The best phones for under £300 in 2024: Quality yet affordable

Why go over budget when you can instead choose a quality £300 smartphone.

The best phones for under £300

by Ryan Houghton |
Updated on

Whether you're on the daily Wordle grind or breaking out some Raid: Shadow Legends, these budget phones for under £300 give some of the best smartphones a run for their money. Even premium brands are getting in on the budget act, with models from Samsung and Motorola amongst others.

Phones are essential in modern life, whether for work, socialising, banking, or just keeping your brain occupied with Candy Crush. But shopping for a new budget smartphone can be a nightmare. When comparing Apple's M1 chip to Samsung's Snapdragon, you're bombarded with jargon that would leave anyone scratching their head.

The best phones for under £300 in 2024 at a glance:

Best overall: Samsung Galaxy A53 – View at Amazon
• Best budget: Motorola Edge 20 Lite – View at Amazon
Best for performance: Samsung Galaxy A54 – View at Amazon

Budget smartphones have come a long way in the past few years, offering users a lot more bang for their buck. Whether it's a sharp camera, a mammoth battery, or breathtaking visuals, you'll be pleasantly surprised with how much you can get. It really isn't that necessary to spend more than £300 on a phone. You'll find that a lot of what you pay for is brand recognition – so if you don't mind trying out some excellent yet underrated manufacturers that'll rival the priciest phones, read on.

Here's our selection of incredible budget phones for under £300, perfect for anyone looking to save cash on pricey contracts. We know everyone has a preferred brand that they may want to stick with, so we've been sure to include options from Samsung, Google, Motorola, Nokia and more. Here are our top picks for the best budget smartphones you can pick up right now to challenge the flagship phones of 2024 on both spec and price.

Key features

Cameras – If you intend to take a lot of videos and photos, prioritise finding a model with multiple cameras.

Display – Screen size and technology will play an important role in the visual quality of your phone. If you plan to watch a lot of videos or play games, choose a larger design with a high refresh rate.

Processor – Responsible for the overall performance of your phone. If you have any apps or programs that are fairly intensive, a more advanced processor will be worth your time.

RAM – The temporary memory of your phone that helps to keep loading times to a minimum. Higher RAM is a must-have for any multi-taskers.

Storage – If you download and store a lot of files, you'll want 64GB or even 128GB of storage capacity.

Battery life – If you don't want to carry a charger with you everywhere, try to choose a model which can last for 10 or more hours with a full charge.

How do we test smartphones?

We test smartphones over a few weeks, making sure we get plenty of daily use out of them. As such, we become very familiar with all their intricacies and features including battery life, camera functions, and general performance with apps.

Our reviews award a rating out of five which is based on criteria including performance, build, battery, camera, and value.

The best phones for under £300 in 2024

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

Best overall

Samsung Galaxy A53 SIM Free Android SmartphoneAmazon/Samsung

Rrp: $329.00

Price: $307.30

The Samsung Galaxy A53 is a great all-rounder, ideally priced and packed with fantastic tech that rivals even top-tier smartphones for performance.

The A53 has a spot-on 6.5-inch display with AMOLED panelling to make colours truly pop. Alongside the lovely screen is 6GB of RAM and 5000 mAh of battery. Its 65 MP quad camera is a little lacklustre but still leagues above most phones of a similar price.

Capable of recording 4K video, and with plenty of storage for copious photos – rest assured you'll get plenty of mileage from the Samsung A53.

Pros

  • The huge 6.5-inch screen is AMOLED which means brighter, vivid colours and clearer images
  • Impressive battery life will keep you going for days
  • The camera is capable of 4K video and a huge 65MP resolution for high-detail shots

Cons

  • Some performance issues under heavy use

Best budget

Motorola Edge 20 LiteAmazon/Motorola

While we've been wasting our money on ludicrously expensive tech for years, Motorola has been quietly making some really fantastic budget phones that'll give its high-end competitors a run for their money.

The Motorola Edge 20 Lite is a bit of an enigma; it's got a stunning full-HD OLED screen with HDR support, a spot-on 1-9 MP triple camera, a 5000mAh battery, and a Dimensity 720 processor. And yet, it's under £200 right now – unbelievable value.

The gaming performance is also great. Paired with the crisp visuals of the OLED display, you've got an experience that would rival some of the later iPhone models that are worth over £500.

Aside from gaming, there's Android's perfectly adequate UI. It's basic, intuitive, highly customisable, and has plenty of picture-taking power to keep your inner photographer totally satiated.

Pros

  • Fantastic performance from the CPU means this is great for light gaming
  • The screen is full HD OLED, so expect dark blacks and excellent colour accuracy
  • Great battery life
  • Intuitive UI and operating system means you'll find your way around it with ease

Cons

  • No 4K video recording

Best ultra-budget

Nokia G21 Smartphone Amazon/Nokia
Price: $159.99

While this Nokia G21 won't blow you away, it's certainly a reliable pick, especially at this price point. If you're after something to last you a couple of years then you might want to consider another option, but for those in-between phones this makes for a great backup.

Easily one of the best smartphones under £200 on the market right now, it's perfect for those looking for the best budget-friendly option. However, don't let the lower cost trick you into thinking it's ineffective in terms of performance. The screen has a refresh rate of 90Hz, so it often looks better than a lot of monitors. The battery is also noteworthy, having the potential to last up to 72 hours off a single charge.

Read our full Nokia G21 review.

Pros

  • Fantastic budget-friendly price
  • Can last up to 3 days on a single charge
  • Impressive refresh rate for the price

Cons

  • Not the best long-term phone

Best for performance

Samsung Galaxy A54 Mobile PhoneAmazon/Samsung

There are only a couple of reasons why this A54 from Samsung didn't take the top spot on our list. Aside from being a tad more expensive, it has a slightly smaller screen at 6.4 inches, and the main camera is 50 MP (the A53's is 64 MP). But what the A54 loses in screen size and camera resolution, it gains in the operating system and processor specs.

This one is running Android 13 – one version ahead of the A53, which makes for better support and compatibility going forward. And the processor is a generation ahead here too, with the Exnyos 1380 launched in 2023. Altogether that means that you can choose the A54 over the A53 if you value what's under the hood over screen and cameras. Other specs are on par, however, with 128GB of storage (expandable up to 1TB via memory card) and 6GB of RAM.

All in all, this is a powerful Samsung 5G smartphone with an emphasis on performance.

Pros

  • A more recent version of Android is included out of the box for maximum speed and compatibility
  • The fast Exynos processor will handle all sorts of mobile tasks
  • A respectably large screen with decent cameras

Cons

  • Battery life can vary massively depending on how you use it

Best for RAM

OnePlus Nord CE 3 LiteAmazon/OnePlus

One of the best alternatives to both Samsung and Apple, OnePlus has a beautiful range of spectacular smartphones for under £300. However, none quite compete with the Nord CE3 Lite.

Equipped with a whopping 8GB of RAM (more than some laptops) and a commendable 128GB of memory, the Nord CE3 Lite is out of the gate a great buy. With that combination you can handle nearly any app or game. The OS is OnePlus' own OxygenOS 13.1 – based on Android. An AMOLED screen is the icing on the cake here.

Then there's the overall construction and aesthetic which is, again, impeccable for the price. Our only gripe is the slightly lacking front camera.

Pros

  • Incredibly well made – the build is premium and solid
  • Fantastic 8GB of RAM means this is at the higher end in terms of smartphone RAM power
  • Rapid warp charging – spend less time worrying about plugging in to top up

Cons

  • A weaker front camera takes mediocre photos

Best for durability

Nokia X10Amazon/Nokia

You can always trust Nokia when it comes to durability in phones, and the X10 is no different. Of course, it's not all about the build; the performance is great too. The FHD screen is capable of producing stunning visuals for a phone at this price range.

While the build and the screen are fantastic, the battery is a mixed story. The battery life itself is superb, it's able to last up to 72 hours, but the charging speed lets it down. This is definitely the type of phone you want to keep topped up before going out anywhere.

If you're prone to dropping your phones, then the durability of a Nokia will definitely help out. Beyond that, the X10 is a great phone to travel with, especially with that potential battery life.

Pros

  • Reliable Nokia durability
  • Brilliant visuals with the FHD screen
  • Easy to set up

Cons

  • Lacklustre charging speed

Best pre-owned

Google Pixel 6aAmazon/Google

Google's Pixel line has been making waves in the phone market with its affordable yet cutting-edge technology that gives even the most expensive phones some competition. This Google Pixel 6a may be a couple of models behind the latest, but it's still a powerful and affordable Pixel.

Quick, simple to use and with a fantastic operating system, browsing is simply a breeze. The camera, however, leaves a bit to be desired, recording only at 1080p. That said, for a solid Google piece of mobile gadgetry, this has a nice large screen and tons of battery life.

This is a used phone, but that helps it to stay under the £300 range. Besides, it's hard to pass up a secondhand option if it means getting impressive specs like 128GB of storage.

Pros

  • Fantastic value for money given that this is a Google Pixel with a top-quality solid build
  • Great responsiveness thanks to the Google processor and 6GB of RAM
  • A balanced specification means that this will cope with most everyday smartphone needs

Cons

  • Those seriously into mobile photography may want to look elsewhere

Best camera

Samsung Galaxy M32Amazon/Samsung

For the aspiring photographers or selfie magicians out there, we think you'll appreciate the Samsung Galaxy M32. You have excellent cameras for just about any purpose. The 20 MP front-facing camera and 64 MP main camera are the immediate standouts, but the inclusion of ultrawide, macro, and depth options provides you with so much choice.

The screen and other specs are also impressive. An AMOLED screen is always great, and the FHD+ aspect of it goes a long way to making your photos and videos look even better after you're done shooting. The 128GB storage capacity is more than enough for photos and videos, and while we would like to see more than 6GB of RAM, it doesn't hold this phone back too much.

Another feature we really like about the M32 is its charging speed. With 25W of power, this phone is capable of super-fast charging, ensuring you never stay at low battery for long.

Pros

  • Fantastic suite of cameras
  • Excellent AMOLED screen
  • Capable of Super-Fast Charging

Cons

  • More RAM would be nice

Best screen

OPPO A76 SmartphoneAmazon/OPPO

If you're someone prone to dropping their phone, you might want to consider the OPPO A76. Not only is it an affordable smartphone, but it's also remarkably sturdy. Combine it with a reliable case, and you'll have one less thing to worry about.

It also makes a brilliant phone for watching videos. The refresh rate is 90Hz, so the picture always looks great. The refresh rate is higher than many monitors, so motion will always look smooth, regardless of whether it's sports, an action movie, or even just gameplay. Plus, the fast-charging battery means you're never without charge for too long.

Pros

  • Robust and durable design
  • Solid screen quality
  • Fast-charging

Cons

  • Not the most powerful

Best AMOLED screen

Samsung Galaxy A34 5G Mobile PhoneAmazon/Samsung

Rrp: $289.99

Price: $249.50

redirect.viglink.com

If there's one manufacturer who likes to give you a choice of models with just the smallest differences between them, it's Samsung. At first glance, this Galaxy A34 shares a lot of the base specifications of the A53 at the top of our list. But the main reason to choose this over its closest Samsung model is the screen.

Here we have a beautiful AMOLED screen for vivid colours and excellent detail. It runs at 120Hz, too, so the motion is slick and sharp. Plus, whether you're gaming or taking snaps, this has the battery life to keep up with you.

Pros

  • Excellent AMOLED screen gives you a bright vivid experience
  • Solid array of cameras, especially the Ultra Wide and Macro lenses
  • Brilliant battery life of up to 2 days – ideal for gaming or photography on the go

Cons

  • You'll find better main camera resolution elsewhere on this list

Best phones for under £300 in 2024: Buyer's guide

You don't have to spend more (unless you really want to)

Despite getting some great deals on budget smartphones, there's been a noticeable price hike in leading brands' smartphones over the past few years. In 2017, for example, the launch price of the iPhone 8 was £649; mind-bogglingly cheap compared to the £1,749 you could spend on the 1TB iPhone 14 Pro Max, or even some of the best Huawei phones. But why?

It's largely down to manufacturing costs – in recent years smartphone components have become far more expensive than they've ever been due to silicon shortages. Plus, the technology is far more advanced and difficult to produce than it was even four or five years ago.

So, are budget phones for under £300 worth it? Well, yes. But with a budget phone, you're sacrificing some useful features such as the latest Samsung Galaxy S22's telephoto lenses, the latest iPhone's stunning night modes, and its impeccable UI. If you've got the cash to splash, go for it. That said, budget phones now offer so much more value than ever before, with features that even the absolute cutting-edge smartphones of this year don't have (such as the sorely missed aux jack), as well as expandable memory support.

Our expert advice is to list the features you use the most first, then list the ones you enjoy the most. After that, despite being very tempting, the lavish features that attract a premium price tag can just be left behind. This will keep your budget on track.

©Chris Duffill

FAQs

With over 500 million players, Candy Crush is the most popular mobile game ever, and it's easy to see why. In a close second, however, is Call of Duty: Mobile, which still remains popular as ever with 50-60 million active players. Multiplayer games have taken mobile gaming by storm with many of the top mobile games being FPS shooters, MOBA's, and open-world RPGs.

If you're looking for the very best mobile gaming experience, you'll have to go with the sort of power and performance that only the best gaming phones for immersion can offer.

Which smartphones have headphone jacks?

Actually, all of the options we've listed above have headphone jacks. In a bid to make space for more powerful components and for a modern look, many smartphones have begun ditching the aux jack. Luckily, there are still plenty of newer options available that still have proper wired headphone support.

Can smartphones get viruses?

There's a common misconception that smartphones cannot be affected by a virus. A smartphone is just as, if not more vulnerable to viruses, malware, and especially scams. As we go about in public, phones are accessed over public Wi-Fi. If you're browsing the internet, certain webpages can install all sorts of malware in an instant; so it's best to access sites with absolute caution, be aware of what you're accessing, and perhaps use a form of VPN or anti-virus software.

Do any of our picks support wireless charging?

Only Xiaomi's Redmi Note 11 Pro, and Motorola's Edge 20 Lite support wireless charging, but we're bound to see much wider support for wireless charging in the future, even for budget smartphones. Until then, if you're an Apple user, you can always rely on some trusty iPhone charger cables.

The verdict

It should be no surprise that you can now find plenty of excellent smartphones under £300, so sticking to this as your budget range shouldn't be difficult. From battery life to camera quality, you don't need to sacrifice any key specs or features just to find something affordable.

More expensive phones will likely have improved batteries, more RAM, and more advanced camera features, but unless you have a specific purpose in mind for your phone, staying under £300 is certainly worthwhile.

As for our favourite pick on this list, it would have to be either the Samsung Galaxy A53 or the Nokia X10. The former is a fantastic all-rounder that does a bit of everything, making it very versatile and reliable. The latter has the iconic Nokia durability, alongside a lengthy battery life, so we know we can trust it to survive any sudden drops or long holiday trips.

Ryan Houghton is a Tech Writer and Reviewer 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.

Subscribe to the What’s The Best Newsletter to keep up to date with more of the latest reviews and recommendations from the rest of the What’s The Best team.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us