The cheapest 4G smartphones of 2016. The 20 best budget 4G phones. Best cheap 4G smartphones reviewed, cheapest 4G smartphones. With 4G firmly in place in the UK, we round up the cheapest 4G enabled smartphones you can buy in 2016.
With 4G LTE networks firmly in place in the UK offering faster download speeds, here's our list of the cheapest 4G enabled smartphones for 2016.
When buying a new smartphone you might assume that it comes with all the latest technology and the ability to connect to any mobile network you choose. While this would be ideal, it's unfortunately far from the truth. See: What is 4G? A complete guide to 4G.
Cheapest 4G smartphones: what you need
A smartphone needs to have the right hardware chip to support 4G networks so you need to check the specifications carefully to avoid disappointment. See also: 4G LTE rollout schedule in the UK.
If you're looking for a 4G capable smartphone and you're on a budget then you've come to the right place. Here are the 20 cheapest 4G smartphones in the UK based on SIM-free prices.
Be aware that some of these phones are cheap because they are last year's models and therefore might not have the kind of specs you're after or the latest software. Also see: Best sounding phone 2016.
20 cheapest 4G smartphones in the UK 2016
20. OnePlus X
- Reviewed on: 17 December 15
- RRP: £199 (Onyx); £269 (Ceramic)
The OnePlus X is the best value smartphone of the year. We love the premium design in a smaller form factor to the firm’s other phones. Software is a strong point and you get a gorgeous screen. However, cuts had to be made somewhere and the X is lacking features such as NFC, 11ac and Wi-Fi. It also is missing the fingerprint scanner and USB Type-C port found on the OnePlus 2. Battery life isn’t great and cameras aren’t best in class but this is a great phone for the price.
Read our OnePlus X review.
19. Bluboo Xtouch
- Reviewed on: 15 December 15
- Buy for £123.71 plus import duty
The Bluboo Xtouch offers great value, with a strong set of specifications all round and a design that is mostly very good for a phone at this price point. Storage and connectivity are excellent, the screen decent, software just right, performance sufficient and the cameras quite acceptable. It's really rather difficult to fault for the money.
Read our Bluboo Xtouch review.
18. UMI eMax Mini
- Reviewed on: 17 November 15
- RRP: £95.19 from China (plus import duty); £122.39 from Europe
The UMI eMax Mini is a very decent attempt at a budget Android phone with mid-range specs, and a strong rival to the Vodafone Smart Prime 6 that tops our budget phones chart. It's slower than the original UMI eMax in our benchmarks, but in real-world use it feels just as fast. The cameras have been improved and also the design, in our opinion, resulting in a cheap phone that offers strong value for money.
Read our UMI eMax Mini review.
17. UMI Iron Pro
- Reviewed on: 11 December 15
- Buy for £122.59 plus import duty from China
Aside from a new fingerprint scanner and USB-C, there's not much new in the UMI Iron to justify the Pro moniker in this phone's name, especially given that it's no faster than the original. However, for the money it's a decent mid-range Android phone, and the EyePrint ID eye scanner is pretty cool, if no more secure than your PIN. Given that you can buy it for around the same price as the original UMI Iron, it makes sense to plump for the Pro version.
Read our UMI Iron Pro review.
16. Moto G 4G
- Reviewed on: 13 August 14
- RRP: £135 inc VAT
Motorola's Moto G is the best budget smartphone around. At £135 it's got great build quality, an excellent screen, decent cameras and Android 4.3 Jelly Bean soon to be upgrade to 4.4 KitKat.
Read our Moto G 4G review.
15. Nokia Lumia 630
- Reviewed on: 5 August 14
- RRP: £129 inc VAT
If you're considering the Lumia 630 as a first smartphone and you don't plan to buy lots of wireless accessories and install lots of apps, it's not a bad choice at all. Windows Phone 8.1 is very easy to use, and will improve even more when Cortana and its associated features arrive in the UK. However, the sticky problem of a lack of apps in Microsoft's store remains an issue for all Windows Phone 8 smartphones, and the lack of a front-facing camera is a problem if you want to use Skype. Note that the Lumia 635 is the model with 4G support.
Read our Nokia Lumia 630 review.
- Reviewed on: 14 May 15
- RRP: From £13.50 per month, £109.99 PAYG or £129.99 SIM-free
The Microsoft Lumia 640 is a worthy upgrade over the Lumia 630, and this Windows Phone now presents very good value for money. This is the Moto G of the Windows world, with a near-identical spec and a £20 lower price tag. Which phone you choose will come down to your software preferences - many users will be happy with Windows Phone, but if third-party apps feature heavily on your wishlist you may find that extra £20 for the Moto G money well spent.
Read our Microsoft Lumia 640 review.
- Reviewed on: 17 March 15
- RRP: £82.49 from China
We're really very impressed by the Doogee F1 Turbo Mini. At £82 or £104 (depending on how you buy it) this is the cheapest 4G phone we've ever seen. It's better-looking and more powerful than any budget phone has any right to be.
Read our Doogee F1 Turbo Mini review.
12. UMI Hammer S
- Reviewed on: 20 November 15
- RRP: £108.79 inc. VAT
We really like the UMI Hammer S. It's not the fastest phone you'll find at this price, but it's fast enough for daily use. The design is nice, and genuinely useful technology - USB-C and the fingerprint scanner for example - comes at an attractive price. A strong rival to the excellent Vodafone Smart Ultra 6.
Read our UMI Hammer S review.
11. UMI eMax
- Reviewed on: 9 July 15
- RRP: £115.59 (plus import duty)
UMI's eMax offers superb value for money. It's not as good-looking as other UMI phones we've reviewed, but the eMax has a big and bright full-HD screen for enjoying media and more, and showed very capable performance in the majority of our benchmarks. Photography is decent at this price, and enthusiasts will appreciate the Rootjoy support. At £115 you can't go far wrong with the UMI eMax.
Read our UMI eMax review.
10. Ulefone BeTouch
- Reviewed on: 14 July 15
- RRP: 147.06 (plus import duty)
Ulefone's BeTouch is an unrivalled deal at £147. It's fast, it's dual-SIM with 4G connectivity, it has a working fingerprint scanner for security, the screen is large and with an HD resolution plenty crisp enough for the money, and there is absolutely no bloatware. A few minor quibbles aside, it's genuinely difficult to fault this phone at this price.
Read our Ulefone BeTouch review.
9. EE Kestrel
- Reviewed on: 16 June 14
- RRP: £99 inc. VAT
We like the Kestrel, we really do. We don't like its design and build quality, and we hate its user interface, but in other respects the Kestrel has a lot going for it. Whereas network operators haven't yet been able to make 4G connectivity available UK-wide, at least the hardware on which to enjoy it is now available even to those on tight budgets. At £99, you get a pretty good screen, better performance than you should probably expect at this price, and the promise of 4G connectivity if it's available in your area.
Read our EE Kestrel review.
- Reviewed on: 21 October 15
- RRP: £109 inc VAT
If you love Samsung Android phones then you'll like the Galaxy Core Prime. It does lack a few features, but the missing ambient light sensor is one cut corner too far. For only £79, we prefer Vodafone's Smart Prime 6. It has a 5in 1280x720 screen, better cameras and an ambient light sensor. Plus it runs an essentially plain version of Android.
Read our Samsung Galaxy Core Prime review.
- Reviewed on: 12 November 15
- RRP: 149 Euro + 12 Euro shipping (approx £105 + £8.50 shipping)
Although you can't just walk into a shop and buy it in the UK, this Just5 Blaster 2 is certainly a better budget buy than the Samsung Galaxy Core Prime. At around £105 it's no surprise to find a plastic build, but we appreciate the inclusion in the box of interchangeable colour covers. The screen is good, if a little dull, and performance is spot-on at this price point. The cameras are acceptable, and the software free of bloat. A good all-round budget option.
Read our Just5 Blaster 2 review.
6. Bluboo X9
- Reviewed on: 25 January 16
- RRP: £98.67 from HK warehouse (plus import duty); £110.92 from UK warehouse (currently out of stock)
We never fail to be impressed by how much value you can get for your money if you're prepared to buy a smartphone from China rather than the UK. Bluboo might not be well known over here, but its X9 is a stylish phone that packs in both a fingerprint scanner and a 5in full-HD screen for just £110. General performance is capable, and there's plenty of space here for all your apps and media.
Read our Bluboo X9 review.
- Reviewed on: 2 February 16
- RRP: £114.95 inc. VAT
The Xiaomi Redmi 3 is a very decent budget Android phone, but it isn't intended for a UK audience and doesn't come with Google Play installed out of the box, so we wouldn't recommend it for those not familiar with Android. It has a plasticky but decent build, with good performance for the money.
Read our Xiaomi Redmi 3 review.
- Reviewed on: 16 December 15
- Buy for £118.27 plus import duty from China (16GB storage, 2GB RAM)
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 may not be best suited to UK users out of the box, but with some simple setup tweaks it is an excellent budget Android phone with a fantastic design and performance for the price.
Read our Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 review.
- Reviewed on: 3 March 15
- RRP: £109 inc. VAT
The new Moto E 4G is a worthy upgrade over the original Moto E, with upgrades in every area. For an extra £20 it adds 4G LTE connectivity and a front-facing camera, plus performance and storage improvements. It might not be as fast as the grey-market Doogee F1 Turbo Mini, but this Moto E 4G is a much better deal than the EE Kestrel, making it the best budget 4G phone intended for UK sale we've seen.
Read our Motorola Moto E 4G review.
- Reviewed on: 7 July 15
- RRP: £99 inc. VAT
We're much keener on the Harrier Mini than we are its bigger brother. While both phones offer very good value, £99 sounds much more appealing than £199, and we prefer the Mini's more compact design. Performance is slower and the screen isn't as good, but you won't get top-end specs from either phone. But as much as we think the Harrier Mini is a great deal, the Vodafone Smart Prime 6 offers better value. It's £20 cheaper and has a larger, better screen, and it seems more adept in photography. Buy the Harrier Mini over the Smart Prime 6 only if you'll benefit from Wi-Fi Calling once it becomes available.
Read our EE Harrier Mini review.
- Reviewed on: 25 June 15
- RRP: £79
The Vodafone Smart Prime 6 is a great budget smartphone that we think is worth more than the £79 that Vodafone asks for it. Its processor may not be able to compete with grey-market phones like the Doogee F1 Turbo Mini, but it handles day-to-day use just fine with no noticeable lag. While the Moto E 4G performed slightly better during our benchmarks, the Smart Prime 6 has a bigger screen, better camera and is £30 cheaper, making it our choice out of the two handsets.
Read our Vodafone Smart Prime 6 review.