While expensive flagship smartphones grab all the headlines, there’s a booming market for low cost handsets in the U.K. which you should certainly consider if you want to save some cash. While you won’t receive all the latest bells and whistles, cost-effective smartphones can still offer competitive performance, a camera quality, and extra features without breaking the bank — if you know where to look.
If you’re sick of having to fork out a small fortune just for a phone or are looking for an inexpensive first foray into the world of Android, you’re in luck. Here are some of best phones under 200 pounds you can buy in the U.K..
Nokia’s return to the smartphone market may not have been a game changer in the flagship tier, but HMD’s range of handsets gave us budget-conscious buyers plenty to mull over. The Nokia 6 offers a solid selection of hardware features and a design that punches well above its price tag.
The phone offers a vibrant and crisp 1080p 5.5-inch display, Dolby Atmos-enhanced stereo speakers, fast charging, a fingerprint scanner, and a 16 megapixel rear camera — pretty much everything you’d want from a reasonably priced handset. It also runs Android 7.1.1 Nougat installed out of the box, with a 3,000mAh battery for a full day’s worth of use.
The phone’s Snapdragon 430 processing package isn’t the fastest, but the option for 3 or 4GB of RAM means multi-tasking won’t be a problem. There’s also 32 or 64GB of internal storage complete with microSD card slot to port around a good music or movie selection. Another slight trade-off comes with a micro USB port, rather than the more modern USB Type-C, but that seems like a worthwhile compromise.
Honor 9 Lite
Along with Nokia, the Honor brand has been revitalizing the mid-range smartphone market across Europe, and the Honor 9 Lite is among the best and most affordable options on the market right now. The phone’s big selling point is its four camera setup, with dual cameras on both the front and back.
This combination utilizes a regular 13MP sensor and 2MP depth sensor on both the front and back. This allows it to offer a Wide Aperture and a Portrait mode to take advantage of the depth of field captured by the secondary lens. The results are pretty good, but not quite as consistent as more expensive options.
The Honor 9 Lite packs in a FullHD+ (2160 x 1080) 5.65-inch display with a 18:9 aspect ratio, which is very popular in flagship smartphones at the moment. More importantly, the handset ships with the latest Android 8.0 Oreo software installed, which is very rare at these low price points. There’s also a 3,000 mAh battery onboard.
It packs in the very capable HiSilicon Kirin 659 onboard, paired up with 3 or 4GB of RAM and up to 64GB of internal storage. The compromises include no fast charging and no USB Type-C port, but that’s par for the course at under 200 pounds.
Sony Xperia XA1
The Sony Xperia XA1 is probably the most compelling mid-tier offering from Sony in a long time and one of the very best phones under 200 pounds. The handset pulls off a sleek design and retains a number of the best features from the company’s more expensive releases.
If you’re looking for photography prowess on a budget, the XA1 has you covered with a 23 megapixel rear camera, boasting a large 1/2.3-inch Exmor RS sensor for enhanced low light performance. There’s also an 8MP camera on the front. Audio enthusiasts might get a kick out of aptX Bluetooth support and a range of in-house enhancements like Clear Audio+, Stereo Recording, and xLOUD.
Trade-offs include a lower resolution 720p 5.0-inch display, which isn’t the sharpest option at this price point, and no fingerprint scanner. Fortunately the MediaTek Helio P20 SoC is more powerful than most mid-tier SoCs, including the Snapdragon 430. Furthermore the 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage will have you covered for most of your app needs. Finally, there’s a 2,300mAh battery onboard and Android 7.0 Nougat installed out of the box.
Overall, the Xperia XA1 is an allround strong performer.
If you’re looking for something a little cheaper than the Nokia 6, the Nokia 5 makes a few additional compromises to save on a few pennies. Perhaps its biggest selling point is the slick design and solid build quality, which feels well above its price tag in quality.
For the compromises, the phone bumps the display size and resolution down to 720p at 5.2-inches, which is passable, but certainly not the sharpest. The handset also ditches the Nokia 6’s stereo speakers, fast charging, and opts for a lower resolution 13 megapixel rear camera and 8 megapixel selfie snapper. Still, there’s the same sleek stock Android 7.1.1 Nougat software and 3,000mAh battery to get you through a busy the day.
The Nokia 5 still has the same level of performance as the larger 6 model with the same Snapdragon 430 processor. However the limited 2GB of RAM onboard means multitasking isn’t as seamless, and the 16GB of storage won’t be enough for large music or movie collections. Fortunately there is a microSD card slot to expand this limitation.
Still if these compromises won’t affect you, the Nokia 5 is a great looking, affordable little handset well worth your consideration.
Moto G5 Plus
The Moto G5 Plus is a great alternative if you’re looking for a bargain and not sold on anything on our list. This one of the best cheap Android phones on the market, and for good reason.
The 1080p display is vibrant and perfect for watching YouTube videos and surfing the web, and the big 3,000mAh battery will help keep you going all day long. Plus, with the Snapdragon 625 processor coupled with 2-4GB of RAM, this thing can basically handle anything you throw at it.
For those of you interested in a bare-bones software experience, you’ll be happy to hear the G5 Plus runs a very slimmed-down version of Android 7.0 Nougat. The Moto G5 Plus is reliable, sleek, and inexpensive.
There you have it, our best picks for phones under 200 pounds. Looking to spend a bit more? Check out our guide to the best phones under 500 pounds. If you have any personal recommendations in the sub-200-pound price bracket, let us know in the comments.
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