Flagship phones like the iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy S capture all the headlines, but budget phones have arguably shown much more innovation over the past few years, introducing design features and horsepower that would be more akin to a top-of-the-line model from just a few years ago. In this article, we’re selecting five of the best models from the giffgaff mobile phone marketplace under £200. Let’s take a look!
5. Samsung Galaxy A20e (£139)
Samsung makes some of the best smartphones around, and that’s true at the bottom end of their range as well as the top. The Galaxy A20e boasts some impressive specs for its price: an Exynos 7884 octa-core processor, a 3000mAh battery and a dual 13-megapixel rear camera (plus a 5-megapixel shooter up front). However, where this phone really comes to life is with its design, which closely resembles Samsung’s current-generation flagships with a teardrop camera in the upper centre that lets the 5.8-inch screen stretch from edge to edge. YouTube and Netflix videos look great here, and the extra height means that you’ll see more of emails and web pages too. The phone runs a recent version of Android, version 9, so you’ll have full access to a wide range of stock and Samsung-specific features. All in all, this is a great phone for anyone that wants something that looks (and feels!) modern without the exorbitant price tag of an actual flagship phone in 2020.
4. Moto G8 Power Lite (£149)
Next up we have the Moto G8 Power Lite. The Moto G lineup used be the company’s best, but over the years they’ve slowly slid out of that budget niche and become more mid-range operators. The Power Lite suffix denotes a move back to that more budget offering, with a sticker price of under £150. You get a lot for your money here, with 64GB of internal storage, a MediaTek Helio P35 octa-core processor, 4GB of RAM and a sizeable 5000mAh battery (that’s why this phone includes the “power” branding!). Design-wise, you’re looking at a contemporary classic - a nice blue body with an 8-megapixel front-facing “teardrop” camera and a 6.5-inch edge-to-edge screen. Motorola have always done well to include stock Android with a few genuinely helpful innovations, and that’s the case here too with a sensibly arranged triple rear camera system and a nice notification management system. Overall, a great choice at nearly £150.
3. Sony Xperia Z3 (Refurb, £159)
In our roundup of the best phones under £100 we highlighted the value of the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, a former flagship phone that’s now available at a very low price. In this article, we’ll do the same thing with the Z3 Compact’s bigger brother, the regular Z3. This phone is much more fully-featured than you’d expect at this price point, as a consequence of its advanced age, so its strengths and weaknesses are a bit different compared to new budget phones. It has a top of the line Snapdragon 801 processor from a few years ago, which is less power-efficient but potentially more powerful than its contemporary opposition. You also get what was one of the best cameras of the time, a 20.7-megapixel unit. Design-wise, this phone is a product of its times, so expect a smaller screen, chunkier bezels and only a single rear camera rather than an array of them. None of these features are necessarily better or worse than current trends, so this phone is something to consider if you’re not a fan of super skinny bezels and oversized screens. One potential downside is that this phone ships with Android 6, so you’re about three or four versions behind. However, custom ROMs do exist with more recent editions, if you’re interested in doing a little legwork to install them. Overall, a very interesting choice that deserves a slot in our top three.
2. Huawei P Smart 2019 (£149)
If you consider yourself a “p smart” kind of person, then you’d be wise to select one of Huawei’s latest. The P Smart 2019 offers a modern design with teardrop front-facing camera, dual 13-megapixel rear cameras and an absolutely stunning blue finish that changes colour as you shift it in the light (there’s also a black option available if you don’t like colour.) The P Smart uses the Kirin 710 chipset, one of Huawei’s own designs, which powers a smartphone that is based off Android but looks closer to some future version of iOS. The combination is an attractive one, and at this price point it’s hard to find much better!
1. Samsung Galaxy A21s (£179)
We started with a Samsung Galaxy handset, so it might be good form to end with one too. The Galaxy A21s is a more expensive option, at nearly £180, but it does come with a larger 6.5-inch screen with a cute pinhole camera in the upper left. As this is a newer handset, we get a faster processor (the Exynos 850), Android 10 and a much bigger battery, rated at 5000mAh. That makes this phone an absolute tank, able to last all day and into the next without difficulty. The rear camera has also been souped up, with a 48-megapixel sensor that can capture a ton of detail on sunny days. As well as the standard wide-angle, there’s also an ultra-wide shooter and a macro lens - very cool stuff. If you can deal with the larger size and weight of this phone - and the slightly higher price - you certainly get a lot more from this handset, making it our top choice overall.
Thanks for checking out the article and we’ll see you on the next one. And for more cheap phone goodness at an even lower price point, why not check out our picks for the best smartphones under £100?