The best smartphones you can buy today for under £200

The best smartphones you can buy today for under £200

With a smartphone that costs less than £200, you are able to get a whiff of the more luxurious higher-end handsets. Manufacturers such as Xiaomi, Realme, and even Motorola offer smartphones with powerful cameras, borderless displays, and gaming-capable processors in this market segment. You also have the clear advantage of not having to tie yourself down to an expensive smartphone contract for more than two years. Hence, if you prefer to stay independent, simply pick one of the following smartphones.

Table of contents

  1. This is what counts for smartphones under £200
    1. Features
    2. Compromises
  2. We recommend these sub-£200 smartphones
    1. Best performance: Realme 7
    2. Best camera: Huawei P40 Lite
    3. Best price: Alcatel 3L (2020)
    4. Best display: Samsung A40
    5. Best battery life: Motorola Moto G8 Power and Realme 7
    6. It's worth the wait: Motorola Moto G 5G Plus
    7. More tips for sub-£200 phones
  3. Release Radar: You can look forward to these models
  4. How do we review smartphones?
  5. Alternatives to a new purchase
  6. Upcoming action days at a glance
  7. Other recommendations

This is what counts for smartphones under £200

In our regular smartphone reviews, we are always surprised about the features manufacturers pack into low-cost models. In short, you can look forward to the following features and will also have to make the following compromises:

Features

  • High capacity batteries with long battery life
  • Dual, triple, and even quad cameras at the back
  • Smooth gaming performance at low or medium graphic settings
  • Dual-SIM support

Compromises

  • Slower processor
  • No 5G (yet)
  • Less memory
  • Plastic back instead of glass
  • Older communication standards (Wi-Fi 5.0 or missing NFC)
  • Slower fast charging rate or no wireless charging
  • Poorer camera performance

As a rule, we recommend smartphones that cost up to £200 for users who want to enjoy a certain amount of functionality but do not expect the best possible quality. Those who rock to cheaper models as a daily driver are also associated with a certain degree of carelessness, as any loss or damage would not be too hard on your pocket. So, if you also want to make do without a protective cover or purchase additional insurance against display damage, you are welcome to help yourself to a cheap smartphone.

NextPit recommends these sub-£200 smartphones

Best performance: Realme 7

Realme 7 front
With the Realme 7, you end up with a powerful smartphone. / © NextPit

Evaluation

Bewertung Design und Handling

Pros

  • Good performance that is superior to the Pro version
  • Camera delivers natural-looking images
  • Large battery with quick charging capability
 

Cons

  • Cheap materials 
  • Big and heavy
  • No IP certification
  • Main camera is only 48 MP in Europe (64 MP in Asia)

In this review, the Realme 7 surprised us especially when it came to its benchmark results. This is because the 8 GB of RAM model that we reviewed did come within a whisker of the more expensive Pro version where performance tests are concerned. As the amount of RAM does affect the multitasking ability of a device, you end up with a real high performer for only £199 when you pick up the cheapest Realme 7 model. We were able to enjoy mobile games at the highest graphic settings in the review without suffering from any overheating, and the smartphone also convinces in other ways.

As the quad-camera setup at the back does not offer any really useful additional lenses, it was still capable of taking crisp, sharp pictures with beautiful colours. In addition, this Realme handset shines with a 90 Hz display and is bright enough for an IPS panel. Only the plastic case including the weak loudspeaker and the rattling vibration motor were causes for concern in the review. Apart from that, this smartphone comes highly recommended!

Best camera: Huawei P40 Lite

Huawei P40 Lite
The Huawei P40 Lite offers a good and above all, useful quad-camera at the back. / © NextPit

Evaluation

Bewertung Design und Handling

Pros

  • Excellent camera
  • Very nice design
  • Good display
  • Good battery life
 

Cons

  • No Google services
  • AppGallery catalogue still under construction
  • Takes some getting used to

When Huawei introduced the P40 Lite in April, the tech world was astonished: An affordable smartphone that offers a quad-camera setup while boasting looks that can turn heads. Since smartphones from the Huawei P series happen to be among the better camera smartphones on the market, this comes across as no big surprise. Even with the inexpensive Lite version, you can take very good pictures, and thanks to the depth camera, you can take good-looking portraits. The ultra-wide-angle sensor also enables you to snap good pictures of architecture or panorama shots without missing a beat. We suggest you take a look at our review of the P40 Lite to get an impression of the image quality of the (quote) "excellent camera".

However, recommending a Huawei smartphone in 2020 is always accompanied by a warning: the company is currently no longer allowed to use Google services and is therefore relying on its own solutions. Although these home-grown solutions are not bad on their own, they require some getting used to and compromises. Otherwise, the P40 Lite offers a nice display, looks chic, and doesn't disappoint in terms of battery life and performance. If you are generally interested in cameras in smartphones, head for our ultimate smartphone camera guide.

For the budget-conscious: Alcatel 3L (2020)

Alcatel 3L 2020 front
The Alcatel 3L is the cheapest smartphone among the lot, but still convinced in the review. / © NextPit

Evaluation

Bewertung Design und Handling

Pros

  • Beautiful design and solid workmanship
  • Display offers good colour reproduction
  • Great and up-to-date Android 10
  • Smooth performance with gaming potential
  • Large 4,000 mAh battery 
 

Cons

  • Not enough processing muscle
  • Triple camera setup has moderate main and poor auxiliary camera performance
  • Poor sound quality
  • Included headset is hardly usable

When we think of smartphones that have a £200 ceiling, we are looking at a price range between £100 and £200. After all, in the list of best smartphones for under £100, we're working our way up to particularly low-priced models. The Alcatel 3L (2020) is almost a borderline case with a current sales price of £160 (as of November 2020). So this is the right smartphone for you if the previous recommendations were still too expensive for your taste.

In our practical review of the Alcatel 3L, the smartphone made up for a lot of resentment that accumulated when reviewing the Alcatel 1S. This handset proved to be surprisingly well made and has a chic design with its fine teardrop notch. Despite the low price, mobile games such as PUGB Mobile or Call of Duty: Mobile could be somewhat enjoyed while the battery performed well courtesy of its 4,000 mAh rating. However, the camera worked well only under optimal lighting conditions, and the MT6762 Helio P22 processor does run out of processing muscle far too early for our liking. It is quite possible that the smartphone will become slower and slower over time simply from basic, everyday use.

The best display: the Samsung Galaxy A40 shines

Samsung A40 front
A great AMOLED screen makes the Galaxy A40 our recommendation for Netflix and co. / © NextPit

Evaluation

Bewertung Design und Handling

Pros

  • Compact form factor
  • Super AMOLED screen
  • Fast charging support
  • Ultra-wide angle sensor
  • 3.5mm audio jack
 

Cons

  • Slow camera app
  • Sluggish performance
  • Short battery life

A 5.9-inch Infinity-O Super AMOLED panel with FHD+ resolution (2,340 × 1,080) happens to be the title of our review where the Galaxy A40 is concerned. This might sound complicated, but it paves the way to usher in the best display on our list. Apart from the flashy marketing terms, the 5.9-inch display is actually gorgeous, with its beauty marred by a tiny teardrop notch at the top. In addition, Samsung also relies on an AMOLED display in the affordable Galaxy A40, i.e. a panel with high-quality OLED technology. Since every single pixel here is self-luminous, the display in the A40 is superior to other models in terms of brightness, contrast, and colour reproduction.

The 2,340 x 1,080 pixels resolution is also perfect at this price point, as texts and YouTube videos on the panel appear crisp and sharp. In the picture above, you can also notice the thin bezels, courtesy of the screen-to-body ratio of 85 per cent. Thanks to the price drops among the Samsung smartphone fraternity, you currently pay around £200 for this smartphone when purchasing online. Those who enjoy video streaming and watching movies on their smartphones will definitely get their money's worth.

Best battery life: Motorola Moto G8 Power

Motorola Moto G8 Power Front
The Motorola Moto G8 Power lasts for a long time thanks to its large battery, but also needs time to recharge. / © NextPit

In our recommendation for smartphones under £200 with especially good battery life, the Moto G8 Power models from Motorola and the performance winner Realme 7 share the top spot. Both devices have large 5,000 mAh batteries and can also be recharged quickly via quick-charge functions. This is the reason why the Honor 9A does not make it to the top of the list despite its equally high capacity battery. In the Honor 9A review, we had to struggle with agonizingly long battery charge times.

The Moto G8 Power, on the other hand, charges with 10 watts and thus shortens the charging process by a little. As it relies on a micro USB connection, one should not place too high hopes on such technology. The Realme 7 is different though, using USB-C and a 30W quick charging compatible charger. Thus, the Realme 7 does manage to score points in this aspect even when compared against higher-end models. However, since the handset has a fairly powerful Helio G95 processor and a display with 90 Hertz refresh rate, the overall battery life should be a bit less than that of the Moto G8 Power that is powered by a Snapdragon SoC and an IPS LCD panel that runs at 60 Hertz refresh rate. If you were to use either handset casually, then chances are they will be able to last you two whole days' worth of runtime.

For those who are patient: Moto G 5G Plus experiences price drops

Motorola Moto G 5G Plus front
The Motorola Moto G 5G Plus will fall into the sub-£200 smartphone category if the price continues to plummet. / © NextPit

Evaluation

Bewertung Design und Handling

Pros

  • Fast performance with 5G-capable SoC
  • Great display with 90Hz and HDR 10
  • One of the best Android skins
  • Good camera under good lighting conditions
  • Large battery
 

Cons

  • Plastic housing without IP certification
  • Image quality decreases sharply in low light conditions
  • Poor loudspeaker performance

Even 5G smartphones are slowly but surely making their way into sub-£200 handsets, but haven't quite made the cut yet. Currently one of the cheapest 5G smartphones around, the Moto G 5G Plus will still cost £229 in November 2020. So, if you can wait a few more weeks and are already subscribed to a 5G-capable mobile phone contract, it might be worth the wait. Especially since the Moto G 5G Plus did really well in the review.

Thanks to the integrated Snapdragon 765G SoC, the smartphone offers a lot of performance capability and handles current mobile games with flying colours. Furthermore, the panel comes in a 21:9 format with 90 Hertz refresh rate, making it a feast for the eyes while looking slim and svelte in its form factor. However, camera performance is more convincing during the day and you also have to make do without IP certification.

Honourable mentions: these sub-£200 smartphones are also very good

Of course, we also base our recommendations on personal preferences, and not everyone will agree on points such as camera performance, design, and display quality. Therefore, we included devices in the following list and are quite sure that you would not regret picking any of them up. We also listed some devices which we are unable to review at the moment. 

In addition to these models, we dare to take a peek into the future at the end of our list of the best smartphones for under £200. After all, there are rumours swirling around about recurring model series in that are being prepped for a release or manufacturers have already announced new models.

Release Radar: You can look forward to these models

In the near future you should keep an eye on the manufacturer known as OnePlus. After the company, which belongs to BBK, already brought out a very good smartphone that costs less than £400 in the form of the OnePlus Nord, the OnePlus N100 and OnePlus Nord N10 5G are now available. If the price of the 5G-capable N10 is over £200, you could see the N100 as a regular fixture on this list in the near future. Especially when taking into consideration how the Snapdragon 460 chipset and the 5,000 mAh battery make the OnePlus N100 an interesting candidate for this curated list. The N100 is one of the smartphones you can finally buy in November 2020 where it is expected to be released sometime in the middle of the month.

oneplus nord 2020
With the upcoming Nord devices, OnePlus is moving into more affordable territory / © OnePlus

If battery life is important to you, keep an eye on the Moto G9 Power. Motorola announced the device at the beginning of November 2020 and slapped a recommended retail price of £199 on it. For this you will get the 6,000 mAh battery, the largest battery ever included by Motorola. However, Motorola reduced the range of functions compared to its predecessor in order to reduce the RRP a little. This is interesting as it will most likely be the new battery life champion upon release.

How do we review smartphones?

When it comes to the keyword "releases" and the topic of smartphones: How does NextPit even review new devices? As an independent news magazine, manufacturers send us new smartphones or respond to our inquiries by providing review units. These are always on loan, which our editors send back after the review or remain in our office on a permanent loan.

Our reviewers, whether permanent employees or freelancers, use the review units in the same manner as you would for context. We use these smartphones in everyday situations, inserting our own SIM card and walking around while snapping numerous test photos. Thus we build up experience as a team, which helps us with our best-of smartphone lists. To this end, we discuss in advance which candidates are suitable and the preferences of the individual editors. Only devices that we have already reviewed will receive a clear recommendation. For the sake of fairness, alternatives are also mentioned and we try to keep our lists of best candidates constantly up to date and to add missing features. Do you have any questions about our lists of best performers or our review procedure? If so, don't hesitate to write questions or suggestions in our comments.

Alternatives to a new purchase

Refurbished, sale and used purchase

If removing the protective film on the screen of your smartphone for the very first time does not make you feel too happy or excited, you can always opt to buy smartphones from a higher-end tier via a used or refurbished device. It is especially recommended to use refurbished devices that have been labelled and certified. These are used smartphones that have been checked and refurbished by the smartphone company's employees. Refurbished devices are especially value-for-money when dealers offer them alongside an extended warranty. This way you can be sure that you are buying a smartphone that will not give up the ghost after a few weeks.

Of course, you do not have this advantage when buying used handsets from individual owners or private entities on platforms like eBay, eBay classifieds or other portals. However, used equipment is sometimes considerably cheaper here, since there are no further costs that are tacked on by middlemen. In such a so-called sale, you can also secure older models that online shops still carry in new condition, but which are no longer in production.

Waiting for bargain days

This is especially true towards the end of the year: any purchase of technology is accompanied by the risk of finding a cheaper offer a few weeks later. With Black Friday and the associated Black Week, Amazon Prime Day, Singles Day, and Cyber Monday, there are discount days in October as well as November, which is supposed to boost the economy before Christmas. Since smartphones happen to be one of the most popular technology devices of all, you should keep your eyes peeled for any good bargains. You can check out the dates for this year's bargain days in the table below:

Upcoming bargain days

You should perhaps wait for these bargain days before buying a smartphone:
Day Date
Singles Day 11 November 2020
Black Week 23 November to 27 November 2020
Black Friday 27 November 2020
Cyber Monday 30 November 2020

Keep an eye on our homepage on these days. This is because we search every online shop and manufacturer's site for offers and estimate the offers according to their corresponding value. Just as in this article, you can educate yourself with additional reviews and news about the respective devices before you come to a purchase decision.

Purchase within the scope of contracts and financing offers

If your old smartphone is completely broken and you need an immediate replacement, you can split the purchase price across several months. This normally applies to smartphone contracts, where you get a new smartphone for free for a monthly surcharge or for a small one-time payment. Smartphone brand exclusivity in the past, i.e. limiting the smartphone to just one network operator, is no longer a problem. However, the risk of paying more for the device at the end of the contract as opposed to a cheaper, immediate purchase remains.

Cheaper prices, on the other hand, can be secured via a monthly financing schedule. You pay off the purchase price of the new device in monthly instalments without a contract and, in the case of zero per cent financing, you don't even have to pay anything in interest. Financings can be quite popular, but there is a certain risk attached here as well. For example, if you lose your new smartphone right after you buy it or if it breaks down, you'll be paying for a device that cannot be used at all or only to a certain extent for months on end.

Are you dissatisfied with the choice of our sub-£200 smartphones? Let us know your insider tips in the comments below this article then. If the price-performance ratio in this price range is not right for you, you will find additional best selling smartphone lists in the following articles.

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15 comments

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  • I bought the Redmi 9 for about 100, its a amazing phone after some tweaking with help from youtube and xda forum


  • actually the Moto G Power is not micro usb but C type like all the newer phones, a little more research on their website would prove this, plus the fact that I have this phone


  • huawei was good


  • marco sarli
    • Admin
    9 months ago Link to comment

    I have a Redmi 8 and, for the price, it is great.If it only had a removable battery...but anyway I get 2 days of use with 30% of charge left


  • Ken 9 months ago Link to comment

    U can get a full Moto G7, 4GB ram, 64GB storage, New on Ebay $179 all day...Don't settle for the weak 2/32GB Power...get the full on G7! smh...


  • storm 9 months ago Link to comment

    Realmi and Xiaomi are not offered with support here to speak of and with mega bloat. Nokia and Huawei don't let you unlock the bootloader.

    Moto wins as everyone else eliminates themselves.


  • The HTC Desire 816 is a impressive phone with dual front speakers an amazing display which is 5.5 in by the way and a even better camera front and back! Highly recommend this phone!
    oh and its got the lollipop update and is on the list to receive marshmallow update!


  • Zte grand X max+ through Cricket wireless. $169 for a 6 inch screened beast.


  • Tsch, tcsh,tcsh you poor Americans only know Samsung, LG,Motorola Asus . Whereas there are uncountable models here in Asia with myriad of combination of specifications but most of them comes with SDCard and sells much much lower than USD 200. The only reason you guys got stung is that you bought without asking if it is ROW ( Rest of the World) version or CN ( China only) version.


  • Kaleb Nov 18, 2015 Link to comment

    The G3 is awesome just saying..


  • Great Article

    However the s4 came with 16GB minimum (you wrote 8GB)
    unless you mean the usable storage memory with was about 9GB


  • Excellent recommendations - it's surprising how good an android phone you can get for $200 or less these days. We are almost to the point where $600 flagships are only really different from $200 phones by cosmetic design and better camera.


  • Lenovo K3 Note, Honor 4x Meizu M2 Note, Xiaomi Mi 4i also very good option under $200 if you can get one in US of course.

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