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Finest low-cost telephones: Six implausible reasonably priced handsets

11 min read


On the hunt for a brand new cellphone in 2023 however haven’t received hundreds to spend on it? You’re definitely not the one one. Flagship telephones have made leaps ahead in recent times, however the costs have risen alongside them.

5 years in the past, a top-end smartphone could have solely value round £500/$500, however the world has modified considerably since then, and now you could be charged double that for those who go for a top-spec mannequin.

However whereas the flagship market has gotten costlier, the finances finish of the market has vastly improved in contrast to a couple years in the past. Options that have been thought of completely high-end only a yr or two in the past have now made their grand arrival within the sub-$400/£400 part of the market, that means that reasonably priced telephones are extra tempting than ever.

These days, if the place to look, you will get enormously improved pictures, strong development high quality, wi-fi charging and extremely dependable efficiency on telephones of this worth. In fact, there are nonetheless loads of units which will sadly allow you to down with sub-par battery life and bloated software program, so it’s important to you should definitely keep away from them.

The purpose of this information is that will help you keep away from the array of underwhelming telephones that promise an excessive amount of and ship too little and present you the actual gems that supply implausible worth for cash. The entire beneath units have been bodily examined by certainly one of our reviewers to reliably gauge their efficiency in key areas together with digital camera efficiency, construct high quality and battery life, so you can depend on our purchasing recommendation.

Our definition of “reasonably priced” means any handset retailing for lower than £400/$400; nevertheless if we do occur to go over this quantity then we’ll make our reasoning clear as to why we’ve made an exception.

We additionally produce other finest lists for these after one thing a bit extra particular. Our greatest digital camera cellphone round-up focuses on a tool’s photographic and videography abilities, whereas our greatest mid-range cellphone record focuses on barely pricier units.

Finest low-cost telephones at a look

How we check

Study extra about how we check cell phones

Each cellphone we assessment goes via a collection of uniform checks designed to gauge key issues together with construct high quality, display accuracy, battery life, efficiency and digital camera prowess.

These embrace formal artificial benchmarks and scripted exams, plus a collection of real-world checks, equivalent to how a lot battery it loses per hour streaming video.

We additionally be sure that to make use of each cellphone we assessment as our major handset for at the least 4 days to make sure our assessment is as correct as potential. You possibly can see a extra detailed breakdown of our testing methodology in our how we check telephones information.

Google Pixel 6a

Finest finances digital camera


  • Pretty small form-factor
  • Dependable digital camera for the value
  • Google’s glorious software program


  • 60Hz show feels sluggish in comparison with the rivals
  • Gradual to completely cost

This diminutive machine is considerably in the identical mould because the iPhone SE 2022; it provides you the very best of the model’s software program and options (on this case, Google Android) but in an reasonably priced and petite handset that’s simple to deal with.

Pixel telephones have lengthy been famend for his or her glorious cameras, and as soon as once more you’ll discover two superb snappers right here, that are bolstered by helpful tips equivalent to Magic Eraser and Evening Sight with the intention to take away undesirable objects or enhance your lowlight capturing, respectively. That stated, this time across the cameras aren’t such a quantum leap above the competitors as earlier editions have been.

One space the place the Pixel 6a actually does excel over its reasonably priced rivals is within the processor, which is the exact same Tensor chip that you simply’ll discover within the Pixel 6 Professional. It won’t be an absolute beast in efficiency phrases, nevertheless it helps to ship the nice software program, post-processing, 5G connectivity, and enhanced safety that makes this cellphone a fantastic all-round package deal.

Although the display is vibrant and punchy, it suffers a bit from not having a refresh charge enhanced past the usual 60Hz, so could not appear as {smooth} as its rivals. Nonetheless, this machine is nicely well worth the worth when all is considered.

Reviewer: Max Parker

Full assessment: Google Pixel 6a

Nothing Cellphone (1)

Finest for design


  • A design that stands out
  • Very nice 120Hz OLED show
  • Loads of cellphone for the cash


  • Glyph Interface is extra of a gimmick than a helpful characteristic
  • Odd efficiency points, especally with the digital camera

Most likely essentially the most eye-catching handset on this record, the Nothing Cellphone (1)‘s design stands out from the group on account of its clear again overlaying and flashing LED association, which signifies incoming notifications or the charging stage in a novel means. If this out-of-the-ordinary design appeals to you, then it’s a superb cellphone to purchase (frankly although, we did generally discover it a tad irritating). Luckily there’s much more to it than simply this quirk.

We significantly appreciated the plush 120Hz show, which is likely one of the finest round at this worth level. With HDR help and excessive ranges of brightness, this display is a pleasure to make use of for gaming and extra. There are two rear cameras on board, vast and ultrawide, they usually each do a fairly good job. Though some snaps can find yourself trying over-exposed, many of the pictures that we took in complimentary lighting circumstances turned out very nicely, whereas its night time capturing was a selected spotlight.

The 4500mAh battery was loads sufficiently big to get us via the day, and it’s nice to see the wi-fi charging characteristic at this worth level as nicely. Nonetheless, one of many few negatives about this handset was efficiency points, probably all the way down to sub-par software program optimisation, which brought about some stuttering infrequently.

Reviewer: Max Parker

Full assessment: Nothing Cellphone 1

Realme 9 Professional Plus

Finest for leisure


  • Wonderful foremost digital camera for the cash
  • Stable efficiency
  • Quick 60W charging


  • Drab design in two of three colors
  • Realme UI isn’t a slick Android pores and skin

The Realme 9 Professional Plus is an excellent all-rounder for the value, nevertheless it’s received one killer characteristic particularly, and that’s its gorgeous foremost digital camera. This 50-megapixel sensor is the very same one you’ll discover on the Oppo Discover X5 Professional, and it delivers splendidly interesting pictures that have been each sharp and vibrant. Though night-time pictures could are typically over-brightened to our tastes, they nonetheless retain very spectacular ranges of element and readability.

The 6.4-inch AMOLED display can be a spotlight, with its 90Hz refresh charge and 1080p decision, whereas the flashy design provides you a handset that you simply’ll be proud to carry. In efficiency phrases, the Realme 9 Professional Plus is sweet sufficient to run the most recent video games, and what’s extra, it additionally packs in 5G connectivity like the opposite telephones on this record.

The 4500mAh battery gave us sufficient juice to get via a reasonable day of utilization with out sweating, and it’s supported with significantly snappy 60W quick charging that may get you all the way in which as much as 100% from zero in simply 44 minutes.

Reviewer: Jon Mundy

Full assessment: Realme 9 Professional Plus

Motorola Edge 30 Neo

Finest for quick charging


  • Gorgeous light-weight design
  • Beautiful Pantone color finishes
  • Flat to full in simply over half-hour


  • Hit-and-miss digital camera efficiency
  • Snapdragon 695 might do extra

The Motorola Edge 30 Neo will not be solely an honest all-rounder at a tempting worth, nevertheless it’s additionally one of many extra compact finances choices round in 2023 with a reasonably compact 6.5-inch show and measuring in at simply 155g and seven.8mm thick. Okay, it’s not fairly in true small cellphone territory just like the Zenfone 9, nevertheless it’s as shut as you’ll get right here.

The 6.5-inch display isn’t to be sniffed at both, with an OLED panel delivering vibrant colors and deep blacks with nice distinction. It will probably additionally attain 120Hz like others talked about right here, permitting for a buttery-smooth expertise, and crucially, our reviewer discovered it simple to make use of one-handed.

That’s backed up by an honest digital camera system comprised of an OIS-enabled 64MP foremost snapper and a 13MP ultrawide on the rear and a 32MP selfie digital camera with pixel-binning tech. Whereas not fairly on the similar stage because the likes of the Pixel 6a, the digital camera high quality is respectable in most circumstances aside from low mild the place photos can look muddy and washed out.

Regardless of its extra compact dimensions than rivals, it nonetheless packs in a reasonably respectable 4,020mAh battery that doesn’t battle to final a full day without having a top-up, although it could actually’t fairly make it via a second day. The excellent news is that 68W quick cost tech can present a full cost in simply over half an hour, among the many quickest you’ll discover on the finances finish of the market.

Day-to-day efficiency is okay however extra demanding duties will begin to present the boundaries of the included Snapdragon 695 5G, and with a Pantene partnership, it’s accessible in some really gorgeous finishes too.

Reviewer: Sean Cameron

Full assessment: Motorola Edge 30 Neo

iPhone SE 2022

Finest for Apple followers on a finances


  • The quickest cellphone at this worth (by a ways)
  • Takes nice daylight photos
  • IP ranking and wi-fi charging
  • iOS and all the advantages that include it


  • Small display is cramped and restrictive
  • Drained design
  • No night time mode within the digital camera

We’re bending our guidelines barely to incorporate a cellphone that breaks our worth restrict, however for those who’re deadset on getting your self a brand new iPhone, then that is your most cost-effective choice – and it’s nonetheless a belter.

You could have to forgive the depressingly dated design and its related small display which measures simply 4.7 inches, but when you will get over that then the iPhone SE 2022 does the truth is nonetheless provide loads of positives for the value.

At the beginning, it runs on the sensible A15 Bionic chip, which is likely one of the easiest within the enterprise; it’s really the exact same one that you simply’ll discover on the iPhone 13 Professional, so that you received’t be wanting for energy. Even higher, this cellphone shall be in line for Apple’s unparalleled long-term software program help, so we wouldn’t even be shocked to see it getting the most recent updates seven years from now.

On high of that, the latest iPhone SE has the most effective cameras that you simply’ll discover for the value, and it significantly delivers on richly detailed photos, in order that tough textures like canine fur or woolly jumpers look particularly good. That stated, it does miss out on a devoted Evening Mode, which is an actual disgrace, so for those who’re planning to take loads of photos when the solar is down then this won’t be the very best cellphone for you. The selfie digital camera additionally might do with some work, with it not being to the identical commonplace as the primary snapper.

In case you’re in search of an iPhone that offers a superb digital camera and powerful efficiency for a less expensive entry worth then this can be a good wager, however do keep in mind that the display is small and underwhelming.

Reviewer: Max Parker

Full assessment: iPhone SE 2022

Poco X5 Professional

Finest for a worth large display


  • Absolutely-capable 6.7-inch OLED show
  • Surprisingly well-equipped digital camera
  • First rate efficiency


  • Low-cost rear design
  • MIUI software program may be very cluttered
  • Unfriendly quantity of bloatware

The Poco X5 Professional 5G, whereas not vastly totally different from its predecessor, is a great-value handset with nice options throughout the board, so it’s nicely value your consideration for those who’re trying to find a handset that’s beneath $400/£400.

The OLED display measures a beneficiant 6.67 inches with a 1080p decision, together with extra premium options together with a 120Hz refresh charge and help for HDR10+, which is sensible for the value. It’s not auto-adaptive like premium options, however for those who’re ready to regulate it your self, you’ll discover that supported content material is smoother than ever.

Its foremost 108-megapixel digital camera can be value shouting about, because it delivers glorious photos which are sure to impress for the value. Evening Mode does a superb job of cleansing up any noise that you simply may get, nevertheless the accompanying ultrawide and macro lens aren’t as much as this similar commonplace.

Efficiency is okay however not distinctive with a Snapdragon 778G at its coronary heart, nevertheless it does provide 5G connectivity for the most recent cellular knowledge speeds. The battery life is sensible with a 5000mAh cell, and we reckon that you possibly can even squeeze two days’ life out of it for those who use your cellphone with some restraint.

There aren’t many downsides right here, however one must be a budget rear design and really feel, and the opposite could be its bloatware-stuffed software program interface. MIUI is way from best for day-to-day use.

Reviewer: Connor Jewiss

Full assessment: Poco X5 Professional 5G


Which low-cost cellphone has the very best digital camera?

Our favorite low-cost cellphone for the digital camera is the Pixel 6a.

Can I get 5G on these telephones?

Sure, the entire telephones within the above record provide 5G connectivity so that you’ll be capable to get these knowledge speeds so long as you’ve community protection and a suitable SIM card.

Comparability Specs







Display screen Dimension

Storage Capability

Rear Digicam

Entrance Digicam

Video Recording

IP ranking


Wi-fi charging

Quick Charging

Dimension (Dimensions)


Working System

Launch Date

First Reviewed Date



Refresh Price





Acknowledged Energy

Trusted Critiques check knowledge

Geekbench 5 single core

Geekbench 5 multi core


Adobe RGB


Max brightness

1 hour video playback (Netflix, HDR)

30 minute gaming (intensive)

30 minute gaming (mild)

1 hour music streaming (on-line)

1 hour music streaming (offline)

Time from 0-100% cost

Time from 0-50% cost

3D Mark – Wild Life

3D Mark – Sling Shot Excessive

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