If you’re looking for a new mobile phone the choice in the smartphone market is as wide and varied as it has ever been, but can you pick up a smartphone for under £100?
From established brands like Samsung, Microsoft, HTC, Apple and LG to relative newcomers like Huawei, OnePlus, XiaoMi and WileyFox, smartphones come in all shapes, sizes and specifications. So what should you look out for when you’re mobile phone hunting on a budget?
Well, we’re here to help, we’ve racked up some of the best smartphones on the market from under £100. That’s right, for less than the price of a last minute train to London, you can be the proud owner of a spanking new smartphone.
So here we go the best smartphones for under £100
Motorola seem to just know how to make great cheap phones, the 2014 Moto G was (and is still) an excellent introduction into the budget smartphone market and the Moto E has carried on that pedigree in the entry-level market.
Now on the 2nd generation of Moto E the handset is the embodiment of ‘budget Android’ without losing on quality.
For just over £75 you get a 4.5-inch 540 x 960 (245 pixels per inch), a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor and 1GB of RAM. It’s also equipped with 4GB Storage and a rather handy expandable Micro SD slot.
The Moto’s looks are somewhat charming, not the sweet design of its bigger brothers (Moto X or Nexus), but a solid smooth shell and easy handle size. The little Moto is also splashproof and, due to its smaller screen, has a rather strong 24 hour (light use) battery life.
You’ll get Android 4.4 pre-installed, but can be upgraded to Lollipop easily and the close ties with Moto and Google mean the Moto E has the same classy feel as other factory Android phones.
Best for: Android on the Go
If there’s one thing ASUS do well, it’s giving it’s customers a lot of phone for their money. The Zenfone 5 is physically larger than the others on this list but also comes with a few more features.
Nestled in the middle of the range (4, 5 and 6) the middle brother Zenfone 5 pipped its siblings in the race to be the most highly user-rated Asus.
Although a touch older (2014) than its competitors the Zenfone 5 comes in at a very handy £80. Initially, a mid-range rival for the much-lauded Moto G, the Zenfone now firmly battles in the entry level price bracket with solid to high specifications for the money you pay.
The Zenfone’s specs allude to its once mid-market fighter spirit. Users will get Android 4.4 KitKat OS, a QuadCore 1.2GHz processor, a 5” HD Display, a whopping 16GB storage which is expandable to 64GB and 8MP rear camera.
For the user, reviewers laud its lovely large screen, great performance, good connectivity and a solid camera. Drawbacks may include the slightly dated Android OS, a large handset and, due to the big screen a slightly disappointing battery life.
However, overall, you’re effectively getting one of the best mid-range models of 2015 for the price of an entry level 2016 Android.
Best For- Spec-seeking media seekers.
Microsoft’s budget offering in the Lumia 550 is built and designed for practicality. The little Lumia is the entry level model from Microsoft’s 2015/16 range which carries the 950 and 950 XL. With one eye on the business market, Microsoft have made the Lumia a very attractive option for users looking to keep the cost down.
Away from the usual Android/ iOS battle, Lumia owners get access the well-designed Windows 10 OS and can work seamlessly cross-platform with their W10 tablet, laptop and PC.
Alright, it’s not the sleekest phone on the market but the former Nokia-built handset is solid and well-designed carries the build quality as previous Lumia handsets.
How about the specs? Well, the 4.7″ HD720 LCD Display (1280 x 720) looks great on the small handset, you’ll get a Quad-core 1.1 GHz processor, 1GB of RAM and 8GB Storage (with the option of an Expandable Micro SD).
The 5MP rear (and 2MP front) camera is surprisingly crisp and you’ll have the best setup for accessing Windows-based programmes like OneDrive, Office and Skype. For kitting out a small team in the office with smartphones, you really can’t go wrong.
Best For: Business Users
This one strays away a little from the usual smartphone angle but for those with kids, the Kurio Smartphone is a wonderful choice.
Solid build, firewall protection and a host of management and filtering systems the Kurio is a smartphone without the normal trappings of a smartphone.
Parents can set limits on phone usage, calls, messages and more. The phone has an inbuilt ‘Genius Internet Filtering System’ and Anti-Theft (or loss) features. You can also remotely monitor the phone’s location for the long range parenting model.
Specs are…. Ok. The Kurio comes with a Dual Core MT6572A chipset, Android 4.2 (JellyBean), 1 GB RAM, 4 GB memory and an expandable Micro SDHC Card Slot to add up to 32GB of extra memory, which is handy for kids movies, music and pictures.
Best for: Smartphone-ing kids
Huawei Honor Holly
Back to the land of Android with a tongue-twister from the burgeoning Chinese smartphone market. The Huawei Honor Holly is a jam-packed feature phone for well under £80. Although Huawei might not be the most well know brand in the west, the company have been dominating the Chinese and eastern markets for the last few years, and now the Chinese firm is looking west.
Huawei’s Honor range is renowned for cramming above average features into mid-priced handsets if you’re looking to get the most gear for your money Huawei is always a great shout.
As for the Honor Holly phone ( a terrible name we know), you’ll get a surprisingly high-resolution 5.0-inch 720 x 1280 display, a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 1GB RAM and 16GB in-built storage- plus a microSD card slot.
You’ll also get an 8MP rear camera, which has been pulling great reviews, a 2MP front cam and a decent battery life.
Drawbacks- Ok the interface is a little boring compared to Samsung, LG or Sony and the Chinese firm haven’t exactly set the market on fire with design quality.
What could seal the deal for many however is Holly’s Dual Sim capabilities; Users could run their personal and business mobile lines through the one phone… pretty handy.
Best For- Feature packed, functional users.
Again, something a little different for under £100 with the Doro Liberto. This mini smartphone comes designed for those who struggle to use a traditional smartphone.
You might have seen the Doro brand on big-buttoned landlines, well this smartphone follows in the footsteps of its siblings.
The Doro Liberto 820 is easy to access, simple to use and has big icons for those with visual impairment. There are also physical buttons below screen level for the main commands if touch screens are still the bane of your technological life.
The Liberto is a chunky for a 4.5-inch screen phone clad generously in easy grip making it easy to hold on to. There is also a small lip over the edge of the phone allowing for screen protection when left face-down on a table.
Drawbacks, well it’s not a looker and yes the phone has far fewer features, tricks, and qualities of some of the better-equipped smartphones in this list, but in all likelihood if you’re looking to buy the Doro you might be expected to sacrifice a few things.
Users will still get a user-friendly, version of Android KitKat a 5MP camera, 3G and WiFi, 4GB onboard storage (32GB external Micro SD) and a host of tailor-made apps to make using the phone a damn site easier than a flagship iPhone.
Best for- Smartphone sceptics or outdoor workers.