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Home / Features / Best cheap phones 2024: the best budget smartphones reviewed

Best cheap phones 2024: the best budget smartphones reviewed

The best cheap phones for less than $450/£450 reviewed and rated - Sony, Motorola, Huawei and more

best cheap phones intro graphic featuring Realme Nokia Motorola and OnePlus handsets

Don’t feel like dropping a fat stack of notes on a fancy flagship phone? Good news: you don’t have to. With solid specs, good design and plenty of features, the best cheap phones offer outstanding value for money. Sure, you might have to accept a couple of compromises with a cheap smartphone – think plastic shells and sub-par secondary cameras. But smartphone quality has improved so much that the best cheap phones today also benefit from brilliant screens, strong battery life and performance to put fear into the very best smartphones.

Not sure how to choose the best blower for your budget? From familiar makes to lesser-known names, the list below features our pick of the top affordable handsets – all for less than $450/£450. So whether you’re shopping for a bona fide mobile bargain or looking for a backup blower that won’t break the bank, you’ll find your ideal budget phone in our buying guide.

What is the best cheap phone?

The Samsung Galaxy A54 5G (buy now) is the best cheap phone you can buy. It has a sharp, punchy screen and a very capable multi-lens camera system. Inside is the Exynos 1380 CPU and 8/12GB of RAM which make for a far smoother experience than the previous generation A series phones.

Other cheap phone recommendations

Best cheap phone for gaming

The Poco X5 Pro 5G (buy now) offers plenty of bang for your buck, with an exceptional OLED display, slick 120Hz refresh rate, respectable Snapdragon 778G processor and up to 8GB of RAM for smooth gaming.

Best cheap phone with premium specs

The Redmi Note 12 Pro+ (buy now) is positively bursting with impressive hardware that you’d be hard-pressed to find in similarly-priced handsets, you get a pixel-packed 200MP main camera, 120W charging and an all-day battery.

Best small budget phone

The Sony Xperia 10 IV (buy now) is perfect if you’re a fan of Sony’s unique fuss-free design, more compact screen, and want amazing battery life. The Xperia 10 IV could be the phone for you.

The best cheap phones you can buy today:


1. Samsung Galaxy A54 5G

Stuff Verdict

The A54 5G is a great shout for anyone who can’t justify S23 prices but still wants Samsung’s latest smarts


  • Great-looking screen
  • Capable camera system
  • IP67 water resistance


  • Clunky styling
  • No RAW photo capture
  • No wireless charging
Samsung Galaxy A54 5G specs
Screen6.4in, 2400×1080 AMOLED w/ 120Hz
ProcessorSamsung Exynos 1380
Storage128/256GB, plus microSD
Cameras50MP, f/1.8 w/ OIS + 12MP, f/2.2 ultrawide + 5MP, f/2.4 macro rear
32MP front
Operating systemAndroid 13 w/ OneUI
Battery5000mAh w/ 25W wired charging
Dimensions158x77x8.2mm, 202g

Want the Samsung prestige without the high-end price tag? Then the A54 5G is a contender worthy of your shortlist. With a price tag well below the lofty heights of the Galaxy S23 range, this is a mid-range handset which sacrifices some flagship style and power, while still providing a solid smartphone experience.

One of its standout features during our review was its sharp, punchy screen, along with its capable multi-lens camera system, with a decent selfie camera to boot. And unlike its A53 predecessor (which massively disappointed on the power front), we’re pleased to report that the A54’s Exynos 1380 CPU and 8/12GB of RAM make for a far smoother experience.

Throw in reasonably fast (though far from groundbreaking) 25W charging, and you’ve got yourself a more affordable Samsung handset that provides the highly coveted Samsung-esque experience, at a far more palatable price.


2. Redmi Note 12 Pro+

Stuff Verdict

A very detailed camera and incredibly quick charging at a mid-range price


  • Main camera packs in lots of detail
  • Sharp and colourful screen
  • Respectable battery life, very fast charging


  • Secondary cameras distinctly mid-range
  • Not the best gaming phone for the cash
Redmi Note 12 Pro+ specs
Screen6.67in 2400×1080 OLED w/ 120Hz, Dolby Vision
ProcessorMediatek Dimensity 1080 octa-core
Cameras200MP, f/1.7 w/ PDAF, OIS + 8MP, f/2.2 ultrawide+ 2MP, f/2.4 macro rear
16MP, f/2.5 front
Operating systemAndroid 12 w/ MIUI 14
Battery5000mAh w/ 120W wired charging
Dimensions163x76x8.9mm, 208g

In typical Redmi fashion, the Note 12 Pro+ is positively bursting with impressive hardware that you’d be hard-pressed to find in similarly-priced handsets. In this instance, we’ve got a pixel-packed 200MP main camera, which produced detailed shots in bright lighting conditions, during our in-depth review.

Another impressive feature that wipes the floor even with truly high-end flagships like the Apple iPhone 14 and Samsung Galaxy S23, is its charging speed. Namely, a full 120W charging capability that can produce a full charge in under 25 minutes. Impressive stuff.

With a more than adequate all-day battery life and sharp screen included too, there’s very little not to love about Redmi’s effort here, especially at this price. One of the best cheap smartphones you can currently buy, you won’t be disappointed if this is your top pick.


3. Poco X5 Pro 5G

Stuff Verdict

Far from perfect, but perfectly good at certain things, the X5 Pro 5G is a welcome refinement to the line


  • A good screen for a midrange phone
  • The main camera grabs plenty of detail
  • Rapid charging & strong battery life


  • Weak secondary cameras
  • Textured rear feels a bit cheap
  • MIUI 14 is a heavy Android skin
Poco X5 Pro 5G specs
Screen6.67in, 2400×1080 OLED w/ 120Hz
Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G octa-core
Memory8/12GB RAM
CamerasCamera 108MP, f/1.9 main w/ PDAF, 8MP, f/2.2 ultrawide, 2MP f/2.4 macro.
16MP, f/2.5 front
Operating systemAndroid 12 w/ MIUI 14
Battery5000mAh w/ 67W wired charging
Dimensions163mmx76x 7.9mm, 181g

We’re not sure how you’ll feel about the rear plastic panel on the Poco X5 Pro 5G. A diffuse plastic affair that does well with repelling fingerprints, its style and texture weren’t exactly to our reviewer’s taste — but design is subjective.

That aside, it offers plenty of bang for your buck, with an exceptional OLED display, complete with a slick 120Hz refresh rate. While a few of its cameras aren’t really worthing shouting about, the main snapper can proudly stand on its own, with plenty and depth and detail on offer. And while we found the default processing to be a little on the over-saturated side, you can opt for more realistic results in the 108MP mode.

There’s plenty of power for gaming too, thanks to a respectable Snapdragon 778G processor and up to 8GB of RAM, with zippy 67W fast charging included for good measure. If you can get past the design (you may even love it), then this is a very capable handset that should see you in good stead for at least a few years, if not more.


4. Sony Xperia 10 IV

Stuff Verdict

A solid build, decent main camera, and minimalist design might not sound particularly exciting, but the Xperia 10 IV’s incredible battery life definitely stands out from the crowd


  • Superb battery life
  • Solid main camera
  • Waterpoof build
  • Minimal bloat


  • Wideangle camera suffers from distortion and noise
  • Night shots could be better
Sony Xperia 10 IV specs
Screen6in, 2520×1080 OLED
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 695 octa-core
Memory6GB RAM
Storage128GB on-board, microSD expansion
Cameras12MP, f/1.8 w/ PDAF, OIS + 8MP, f/2.2 telephoto w/ PDAF, 2x optical zoom + 8MP, f/2.2 ultrawide rear.
8MP, f/2.0 front
Operating systemAndroid 12
Dimensions153x67x8.3mm, 161g

Can you get cheaper, better-specced handsets than the Xperia 10 IV from the likes of Realme, Poco, Xioami and more? Yes. From screens with higher refresh rates, to faster charging and individual cameras that might perform better overall, there are no shortage of tempting alternatives worth picking up over Sony’s offering.

As with most Sony handsets though, the Xperia 10 IV fills a niche. If you’re a fan of Sony’s unique fuss-free design, more compact screen, and want amazing battery life, the Xperia 10 IV could be the phone for you. Its main camera and zoom capabilities will serve you well, though if night photography and wide-angle shots are more your bag, you’ll want to look elsewhere.

If you’re still drawn to its design and positive features after reading our review though, then chances are you won’t be disappointed.

Nothing Phone 1 best mid-range smartphone

5. Nothing Phone (1)

Stuff Verdict

A funky take on the affordable phone formula. It doesn’t get everything right, but the design alone will be enough to push it to the top of many budget shoppers’ lists.


  • Glyphs and transparent design refreshingly different
  • Capable rear cameras for the cash
  • Wireless charging a nice bonus at this price


  • Battery life a bit disappointing
  • Rivals pack more performance
Nothing Phone 1 specs
Screen6.55in, 2400×1080 flexible OLED w/ 120Hz refresh rate, HDR10+
CPUQualcomm Snapdragon 778G+ octa-core
Memory8GB/12GB RAM
Cameras50MP, f/1.9 main w/ phase-detect autofocus, OIS, EIS + 50MP, f/2.2 ultrawide w/ EIS.
16MP, f/2.5 front
Storage128GB/256GB on-board
Operating SystemAndroid 12 w/ NothingOS
Battery4500mAh non-removable w/ 33W wired, 15W wireless charging, 5W reverse charging
Dimensions159x76x8.3mm, 194g

Nothing’s first smartphone is about as distinctive as they come, with head-turning glyph lighting and a semi-transparent rear panel. Now that Phone (2) takes care of the mid-range, Nothing has tamed Phone 1’s price just a little to earn it a recommendation in our budget round-up.

You’re getting a capable phone for your cash, with a Snapdragon 778G+ CPU able to play most games fairly smoothly – albeit not always at the OLED display’s 120Hz refresh rate. There’s a good amount of memory to help smooth out multitasking, and storage is plentiful too. Wireless and reverse wireless charging are unusual in budget models, while the 4500mAh battery does a decent enough job at getting through the day.

We were quite impressed by the dual 50MP rear cameras, which have very competent image processing given this is Nothing’s first stab at any sort of phone. Updates to the latest version of Android have also brought a much-improved NothingOS interface, with an extensive selection of widgets and colour-matched icons. It’s one of our favourite versions of Android right now, and Nothing has plans to improve it further in 2024.


6. Honor Magic 5 Lite

Stuff Verdict

A keenly-priced mid-ranger with sharp looks, a quality screen and stellar battery life – although mobile photographers have better options for similar cash


  • Stylish looks and quality display
  • Great battery life
  • Main camera a decent enough performer


  • Secondary cameras a weak link
  • Outperformed by similarly-priced rivals
Honor Magic 5 Lite specs
Screen6.67in, 2400×1080 OLED w/ 120Hz
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 695 octa-core
Memory6GB RAM
Cameras64MP w/ PDAF + 5MP ultrawide + 2MP macro rear
16MP front
Operating systemAndroid 12 w/ MagicUI 6.1
Battery5100mAh w/ 40W wired charging
Dimensions62x74x7.9mm, 175g

If good looks and a gorgeous screen are high on your priority list, the Honor Magic 5 Lite is a very safe bet. With a slick design that shames many pricier phones, a beefy battery, and a decent (though not spectacular) main camera, it provides a lot of phone for your cash.

The secondary cameras don’t add much value, mind, and there’s not enough performance here to satiate the demands of hardcore mobile gamers. But if you spend more time in Chrome than Call of Duty, and want to go as long as possible between reaching for the charger, then this could very well be the most well-rounded handset for you.

Best cheap phones Honor 90

7. Honor 90 Lite

Stuff Verdict

Honor covers the basics and crams in best-in-class storage to create a fun, affordable alternative to Samsung’s entry A-series phones.


  • Loads of storage for the price
  • Respectable gaming performance
  • Decent main camera


  • Easy-to-cover mono speaker
  • Bloatware (most uninstallable)
  • Misses out on OLED display
Honor 90 Lite specs
Screen6.7in, 2388×1080 LCD w/ 90Hz
CPUMediaTek Dimensity 6020
Cameras100MP, f/1.9 + 5MP ultrawide + 2MP depth + 2MP macro
16MP, f/2.4 front
Storage256GB (no SD card)
Operating systemAndroid 13
Battery4500mAh w/ 35W wired
Dimensions162.9 x 74.5 x 7.48mm

The Honor 90 Lite is absolutely worth your attention if you’re after a detailed camera or ample storage for very little cash. It’s one of few budget-focused models that comes outfitted with 256GB of on-board storage, rather than 128GB.

A 100MP main snapper is capable of some impressively clear and clarity-packed photos, and while the secondary lenses aren’t nearly as impressive, it can handle its own in low light. The MediaTek Dimensity 6020 CPU is speedy enough for a budget phone, and the 4500mAh battery is more than sufficient for a day or two of use between top-ups.

A fingerprint sensor built into the power button, 90Hz refresh rate for fairly smooth scrolling/responsive gaming, and fairly slick styling give us little to grumble about at this price point.

Best cheap phone: Motorola Moto G50

8. Motorola Moto G50

Stuff Verdict

There are better, faster 4G smartphones for the same price, but the G50 is a capable mid-ranger for anyone who wants wallet-friendly 5G


  • 5G is welcome
  • Superb battery life


  • Camera strugles in low light
Motorola Moto G50 specs
Screen6.5in, 1600×720 IPS LCD w/ 90Hz refresh rate, 20:9 aspect ratio
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 480 octa-core
Memory4GB RAM
Storage64GB on-board, microSD expansion
Cameras48MP, f/1.7 main w/ PDAF autofocus and LED flash, plus 5MP, f/2.4 macro, 2MP, f/2.4 depth sensor rear. 13MP, f/2.2 front
Operating systemAndroid 11
Battery5000mAh non-removable
Dimensions165x75x9mm, 192g

The G50 shares the same plastic construction, hardware layout and general heft as the even more affordable G30. The trade-off is excellent connectivity, with NFC, microSD card support and a 3.5mm headphone jack – plus the headline addition: 5G.

Similarities with the cheaper G30 continue up front, where you’ll find an identical 6.5in display with an underwhelming 1600×720 resolution and contrast that’s par for the course. But the G50 makes better use of the 90Hz refresh rates: while its chipset might seem less capable on paper, it’s more efficient and better able to keep up with taps and swipes.

You can still expect a short wait with more demanding apps, but the newer silicon delivers a slicker experience than the G30. It’s also largely up to the task for gaming. Frame rates can judder when loading Call of Duty Mobile, but things are perfectly playable once the action gets going. That extra efficiency also maximises the staying power of the 5000mAh battery, regularly going a couple of days without a charge – handy, given the tardy 15W charging speeds.

In most areas, the G50 bests the G30 – but it’s arguably less capable than even the entry-level G10 when it comes to cameras. You get a triple-lens setup, with a 48MP sensor topping the bill. It lacks the raw detail captured by the G30’s main camera and, unsurprisingly, it struggles in low light.

Best cheap phone: Motorola Moto G30

9. Motorola Moto G30

Stuff Verdict

Performance isn’t blistering, but the ultra-affordable Moto G30 packs in a lot for anyone on a tight budget


  • Convincing camera
  • Excellent battery life


  • Photos not great in low light
Motorola Moto G30 specs
Screen6.5in, 1600×720 IPS LCD w/ 90Hz refresh rate, 20:9 aspect ratio
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 662 octa-core
Memory4GB RAM
Storage128GB on-board, microSD expansion
Cameras64MP, f/1.7 26mm + 8MP, f/2.2 ultrawide + 2MP, f/2.4 macro + 2MP, f/2.4 depth-sensor rear w/ phase-detect autofocus (main sensor only), LED flash. 13MP, f/2.2 front
Operating systemAndroid 11
Battery5000mAh non-removable
Dimensions165x76x9.1mm, 200g

Sandwiched between the cheaper G10 and the better-connected G50, the Moto G30 is a mid-range, middle-of-the-road mobile that offers plenty for those with a limited budget.

Despite its pared-back plastic build, the G30 is hefty at 200g and large enough to poke out of your pocket. That’s mainly down to the 6.5in display which fills the front of the phone. While its 20:9 aspect ratio is nicely cinematic, contrast is average and the 1600×720 resolution is disappointing. And though the option to run 90Hz refresh rates is a welcome one, the impression of smoother motion is limited by chipset performance. Even running uncluttered Android 11, switching apps isn’t stutter-free.

With a huge 64MP main sensor, the G30 does have one of the highest resolution cameras at this price point. It deploys nifty algorithms to deliver 16MP photos, using the extra data to strip out noise, boost details and grab more light. It works impressively well in daylight, but less convincingly after dark. Only one of its secondary snappers is worth your time: the 8MP ultra-wide is noisy but usable.

Where the G30 excels is battery life. Pairing a beefy 5000mAh cell with a power-efficient CPU translates into impressive longevity: 48 hours between charges isn’t hard to manage.

Best cheap phone: Nokia G50

10. Nokia G50

Stuff Verdict

It’s not especially quick, but a big screen and 5G connectivity make the G50 a lot of device for your cash. Plus you get pure Android with guaranteed updates


  • Guaranteed updates
  • 5G connectivity


  • Can seem quite slow
Nokia G50 specs
Screen6.82in, 1560×720 LCD w/ teardrop notch
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 480 octa-core
Memory4GB RAM
Storage64GB on-board, microSD expansion
Cameras48MP, f/1.8 w/ phase-detect AF, plus 5MP ultrawide, 2MP depth rear. 8MP front
Operating systemAndroid 11
Dimensions174x78x8.9mm, 220g

Nokia’s G50 is no speed demon. And while its 48MP main sensor deals well with detail, its multiple cameras are never going to blow you away. Plus you can get more muscle for your money from the likes of Poco, Realme and Redmi. So why would you opt for the plastic-shell Nokia? First, it’s one of the cheapest ways to get a 5G handset, offering faster connectivity without a premium.

And second, because if you spend most of your time glued to YouTube, the G50’s giant screen is sure to entertain. At 6.82in, it’s larger than what you’ll find on many flagship phones costing five times the price. It’s not an OLED panel and refresh rates max out at 60Hz, but brightness is ample, colours natural and contrast decent.

The entry-level Snapdragon 480 processor was never going to feel especially snappy – and with only 4GB of RAM in support, apps regularly take a moment to open. But you can still play titles like Call of Duty Mobile with too much stuttering.

It helps that Nokia has committed to Android One: the G50 ships with an OS free from CPU-sapping bloatware. It also benefits from a beefy 5000mAh battery that can comfortably last a day and a half between charges. Handy, even if the sizeable cell means the G50 is a weighty thing at 220g.

How to buy the best cheap phone

Being at the lower end of the market means you’ll have to make some compromises, but as we mentioned in the introduction, affordable smartphones are much better than they used to be (so you won’t be getting an unusable slab).

One of the biggest differences you’ll notice between the best cheap phones and more premium models is the build quality. While you won’t be getting a device crafted from glossy glass and aluminium, we’ve made sure to select phones made from durable materials and with solid construction.

The display is one of the most important aspects to focus on, as it’s the thing you’ll be looking at and interacting with the most. Cheaper phones used to have lower-resolution displays, lower brightness levels, or limited colour accuracy, but the phones included in our list have OLED panels, high refresh rates and bezel-less displays – it’s very refreshing to see.

If you take lots of pictures with your phone, then the camera is a key feature to look at. Cheap phones often compromise on the camera – you won’t be getting a quadruple camera system or superzoom lenses here, but you can get a decent main and selfie camera.

You’ll want a smartphone from a manufacturer that provides regular software updates, which can be important for security and functionality, as well as a software experience that is relatively unmodified for a better user experience.

We’ve recommended phones with decent enough processor performance and RAM to handle your day-to-day tasks (and even some capable of gaming).

If you’re looking for something a little more expensive, then you can check out Stuff’s guide to the best mid-range phones, which are priced between $450/£450 to $650/£650.

How we test the best cheap phones

We have used and reviewed every phone on this list, so you can trust us when it comes to recommending the best cheap smartphone to buy.

We usually spend a week or longer reviewing phones, testing out all of the software features, build quality and performance. Our reviews are very comprehensive, testing every single aspect of a smartphone, including battery life, quality of the display, and camera.

For more information on Stuff’s rating and review process, read our page on how we test products.

Now read about the best upcoming smartphones.

Profile image of Chris Rowlands Chris Rowlands Freelance contributor


Formerly News Editor at this fine institution, Chris now writes about tech from his tropical office. Sidetracked by sustainable stuff, he’s also keen on coffee kit, classic cars and any gear that gets better with age.

Areas of expertise

Cameras, gear and travel tech

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