia G60 5G
Image: Lloyd Coombes / Foundry
The Nokia G60, manufactured by Finnish company HMD under the Nokia brand, represents good value for money, a great budget phone option priced at £200. Though it is not officially available for sale in the US, it can be purchased via Amazon.
This phone has everything that someone looking for a budget phone could ask for – 5G connectivity, a large screen, great battery life, and a perfectly capable main camera. The G60 even comes with three years of software support which is above average for this price point. This means that the Android security is updated regularly, giving the user peace of mind while using the phone.
You can either opt to buy the phone outright or go for Nokia’s Circular subscription plan, starting from £12.50 per month. This plan allows you to upgrade when you want or accumulate points the longer you keep the phone to encourage less e-waste. These accumulated points can then be used for eco-minded causes.
At the given price point, there is little to fault with the G60, though it does charge slowly. Nevertheless, it’s hard to ignore the abundance of features that this phone offers, making it an excellent choice for anyone looking for a budget phone with great specifications.
4. Realme C35
Image: Jon Mundy / FoundryImage: Lloyd Coombes / Foundry
Realme has certainly delivered with the design of the C35, a sub-£150 phone that looks more expensive than it actually is.
The C35 adopts the flat sides seen on the latest iPhones, giving it a sleek and modern appearance. Additionally, the smart-looking camera module, reminiscent of the more expensive OnePlus Nord phones, adds to the premium feel of the device. Along with its attractive design, the C35 offers a great 1080p display, which is impressive considering its low price.
One notable feature of the C35 is the option to pay an additional £20 to upgrade from 64GB to 128GB of storage. Furthermore, regardless of the chosen storage capacity, all models come with a microSD slot and a 3.5mm headphone jack. While the processor may not be the most impressive, the 50MP main camera lens performs admirably on a phone that exceeds expectations relative to its price.
Overall, the Realme C35 is a budget phone that punches above its weight in terms of design and features. The combination of its stylish aesthetics, high-resolution display, expandable storage options, and quality camera make it a compelling choice for those seeking an affordable smartphone that offers more than expected.
5. Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro
Image: Chriss Martin / Tech Advisor
The Redmi Note 10 Pro is a notable upgrade to the Poco X3 NFC, featuring a nicer display and better camera. Its 6.67in 120Hz panel utilizes AMOLED technology to provide superb contrast and vibrant colors.
Furthermore, the 108Mp main camera lens is outstanding, and it comes with a pair of secondary snappers that surpass most expectations. These impressive features take the Redmi Note 10 Pro’s camera capabilities to the next level.
The inclusion of additional benefits, such as 33W fast charging, a headphone jack, and even an IR blaster, elevates the Redmi Note 10 Pro from simply being a good budget phone to becoming a great one, considering the value that Xiaomi has built into it.
Overall, the Redmi Note 10 Pro is a quality smartphone choice for anyone looking for a budget-friendly phone with impressive display technology and remarkable camera capabilities. Along with its fun additional features, this phone provides great bang for the buck.
6. Xiaomi Poco M4 Pro
Image: Jon Mundy / Foundry
The Poco M4 is distinct from last year’s Poco M4 Pro 5G, as it forgoes 5G connectivity in favor of notable upgrades in other aspects.
One remarkable improvement is the inclusion of an AMOLED display, a first for the M series in Poco’s history. This display not only supports a 90Hz refresh rate but also boasts Full HD+ resolution. Additionally, the upgrade to a 64MP camera is impressive for the M series, resulting in enhanced photography capabilities. The device also offers decent battery life and supports fast charging.
However, the design of the Poco M4 might be a bit divisive, as it may not appeal to everyone’s preferences. Additionally, the MIUI 13 for POCO user interface may not be to everyone’s liking. Nevertheless, in terms of value for money, the Poco M4 is an exceptional option at the present moment.
If you are looking for a phone that offers an AMOLED display, improved camera capabilities, and good overall performance without the need for 5G connectivity, the Poco M4 is definitely worth considering. It offers great value for the features it provides.
7. Xiaomi Poco M4 Pro 5G
Image: Thomas Newton / Tech Advisor
The updated Poco M4 Pro 5G builds upon its predecessor without drastically altering the overall balance.
This Xiaomi device features the Dimensity 810 5G chipset, which is quite common among similar handsets. However, it offers a high 90Hz refresh rate, ensuring a smooth and fluid viewing experience.
In terms of battery performance, the Poco M4 Pro 5G shines with its large 5000mAh battery and upgraded 33W fast charging capability. Users can expect superb battery life and the convenience of quick charging.
Additionally, the device boasts eye-catching finishes, adding a touch of style to its overall design. For those seeking a more fluid user experience, the Poco M4 Pro 5G presents itself as a compelling option.
Overall, this updated handset offers incremental improvements over its predecessor, with a focus on delivering a seamless viewing experience and excellent battery life. If you prioritize a smooth user interface and long-lasting battery, the Poco M4 Pro 5G is worth considering.
8. Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
Image: Jon Mundy / Foundry
The Redmi Note 11 shares similarities with the Poco M4 Pro (4G) regarding its hardware setup, although it boasts a diverse range of family members and variants for users to explore if the basic hardware does not fully meet their needs.
However, standing on its own merits, the Redmi Note 11 delivers impressive value for money. The smartphone features a smooth 90Hz Full HD+ AMOLED display, offering a delightful visual experience. Its performance is commendable, thanks to the Snapdragon 680 chipset, ensuring smooth operation for various tasks. Additionally, the device boasts a remarkable battery life and supports decent 33W fast charging, ensuring you can stay connected for longer without worrying about running out of power.
Nonetheless, the camera performance stands as a notable weak point of the Redmi Note 11. Despite this drawback, considering its affordable price, the smartphone still manages to provide a compelling package with several noteworthy features.
9. Nokia G22
Image: Hannah Cowton / Foundry
If you prefer the idea of repairing your phone rather than replacing it every few years, the Nokia G22 might be the perfect choice for you. Although it’s worth noting that this phone operates at a relatively slower pace, it can adequately fulfill basic functions such as calls, messages, and utilizing Google Maps. If these functionalities meet your requirements, the Nokia G22 offers good value for your money.
iFixit provides a range of official repair kits for the G22, including options for fixing screen cracks and replacing the battery. This means that by purchasing this smartphone for £150, you can have the peace of mind that you’ll be able to easily repair it yourself. This aspect of self-repairing can be liberating, and our comprehensive review by Tech Advisor’s Hannah explores this concept further.
It’s important to mention that this phone will only receive software support for a two-year period, which somewhat contradicts the notion of keeping the device for an extended period and replacing its failing components. However, setting that aside, the Nokia G22 presents an intriguing concept and serves as an affordable phone that deserves consideration, particularly if you don’t require a high-powered device.
10. Samsung Galaxy A13
Image: Jim Martin / Tech Advisor
While Samsung’s budget Galaxy A13 may not excel in raw performance compared to similarly priced competitors, it compensates for it with the advantage of Samsung’s successful OneUI Android skin. Additionally, the phone comes with a promising commitment from Samsung to receive two full Android version software updates and four years of security patches. This assurance sets it apart from many other inexpensive handsets, offering an extended lifespan for the device.
Visually, the Galaxy A13 presents a slick appearance with a simple and understated design, which many users find preferable over alternative options. Moreover, the camera performs well, adding to its appeal.
However, it’s crucial to acknowledge that other phones in the same price range feature faster processors, smoother displays, and even support for 5G networks. Before deciding to stick with Samsung, it’s essential to be aware of the trade-offs you might make in terms of performance and future-proofing compared to other devices available in the market.
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