Cheap phones used to be rubbish, but that hasn’t been the case for years. Now, if you’re smart about it, you can buy a phone for a fraction of the cost of a flagship and still get great features.
Sure, you can’t get the latest iPhone for a few hundred, but you can get surprisingly good Android devices. Some even have the same flagship chipsets, big batteries, and fast charging as their much more expensive siblings. And with Black Friday in full swing, now they’re even cheaper than ever.
We’ve collated a list of some of the best deals we can find on cheap phones right now. Using a similar £250/$300 price limit to that of our best budget phones roundup, below you’ll find a host of devices that punch above their weight in terms of features, performance and design, considering their price.
And if you have a little more to spend, remember to look at our separate guides to the best mid-range phone deals and best flagship phone deals.
Best budget phone deals
1. Xiaomi Poco X3 Pro (6GB RAM, 128GB)
Now: £169 (£60 off)
Our favourite budget phone of the moment, Xiaomi’s Poco X3 Pro already represents phenomenal value and enjoys an extra discount direct from Amazon. For just an extra tenner, you can pick up the 256GB version from Amazon (now £179).
2. Realme 8 5G (6GB RAM, 128GB)
Now: £149 (£100 off)
One of the most affordable 5G phones of the moment, the Realme 8 5G sports a 90Hz display and a capable Dimensity 700 chip at its heart. This deal is for the 6GB RAM SKU but discounts on other memory and storage configurations can be had on Amazon too.
3. Samsung Galaxy A12 + Nintendo Switch + Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Now: From £22 per month
If you’re not too fussed about the OLED model, Virgin Media is also offering the Nintendo Switch and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe with the Samsung Galaxy A12 on a 36-month contract. Starting at £22 a month with 2GB of data alongside unlimited calls and texts, it could be a good way to get a new phone and a Switch at an affordable monthly cost.
6. Oppo A15 (32GB)
Now: £95 (£24 off)
The budget-friendly Oppo A15 packs a big display and triple camera, but is still compact and lightweight – and now costs less than £100.
9. Oppo Find X2 Lite (8GB RAM, 128GB)
Now: £199 (£170 off)
The baby of Oppo’s 2020 Find X2 line, the Find X2 Lite delivers mid-range performance and design out the gate but now that its successor – the Find X3 Lite – is here, it’s enjoying reductions, like this one on Amazon, bringing it down to well within the price range of more modest hardware. Discount varies by colour, double-check before purchase.
10. Nokia G20 (4GB RAM, 64GB)
Now: £134.99 (£5 off)
Sure the saving is tiny right now, but considering how new the Nokia G20 is, that gap is only going widen as time passes, making an already easy-to-use affordable phone, even more wallet-friendly in this latest Amazon deal.
11. Realme 7 (8GB RAM, 128GB)
Now: £229.99 (£9.01 off)
Our recommendation for the Realme 7 comes with the caveat of avoiding the base 4GB of RAM model. Luckily, this top-spec 8GB RAM SKU is the perfect antidote and benefits from a discount on Amazon too.
12. Realme 6 (8GB RAM, 128GB)
Now: £219.99 (£29.01 off)
Despite the fast-paced iteration between the generations of Realme’s ‘number series’ and the Realme 8 now being on sale, 2020’s Realme 6 is only a year old and still a great deal. This 8GB RAM model comes with plenty of power and serves as one of the company’s most affordable ways to enjoy a smooth 90Hz high refresh rate display.
Budget phone buying advice
There are a lot of affordable smartphones out there and although swinging for the lowest price tag can be tempting, it doesn’t make sense to skimp on a product you’ll likely end up using almost every day for years at a time.
Try and buy from an established brand that you know and trust, not only as bigger companies’ products are usually held to higher quality standards, but should anything go wrong with your purchase, more established players also typically offer more robust customer support.
Don’t expect affordable phones such as these to feel like miniature flagships; such phones most obviously sacrifice hardware and/or camera performance to cut costs, while others opt for lesser build quality or less-premium materials, such as polycarbonate instead of glass or metal.
The display and camera used to be two of the most obvious indicators that you were using a budget handset but even these fundamental pieces of phone hardware have improved massively in recent years. Entries like the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro highlight this shift perfectly.
There are also devices like the Moto G9 Power, which place a focus on excelling in one specific area (in this phone’s case, battery longevity), whilst still feeling like a more conventional affordable phone in other respects.
One other advantage of buying a more affordable smartphone is that, if you’re after a contract, such devices are more likely to come with zero upfront cost, lower monthly pricing and, potentially, shorter-term plans. As such, they also make great first-time options for those new to smartphones, those who are accident-prone and kids.
Where to find deals
If you’re looking to buy a phone outright, rather than on-contract, Amazon has some of the biggest bargains, but make sure you check the specs carefully – third-party sellers sometimes use Amazon to shift international stock, which may vary slightly from what you find in local stores.
If you find that you’re missing out on Amazon’s Lightning deals, which run for just a few hours and offer limited stock, we’d recommend signing up for Amazon’s 30-day free trial of Prime, which will get you access to deals 30 minutes before everyone else. Plus, you’ll get free next-day delivery with the Prime trial, as well as access to Prime Instant Video and more. Sign up for Prime now.
Again, if you’d like to know more about the current affordable phone landscape, give our best budget phones roundup a read or head to our best tech deals right now feature for reductions on other consumer tech.
Black Friday arrives on Friday 26 November this year, followed by Cyber Monday on 29 November. We’ve rounded up the best Black Friday deals across all tech, so check that out for more savings.
We already have a dedicated article answering all your burning Black Friday-related questions, should you want to know more.
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