A host of budget smartphones have been released as customers look for cheaper alternatives.
Experts say many are now looking for cheaper options as they cannot justify high price points from manufacturers, with costs for some top of the range devices hovering at £1,000.
Meanwhile, many may be fed-up with smashing the screen and facing expensive repair bills, or simply want a no bells and whistles device that they can simply use to surf the internet, send messages and make phone calls.
After Apple re-launched its SE at a much lower price point to its other devices, including the iPhone XR and iPhone XS, other brands followed suit and now Nokia has launched a smartphone at £99, undercutting its rivals.
There are now a wide range of budget smartphones available as customers look to pay less
This is Money takes a look at some of the best budget phones available, comparing prices and specifications so you can decide which one might be the best deal for you.
All prices were sourced from the retailers own website.
While Samsung is known for having some of the priciest phones on the market, it does still have a couple of cheaper models where customers aren’t expected to pay into the high hundreds.
The Samsung S20 Fan Edition is one of the best value devices the phone giant has to offer.
The Samsung Galaxy A20e is currently the cheapest smartphone the company offer
It will go on sale on October 2 but customers can pre-order on its website now.
It is currently available from £19.42 a month – or £699 upfront – for the 128GB, 5G version.
Alternatively, customers can save more money and pay £16.64 a month or £599 upfront for the 4G version.
The phone has a triple lens setup with a 12MP wide angle lens as its main camera, a second 12MP shooter for ultra wide angle shots and an 8MP telephoto lens with a 3 times optical zoom.
Customers can choose from a range of colours including navy, lavender, mint, red, orange and white.
The phone is much cheaper than Samsung’s Galaxy S20 Ultra alternative which costs customers £1,199 upfront for the 128GB device.
However, the cheapest Samsung phone currently available on its site is the Galaxy A20e which costs £160 upfront for 32GB of memory.
Available as of March last year, the phone has a 5.80 inch display and has both a front and rear camera. However, it isn’t currently enabled for 5G.
The Apple SE is the best value iPhone currently available, with prices coming in at £17.45 per month on the Apple website or £419 upfront.
It is one of the cheapest phones released by the company and also marked a return to a smaller size of device with a 4.7 inch display.
However, iPhone users could save even more money on the SE by trading in their old device with some able to get £155 back by handing in their used phone.
Fitted with the ‘fastest ever chip in a smartphone’, the A13 Bionic chip, the new SE was released as a follow up to the original which first came out in March 2016.
The new Apple SE devices are one of the cheapest that the phone giant has come out with
It features the popular portrait mode for taking artsy photos, high quality videos in 1080p HD and Touch ID – something that was not available in more recent Apple products like the iPhone XR and XS.
By comparison, the iPhone 11 Pro Max costs a whopping £47.87 a month or £1,149 upfront – £30.42 more than the Apple SE each month.
Again, people can save however if they trade in an old device.
Other iPhones are still popular and Apple fans will be eagerly awaiting details of the iPhone 12 which is due to launch later this year but has not yet been announced by Apple.
Google first introduced its Pixel phones in October 2016 and has since released a new model each year, plus a XL version.
It is also releases an ‘a’ version a year after the original model has come out, known as a more budget friendly option.
The Pixel 4a, Google’s newest model, is now available to pre-order from £349 upfront or £14.54 per month for 24 months with 0 per cent APR.
It is due to be released on 1 October in the UK, despite having already been launched in other countries around the world in August.
It is only available in black and comes with a 5.8 inch screen as well as a fast charging battery.
It has a storage of 128GB and both a front and rear camera with portrait mode and Night Sight, which, instead of capturing one bright and blurry photo, captures an equal amount of light over a burst of many photos that are dark but sharp.
However, this handset doesn’t come with 5G, although a Pixel 4a 5G model will be released later this year.
The Pixel 4 smartphones were released last year with the new 4a devices coming out soon
Nokia is also joining the firms offering cut price phones and has released a number of good value products.
It’s due to release the Nokia 3.4 in October, which will cost £129, at the same time as the Nokia 2.4, which will come in at just £99 – one of the cheapest smartphones on the market.
The slightly more expensive Nokia 3.4 comes with a 6.39 inch HD screen with a two day battery life.
The phone also has triple camera AI imaging, a portrait mode, night mode and an ultra-wide lens.
By comparison the Nokia 2.4, which also has a two day battery life, has a bigger screen at 6.5 inches in HD.
However, it only has two cameras, compared to the 3.4’s three. Both come with fingerprint sensor to unlock your phone.
The cheapest Nokia smartphone currently available is the 1 Plus that costs £69.99.
The phone comes with a rear-facing camera and a 5MP front-facing camera with a ‘beautifying’ feature.
It is also loaded with Android 9 Pie (Go edition) so customers can enjoy the latest Android system.
The new Nokia phones will be launched in October this year – with one coming in as low as £99
What do the experts say?
Tech experts have warned that amid the current pandemic, many customers will not be able to afford the most expensive piece of technology on the market.
Holly Niblett, head of digital at Compare the Market, said: ‘With the iPhone 12 set to launch next month, it remains to be seen whether its price tag will be comparable to the £1,000 Apple’s flagship iPhone X cost when it launched in 2017.
‘Buying the latest smart phone outright is a price many people cannot afford – especially during an uncertain economic environment.
‘It is not surprising that some phone manufacturers are responding by offering more basic handsets for sale to cost-conscious customers happy to forego the latest technology.
‘Buying a cheaper handset outright doesn’t mean a customer has to scrimp on minutes and data, with many competitive SIM-only deals available.
‘Vodafone is currently offering a SIM-only deal with unlimited minutes and texts for £15 a month over a 12 month contract – and it includes 30MB of 4G data a month, which is likely to be more than adequate for most people’s everyday usage.
‘For people who want to spread the cost of a new handset, a phone and SIM contract deal may appeal.
‘The 2020 iPhone SE is one of Apple’s cheaper handsets and can be purchased with EE over a 24 month contract for £32 a month, and includes 50MB of 4G data and unlimited minutes and data with no upfront cost.’
Ru Bhikha, mobiles expert at Uswitch, adds: ‘This year has seen the big names competing aggressively in the mid-tier smartphone market with Apple, Google, Samsung all launching devices with top of the line performance but prices to suit a wider range of budgets.
‘As the cost of premium handsets rises every year and the perception of many consumers being that the new innovation doesn’t always justify the price increase, it is unsurprising that many people are now looking for cheaper alternatives when it comes to upgrading their phones.
‘By competing in the mid-range market, with operating systems which we are more familiar with when compared to the current players in this space, the likes of Apple and Samsung are really hoping to sweep up the everyday users who don’t need the latest phone, or the absolutely best camera.’
For customers looking to save money on their phone bills, they can usually get cheaper prices if they use price comparison websites to save money on their mobile bills.
Similarly, if phone holders can trade in their devices, they can save themselves sometimes hundreds of pounds on their new purchase.