The concept of a budget phone in 2019 is almost existential crisis inducing. The price of phones is rising, but who could have foreseen by how much? We've hit the £1.5k mark, and 2019’s innovative lines from Samsung and iPhone are likely to increase this price even more.
So for those not looking to spend too much money when buying a new device, but also not wanting to settle for sub-standard specifications, we've made a list of the best phones you can buy in 2019 that won't break the bank.
What is the best phone up to £100?
We polled 1000 people and put the question on Facebook and Twitter, and most people still determine “budget” to be under £100. Here are the best phones we would use if we were on the tightest of budgets.
Compare and Recycle Top Budget Choice
The Nokia 2.1 is more basic than you might expect given its £100 price, but what it does, it does very well. A sturdy design, a stripped back near-stock version of Android Oreo and a sleek design that could be confused for a phone 5 times more expensive.
4000mAh battery, 5 inch screen, and a PPI: only a little under what the latest iPhone XR is flaunting. The Nokia 2.1 is as solid of a phone that you can get for under £100 if you still want to retain the look of a more premium phone without compromising on its functionality.
The Alcatel 3V is Alcatel's latest release. It has a massive 6-inch screen with an impressive 412 pixels per inch and 1080p sharp screen, dual cameras and a fingerprint sensor: high end features aplenty. On the other hand, despite the fact that it has Android Oreo, it can feel a bit sluggish from time to time.
The Huawei Y3 will set you back £50, but with that comes everything you need from a budget smartphone. The Quad core processor will get you through all the apps. If the 4-inch screen doesn’t put you off, the Huawei Y3 has a lot going for £50.
What is the Best Phone for around £300?
If you're looking for the next level up in smartphones and don’t have the cash to get the latest iPhone or Samsung, then you can get a lot for around £300. Here are the top three phones you can get for a relatively wallet friendly £300.
Compare and Recycle Top Choice: The Nokia 7 Plus for £279
If we’re talking value for money, then there are some great choices with great designs, brilliant cameras and other great features. The Nokia 7 Plus is topping the list with its purest of pure Android One, which has a great camera (although slightly iffy camera software) and a battery that should last a couple days. It’s everything you could want for under £300.
It may not have the OLED or a particularly great chipset, but the performance, durability, extendable memory, repairability and cost of repairing makes this about as budget as you can get in today's market.
Close 2nd: Xiaomi Pocofone F1 for £279
Our other recommended phone within this price bracket is the Xiaomi Pocofone F1, which could have easily been our number one choice. It's the cheapest mobile with the SnapDragon 845 Processor, usually reserved for premium phones.
The specifications are impressive, with a very decent camera, a lot of availability in the UK and a great design. However, it does come with the slightly less supported MIUI Xiaomi Android skin. If you are a specification hunter, then this is the phone that you should go for.
3rd Choice: Refurbished Samsung Galaxy S8
Now, we know that this is cheating, but picking up a refurbished Samsung Galaxy S8 in excellent condition will set you back between £279 and £350 according to our refurbished phone comparison. The S8 and more specifically the S8+ hold up extremely well to the high quality phones that have been released recently.
We’ve said a lot about why the S8 is a top-quality phone, as the looks, processor, cameras and premium quality of the phone stand out to this day. You could spend your £300 on something a lot worse than a refurbished Samsung Galaxy S8.
How much is a budget phone?
As phones get more expensive, there seems to be a never-ending argument for how much a budget phone actually costs. We put the question to the people and received a fairly strong indication that most people consider a budget phone to cost under £100.
The age differences however illustrate a slightly different story: the younger you are, the more expensive you consider a "budget" phone to be. For instance, those within the 25-34 age range overwhelmingly consider phones under £400 to be classed as "budget".
However, does this really reflect consumer spending? The average price of the smartphone is getting more expensive and on average people are spending more on their phones than ever before, despite the fact there are more budget phones available in 2019 that can realistically compete with the best phones of the last few years.
The gap between them is getting smaller.
So what budget phone should I get?
Unsurprisingly, Nokia tops both categories for budget phone. The brand has made a name for itself after producing some of the best phones of the last decade. Although they don't have the best technology or the best screens, they still have a lot to offer at the budget to mid-range level of mobile phones.
Consumers should ask themselves: is an upgrade even worth it? This guide is relevant for those who have anything older than an iPhone 6S or are struggling with anything older than the S6. At Compare and Recycle, we recommend keeping a phone for 4 years to minimise the impact of the carbon footprint from mobile phone production.