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Top five best budget smartphones

Lynn Wright / 20 November 2015

Get the best budget smartphone to suit your needs without spending a fortune, including brilliant budget Android and Microsoft smartphones.

Woman using a smartphone
You don't have to spend a fortune to get a decent smartphone

Today’s smartphones are packed with features including high-definition touchscreens, high-resolution digital cameras, waterproof casings, fingerprint readers and built-in contactless payment systems.

It’s easy to get drawn into the smartphone hype, but if you can live without the latest bells and whistles, there are plenty of smartphone bargains to be had.

Budget smartphones have decent features, long battery life and large screens, and are less of a magnet for thieves. 

They’re not as fast as more expensive smartphones and have less storage, but for everyday calls, web browsing, emails and running apps, a budget smartphone will do the job.

Look for well-known brands

Look for budget smartphones from well-known brands such as Microsoft, Sony and Motorola running Android or Microsoft operating systems. 

Ideally, a budget smartphone should have a 1080p high-resolution screen, an 8mp digital camera and a 5-inch screen. If possible look for 16GB of storage, but if you don’t use many apps then 8GB is fine.

Most budget smartphones come free as part of a mobile phone contract. 

Alternatively, you can buy a model for less than £150; stick in a low-cost sim card, and be up and running for less than £5 per month including 4G internet and a respectable number of included call minutes and texts.

1. Microsoft Lumia 640

Around £130 sim-free, free on contact

Windows Mobile, 8GB of space, 4G, 5-inch screen

This smartphone has an 8mp digital camera. Its 8GB of storage sounds cramped, but you can expand it cheaply up to 128GB via its microSD memory card slot. Standby is a whopping 36 days, and you can chat for nearly 18 hours before the battery runs flat.

2. Motorola Moto G

Around £135 sim free, free on contract

Android, 8GB of space, 4G, 5-inch screen

Motorola’s smartphone is water resistant with a scratch-resistant screen. On the back is a 13mp camera with dual LED flash. Its quad-core processor is fast enough for mobile games, and you can natter for up to 24 hours before draining the battery.

3. Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini

Around £140 sim free, free on contract

Android, 8GB of space, 4G, 4.3-inch screen

Samsung’s Galaxy S4 Mini has some neat tricks. It can track your steps and synchronise with blood pressure and blood sugar monitors. It can double as a remote control for your TV, and translate languages. It has around 12 hours of battery life in use, and 300 hours standby.

4. Sony Xperia M4 Aqua

Around £160 sim free, free on contract

Android, 8GB of space, 4G, 4.3-inch screen

Sony Xperia’s waterproof smartphone can take photos underwater. It’s dustproof, has a 13mp camera and a mammoth standby battery time of 685 hours, with a talk time of more than 13 hours.

5. Doro Liberto 820 Mini

Around £140 sim free, free on contract

Android, 4GB of space, 3G, 4.3-inch screen

Doro’s focus on accessibility makes owning this smartphone simple. With clear icons and large text for easy navigation, and a loud call volume, its built-in coach guides you through email and web browsing. It lasts up to 500 hours on standby, and has a talk time of 18 hours.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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