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Which is the best budget smartphone for under £400?

Written by  Ryan Cleeves Jan 11, 2018

Choosing a new smartphone isn't as simple as it used to be. They may not come in more than one shape, but they do come in lots of different sizes, with plenty different features and most importantly, at plenty of different prices.

There are numerous factors that come into play when upgrading your smartphone. For some the camera is super important, for others it will be the battery life, or perhaps the addition of a fingerprint sensor.

These days it isn't just the very best smartphones that offer these features though. There are another breed of smartphones in town - the mid-rangers - that offer great specs but at a lower price.

That's what this feature is all about: it's for those looking for a new smartphone that isn't necessarily bargain bucket, but won't break the bank either. We have rounded up the best devices for under £400.

Our best budget smartphone

Here's our choice for the best all-round budget smartphone under £400 on the market at the moment...

1. Motorola Moto G5 Plus

moto g5 plus

Buy the Motorola Moto G5 Plus for around £250 on Amazon.co.uk

The Motorola Moto G5 Plus is the best phone in its class for the money. It offers a good fingerprint sensor and gesture controls, a solid metal build quality and it is more than capable when it comes to running apps and games. Bear in mind that there is now the Moto G5S Plus too and although it is not yet available, it's probably worth waiting for it to become available.

If you can't wait though, the G5 Plus doesn't have the most vibrant screen and its camera close-up focus isn't the best, but you won't find a better phone for £250. The G5 is better sized, better designed and better looking than the Moto G4 Plus, while also offering NFC and that nifty gesture-control fingerprint scanner to make it simply all-round better than anything else you'll find for the money.

Read the full review Motorola Moto G5 Plus review

2. Honor 9


Buy the Honor 9 for around £380 from Amazon.co.uk

The Honor 9 offers a striking design and one that makes it stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons. That beautiful finish does scratch easily though and graphics aren't always super smooth, but the Honor 9 delivers great performance in its price point to make it one of the best mid-rangers out there.

It's a siren in this market and one well worthy of consideration. Our complaints are only minor quibbles. For the next Honor device to achieve perfection all it really needs to do is smooth out the graphics and user experience, then it will be an unstoppable brand in the affordable phone market.

3. Apple iPhone SE


Buy the iPhone SE for around £315 from Amazon.co.uk

The Apple iPhone SE is the only iPhone to fall under the £400 mark and it's also the smallest iPhone of the lot. That's not to say it compromises though, as plenty of good things come in small packages and for some, one of the best things about the iPhone SE will be its small size.

The iPhone SE offers the majority of the same feature set as 2016's iPhone 6S meaning it brings plenty of power, along with a great design and an excellent user experience, if you like iOS. You miss out on a few things compared to the newer and larger iPhones, such as 3D Touch, but overall the iPhone SE is a great smartphone with an accessible price point.

4. Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)

Samsung Galaxy A5 2017

Buy the Samsung Galaxy A5 for around £278 on Amazon.co.uk

The Samsung Galaxy A5 offers a great design and build, along with a lovely AMOLED display for rich visuals. It might not be as striking as the likes of the Galaxy S8 flagship or even the Honor 9, and the camera could be better, but the Galaxy A5 has an all-day battery and ample power.

For a phone that costs less than £280, the Galaxy A5 is impressive in its design and build. Even its display and performance punch beyond that price point. In many ways it's a cheaper version of 2016's Galaxy S7, except it doesn't really feel cheap at all when you pick it up. It's solid, quite beautiful and well worthy of consideration in this price bracket.

5. Motorola Moto Z2 Play

motorola mz play

Buy the Motorola Moto Z2 Play for around £365 from Amazon.co.uk

The Motorola Moto G5 Plus isn't the only Moto device in the mid-range field worth considering. The Moto Z2 Play is also a great device and although around £100 more than the G5 Plus, it features an incredible battery life, Moto Mods compatibility and a great fingerprint scanner and gesture controls.

This is a device that offers flagship level smoothness and operation and although it has some stiff competition from devices a kittle more expensive, like the OnePlus 5 that costs £430 and therefore doesn't fit into this feature, it's a super phone with plenty to offer. With little to no slip-ups in use, the Z2 Play secures its commendable position in the mid-range market.

Read the full review Motorola Moto Z2 Play review

Please click links for current prices at Amazon UK.

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