Best Cheap Phone 2022: Our Top Picks For Budget Smartphones

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With more and more smartphones entering the market that promises stellar performance at affordable price points, finding the best cheap phone is getting trickier by the day!

Much like some of the best mid-range phones out there, the motivation behind going for more of an affordable choice is simply down to price. Shelling out on a four-figure flagship is of course going to give you loads of extra features, but you may not need them all, and can therefore save yourself some cash in the process.

Of course, this isn't to say cheaper phones don't have a good feature set, as they should still be plenty capable for general day-to-day tasks, and some can even compare pretty well against phones triple the price with amazing cameras, for example, like the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T.

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In addition, you can help to make your phone look rather good with any of the best rugged phone cases, which in some instances, can be premium products themselves.

You will be making some sacrifices with cheaper handsets though, which may come down to the materials used to build the phones or some slightly older internal components. In the grand scheme of things, this won't make too much difference for general productivity tasks and a budget phone should serve you fine.

With all that in mind, we’ve selected these phones based on specs, general reviews, and features that we think make them worth considering, and have taken the time to answer some of your most frequently asked questions.

So, let’s get to it – here are some of the best cheap phones you can buy today.

Best Cheap Phones

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Best Cheap Phone Samsung - Samsung Galaxy A32 5G

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Image Credit: Samsung

Brand: Samsung | Processor: MediaTek Dimensity 720 5G | Screen Size: 6.5 inches | Screen Resolution: 720x1600 | Camera: 48MP, 5MP, 2MP | Storage Options: 64GB, 128GB (expandable with microSD) | Battery Capacity: 5000mAh

Samsung is noted for making some of the best phones around, and this also extends into the world of cheaper handsets, as is demonstrated by the Galaxy A32 5G.

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Inside, it packs a MediaTek Dimensity 720 5G chipset which, with its octa-core setup should provide something nice and snappy for day-to-day tasks, and the options of 4, 6, and even 8GB of RAM give you loads of headroom for some more intense tasks and can hold a candle to more expensive phones.

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Its camera is also rather good for the price with the Galaxy A32 5G opting for a quad snapper setup that's comprised of a 48MP wide lens and an 8MP ultrawide, as well as a 5MP macro and 2MP depth sensor. These should all combine to take some rather clear photos.

You also get a large 6.5-inch screen with a 720x1600 resolution which should look pretty decent with good contrast, and the options of 64 or 128GB of storage aren't too shabby either. It's also worth noting the A32 5G also features a microSD slot, so if you want to add in more storage, then you can.

Best Cheap Phone Xiaomi - Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T

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Image Credit: Xiaomi

Brand: Xiaomi | Processor: MediaTek Dimensity 800U | Screen Size: 6.5 inches | Screen Resolution: 1080x2340 | Camera: 48MP, 2MP, 2MP | Storage Options: 64GB, 128GB (expandable with microSD) | Battery Capacity: 5000mAh

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T is arguably one of the best cheap phones you can buy today.

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This comes thanks to its speedy MediaTek Dimensity 800U processor that should be nice and quick for even the most demanding of tasks and can be seen to be a quicker chip than phones costing double this one.

Moreover, the Redmi Note 9T looks gorgeous with a choice of either purple or black colouring around the back, as well as a 6.5-inch FHD panel round front with 450 nits of brightness helping images to look crisp and sharp with good contrast and pixel density for the price.

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You'll also find a cracking triple camera setup that's made of a 48MP wide, 2MP macro and another 2MP snapper for depth, which should offer some great shots. Alongside this comes the ability to shoot at 4K, 30fps, which for a phone this price, sounds incredible.

A 5000mAh battery is also excellent and should last for a very long time, and if you do get caught short, Xiaomi has you covered with 18W fast charging, which should give you 33% of charge in just a half hour or so.

Best Cheap Phone Nokia - Nokia 1.4

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Image Credit: Nokia

Brand: Nokia | Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 215  | Screen Size: 6.5 inches | Screen Resolution: 720x1600 | Camera: 8MP, 2MP | Storage Options: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB (expandable with microSD) | Battery Capacity: 5000mAh

For those wanting a phone for under £100, then the Nokia 1.4 should be quite a good choice.

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You'll find it sports a modest quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 215 chip which, with its 1.3GHz clock speed, should be able to handle the basics well, and 2GB of RAM also should provide you with enough headroom for some heavier workloads every now and again.

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In addition, it features what should be a sturdy plastic construction for the price, and should be pretty durable. A 6.5-inch display is nicely sizeable and it's also a bright IPS panel with a peak brightness of 500 nits of so offering some good colours and sharp contrast.

The Nokia 1.4 also sports a double camera with an 8MP wide and 2MP macro offering you the ability to take decent quality images that should feature some good colours and decent clarity. You also have the ability to shoot video in 720p at 30fps, if you ever want to take some quick footage.

Storage options range from 16 to 64GB, which is an okay capacity for the price, but Nokia does bundle you with a microSDXC slot so you can upgrade the Nokia 1.4's storage and bundle all the files you need onto it.

Best Cheap Phone Realme - Realme 8 5G

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Image Credit: Realme

Brand: Realme | Processor: MediaTek Dimensity 700 5G | Screen Size: 6.5 inches | Screen Resolution: 1080x2400 | Camera: 48MP, 2MP, 2MP | Storage Options: 64GB, 128GB (expandable with microSD) | Battery Capacity: 5000mAh

The Realme 8 5G definitely looks like quite the powerful all-rounder for a cheaper phone.

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First off, you're getting a 6.5-inch screen with a 90Hz refresh rate for extra-smooth input and a peak brightness of 600 nits should mean images will be nice and bright and colours should pop nicely.

In addition, there's also a great triple camera with this particular handset opting for a 48MP main wide sensor and a 2MP sensor for macro and another 2MP offering for depth. Moreover, a 16MP front camera should also allow you to take some sharp selfies, too.

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A MediaTek Dimensity 700 5G chip also means the Realme 8 5G should be rather speedy for anything you throw at it, and the options of 4, 6, and 8GB of RAM are certainly welcome in making more intensive tasks and multi-tasking a breeze.

It's also got a large 5000mAh battery which should last you for a long time. For just general use, you may be able to get two days before needing to plug it in, which is pretty remarkable.

In addition, if you're looking for an upcoming BBK-made phone, then you'll want to check out the upcoming OnePlus Ace which looks like it could be a great phone, as well as the Vivo X Note and the entire Vivo X80 series too.

Best Cheap Phone Motorola - Motorola Moto G50

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Image Credit: Motorola

Brand: Motorola | Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G | Screen Size: 6.5 inches | Screen Resolution: 720x1600 | Camera: 48MP, 5MP, 2MP | Storage Options: 64GB, 128GB (expandable with microSD)| Battery Capacity: 5000mAh

Motorola also makes some of the best and most affordable phones available today, and the Moto G50 is certainly a nice option.

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What you're getting first off is a handy 6.5-inch panel with a 90Hz refresh rate for smooth inputs that should also look great with some relatively thin bezels on top and bottom also aiding in providing a good screen-to-body ratio.

Moreover, the Moto G50 should provide you with a decent slice of performance thanks to a Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G processor and 4GB of RAM will also give you enough headroom for some more intensive tasks.

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Storage options of 64 and 128GB are a decent starting point for loading loads of files, and the inclusion of a microSD card slot just allows you to slot in more storage and install even more apps or load more music on without the G50 breaking a sweat.

Its 5000mAh battery capacity is nice and beefy, and it's also worth noting this phone also has 15W fast charging for when you do need to load some more juice back into it.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are always a few questions that pop up time and time again when it comes to cheaper phones, so here are our two cents to help you make an informed decision.

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Are budget phones worth it?

In short, yes. Budget phones can provide you with a great all-round user experience for a fraction of the price of flagship offerings.

They can still have some big batteries and great cameras for instance, as well as some bright displays, as demonstrated by the options we've picked above.

What is the difference between a cheap and an expensive smartphone?

The main difference, besides price, between cheaper and expensive smartphones is down to features, and more specifically, the internal components of phones.

Cheaper phones may have slightly older processors and lesser quantities of RAM, whilst flagship handsets typically utilise the latest tech possible. In addition, more expensive phones may have higher quality cameras with more and better lenses that can take sharper images, as well as being built of more premium materials.

What is the best budget phone brand?

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Deciding the best budget phone brand is of course pretty difficult as there are plenty of manufacturers out there vying for the title, and at the end of the day, the 'best' manufacturer is rather subjective.

For our money, the likes of Xiaomi and Samsung make some of the best cheap phones out there, as do Motorola, Nokia and Realme. In short, any of the phones we've listed above come from some of the best budget phone brands out there.

Why use a cheap smartphone?

In essence, using a cheaper or more affordable smartphone can be useful if you're just looking for a device that's going to do the basics well.

Some may not be able to afford a flagship device either, so going for a cheaper phone is going to provide a great user experience for a fraction of the cost of more expensive flagships.

Do I need 5G?

You'll notice that a couple of the phones we've listed above do feature the ability to connect to 5G networks, which can get you much quicker network speeds with more bandwidth and much lower latency.

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Whether you need to take advantage of this depends on a few things, including the point that coverage is majorly limited to more urban areas at the moment, so you'll only be able to utilise 5G connectivity where it's present.

At the moment, 4G should still be fine for most, but if you want. to get a 5G phone for futureproofing, then you certainly can.

What is LTE?

In short, LTE, or long-term evolution, is industry jargon that refers to a specific type of 4G tech. It isn't as quick as a standard 4G connection but offers significant benefits over the older 3G standard that is now beginning to be phased out.

Is 4GB RAM enough for a phone?

In short, yes. In 2022, 4GB of RAM is considered the minimum a smartphone should have in order to run multiple apps at once, which all take up a certain portion of your memory. depending on how intense the tasks are.

The more RAM you have, the more capacity you have to run a larger quantity of apps, for instance.