Top 5 cheap mobile phones for 2016

ByKim Staples

If there’s one thing we like around here, it’s finding a good deal. And that goes for mobile phones too.

The best flagship phones with all the latest envy-inducing features are all surpassing the £600 mark these days, which can make it a bit difficult to find a decent mobile on a budget. But never fear - broadbandchoices is here. Read on for the run-down of our five favourite mobile phones for 2015 that won't break the bank.

5. HTC Desire 510

HTC Desire 510

The Desire 510 isn't a bad choice if you want a 4G-enabled handset on the cheap. It's got a nicely sized 4.7inch screen, and a very user-friendly interface that actually enhances the Android platform - a revamped dial pad, for example.

The Snapdragon 410 processor and 4G mean you can zip around apps pretty speedily with very little lag. And because it's HTC, there are good speakers and an easy-to-hold design and shape - though the glossy plastic case does feel a little cheap. But hey, it's a budget phone, right?

Speaking of which, you can't always expect a good front-facing camera on a phone in this price bracket, and the VGA one on the Desire 510 is no exception. That, and the low resolution of the screen, make it clear to see where corners have been cut - but it can still be worth it if you want a usable 4G phone that doesn't cost a bomb.



300 minutes

5000 texts

£14.99  per month

24 month contract

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4. Huawei Ascend G7

Huawei Ascend 7

Huawei sure knows how to make a good value phone. Though it may be the most expensive one on this list, the Ascend G7 just about falls under the cheap banner - if only because its features make it tremendous value for money.

The first thing you'll notice is that you're getting a 5.5inch screen for less than £200, something we really don't see very often. It boasts a rather nice design too, with a slim shape that's easy to hold, and a metal and glass body that's difficult to break.

Specs-wise, you'll be blown away. 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, a 13MP camera, and a battery that can last two days? Really? Yep. The only area where it falls short is on the software. The Ascend G7 runs on Android, but it's still stuck on KitKat with no sign of Lollipop any time soon, and Huawei's interface is a bit iffy - there's no dedicated apps menu, for instance.



300 minutes

Unlimited texts

£16.00 per month

£29.99 upfront

24 month contract

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3. EE Harrier

EE Harrier

If you want 4G on a budget, it makes sense to go for a phone from the UK's biggest 4G network. The Harrier handset is in fact Huawei-made, but that means you'll get what Huawei does best: top-range specs at budget prices.

The body leaves something to be desired - it feels a bit plasticky - but it's surrounding a very nice 5.2inch Full HD display. And inside, there's a lot going on under the surface too.

The processor is an octa-core, and teamed with 4G it means everything is nice and fast. Whether you're browsing, playing games, streaming video, or just adjusting the settings, you can do it swiftly with very little lag. The 2GB of RAM is pretty impressive for a budget phone too, and the battery will easily last you a couple of days.

EE logo

500MB data

500 minutes

Unlimited texts

£17.49 a month

24 month contract

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2. Microsoft Nokia Lumia 630

Lumia 630

The Lumia 630 is really good for the price. Like, kind of amazing for the price.

Unlike a lot of budget phones, nothing about the 630 feels cheap. There's some good build quality here, with an eye-catching design and a strong, sturdy outer case that can stand to get knocked around a bit. And check out those funky green and orange colours.

It runs Windows Phone 8.1 out of the box, giving it a really nice interface and making it the perfect platform for mobile gaming - it's even integrated into Xbox Live - but you won't get as many apps as with an Android or iPhone.

The other main caveat is that it doesn't have 4G. So if you've got your heart set on speedy mobile internet, you may be better off upgrading to the slightly superior Lumia 640. The camera isn't incredible either, with no front-facer, even though Skype comes pre-installed. Hmm.

What you do get is a good processor, a really good battery that will last several days, and call quality decent enough that it's actually worth mentioning.

1. Motorola Moto E 4G

Motorola Moto E

For a budget phone, it really doesn't get much better than the Motorola Moto range. Our favourite is the new version of the Moto E, now updated with 4G. And with a handset this good, it's by far the best way to get 4G at a cheap price.

The outer case feels a bit clunky, but one of the phone's selling points is that the back and the grippy band around the edge can be changed to suit your mood. Nice. And while we're talking hardware, there's a strong Gorilla Glass screen, and a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, which runs nice and smoothly but may struggle with games. However, the E 4G does show its budget status in the camera: there's no flash, and the front-facer is just a VGA. 

But software-wise, things couldn't be better. You get the latest version of Android Lollipop straight away - and it's primed for the next 'M' update too. Motorola also adds some of its own apps, and you know what, they're not half bad. There's Migrate to help you move your stuff over from your old phone, and Alert to send your location to your family and friends. So if you don't mind sacrificing selfies and gaming, we'd recommend the Moto E 4G for nippy internet and surprisingly up-to-the-minute software. 

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