Best bargain UK smartphones under £200

Here we list the best smartphones you can buy for under £200. There are two sections, "Best Smartphones from UK Operators" is aimed at those looking for a new device and contract/tariff. If you already have a tariff you are happy with, or you want to look for a SIM-only tariff, the "Best SIM-free smartphones" sections is for you. 

Best Smartphones from UK Operators

Sony Xperia E5

The Sony Xperia E5 is the cheaper version of the more premium Sony Xperia X and Sony Xperia XA. While still being budget device, the Xperia E5 has reasonable specifications including a 720x1280 5-inch display, 16 GB storage (micro SD slot available), 1.5 GB RAM, and a 13 megapixel camera.

The Sony Xperia E5 costs about £149 when purchased off-contract. It is currently available from several major networks including Vodafone, Talkmobile, and Virgin Mobile. You can expect to pay about £100 upfront on prepay plans or get it for free on billpay contracts.

Sony Xperia E5

Samsung Galaxy J5

The Samsung Galaxy J5 is a similar but slightly more expensive alternative to the Sony Xperia E5. The J5 is the budget version of the Samsung S7. While the performance of the J5 is obviously lower than that of the S7, it is about £300 cheaper if you were to purchase it off-contract. However, the J5 is more than capable for the average user and is great value for the price. A new edition was recently launched this summer, slightly improving on the 2015 J5 model.

The Samsung Galaxy J5 can be found for about £200 off-contract. It is currently sold by a number of major networks including Talkmobile, Vodafone, and O2. It should cost about £100–140 upfront from the networks, with some billpay tariffs offering it for free with a 24-month contract.

Samsung Galaxy J5

Best SIM-Free Smartphones

Motorola Moto G4

The Moto G line is currently in its four generation, the first version having been released in 2013. The latest version is generally regarded to be the best "budget" smartphone in its price range, confirmed by review websites such as TechRadar, ExpertReviewsPocket-lint and others.

The Moto G4 is available from retailers such as Amazon and Argos for about £159 (16 GB version). There is also a premium version, the "Moto G4 Plus" that should cost about £40–50 more. The "Plus" model has a better camera, more RAM and a fingerprint scanner; but otherwise the same screen/processor etc.

Motorola Moto G4

Note: If you intend to purchase the Moto G4 online, be careful ensure you are buying the right version. On websites you may see it listed as "Moto G4", "Moto G (4th Generation)" or "Moto G (2016)". Anything other than the 4th generation or older than 2016 is an older version of the device. To add to the confusion, you may also see the "Moto G 4G", which is actually the original Moto G from 2013/2014 with 4G connectivity.

Motorola Moto G (3rd Generation)

Some potential buyers may be put off by the Moto G4's (see above) relatively large screen size. At 5.5 inches, the device may be large too large for some. For those who would prefer a smaller screen, the previous (3rd) generation of the Moto G may be a suitable alternative. This device has a slightly smaller 5 inch screen. 

There are two versions of the 3rd generation Moto G; a cheaper version with 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of storage and a more expensive version with double the RAM and storage.

While the 3rd generation phone is a year older than the the 4th, it is not too far behind in terms of performance, camera, and battery life for the average user. The newer version is recommended unless you are unhappy with the larger screen size. 

The 1 GB RAM/8 GB storage version of the 3rd generation Moto G is available from Amazon and Argos for about £125–£130. The 2GB RAM/16 GB storage version should cost an extra £25–£30.

Motorola Moto G (3rd Generation)

If you need a cheap SIM-only plan to go with your Moto G or want to browse devices available on contract, use our online tool to compare all available options on the UK market: