Our list of the best smartphones available in 2017 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, from the incredibly affordable Alcatel Pixi 3, to the feature-packed LG Leon, are available to buy in the UK and we’ll continue to update our list throughout 2017 and beyond.
Anyway, enough talk and on with our list of the best smartphones available for under £100 - along with a few other handsets worth considering if you can stretch your budget a little bit further.
At just £30 on pay as you go, the Alcatel Pixi 3 is almost impossibly cheap, so much so that you’d be forgiven for assuming this was a dumb or feature phone.
But it’s not. With Android on board it’s undeniably smart, and while basic it covers those basics very well indeed.
Highlights include a 3.5-inch screen, which can actually be seen as a feature if you’re in the market for a compact phone. Not everyone needs or wants a 5.5-inch handset after all, yet increasingly most phones seem to be around that size.
There’s just 4GB of built in storage, but like any good Android handset the Alcatel Pixi 3 also has a microSD card slot, so you can instantly add up to 32GB more.
Its 2MP camera will do for snapshots, its dual-core processor keeps the phone running and a handy flip-to-mute feature means you can quickly silence any sounds.
At just £50 SIM-free the Huawei Y3 is remarkably cheap, and that low price tag is definitely the best thing about it, but it’s a surprisingly functional smartphone too, that even stands out in some ways.
Beyond the price the Huawei Y3’s main highlight is its long-lasting 1730mAh battery, which will easily last a day and can potentially stretch to two.
The camera is pretty good for the money too. It’s just a 5MP snapper, but it has a dual-LED flash, which many pricier phones lack, so it can take decent shots even in low light, while the 2MP front-facing camera is perfectly capable of taking a social media-worthy selfie.
The Huawei Y3 is a basic phone in other ways, with a quad-core processor and a 4.0-inch screen, but as a back-up phone or a super cheap option it’s a strong choice.
LG is making a number of impressive budget phones, with both the LG K3 and the LG Leon available for under £100.
The LG K3 is a mere £80 on pay as you go, which is an entry-level price, but it’s got a strong selection of specs and features for the money.
These include a sizeable 4.5-inch screen – which is almost as big as the iPhone 7’s, and enough pixels for a clear 218 pixels per inch.
The LG K3 is also on almost the latest version of Android – Marshmallow, to be precise, so it benefits from a polished interface and most of the latest software features.
And with a quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM there’s plenty of power for basic tasks, while both front and rear cameras should have your photography needs covered and the K3 even has 4G and NFC, which are rarities at this price.
At around £90 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.
Or if you have slightly more to spend...
There are other great handsets that you can pick up for not much more than £100, so if you can stretch your budget you might want to consider the Samsung Galaxy J3, which has a fairly large and fairly sharp 5.0-inch 720 x 1280 display, a respectable 1.5GB of RAM for solid performance and a decent 8MP camera, all for just £120.
Then there’s the Honor 5C, which is slightly pricier still at £135, but more than justifies the outlay with a stylish metal build, a 5.2-inch 1080p screen for crisp visuals, a powerful octa-core processor and even a strong 13MP rear camera and 8MP front-facing one.
Or you could grab the ZTE Blade V7, which splits the difference at £130 and with a slim metal body, a 5.2-inch 1080p screen, an octa-core processor, 2GB of RAM and solid a 13MP camera is hard to resist if you're shopping on a budget.
Whether you are on a really tight budget or just want to save a bit of money, one of these phones should suit.
The Alcatel Pixi 3 comes in last place in our list, simply because it’s not as good as the other entries, but with its amazingly low price it’s still worthy of a place. The Huawei Y3 is almost as cheap but packs slightly more of a punch, the LG K3 is a great all-rounder for the money and the LG Leon takes first place with flagship features coupled with an entry level price.
But if you can stretch to beyond £100 you can get an awful lot more for your money with the Honor 5C or ZTE Blade V7.
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