9 best cheap smartphones 2018: affordable phones to suit any budget

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If you’re looking for the best cheap mobile phone, you’ve come to the right place. Welcome to T3’s line-up of the very best budget smartphones available.

We think the OnePlus 5T is the best budget smartphone you can buy. It carries all of the Apple prestige and premium build quality, without the massive price tag.

Of course, the OnePlus 5T may not be right for you, especially if you want something cheaper, or prefer Android, so we’ve collected nine other excellent budget phones.

This list is ranked from the most expensive to the most affordable.

How to choose the best budget smartphone

Flagship smartphones are great, they’re lightning fast, well designed, and offer a ton of extra features. But they come at a cost, and that cost is a lot of money.

If you’re looking for an alternative to one of those expensive handsets or the best smartphone for kids, for example – we’ve got you covered.

While the phones in this list are all more affordable — we’ve only selected the very best phones which don’t scrimp on hardware, design, or features. We’re only recommending the cheap smartphones we’d be happy to use.

We think just because you’re paying less, doesn’t mean you should have a phone that feels cheap.

You should also look out for premium features from more expensive smartphones, such as a fingerprint sensor, waterproofing, or an excellent camera.

The very best budget smartphones you can buy today

1. ONEPLUS 5T

a close up of a device© Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. OnePlus are renowned for combining the latest specs with a price you can’t argue with, but their first two phones were pretty hit or miss, the OnePlus 5T is difficult to beat at this price. Budget smartphones always claim they can compete with the likes of Google, Samsung and LG, but few ever come close to the mark, the OnePlus 5T gives all three a run for their money by delivering a phone with a Snapdragon 835 processor and 6GB of RAM…6GB!

It’s not just the specs that make this phone, it’s the all aluminium chassis that gives the phone a premium look and feel, and the bezel-less 6-inch display.

2. HONOR VIEW 10

a close up of a computer© Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. The Honor View 10, essentially, the very well reviewed Huawei Mate 10 Pro, which almost costs twice as much. You’ve got essentially the same display, chipset, software, and camera setup. The only thing that’s really changed is the body – which is now aluminium rather than glass. It really is fantastic value, only pipped by the OnePlus 5T’s more stylish design.

3. IPHONE SE

a close up of a phone© Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. The iPhone SE is the hybrid between the iPhone 5S and 6S. You’ve got the form factor of the 5S with the four-inch display and the fact you can easily use the phone with one hand combined with the nimble performance of the 6S. The camera is also one of the best you can get your hands on with a 12-megapixel sensor that also takes 4K video. These combine to create a compact and competent device that’s also the cheapest iPhone ever.

4. SAMSUNG GALAXY A3 (2017)

a close up of electronics© Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. The Galaxy A3 is the smallest phone Samsung currently have in their Galaxy lineup, it’s a really nice design, giving the device a flagship look for a budget price tag. The phone runs on a octa-core processor and has 2GB of RAM — the base memory can easily be expanded with a Micro-SD card too. The phone has a 2350 mAh battery that can easily last up to two days of normal usage — although not having to charge your smartphone at night will take some getting used to.

5. MOTOROLA MOTO G5

a close up of a computer© Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. The Motorola G series has always been a contender for the best budget smartphone on the market — the G5 is no exception and certainly offers something special for the price. No sacrifices were made with screen resolution as the G5 rocks a 1080p display that will always light up courtesy of the octa-core CPU that powers it. Things won’t chug either with 3GB of RAM to juggle all your multitasking needs — things are simple and just work on the G5.

6. HONOR 7X

Sun Yang posing for a photo© Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. Yep, another entry from Honor! The Honor 7X has the look and feel of something much more expensive. It takes everything that’s almost become the standard in the budget smartphone and builds upon it, giving you a bezel-less display and a dual camera system on the back. Battery life can also last up to two days provided you aren’t doing anything intense on the device like gaming. Overall this is a package that rivals smartphones that cost two or three times more in price.

7. SONY XPERIA E5

a close up of a computer© Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. The Xperia E5 looks like a Sony phone for sure… which is to say this isn’t one you’ll be pulling out to show your friends in the pub anytime soon. However the design is sturdy and feels very durable, but that’s not the main reason this phone is great for people on a budget — it’s the competent package you’re getting. The E5 doesn’t have mind blowing specs by any means, but it will do day to day tasks with ease and it’ll make it through a whole day with some charge left.

8. WILEYFOX SPARK X

a close up of a device© Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. You may remember T3’s review of the entry-level Spark — in case you haven’t read it, it wasn’t good at all. The Sparks biggest downfall was the fact there was only 1GB of RAM packed inside the phone — the Spark X is set for release in the coming weeks and features double the RAM with an improved back camera. The phone is set to succeed where the entry level model failed and run apps and games smoothly with a battery life that gets you through a day.

9. HTC DESIRE 530

© Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. It seems as though HTC really missed a beat here, the cheap Desire is ultimately one of the worst budget smartphone offerings out there. The phone is hamstrung by the lack of RAM, meaning day to day performance is sluggish and ultimately not worth the asking price when there are plenty of other devices for the same money that do the jobs they’re supposed to. Still, we really love the design.

9. VODAFONE SMART PRIME 7

a close up of a computer© Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. By far the cheapest phone on this list — for that price you’re getting a 5-inch 720p display that isn’t rough on your eyes at all. The phone isn’t the fastest but is running one of the purest forms of Android you can get your hands on — there’s next to no bloatware here at all. Everything here is functional and you’re getting exactly what you pay for. You won’t be running intense games on here, but you will be getting through the day messaging and doing some light web browsing.

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