The best phones under £200 in 2024: top 10 picks perfect for budget buyers

Tired of shopping for pricey smartphones that'll leave you dirt-poor by the end of the month? We've gathered the absolute best phones we could find for under £200 that deliver solid all-round performance.

some of the best phones under £200

by Ryan Houghton |
Updated on

The competitive, constantly evolving world of the best smartphones is dominated by bigger, brighter phones costing small fortunes for incremental upgrades, yet very few people are aware that there’s a wealth of phones under £200 that offer performance which truly rivals these costly flagship phones.

For most shoppers, deviating from the smartphone industry’s top manufacturers, Apple, and Samsung, is hardly worth considering. Familiarity and trust are worth their weight in gold to smartphone users, and sticking to what they know is easier than learning to navigate a new user interface full of quirks and features.

The best phones under £200 at a glance:

Best overall: HONOR X7b Mobile Phone Unlocked – View on Amazon
Best budget: Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 – View on Argos
Best cutting-edge: Samsung Galaxy A34 – View on Amazon
Best for photography: Nokia G42 – View on Amazon

When your smartphone has seen better days, however, after years of service, it might be time to swap out your existing model for something with updated hardware and features that reignite the excitement of buying a brand-new smartphone.

Compiling a list of the best budget smartphones of the year so far, our favourite phones under £200 are brand-new, sporting the latest operating systems with enticing features such as fingerprint sensors, impressive photography editing, and improved cameras for colour-rich photography at a bargain price.

Switching from Apple to Samsung, or to lesser-known brands such as Xiaomi or Oppo might feel like a descent into unexplored territory, but it’s hardly anything to be concerned about, smartphones over recent years have become considerably more uniform in functionality, as well as design. For users, this means that trying a new device, though initially daunting, is incredibly adaptable, taking no time at all to become accustomed to.

Of course, at such a low price, the best phones under £200 suffer from budgetary constraints: your smartphone experience isn’t going to run as smoothly and seamlessly as a phone under £1,000, for example.

That being said, our selection of great budget phones aims to provide the very best performance for its price, aiming for smooth performance, impressive camera visuals and solid build quality to ensure your new smartphone will last as long as possible.

Hardware – what to expect from the best phones under £200

When looking for optimal performance, there are several components of a smartphone that you should look out for, among them are the RAM, chipset, memory, and camera resolution. For a smartphone to run smoothly under the constraints of modern apps such as Messenger, X, or TikTok, you’ll first need at least 4GB of RAM for stable performance.

RAM

RAM acts as temporary storage for a smartphone, which is vital while using social media apps, strong RAM will ensure that scrolling through video after video is possible without stuttering and lag. The higher the RAM, the better the smartphone’s performance will be – and you’re not limited to 4GB of RAM with phones under £200. We’ve included countless phones with RAM exceeding 6GB, which is more than certain flagship phones at triple the price.

Chipset

The chipset acts as a CPU might in a computer, working as a brain, receiving user inputs, decoding, and executing them for them to be output upon the phone display. A great CPU can be determined by measuring its clock speed, anything above 1 GHz will provide stable performance across games, social media apps, and streaming platforms.

Then there’s also the number of cores to consider, with each core capable of decoding and executing an individual task. Though a high multitude of cores isn’t necessary for smartphones, as multitasking isn’t as necessary as it is on a laptop or PC, high cores ensure your smartphone isn’t going to become sluggish with a few tabs open at once.

Memory

Memory refers to the amount of total storage available on your smartphone, which is essential if you plan to take plenty of photos or download a library’s worth of apps. Though countless phones under £200 have low storage options, our selections have up to 128GB of storage, which rivals even some of the latest Apple and Samsung phones.

Camera resolution

Camera resolution indicates the quality of images your smartphone can take, but it’s often a misunderstood technology that confuses even technology enthusiasts. On our list, you’ll find smartphones under £200 with 48MP cameras with multiple lenses on them, which is confusingly the precise resolution of the latest iPhone 15 Pro Max, a phone that is almost seven times the cost of our listed devices. So why is it so cheap?

Unlike Apple technology, these affordable smartphones don’t have the same quality of lens as Apple manufactures, allowing them to utilise lower resolutions to a much more effective degree. Then, there’s Apple’s neural AI image post-processing, which sharpens and tones image colours to create very rich and vivid photos. Unfortunately, cheaper smartphones offer less sophisticated image processing, and weaker camera lenses in general, so while pictures are strong for their price, they’re not groundbreakingly good.

How do we test smartphones?

If you're wondering how we test smartphones, we review by using them for several weeks, in most cases using them in place of our standard phones. During testing, we check the smartphone's general performance during app usage. We take photos, run games and gauge battery life performance through extensive use.

After testing, we rate the smartphone on a variety of criteria: performance, build, battery, camera, and value, rating each aspect out of five.

Are phones under £200 worth it?

Considering our brief outline of what to expect from the best phones under £200, you should be sufficiently aware that performance can be limited on account of its budget, there are constraints to consider at such a low price and our picks, while strong, aren’t outrageously powerful.

But, for those in need of a reliable, tough smartphone that can handle its own when using an array of apps, snap solid photos and endure the test of time, these terrific smartphones under £200 are undoubtedly worth their price.

There are ways to improve phone performance by tweaking settings too, so you can get the most out of your smartphone experience even at lower budgets, our selection of phones is quite capable of performing well with some minor adjustments.

The best phones under £200 in 2024:

All prices are correct at the time of writing. Prices, stock and deals are subject to change without notice.

The best phone under £200

HONOR X7b Mobile Phone UnlockedHonor
Price: $375.00

A fantastic smartphone offering reliable multi-day performance, the Honor X7b has a spectacular design comparable to that of a far costlier device, with impressive hardware that vastly exceeds its 2022 predecessor, the X7a.

Adopting a far more modern design, the X7b ditches its garish quadruple camera square which often exposes budget phones, for a far more contemporary, minimalistic aesthetic. Combining an enticing full HD screen and 90Hz refresh rate, the X7b's display looks and feels fresh, separating itself from the majority of budget phones.

We particularly enjoy the Honor X7b's punch-hole camera aesthetic, which doesn't detract from its screen space with intrusive screen islands or rigid home buttons. Instead, its modern design maximises its 6.8 inches of screen space for the best possible visuals at its price.

Compared to its more recent competition, however, the X7b's screen does appear duller, despite its full-HD resolution. Smartphones such as Samsung's A34 offer stronger visuals than the X7b, but simultaneously lower smoothness when browsing, leaving budget shoppers to decide between aesthetics or performance.

Photography on the X7b proves to be solid on the X7b smartphone, working best in daylight with detailed, clear images, all thanks to its 108MP triple camera. On paper, a 108MP triple camera might sound remarkably good for its price, just don't expect miracles from this budget device: the Honor X7b can suffer from distortion in low-light conditions and lacks the refinement of high-priced smartphones, so picture-taking isn't as easy to perfect on a higher-priced model.

If you're lured in by the promise of new technology and therefore stronger hardware, prepare to be sufficiently satisfied: the X7b's impressive 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage greatly bolster the X7b's potential as a primary device. Browsing, multitasking and navigation feel fantastic for a phone of its price, and Honor certainly doesn't disappoint in delivering reliable functionality with the X7b.

Its most reliable feature, however, is the X7b's battery life, which lasts nearly three days without a whiff of charging. Such a high capacity on a smartphone is rare, even amongst flagship phones, so we were more than impressed with the X7b's survivalist smartphone potential.

When it comes to value, few phones can go toe-to-toe with Honor's X7b: from its impressive screen technology to its general performance, build quality and battery life, it's one of the best phones for battery life of the year - let alone one of the best phones of the year at its price.

Pros

  • Excellent 90+ hour battery life
  • Fantastic thin-bezel design and strong build quality
  • Good 108MP triple camera

Cons

  • Screen display appears somewhat dull

Best budget phone under £200

Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 Xiaomi

An incredibly popular choice amongst smartphone enthusiasts and value buyers alike, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 is a promising phone under £200 with boundless storage, a tasteful design and trusty performance that'll see users through hours of scrolling apps, messaging, and more.

Robustly designed with IP53 waterproofing and a tough plastic shell, the Redmi Note 12 feels reliable, not only in its performance but its build quality too. Under the hood of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 12, you'll find a MediaTek helio processor with 2GHz of performance, which is serviceable, but not extraordinary, along with a fairly standard 4GB of RAM for largely stable browsing.

What truly shines about the Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 is its 128GB of SSD storage, leaving a huge amount of space for apps, games, music and photos. Speaking of photography, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 doesn't reinvent the wheel with its redesigned infinite camera design that looks vastly better than its predecessor, the Redmi Note 11. Pictures look solid but offer nothing more than you would expect from a budget smartphone, albeit from a stronger selfie mode than most cheap smartphones on the market.

And yet the Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 is nothing if not reliable: its rugged build quality and stable performance on a full HD screen paired with its lengthy battery life provide an all-around solid smartphone experience, so it's truly difficult to fault. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 is a brilliant pick for budget buyers, we cannot recommend it enough.

Pros

  • Excellent performance
  • Well-made and reliable
  • Phenomenal quick charging

Cons

  • So-so photo quality

Best cutting-edge phone under £200

Samsung Galaxy A34 5G 128GB Awesome GraphiteSamsung

It's particularly uncommon to find a phone under £200 with 5G connectivity, and yet the Samsung A34 can do precisely that. A brand new entry-level smartphone that's ideal for strong internet connectivity in even the most rural areas, the A34 stands on the shoulders of Samsung's flagship giants, taking valuable lessons in modern design and workhorse-like performance.

A breath of fresh air in the cost-efficient phone market, the Samsung Galaxy A34 shines with its 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage and rock-steady Mediatek Dimensity 1080 processor. Browsing and navigation on the A34 is undoubtedly the smoothest of its competition, made remarkably stronger by the A34's brisk 120Hz refresh rate, doubling the standard refresh rate of phones in this price range.

We found the photography of the Samsung A34 to be particularly stellar, made only more mesmerising by its richly coloured full HD screen. Of course, photography is rough around the edges, with night images still eluding budget phones almost entirely.

Concerning battery life, the A34 has room to boast with its 48 hours of power, providing tech-addled phone wielders time enough to reach a charging point before switching off entirely.

Though there's a fantastic range of Samsung smartphones on the market, few are quite as compelling as the Samsung A34, a smartphone under £200 worth picking up almost immediately.

Pros

  • Excellent build quality
  • Great camera
  • Fantastic 120Hz screen

Cons

  • Battery life isn't quite up to par with competition

Best tough smartphone

Nokia G21 Smartphone Nokia
Price: $159.99

When I reviewed the Nokia G21, I was impressed with its performance, especially considering its affordability. My main highlights were the long battery life and its sufficient capability for handling basic daily tasks. The G21 features a large display and, although it's only 720p, it's quite pleasant to use.

I would recommend this phone to anyone looking to use apps like WhatsApp or Google Maps, or to browse the internet. Its modest 4GB RAM is able to keep such programs running smoothly. However, if you attempt to use it for more demanding applications, such as gaming, it tends to struggle. This is expected, though, as compromises are inevitable with any budget smartphone.

A few other compromises with the G21 include its average camera quality, sluggish charging speed, and the absence of NFC. But if you recognize that the Nokia G21 is not a powerhouse and approach it as a durable, functional budget option, it proves to be a reliable choice.

Read our full Nokia G21 review.

Pros

  • Big battery
  • Reliable basic performance
  • Surprisingly nice 720p screen

Cons

  • Quirky camera colours

Best phone for photography under £200

Nokia G42 5G 6.56-Inch HD+ SmartphoneNokia
Price: $255.00

A cornerstone of the budget smartphone market, the Nokia G42 smartphone is impressively well-made, with a tough design, dependable hardware and best of all - a great camera for even darker settings. Rather impressively, the G42 has a brand-new Snapdragon 480 processor with 5G connectivity, providing seamless connectivity wherever life may take you.

Performance in general proves to be strong with the G42, leaving no room for lag or sluggishness when you're on the go. With 4GB of RAM, a baseline level for phones under £200, the Nokia G42 isn't suited to rigorous gaming or multitasking, but it can certainly handle its own with longevity.

Sitting comfortably with a whopping 72 hours of battery life, the Nokia G42 takes its equally respectable competition by storm, offering days of wire-free use even under moderate usage.

As for its main draw, the Nokia G42's primary 50 MP camera is solid in and of itself, but when paired with its post-processing AI functionality, the G42 truly shines. With bold, rich and detailed photography, the G42 excels without having the best lenses or the highest camera resolution, reaching a quality that is rare among cheap phones.

Yes, its simpler post-processing techniques compared to high-end smartphones might appear heavy-handed, occasionally oversaturating images in a bid to pack pictures with colour, but the G42 is ahead of the curve compared to its competition. If you're looking for a terrific phone for photography, that's less than £200 (by a strong margin), you must consider the Nokia G42.

Pros

  • Solid build quality
  • Great AI photography
  • Excellent battery life

Cons

  • Performance is average

Best Samsung phone under £200

Samsung Galaxy A14 5G Samsung

Shattering all expectations of what a smartphone under £200 can truly be, Samsung's Galaxy A14 5G is the perfect phone for powering through your busy day-to-day and has plenty to offer users for its low price.

From the incredibly solid 50MP triple camera to the particularly stunning Infinity-V screen with nice, narrow bezels for a clean and sophisticated look - the Samsung Galaxy A14 5G has the look and feel of a premium phone, but how does it run?

Unsurprisingly, Samsung has knocked it out of the park in terms of great performance with this budget Samsung phone - it runs very, very well for its price. With 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM (which isn't small for a phone of its price), multi-tasking, switching between tabs and jumping into apps feels crisp and responsive - it's genuinely difficult to fault.

And if you want to save even more cash, pushing closer to the £100 mark is the Samsung Galaxy A14 4G version. You won't get the fastest mobile network data connection, but it'll still suit most general users.

Pros

  • Gorgeously designed modern budget phone with lots of features
  • 50MP main camera is excellent for resolution and image quality
  • Can connect to 5G networks for even better data coverage and speed

Cons

  • A little low on storage for anyone who likes to do a lot of mobile photography

Best phone under £200 for gaming

Motorola Moto G53 - 5G
Price: £136.90

Excellent gaming performance on a smartphone isn't limited to the ludicrously expensive market flagships, and with Motorola's Moto G53, there's no better option for its ultra-low price.

Bursting with fantastic tech specs that are far and beyond the Moto G53's budget, with particular props to the silky smooth 120Hz screen, which seems almost impossible for less than £200 - as well as the sizeable 128GB of storage for all your app/photo and of course, gaming needs.

The display itself suffers slightly from only having a 720p resolution, which isn't great by modern standards, but still manages to look sharp at the price, and with Android's Snapdragon 480+ processor, navigation is buttery smooth - truly transcending the price tag.

The Motorola Moto G53 is perfect for any budget phone buyer, whether you're a gamer or not - it's a great phone more than worth its cost.

Pros

  • Great gaming performance
  • Sturdy design
  • Impressive screen technology

Cons

  • Limited screen resolution

Best HUAWEI phone under £200

This P30 from HUAWEU is a bit of a triumph of hardware specifications and budget - it manages to deliver a full HD screen larger than 6 inches too. And that screen has a certification for eye comfort, so using it for longer gaming or browsing sessions is nice and easy on the eyes.

Camera-wise, you have a 120-degree wide-angle lens as part of the staggeringly good 48MP triple rear camera array. And photography has been made even easier thanks to some AI scene recognition technology. It'll recognise what you're taking shots of from 22 categories and make adjustments to suit. So, your shots are really going to pop with this smartphone.

Lastly, under the hood you get 4GB of RAM - that's not the highest in a smartphone, but paired with the Turbo 2.0 GPU and Kirin 710 CPU, this thing really zips along. So, it's great for your gaming needs too.

Pros

  • Crisp and vivid screen technology
  • Excellent camera
  • A fast operating system

Cons

  • Some users report average battery life depending on usage

Best phone for battery life under £200

Samsung Galaxy A15 Black 4G 128GBSamsung

A phenomenal pick for under £100, the brand-new A15 Samsung smartphone is a bargain for great performance, a gorgeous design that's comparable to the S24 flagship line, and a reliable 48-hour battery life for multiple days of performance.

Tough, durable and solid in terms of performance, the A15 brings together the best aspects of cheap phones into one ultimate low-budget phone that's all-around brilliant for day-to-day use.

Of course, performance can be limited on cheaper phones, and the A15 is no exception. With 4GB of RAM and a slightly limited processor, performance on the A15, while solid, isn't groundbreaking. That being said, photography is surprisingly solid on this cheap phone, with some roughness around the edges, especially in darker settings.

For the ultimate phone for battery life, the Samsung Galaxy A15 is a spectacular pick, providing unparalleled value, a solid design and good photography.

Pros

  • Great value smartphone
  • Solid, sturdy design
  • Impressive performance despite price

Cons

  • Only 4G support

Best Nokia phone under £200

Nokia X10 6.67 Inch Android UK
Price: £159

Big, bulky, and indestructible, the X10 embodies all of the design ethos that the Nokia 3310 had - a tough, reliable phone that'll last you for years to come. With an impressive 1080p screen, a nice chunky plastic body, and sizeable bezels, the X10 feels pretty premium for a budget phone. Paired with Android 11, browsing is a total breeze, you really can't knock the quality.

Much like the Nokia 3310, the X10's battery life is seemingly limitless by modern standards. At 4400 mAh, it'll last you 48 hours at least before it's totally flat, making it a great companion on a night out when your phone is needed most.

Photography on the X10 is also pretty fantastic, with a quad camera that takes some lovely natural-looking photos in the right conditions, and while they're not mind-blowing, they are still impressive for a budget phone.

Of course, it isn't all roses; there's the weak mono speaker, which becomes tinny at high volumes and is easily covered by accident during use. Then there's the slow and outdated 18W charging which is all but entirely outmoded by modern 30W chargers, making charging an absolute chore.

Overall, however, we're really impressed with everything the X10 has to offer, it's a great phone for the busy commuter, a late-night club goer, or anyone in between.

Pros

  • Great 1080p screen
  • Excellent build quality
  • Fantastic battery life

Cons

  • Slow charging

Best phone under £100

DOOGEE N50 Mobile PhoneDOOGEE

A fraction of the price of competing smartphones, and yet it still manages to hold its own, the DOOGEE N50 is a startlingly brilliant phone for less than £100 and brings a lot to the table in terms of performance for its price.

Not a groundbreaking smartphone by any means, the DOOGEE N50 is a reliable replacement for your smartphone when you're short of cash, and it'll handle your usual social media, browsing and gaming decently well.

Don't expect much out of the DOOGEE N50's photography or its gaming capabilities, however - they're certainly serviceable. Still, they could use some extra grunt to get you to play the year's best games.

Pros

  • Phenomenal value
  • Solid performance
  • Decent gaming capabilities

Cons

  • Unimpressive camera

The best phones under £200: Buyer's guide

©Ryan Houghton/WTB

When purchasing a budget smartphone, there are without question technological limitations worth considering before you commit to buying, along with concerns about general use that should be factored into your decision to buy. Though it's not a lot of money to spend on a phone, purchasing any product for £200 is a sizeable investment, so expectations should be realistic and grounded before venturing into the world of budget phones.

Build quality

Once again, at a lower price, phones under £200 aren't the most beautifully designed, nor the strongest, but this isn't a hardline rule. We've selected some fantastically designed smartphones built for long-lasting performance as well as some wince-inducing knocks and falls, so you've got a phone you can rely on for a long time.

Performance

We've done our diligent work to list the very best phones under £200, seeking the best specifications, the latest operating systems and therefore the strongest overall performance available at this budget constraint.

At the cost of £200, however, performance isn't going to be cutting-edge. Not every game will run perfectly, you won't be able to multi-task without experiencing some essence of screen lag, and demanding apps are going to run into occasional problems. That isn't to say there aren't particularly brilliant smartphones that will give high-end phones a run for their money, but there are undoubtedly cut corners when it comes to performance.

Lack of features

A larger and otherwise unavoidable downside of cheaper phones is their lack of features. Wireless charging, NFC payments, touch ID, and more are unlikely to be available on budget, entry-level phones, which might dissuade you from purchasing.

The best phones under £200 value function above all: they work well as smartphones for essential tasks and perform them admirably well, just don't expect a wealth of features from them.

All being considered, the quality of our selected phones is incredibly strong, with well-made screens providing eye-catching visuals and cases that are for the most part brilliant.

Camera quality

For many users, perhaps the largest downside of phones under £200 is their weaker cameras. Many cheaper phones are plagued with blurry photography with limited presets for creative picture-taking. We've worked diligently to suggest that this isn't always the case: our selections have powerful cameras, despite their price, so images are bold and beautiful.

©George Dolgikh/Pexels

Remain in budget

Shopping for a mobile phone on a budget can be something of a challenge. There's an endless upgrade path on offer, with each phone being bested by the very next model on the list. Bristling with new screen technologies, extra camera lenses, face recognition and more - it's very tempting to fall into the trap of going for more and more bells and whistles. And that can lead you to spend considerably more money instead of the £200 you set out with.

The price difference won't get you all that much - you won't, for instance, end up with an iPhone instead (at least, not a new one with a decent lifespan ahead of it). So, if you can, stick as close to your budget as possible.

Do your app research

If you're upgrading from an old phone, you probably have your favourite games and apps already. So, just double-check to ensure that any budget phone can actually run the latest version of that software. For instance, like most others, the eBay app for iOS is often updated with bug fixes and enhancements. But, sometimes that new version can only be run on a certain operating system version.

The same goes for Android smartphones. The key here is: to try to buy newer models that can run the latest operating systems; that way your chosen apps will continue to work for longer.

Budget for accessories

It's easy to forget that screen protectors, cases and new charge cables all add up. And this is especially true if you go for tough long-lasting accessories to protect your shiny new handset. Have a look around and make sure you can buy what you need. Otherwise, your new phone under £200 could end up as an old broken phone in a drawer in no time.

FAQs

What's the best budget phone brand?

There is a huge range of excellent budget phone brands, but they're not all equal. It's hard to pick the ultimate phone brand - great phones come from even the most obscure brands. But there are definitely some reliable brands to look out for - Samsung, POCO, Motorola and Xiaomi in particular.

Can smartphones get viruses?

Smartphones can, and often do get viruses. This can be from opening a dodgy email, visiting sites that aren't secure, or even joining public Wi-Fi. So, be careful what you access. Invest in a smartphone VPN for better protection.

The verdict

For those on a limited budget in search of solid, reliable performance, strong battery life and good build quality, the best phones under £200 are undoubtedly reliable. Their build quality is surprisingly robust, performance is admirably stable and a great selection of them have strong camera quality that those used to higher-end smartphones will find some enjoyment in also.

Nevertheless, investing in a phone under £200 comes with a certain degree of risk: you're not going to experience the performance of a high-end smartphone on a device of its price, nor have access to an equal array of apps and features.

Investing in any of our premium smartphone picks will result in a satisfying, refreshing smartphone experience, their quality lasting for a great deal longer than most smartphone options on the market. In short, the best phones under £200 are undeniably worthwhile, acting as phenomenal work smartphones for easy communication, starting phones for younger adults, or a solid replacement for those who aren't so technologically inclined.

Ryan Houghton is a commercial content writer for What’s The Best, known best for his expertise in gaming, with a particular soft spot for PC gaming, audio tech, televisions and smartphones.

Diligently writing for What’s The Best for almost two years, there are very few tech products Ryan hasn’t had his hands on to review; televisions, headphones, folding phones and even LEGO, if it’s nerdy, he’ll be there.

His well-versed history as one of the resident techies at What’s The Best has kept him keen to uncover the very best deals, savings and offers for those in need of a cracking deal to upgrade their setup.

In his downtime, Ryan most likely has his nose buried in a fantasy book, or his eyes glued to a screen whilst playing a tough-as-nails Soulslike or leisurely RPG, indulging in most forms of escapism where possible.

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