Update: Recently we've said goodbye to the Vodafone Smart Prime 7 and hello to the Wileyfox Swift 2 in our best cheap phone list, but there may be many more changes soon which you can read in the upcoming phone section at the bottom of the page.
In the past, the term 'best cheap phones' was usually a warning rather than a tempting proposition, with shoddy build quality, sluggish performance, laughable screen resolution and woeful cameras. But this isn't the past, this is the present, and the market abounds with top budget phones.
Sadly smartphone innovation isn't cheap – and most of it is reserved for high-end contract handsets. There is however such a thing as a good cheap smartphone, and ever so gently all those amazing features from the flagship devices are slowly trickling down to the budget phones.
Here's a selection of our favourite cheap phones that cost under £200.
- Don't need to worry about cost? Check out our best phone list
The Lenovo P2 is the best cheap phone you can buy right now. It has some incredible spec and it's all packed into an attractive package that looks like a premium phone that many won't even realise is a cheaper device.
The P2 offers two-day battery life. When we were testing this phone we were able to get through a full two days of using the phone without having to plug it in and put it on charge.
There's a powerful processor inside, considering the price of the phone, and it also features a great, bright 5.5-inch Full HD display. It's a heavier device than anything else on this list, but it's worth it considering how great the battery life on the Lenovo P2 is.
Read the full review: Lenovo P2
Motorola's latest Moto G hasn't become our best cheap phone in the world right now, but it's still a great phone and has slotted in the second place in our best cheap phone list.
The Moto G5 comes with a new metal design as well as a Full HD display and a fingerprint scanner on the back of the phone.
You won't get the fastest processor on this list or NFC with the Moto G5, but as an all-round product the new cheap Motorola phone will keep you going well if you decide to buy one soon.
Read the full review: Motorola Moto G5
For just £189, Wileyfox has done wonders with the Swift 2 Plus. It looks and feels like a much more expensive phone, with an attractive aluminium build and smooth performance.
Its camera is capable of taking decent shots, its fingerprint sensor works well, and the Cyanogen UI is a genuinely thoughtful enhancement of the stock Android operating system.
Read the full review: Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus
This is the lowest price phone out of all the Moto G products available right now.
It features a 720p screen, but despite that the spec on this Motorola phone is still good including 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, an 8MP rear camera and a 5MP front facing selfie shooter.
The best part is it's running Android 6 Marshmallow software and Motorola has confirmed it will soon be upgraded to Android 7. That means you'll have the latest software, something many high-end and expensive phones are still waiting to get.
Read the full review: Moto G4 Play
The first of three entries in this list from Motorola, it's the Moto G4 Plus. It's the highest spec budget phone from the company from 2016 and features some of the best features we've seen on a phone at this price point.
The spec is much the same as the Moto G4, but it also comes with a fingerprint scanner and an improved camera – that's what the Plus means as it's the same size as the normal Moto G4.
The 16MP rear shooter is arguably the most impressive phone camera at the sub-£200 mark. If you want to be able to take good photos but can't afford to buy a high-end phone, this is the best choice for you.
There's no NFC so you won't be able to use Android Pay on the Moto G4 Plus, but a bright display and strong performance is sure to make up for it. Before you buy, note it may be worth waiting for the newly launched Moto G5 Plus that's expected to come out in the next few months.
Read the full review: Moto G4 Plus
When the Blu Vivo 6 initially launched it didn't feature in our best cheap phone ranking but a recent price drop has meant it's now in position number six on our list.
Blu's first foray into the UK is a budget phone with a high-end design, despite being available in very limited colour choices.
It comes with impressive spec considering the price though with a 5.5-inch Full HD display, 13MP rear shooter, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. If you like the look of the Vivo 6, you won't be disappointed with this if you buy it as your next cheap phone.
Read the full review: Blu Vivo 6
Another Wileyfox device has made it onto our best cheap phone list, and this one costs even less than the Swift 2 Plus listed above.
We love the Swift 2 for its combination of low price and good spec. There's a 5-inch screen, 13MP rear shooter and Android 7 software right out of the box.
Our highlight of this phone is the design – it feels premium, while coming with a low price point. If you're looking for a lot of features for not much money and you like the design of the Swift 2, we'd recommend this as your next affordable phone.
Read the full review: Wileyfox Swift 2
LG's latest budget handset comes with one major selling point – it has a second, always-on display. No other phone that's under £200 is going to be able to offer you that and that's one key reason to buy the LG X Screen.
The spec may not be as impressive as say the Moto G4, but it still comes with 2GB of RAM, a Snapdragon 410 processor and a 13MP rear facing camera.
If you're a fan of LG, the X Screen may well be the best product you'll be able to buy right now if you don't want to shell out on a flagship phone like the G5.
Read the full review: LG X Screen
Honor used to be a specialist in low priced phones but most recent releases from the company have skewed a little more on the expensive end of the market. That's except for the Honor 5C though.
The Honor 5C is a strong choice for your low cost mobile upgrade. It comes with a 5.2-inch Full HD screen, Android 6 Marshmalllow software and a powerful Kirin 650 processor.
There's also a powerful 13MP rear camera and an 8MP selfie shooter to capture your gorgeous face and send it to your friends and family.
Read the full review: Honor 5C
The Moto E3 isn't our favorite cheap phone in the world right now… it's not even the best cheap phone from Motorola – those are the Moto G4 Plus and Moto G4 up above.
But if you're looking for a truly cheap device, the Moto E3 is still a good option you could take a look at. We particularly liked the battery life and the build quality of the Moto E3 when we reviewed the phone.
There are issues such as the lack of NFC support, which means you can't use Android Pay, as well as limited space, but if this won't be an issue for you then the Moto E3 may be perfect for you.
Upcoming cheap phones
Should you wait for a new cheap phone to be announced? There's sure to be many more upcoming phone announcements in 2017, and both Motorola and Vodafone have shared news of devices that may soon feature up above.
There are the new Moto E4 and Moto E4 Plus that will likely feature as the Moto E3 already sits in the best cheap phone list. We expect to have full reviews of both phones in the next few weeks, so it may be worth holding off your purchase if you like the look of either of those devices.
If you want something cheaper, you may like the Vodafone Smart N8. This phone offers a fingerprint sensor, a 5-inch 720p screen and impressive internals for only £85. You can also expect a full verdict on the Smart N8 on TechRadar soon.
- Happy to spend more on your phone? Read our best phone of 2017 guide
from TechRadar – All the latest technology news http://www.techradar.com/news/phone-and-communications/mobile-phones/best-cheap-smartphones-payg-mobiles-compared-961975