Our list of the best smartphones available to buy with a budget of £100
A few years ago you had to fork out a significant amount to get your hands on a phone with a decent display, good performance and the ability to browse the internet. But the price of smartphones has decreased rapidly in recent times, meaning there are some true bargains to be had.
We’ve picked out the best smartphones that are priced under £100 (SIM-Free or on Pay As You Go). You’ll be pretty amazed at what you can get for your money. All the mobiles listed are available to buy in the UK and we’ll continue to update our list throughout 2016 and beyond.
Anyway, enough talk and on with our list of the best smartphones available for under £100.
All of these phones are cheap, but at just £70 the Microsoft Lumia 535 is almost unbelievably affordable. For that money you get a 5.0 inch 540 x 960 display with a pixel density of 220 pixels per inch for clear visuals, a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 200 processor and 1GB of RAM, so it’s not that powerful, but it still performs well, even under pressure.
It’s solidly built too, with a colourful plastic shell which you can swap out if you ever feel like a change. There’s no 4G, just a 5MP camera and only 4GB of storage, but there’s a microSD card slot too so you can easily expand on that and it runs Windows Phone 8.1 so you can get brand new features like Cortana and Action Centre without having to spend much money. It also has a 5MP selfie snapper, which is a real bonus at this price and you can expect Windows 10 Mobile to make its way over before long too.
The original Motorola Moto E was incredible value and sold well as a result. Now Motorola’s back with a slightly better and marginally more expensive successor.
At just £75 it’s still incredibly affordable but it’s surprisingly good too, with a 4.5-inch 540 x 960 screen for a pixel density of 245 pixels per inch, a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor and 1GB of RAM.
It also has a fairly attractive, albeit plastic design and feels solidly built. Plus it’s water resistant so it can take a splash and while it only has 8GB of built in storage there’s also a microSD card slot.
The 5MP camera is pretty poor and it lacks advanced features like NFC, but it’s a reliable smartphone with solid performance for under £100 and it even has 4G, which still isn’t standard at this sort of price.
The Nokia Lumia 635 is essentially a tweaked version of the Nokia Lumia 630, adding 4G connectivity and changing from a matte plastic cover to a more eye-catching glossy one.
Other than that it’s the same as that already impressive handset, with a clear 4.5-inch 480 x 854 IPS LCD display, a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor, 512MB of RAM, 8GB of storage, a microSD card slot, an 1830 mAh battery and a 5MP camera.
That’s combined with the lightweight and sleek Windows Phone 8.1 operating system that leaves it with slick performance and you can get all of this for just £80, or if you can live without 4G you could always opt for the Lumia 630 and save yourself a tenner.
At around £70 SIM free the LG Leon is about as far as you can get from flagship pricing, yet it has a surprising amount of the LG G4’s features.
Knock Code is arguably one of the most exciting, letting you unlock the phone by tapping out a pattern, even when the screen is off. This is a skill that few phones can match, even high-end ones.
The LG Leon also has gesture and voice controls for its camera, which isn’t that unusual but isn’t something you expect to see on budget models.
Then there’s its rear keys, which are unusual and unique outside of LG’s range of phones. They make the Leon eye-catching in a way that few cheap handsets are.
The specs are more what you’d expect for a low-end model, with a 4.5-inch 854 x 480 screen, a 5MP camera, a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor and 1GB of RAM. But while they’re not special they’re solid for the money and as highlighted above the LG Leon stands out in more than one way.
The EE Harrier Mini can be seen as the successor to the EE Kestrel, along with the pricier EE Harrier.
For under £100 it gives you a sharp 4.7-inch 720 x 1280 display, a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM and a surprisingly high spec 8MP camera.
Being an EE phone it also supports 4G of course, so your mobile data needs are covered and with Android 5.0 its software is almost up to date.
Perhaps most excitingly it’s currently one of the cheapest phones to offer WiFi Calling, giving it a serious selling point, particularly as only a handful of other handsets have the feature at all.
With solid battery life, a microSD card slot and a decent if unexceptional build there’s not much that’s missing here, especially not for such a low price.
The original Moto G with 4G is one of the best budget smartphones on the planet. With starting prices of around £100 it only just squeezes into this list, but you get a whole lot for your money.
With a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor and 1GB of RAM it’s a snappy performer, while its 4.5 inch 720 x 1280 IPS LCD display is both big and high quality as low end phones go, with a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch.
There are other good things to say about it too. It runs Android Lollipop, has a capable 5MP camera and an attractive build and with 8GB of storage (or more if you pay more) it’s not as limited as some cheap phones.
It’s since been superseded by a 2nd and 3rd generation Moto G, with larger screens and more power and they’re great options too, but they will stretch your budget even further.
This is a name you might not know, but you should, as this Huawei handset is fantastic value for money.
It comes with a big and surprisingly high resolution 5.0-inch 720 x 1280 display, a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM and a generous 16GB of built in storage, plus a microSD card slot.
But the camera is the real star here, as its 8MP snapper is capable of taking detailed shots and it even has a solid 2MP camera on the front for taking selfies.
The design is bland and Huawei’s Emotion UI is a bit simplistic for our tastes, but with a big screen, a good camera and a decent amount of power it’s well worth what it costs.
The long line of high quality yet affordable Lumia’s has arguably reached its peak with the Lumia 640.
The phone squeaks in at just over £100, but you can expect to find it on pay as you go for less and you get an awful lot for your money. Its large 5.0-inch 720 x 1280 display is hard to ignore, while its 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor and 1GB of RAM ensure it’s not short on power, plus it has a capable 8MP camera and runs Windows Phone 8.1.
It’s not likely to become dated any time soon as it will be upgraded to Windows 10 for phones when that launches and on top of the phone itself you also get a one year subscription to Office 365 when you buy it.
That’s valued at £59.99 in itself and includes 1TB of OneDrive storage, so even though there’s only 8GB of built in memory there’s no reason to run short.
Not content with just providing SIM cards and contracts, Vodafone also makes own-brand handsets and the Smart Prime 6 is one of its best yet, combining an affordable price tag with surprisingly impressive specs.
The highlight is arguably its impressive battery life, as while Vodafone hasn’t confirmed how big its juice pack is it’s rated for up to 18 hours of talk time. That’s well above average for any smartphone, let alone a budget one, so it’s a great choice for power users.
It also has a 1.2GHz quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM so it’s fairly powerful and it has a large 5.0-inch 720p screen. Its 8MP camera is seriously impressive for the price too and while it only has 8GB of storage it also has a microSD card slot with support for cards of up to 64GB. It even supports 4G for speedy mobile data.
The Vodafone Smart Prime 6 is surprisingly stylish too, with a slim 9mm thick build and metal keys, though the casing is still plastic.
Few brand name phones offer 4G on a budget, but at around £100 the HTC Desire 510 fits the bill. Speedy data isn’t all it offers though, with the phone also providing solid performance thanks to a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor and 1GB of RAM.
A microSD card slot ensures there’s plenty of storage space and its sizeable 4.7-inch 480 x 854 screen is a great way to enjoy all your apps and media.
The HTC Desire 510’s 2100 mAh juice pack also provides pretty decent battery life, with the phone easily lasting a day or more with mixed use.
The 5MP camera could be better, but there are always going to be sacrifices at this price and in most other ways the HTC Desire 510 is a pretty good phone.
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