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Best Cheap Smartphones For Under £100

By Simon Thomas on 11th June 2015

Our list of the best smartphones available to buy with a budget of £100

A couple of years ago you had to fork out a significant amount to get your hands on a phone with a decent display, good performance and the ability to browse the internet. But the price of smartphones has decreased rapidly in recent times, meaning there are some true bargains to be had.

We’ve picked out the best smartphones that are priced under £100 (SIM-Free or on Pay As You Go). You’ll be pretty amazed at what you can get your for your money. All the mobiles listed are available to buy in the UK and we’ll continue to update our list throughout 2015.

Anyway, enough talk and on with our list of the best smartphones available for under £100.

Nokia Lumia 530 – Best For Saving Money (£60)

Best Cheap Smartphones - Nokia Lumia 530

All of these phones are cheap, but at just £60 the Nokia Lumia 530 is almost unbelievably affordable. For that money you get a 4.0 inch 480 x 854 display with a pixel density of 245 pixels per inch for clear visuals, a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 200 processor and 512MB of RAM, so it’s a surprisingly well specced device.

It’s solidly built too, with a colourful plastic shell which you can swap out if you ever feel like a change. There’s no 4G, just a 5 megapixel camera and only 4GB of storage, but there’s a microSD card slot too so you can easily expand on that and it runs Windows Phone 8.1 so you can get brand new features like Cortana and Action Centre without having to spend much money.

Moto E 2nd Generation – For Android on a budget (£90)

Best Cheap Smartphones - Moto E

The original Motorola Moto E was incredible value and sold well as a result. Now Motorola’s back with a slightly better and marginally more expensive successor.

At just £90 it’s still incredibly affordable but it’s surprisingly good too, with a 4.5-inch 540 x 960 screen for a pixel density of 245 pixels per inch, a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor and 1GB of RAM.

It also has a fairly attractive, albeit plastic design and feels solidly built. Plus it’s water resistant so it can take a splash and while it only has 8GB of built in storage there’s also a microSD card slot.

The 5 megapixel camera is pretty poor and it lacks advanced features like NFC, but it’s a reliable smartphone with solid performance for under £100 and it even has 4G, which still isn’t standard at this sort of price.

Nokia Lumia 630/635 – For Windows Phone Lovers (£85)

Best Cheap Smartphones - Nokia Lumia 735

The Nokia Lumia 635 is essentially a tweaked version of the Nokia Lumia 630, adding 4G connectivity and changing from a matte plastic cover to a more eye-catching glossy one.

Other than that it’s the same as that already impressive handset, with a clear 4.5-inch 480 x 854 IPS LCD display, a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor, 512MB of RAM, 8GB of storage, a microSD card slot, an 1830 mAh battery and a 5 megapixel camera.

That’s combined with the lightweight and sleek Windows Phone 8.1 operating system that leaves it with slick performance and you can get all of this for just £85, or if you can live without 4G you could always opt for the Lumia 630 and save yourself £15.

Sony Xperia E1 – Best For Music Fans (£55)

Best Cheap Smartphones - Sony Xperia E1The Sony Xperia E1 doesn’t do much to stand out. It’s a plastic block which has none of the premium design features found on most Xperia handsets. But it’s solidly built and with just a 4.0 inch screen it’s one of the most pocket-friendly smartphones around.

That’s not the only reason it’s worth considering though, as it also has a 100Db speaker for loud, clear audio quality and a dedicated Walkman button so you’re never far from your music.

Under the hood there’s a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon 200 processor and 512MB of RAM, so it should be up to the task of carrying out anything you could expect from a smartphone.

With a 480 x 800 display it manages a reasonable pixel density of 233 pixels per inch too and while it only has a 3.2 megapixel camera Sony has included a whole bunch of modes and filters to play with, so it’s easy to get creative with your photography.

It might not be the most exciting phone on the planet but it covers the basics, delivers a music-centric experience and will fit in even the smallest of pockets, all for just around £55.

EE Harrier Mini – For superfast data (£84.99)

Best Cheap Smartphones - EE Kestrel

The EE Harrier Mini can be seen as the successor to the EE Kestrel, along with the pricier EE Harrier.

For under £100 it gives you a sharp 4.7-inch 720 x 1280 display, a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM and a surprisingly high spec 8 megapixel camera.

Being an EE phone it also supports 4G of course, so your mobile data needs are covered and with Android 5.0 its software is up to date.

Perhaps most excitingly it’s currently the cheapest phone to offer WiFi Calling, giving it a serious selling point, particularly as only a handful of other handsets have the feature at all.

With solid battery life, a microSD card slot and a decent if unexceptional build there’s not much that’s missing here, especially not for such a low price.

Motorola Moto G with 4G – Solid all-rounder (£110)

Best Cheap Smartphones - Moto G

The original Moto G with 4G is one of the best budget smartphones on the planet. With starting prices of £110 it comes in at just over £100 but it often pops up on deals for around £100, so keep your eyes peeled.

In any case it’s well worth the extra, as with a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor and 1GB of RAM it’s a snappy performer, while its 4.5 inch 720 x 1280 IPS LCD display is both big and high quality as low end phones go, with a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch.

There are other good things to say about it too. It runs the latest version of Android, has a capable 5 megapixel camera and an attractive build and with 8GB of storage (or more if you pay more) it’s not as limited as some cheap phones.

It’s since been superseded by a 2nd generation Moto G with a larger screen and that’s a great option too but it will stretch your budget even further.

Huawei Honor Holly – For a good camera (£90)

Huawei Honor Holly

This is a name you might not know, but you should, as this Huawei handset is fantastic value for money.

It comes with a big and surprisingly high resolution 5.0-inch 720 x 1280 display, a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM and a generous 16GB of built in storage, plus a microSD card slot.

But the camera is the real star here, as its 8 megapixel snapper is capable of taking detailed shots and it even has a solid 2 megapixel camera on the front for taking selfies.

The design is bland and Huawei’s Emotion UI is a bit simplistic for our tastes, but with a big screen, a good camera and a decent amount of power it’s well worth what it costs.

Microsoft Lumia 640 – For brilliant value (£100)

Microsoft Lumia 640

The long line of high quality yet affordable Lumia’s has arguably reached its peak with the Lumia 640.

The phone squeaks in at just over £100, but you can expect to find it on pay as you go for less and you get an awful lot for your money. Its large 5.0-inch 720 x 1280 display is hard to ignore, while its 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor and 1GB of RAM ensure it’s not short on power, plus it has a capable 8 megapixel camera and runs Windows Phone 8.1.

It’s not likely to become dated any time soon as it will be upgraded to Windows 10 for phones when that launches and on top of the phone itself you also get a one year subscription to Office 365 when you buy it.

That’s valued at £59.99 in itself and includes 1TB of OneDrive storage, so even though there’s only 8GB of built in memory there’s no reason to run short.

Vodafone Smart Prime 6 – For a Long-Lasting Battery (£79)

Vodafone Smart Prime 6

Not content with just providing SIM cards and contracts, Vodafone also makes own-brand handsets and the Smart Prime 6 is one of its best yet, combining an affordable price tag with surprisingly impressive specs.

The highlight is arguably its impressive battery life, as while Vodafone hasn’t confirmed how big its juice pack is it’s rated for up to 18 hours of talk time. That’s well above average for any smartphone, let alone a budget one, so it’s a great choice for power users.

It also has a 1.2GHz quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM so it’s fairly powerful and it has a large 5.0-inch 720p screen. Its 8 megapixel camera is seriously impressive for the price too and while it only has 8GB of storage it also has a microSD card slot with support for cards of up to 64GB. It even supports 4G for speedy mobile data.

The Vodafone Smart Prime 6 is surprisingly stylish too, with a slim 9mm thick build and metal keys, though the casing is still plastic.

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