best low range smartphone

If value for money is your number-one priority, you won’t find a more useful list of the best low range smartphone available for sale. We’ve tested, rated and ranked the best cheapest smartphone, best phones 2020 and best mid range phone 2020 models . Alongside our reviews, you’ll find expert buying advice to help you decide the exact phone to buy from our list.

best low range smartphone

1. Xiaomi Redmi Note 9: best low range smartphone in 2020

Price: £189 | Buy now from Amazon

Xiaomi hit a rich vein of form with the first few of its budget handsets to reach UK shores, and its newest smartphone is no different. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 is far, far better than it has any right to be for a phone that costs less than £200.

Yes, the phone we’d recommend above all other wallet-friendly options on the market is the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9. Xiaomi’s latest budget stunner packs a MediaTek Helio G85 processor with a choice of 3GB or 4GB of RAM, 64GB or 128GB of internal storage and a beefy 5,020mAh battery. All of this is packed into a smart-looking 6.53in frame with no fewer than four cameras on the back – including a macro lens and an impressive 48-megapixel camera.

You might think to see these sorts of high-level specs in a flagship phone, so it’s a proper treat to see these features in a phone that costs less than £200. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 is the very definition of a budget smartphone – setting the benchmark for future releases – and at this price, there’s simply nothing better.

Read our full Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 2GHzMediaTek Helio G85; Display: 6.53in 2,340 x 1,080; Storage: 64GB or 128GB; Camera: 48-megapixel, 8-megapixel (wide), 2-megapixel (macro), 2-megapixel (depth); Operating system: Android 10; Weight: 199gImage of Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 4GB/128GB Midnight Grey (Official UK Version)

Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 4GB/128GB Midnight Grey (Official UK Version)

£199.00Buy now

2. Nokia 1.3: The best low range smartphone under £100

Price: £80 l Buy now from Amazon

Latest Nokia 1.3 contract deals

A sub-£100 smartphone used to bring about negative connotations, but the Nokia 1.3 is far better than its bargain price suggests. Running a specially tweaked version of Android that caters to low-powered devices, the Nokia 1.3 exceeds all expectations for a phone so cheap. Despite the comparatively weak hardware (it only has 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage), it runs surprisingly well, has a bright IPS display and has a camera that isn’t half bad for the price.

Its sturdy build materials and compact design should help it last the test of time, too, and the replaceable battery is great for future-proofing. It may be lacking when it comes to raw performance, and there are far better alternatives if your buying budget can stretch beyond £100, but when it comes down to sheer affordability, you can’t do much better than the Nokia 1.3.

Read our full Nokia 1.3 review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Quad-core 1.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 215; Display: 5.7in 1,520 x 720; Storage: 16GB; Camera: 8-megapixel; Operating system: Android 10 Go; Weight: 155gImage of Nokia 1.3 5.71 Inch Android UK Sim-Free Smartphone with 1 GB RAM and 16 GB Storage (Dual Sim) - Charcoal

£79.99Buy now

3. Samsung Galaxy M31: The best low range smartphone battery life

Price: £245 l Buy now from Amazon

Samsung’s well-priced Galaxy M31 is the very best when it comes to battery life. With a gigantic 6,000mAh battery, the Galaxy M31 outperformed every single phone we’ve ever tested, lasting over 30 hours in our video playback test. There’s simply nothing else quite like it at the moment, so if battery life is at the top of your smartphone-buying agenda, then there’s no need to look elsewhere.

If it isn’t, then there’s still a whole lot to love about the Galaxy M31. It has an excellent screen, decent performance and a quadruple-camera setup (with a massive 64-megapixel sensor) that’s among the very best for the price. The only thing we didn’t like is its rather plain design, but this can be excused when you consider everything else it has going for it – even more so if you decide to pop it in a case.

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 2.3GHz Samsung Exynos 9611; Display: 6.4in 2,340 x 1,080; Storage: 64GB; Camera: 64-megapixel, 8-megapixel (wide), 5-megapixel (macro), 5-megapixel (depth); Operating system: Android 10; Weight: 191gImage of Samsung Galaxy A21s Android Smartphone, SIM Free Mobile Phone, Black

Samsung Galaxy A21s Android Smartphone, SIM Free Mobile Phone, Black

£169.00Buy now

4. Motorola Moto G8: The best low range Moto to beat

Price: £180 | Buy now from Amazon

Motorola has outdone itself yet again with the Moto G8. There are many Moto G8 phones to choose from this year – another of which is on this list below – but above all, we’re recommending the regular Moto G8 since it offers the perfect blend of affordability and high-end features.

The Moto G8 is a truly great budget phone. Providing cuts in just the right places, it costs less than £200, yet it’s as feature-rich as some of its high-priced rivals. It comes with Android 10 out of the box, has a gorgeous 6.4in screen and benefits from a trio of rear cameras: the 16MP unit sits beside an 8MP wide-angle lens and a 2MP macro camera for capturing fine details up to a distance of 2cm.

The only reason it isn’t at the top of this list is that the Redmi Note 9 offers a slightly improved experience for the same money. It has NFC, is fitted with a Full HD screen (the Moto is only HD+) and has an impressive 48MP camera. The Xiaomi may be the better choice, but the Moto is still exceedingly well-executed for how little it costs.

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 665; Display: 6.4in 1,560 x 720; Storage: 64GB; Camera: 16-megapixel, 8-megapixel (wide), 2-megapixel (macro); Operating system: Android 10; Weight: 188g

5. Samsung Galaxy A21s: Samsung’s best-value phone yet

Price: £180 l Buy now from Amazon

Latest Samsung Galaxy A21s contract deals

Samsung’s smartphone offering doesn’t begin and end with the pricey Galaxy S line of handsets, and the savvy buyer can scoop us some well-made, affordable options for not much money. The Galaxy A21s is one such device, with an eye-catching design, massive 6.5in screen and exceptionally long battery life.

If you aren’t keen to hand over flagship-sized sums for your latest phone upgrade, then the Galaxy A21s is a fashionable choice. What’s most impressive, for instance, is that the Galaxy A21s benefits from a total of four rear cameras, with a massive 48-megapixel sensor sitting among its photographic arsenal. Capturing detail-rich photos with plenty of vibrancy, the Galaxy A21s is a top-notch smartphone snapper for the price.

It may have some difficulty competing against budget hallmarks from rivals such as Motorola and Xiaomi, but where it counts the Galaxy A21s is a solid choice, excelling in most areas. If your buying budget simply can’t stretch above £200, then this is the phone to get.

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 2GHz Samsung Exynos 850; Display: 6.5in 1,600 x 720; Storage: 32GB; Camera: 48-megapixel, 8-megapixel (wide), 2-megapixel (macro), 2-megapixel (depth); Operating system: Android 10; Weight: 192gImage of Samsung Galaxy A21s Android Smartphone, SIM Free Mobile Phone, Black

Samsung Galaxy A21s Android Smartphone, SIM Free Mobile Phone, Black

£169.00Buy now

6. Moto G 5G Plus: Cheapest 5G phone

Price: £300 l Buy now from John Lewis

The price of entry into the world of 5G smartphones in the UK used to be well out of reach of most buyer’s wallets, but it’s beginning to slide downwards. The Moto G 5G Plus is the first 5G-equipped handset to break the £300 mark and is almost half the price of the next cheapest 5G smartphone, the Galaxy A90 5G.

Even if you aren’t fussed about 5G, the Moto G 5G Plus is a phenomenal phone in all other respects. It’s stupendously fast for the price, has a large, colour-accurate screen, a big, long-lasting battery and a decent suite of cameras. Whatever your needs, the Moto G 5G Plus is one of the best smartphones you can buy for around £300.

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 2.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 765; Display: 6.7in 2,520 x 1,080; Storage: 64GB, 128GB; Camera: 48-megapixel, 8-megapixel (wide), 5-megapixel (macro), 2-megapixel (depth); Operating system: Android 10; Weight: 207g

Buy now from John Lewis

7. Apple iPhone 6s (renewed): The cheapest iPhone

Price: From £114 | Buy now from Amazon

It may be old, but the iPhone 6s remains one of Apple’s greatest handsets. The build quality is positively sublime and there’s the 4.7in screen, which looks as lovely.

Performance, for the time, was pretty strong too, and while it doesn’t match the blazingly fast speeds of Apple’s latest output, the iPhone 6s still manages to hold its own in 2020. Likewise, the 12-megapixel is still good enough for your holiday snaps. If you want an Apple phone on a budget, and don’t mind it being a touch outdated, the iPhone 6s is a solid choice.

Key specs – Processor: Dual-core 1.84GHz Apple A9; Display: 4.7in 1,334 x 640; Storage: 32GB, 128GB; Camera: 12-megapixel; Operating system: iOS 12.4; Weight: 143g

8. Sony Xperia L3: Sony’s best budget phone yet

Price: £170 l Buy now from Amazon

Latest Sony Xperia L3 contract deals

Sony’s Xperia L3 might not be a flagship phone, but that’s not to say that it’s light on features. This isn’t anywhere close to the sort of pared-down experience you might expect from a phone at this price, with a generously-sized 5.7in screen, a dual rear camera arrangement and a rather speedy MediaTek Helio P22 processor, paired with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable storage.

For only £140, that’s certainly not a bad offering from Sony, and the only reason this isn’t higher on the list is that some Chinese brands – namely Xiaomi and Realme – are now doing things slightly better for slightly less. Still, if you’re a Sony fan and don’t want to fork over Xperia 1-sized sums for your next smartphone, then the Xperia L3 is a solid pick.

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 2GHz MediaTek MT6762 Helio P22 ; Display: 5.7in 1,440 x 720; Storage: 32GB; Camera: 13-megapixel, 2-megapixel; Operating system: Android 9; Weight: 156gImage of Sony Xperia L3 5.7 Inch 18:9 Full HD+ display Android 8 UK SIM-Free Smartphone with 3GB RAM and 32GB Storage – Black

Sony Xperia L3 5.7 Inch 18:9 Full HD+ display Android 8 UK SIM-Free Smartphone with 3GB RAM and 32GB Storage – Black

£84.99Buy now

9. Realme 6: The cheapest 90Hz phone around

Price: £219 | Buy now from Amazon

The Realme 6’s main attraction is its a smooth 90Hz 6.5in display, a feature that until recently only flagship phones carrying price tags well north of £500 were capable of. This lends onscreen animations extra fluidity that other budget phones simply can’t match. CPU performance is on a par with the Motorola Moto G8 Plus as is battery life at 17hrs 30mins in our video rundown test and, for graphics performance, the Realme 6 beats pretty much all its rivals.

Couple that with a set of five cameras – including a 64-megapixel main shooter, an ultra-wide-angle, a macro and a black and white snapper – which feature alongside a 16-megapixel selfie camera and you have one hell of a good-value phone. The only significant thing missing is water resistance but not many budget phones have that. It’s a stunner.

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 2.2GHz Mediatek Helio G90T (MT6785) ; Display: 6.5in 2,400 x 1,080; Storage: 64GB; Camera: 64MP main, 8MP ultrawide, 2MP macro, 2MP black and white; Operating system: Android 9; Weight: 162g

10. iPhone SE (2020): The best-value (new) iPhone

Price: £419 l Buy now from Amazon

Latest iPhone SE (2020) contract deals

Apple iPhone SE (2020) on grass

The iPhone SE (2020) might be stretching the definition of a “budget” smartphone, but Apple’s idea of what constitutes as cheap isn’t exactly the same as everyone else’s. If you want a new iPhone – the iPhone 6s above is getting on a bit – then your best-value option is the iPhone SE.

Despite having the look and feel of a phone from days gone by, the iPhone SE is a formidable small-sized handset that benefits from Apple’s fastest-ever mobile chipset, the A13 Bionic. That’s the same processor found inside the iPhone 11, which costs more than double the price. The cheapest iPhone by quite a distance, the iPhone SE’s 12-megapixel camera is also absolutely exceptional. The only fly in the ointment is the short battery life, but if you are able to spend twice as much compared to other phones on this list, then the iPhone SE (2020) is well worth considering.

Key specs – Processor: Hexa-core 2.65GHz Apple A13 Bionic; Display: 4.7in 1,334 x 750; Storage: 64GB, 128GB, 512GB; Camera: 12-megapixel; Operating system: iOS 13; Weight: 148g

What kind of smartphone do you need?

Before choosing any smartphone you should get your priorities straight first. A smartphone is basically a computer you carry around in your pocket that allows you to perform various tasks. This can be anything from ensuring that you’re able to remain connected with the outside world through to sitting in a darkened room playing Clash Royale. But how do you actually use your smartphone every day?

Before choosing any smartphone you should get your priorities straight first.

The point is that in order for you to send WhatsApp messages and publish a few posts on social networks you shouldn’t really need to spend more than about $200. For a gamer who is not prepared to give up a fluid and smooth gaming experience, they had better be on the lookout for smartphones priced at around $400. Whereas those who want the best of the best in terms of design and performance will need to be prepared to spend from about $500 and up.

AndroidPIT Best High End Smartphones Hero 4
Having so many options makes the choice complicated. / © NextPit

Let’s see what are the 10 most important factors to consider before choosing your next smartphone.

1. Mobile carriers and affordable plans

Do you want a new smartphone? Well, you’re pretty much spoiled for choice. Before you whip out your credit card to purchase something online, you should search for the best cell phone plans offered by the various mobile providers. Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile each have something interesting to offer customers, and will often provide complete packages including data, calls and SMS. Who knows, maybe it’s the right time you to consider changing your current provider…you can even keep your current phone number.

Here are some offers from the big four networks in the US:

AndroidPIT vodafone 2755
Choosing a provider can be complex, but there’s something for everyone. / © NextPit

2. Operating system

If you’re reading this article, you’ve already decided to focus on buying an Android-based device, but there are several versions, and versions of versions, of this Google software. Before buying a new smartphone, so you should brush up on your history of Android – or at the very least examine the differences between the last two versions, Android 9 Pie and Android 10.

Besides these being great treats to satisfy even the biggest sweet tooth, these names correspond to different versions of the Android operating system and each offers unique features and functions. The latest Android version available is Android 10, but unfortunately not all devices have the honor of showing it off. I advise you not to buy a smartphone with outdated versions of Nougat or Marshmellow and instead look for a smartphone with Android Pie at least (and if you are guaranteed an upgrade to the newest and latest Android version, that’s even better).

AndroidPIT android 10 06
Google dropped the sweets theme for the latest version of Android. / © NextPit

3. Design and functionality

In selecting a new smartphone, personal taste is a major decision point, both in terms of software and outward appearance. Some people may prefer more rounded lines and a sinuous design, whereas others like a sturdier look, characterized by straight lines and sharp metal edges. We must admit that with each passing month and the succession of launch events we see within the industry, smartphones are increasingly starting to resemble one another and the choice available is strongly influenced by marketing campaigns and trends.

But, design is based on functionality. A metal unibody is stylish and trendy, but in some cases prevents you from using some features such as a microSD card or a headphone jack. Before buying, check the quality of the device to ensure you’ll be able to use it in the way which is most comfortable and convenient for you (provided these elements are important to you).

AndroidPIT Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge vs LG G4 camera 2203
Glass or leather? Curved lines or right angles? The dilemmas are endless. / © NextPit

4. Size and type of display

For those who like to receive news updates or simply get lost in the HD graphics of the latest Android games, you should really consider a smartphone that is equipped with a display of at least 5.7 inches. For those that use the smartphone mainly for WhatsApp or to read Facebook posts, a smaller screen will be more than sufficient.

As for the display technology, there are two main types in Android: LCD and AMOLED. The main difference between the two lies in the projection of light. In theory, LCD screens tend to be brighter and display content better when in direct sunlight, while the AMOLED display offers sharper contrast and more saturated colors. In practice, however, with the passage of time and the arrival of new technologies, the difference between the two is becoming less noticeable. That said, Full-HD, FullHD+, or QHD resolution for images are almost always impeccable.

androidpit oneplus 7 pro vs galaxy s10 plus hero 2
The AMOLED displays tend to be move vivid. / © NextPit

5. Processor and RAM

The processor is the hub of a device on which depends the overall performance. Sometimes, processor capability is what limits software updates. Qualcomm and Mediatek are a safe bet.

Meanwhile, Huawei with its Kirin processor is proving itself able to offer good performance to users. It should also be noted that for any processor to be its best, the amount of available RAM is crucial. Yes, the processor is important, but we need to look to the smartphone and its technical specifications as a whole.

qualcomm snapdragon 865 live
The latest Snapdragon 865. / © Qualcomm

6. Internal storage

When you’re scoping out your next Android, check the RAM and internal storage, but not just what it says on the sticker. Take a look at how much space the preinstalled apps take up. Although you can use a MicroSD card to expand your smartphone’s storage capacity, do not forget that a larger internal memory is recommended over using an external card.

At the same time, before you opt for a model with 128GB or 256GB of internal storage, think about how much you’ll actually use. Are you using your smartphone as an external hard drive for your computer by saving movies, music, files and heavy apps? If the answer is no, you’re probably OK with 64GB. Not to mention that you can take advantage of cloud services to save some space and still always have your files at hand, provided you have an internet connection. As a general rule, considering smartphones on the market, it is advisable to opt for at least 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal memory.

Darth Vader micro SD ANDROIDPIT
Expandable memory or the cloud? / © Mediatek

7. Battery life

Battery life is one of the most important features to consider when choosing a new smartphone. Do not be fooled: a higher number of mAh does not amount to more and more battery life, or to a longer battery life cycle. The factors that come into play are different and it’s worth knowing them.

For example, you should consider that screens with a higher resolution consume more energy, while the latest processors optimize battery life. Then there’s display refresh rates and quick charging technology to think about. Rather than just looking at tech specs, it’s best to check out reviews and benchmark results to know how all these factors perform when combines in a single device. At the moment, 4,000 mAh seems to be the standard.

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Don’t forget about the battery. / © Mediatek

8. Camera quality and creativity

Smartphone manufacturers are starting to pay more attention to camera quality and features lately, and that’s a great thing for users. The number of megapixels, hybrid autofocus, optical stabilization, manual modes, special effects, and special selfie features: smartphones are becoming more and more like a digital camera.

Once again, I recommend you not to dwell too much on the numbers showing on the technical sheet. The MP does not tell the whole story and it is important to get an idea of the type of integrated sensor, lens quality, and pixel size. You’ll find all the details specified in our reviews, but once you’re in the store it will cost you nothing to start the camera app and check the brightness of the shots and software features for yourself.

AndroidPIT camera test comparison 2
Megapixels aren’t everything. / © NextPit

9. Software and integrated functions

Do you need a phone that can do absolutely everything? Are you one of those people who needs a built-in fingerprint sensor, heart rate monitor, UV sensor, Swiss Army knife, and a batmobile? You have a wide range of choices here, from the latest top of the line to a mid-range smartphone you will find all the latest hardware innovations.

But don’t limit yourself to choose a smartphone based on the hardware features. Activate the display and explore the software in-depth to find out what hidden features are there and if it provides options that work for you. Often share the device with your children? Ensure you have a guest mode or parental control. Do you like reading ebooks directly on Android? Select an interface that allows you to adjust the hue of the display and that implements some anti-strain eye protection. In short, do not stop at appearances and thoroughly investigate the system. 

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Navigate between the features of each device. / © NextPit

10. Price compared to performance

Last on our list, but probably the first factor to consider if you have a limited budget, it is definitely the price. What do you want to spend on your next smartphone? Is it worth it to use all your salary or is it perhaps appropriate to limit yourself and choose something cheaper but equally powerful and in step with the times? The choice is yours, but be aware that for any price range there are some devices better than others.

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