What's the best mid-range phone?
|Best mid-range phone||Average price||Key specifications|
|LG G4||£299||Android 5.1 Lollipop, Snapdragon 808, 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, 5.5in Quad-HD, 3000mAh|
|HTC One M9||£299||Android 5.0 Lollipop, Snapdragon 810, 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, 5in Full-HD, 2840mAh|
|Huawei P8||£250||Android 5.0 Lollipop, Kirin 930, 3GB RAM, 16/64GB storage, 5.2in Full-HD, 2600mAh|
So you can't afford a flagship phone but want something better than the budget market has to offer? Well here are the best phones under £300 - these are the best mid-range phones you can buy in 2017 in the UK. See also: The best phones of 2017 for the latest devices.
Also see: Best Phone Deals
Best mid-range phone: Price
It's worth noting, before you look at the phones below, that we're defining a mid-range range phone as one which you can buy for under £300 (as low as £150 which is the higher limit of our budget phones chart).
The price criteria means that this list includes new phones which fit the price bracket but also older ones, namely flagships, which have since dropped in price but are still readily available and make for a great buy. You may need to ignore the RRP listed as this was correct at the time we published the review or updated it since. Live pricing means you can see how much they are right now. Also see: Best kids' phones 2017
Because the star ratings are also decided at the time of publishing they are not always comparable so please bare this in mind too while browsing the list. The phone at the top spot might not be the right one for you, depending on your needs and tastes.
Best mid-range phone: Specs
It's very hard to define a mid-range phone by specs because some will offer more in a particular area. For example, some manufactures will give you the best cameras possible while others will focus on design or the screen.
Which phone is right for you will depend on many things, such as whether you're bothered about looks or pixels per inch. It's certainly true that the previous generation flagship phones from the likes of LG, HTC and Sony are going to get you good bang for your buck now they are cheaper. However, rivals such as OnePlus and Xiaomi simply offer decent specs at an already mid-range price.
Remember, we've hit something of a ceiling when it comes to smartphone tech so many of these phones aren't exactly far off some of the new high-end phones of this year.
Read next: Best new phones coming in 2017
1. LG G4
- Reviewed on: 19 August 15
- RRP: £500 inc VAT
LG has gone down an unexpected route with leather models which we like apart from a couple of colours. The so called ceramic model will be cheaper but feels cheap and plasticky. On the whole, hardware is once again strong - particularly the camera - but not massively different from the G3 and has tough competition. We feel build quality could be better with a metal frame and dimensions going down, not the reverse. This is the flagship to go for if you want a removable battery and expandable storage but it's a shame to see features like wireless charging dropped. (Remember the G3 is now a steal at under £300 SIM-free and the OnePlus 2 is now here)
Read our LG G4 review.
2. HTC One M9
- Reviewed on: 18 January 16
- RRP: £579 inc VAT
The HTC One M9 is a genuinely desirable smartphone with the best design and build available in Android land, even with Samsung upping the ante. It's good to see the powerful Snapdragon 810 and more memory, however, some key hardware remains the same meaning M8 users are unlikely to be tempted to upgrade – and the old model is now an attractive buy at around £350. The fact the Galaxy S6 is the same price with more impressive specs is also not a good thing for HTC.
Read our HTC One M9 review.
3. Huawei P8
- Reviewed on: 5 June 15
- RRP: 499 Euro
The Huawei P8 has excellent design and build for a price lower than other flagship rivals. On the whole hardware is decent too, particularly in the photography department. However, poor performance and buggy software taint the experience to frustrating level which make it very difficult to recommend.
Read our Huawei P8 review.
4. Honor 6X
- Reviewed on: 12 January 17
- RRP: £224
The Honor 6X manages to be a budget phone but not remotely feel like one. This is high praise, and while it could never hold a candle to the performance of phones three times the price, that’s not the point – the Android experience you get is still nigh-on top drawer.
As long as you can get on with Huawei’s still-not-there EMUI skin, the Honor 6X is one of the best, most affordable mid-range Android handsets going – and it’s easy to pick one up in the UK.
Read our Honor 6X review.
5. Honor 7
- Reviewed on: 4 February 16
- RRP: £249 inc VAT
Honor has once again impressed us with a flagship smartphone at an outrageous price. For under £250 you get a lot of phone for your money. Performance is good with the main camera and fingerprint sensors being the highlights on the hardware side. Emotion UI isn't our favourite Android skin but it's perfectly usable and you can always change it if you like.
Read our Honor 7 review.
- Reviewed on: 12 April 16
- RRP: £299 inc VAT
Those looking to upgrade from a Nexus 5 will be happy and sad in almost equal measure. The 5X is a fantastic phone overall, with excellent cameras, a good turn of speed and an excellent screen. But it's noticeably bigger than its predecessor despite the small increase in screen size, it has limited storage compared to the Nexus 6P and it lacks a couple of camera features due to the slower processor. The absence of wireless charging is another blow for some, but additions such as the fingerprint scanner will make it a great upgrade for others.
Read our Google Nexus 5X review.
7. Xiaomi Mi5s
- Reviewed on: 29 November 16
- RRP: £282.75
We cannot recommend the Xiaomi Mi5s enough. This is the smartphone every 2016 flagship wanted to be, and it comes with a price tag half that of theirs. Fantastic build quality, fantastic performance, fantastic storage, battery and connectivity options - the Xiaomi Mi5s gets a big thumbs-up from us.
Read our Xiaomi Mi5s review.
- Reviewed on: 30 June 16
- RRP: £379 (16GB); £419 (32GB) inc VAT
The iPhone 5S is still a decent phone, but our current advice is to go for the iPhone SE if you can afford it. Although it doesn't have an upgraded screen compared to the iPhone SE, the huge leap in performance and camera quality makes it a much better - not to mention more future-proof - choice.
Read our Apple iPhone 5S review.
- Reviewed on: 17 April 15
- RRP: £549 inc VAT
Things haven't changed much from the Galaxy S4 but Samsung, as usual, has packed the Galaxy S5 with features. However, a lot are somewhat unnecessary. The heart rate monitor is a prime example and while the fingerprint scanner is cool, it's difficult to use. There is some top end hardware here, particularly the screen, but nothing which stands out in a busy and competitive market. A key element is that the design of the Galaxy S5 falls short. It's plastic, looks like every other Samsung handset and doesn't feel premium. Galaxy S4 users needn't upgrade and anyone looking for a flagship smartphone can get better elsewhere.
Read our Samsung Galaxy S5 review.
- Reviewed on: 18 November 16
- RRP: £169
Although the new Moto G4 is more expensive than the third-generation, Motorola is offering a Full HD screen, better processor, more storage and memory. Not everyone will enjoy the jump to 5.5in or the lack of full waterproofing but this is still a brilliant phone for under £200. Just bear in mind that the 3rd-gen Moto G is now a great buy at £149 and the Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 offers similar specs for just £125 (albeit SIM-locked).
Read our Motorola Moto G4 (2016) review.
- Reviewed on: 15 December 15
- RRP: £279
Overall, the Moto X Play is a decent mid-range phone. But, it's not the great upgrade which Moto X owners were looking for. The camera is good, as is the screen, but performance could be better - as could battery life. Had Motorola offered the dual-SIM version in the UK and made the phone waterproof, it would have had enough to be a decent alternative to the OnePlus 2. For many, this more powerful rival will be more appealing. It's also cheaper and has optical stabilisation and the option to shoot 4K video. Yet, if you like the idea of creating your own custom phone and don't want the hassle of getting an invite to buy a OnePlus 2, it's really not a bad deal at all.
Read our Motorola Moto X Play review.
12. Xiaomi Redmi Pro
- Reviewed on: 21 September 16
- RRP: £256.04 inc. VAT
The Xiaomi Redmi Pro offers unbeatable value for money at around £250, undercutting every flagship yet offering much the same performance and many comparable features. Due to the lack of Google Play and a number of Chinese preinstalled apps we’d recommend Xiaomi phones only to seasoned Android users, however.
Read our Xiaomi Redmi Pro review.
- Reviewed on: 13 July 16
- RRP: £199 inc VAT
The Moto G4 Plus is a nice phone but it's very similar to the regular model. Since we're disappointed in the camera (with no noticeable difference), it's not worth paying the extra money to get a fingerprint scanner which can't even be used with Android Pay since there's no NFC. The only real reason to opt for the Plus is to gain more storage and the extra RAM which comes with the 64GB model; however, the Micro-SD card slot negates this somewhat.
Read our Motorola Moto G4 Plus (2016) review.
- Reviewed on: 1 June 16
- RRP: £319
The Galaxy A5 2016 is an enormous improvement over the Galaxy A5 2015, and now resembles last year’s flagship Galaxy S6. Unfortunately, it’s not quite as fast or feature-packed as that phone, making its now-£50 price difference seem insane. If you can afford the Galaxy S6 we’d recommend it over the A5, but if not you won’t be disappointed with this excellent mid-range Android phone.
Read our Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 review.
15. OnePlus 2
- Reviewed on: 8 March 16
- RRP: £249
The lack of NFC, a microSD card slot, a removable battery, and quick- and wireless charging means the OnePlus 2 is not a flagship killer. It does have some killer new features though, including USB Type-C, 4G dual-SIM support and some powerful hardware. At the reduced price of £249 (we don't recommend the 16GB OP2), it's an unrivalled deal.
Read our OnePlus 2 review.
- Reviewed on: 4 July 16
- RRP: £295
After time with the Smart Platinum 7 it becomes very clear that this is a premium phone, but one attempting to be ever so slightly more premium than it actually is. If you want the best Android phone on the market, get a Samsung Galaxy S7. However if you want to buy a smartphone outright without breaking the bank and are after a larger screen, fingerprint sensor, stock Android and great design (on Vodafone’s network) then this is a solid choice. We do recommend the OnePlus 3 which is almost the same price, though.
Read our Vodafone Smart Platinum 7 review.
17. Sony Xperia XA
- Reviewed on: 12 July 16
- RRP: £269.99
We quite liked our time with the Sony Xperia XA, and it represents much better value for money than the flagship Xperia X, which is overpriced. We recommend the XA if you want a sleek, smart, mid-range phone that does everything acceptably well. If you get it on contract it’ll be about £20 per month, so for about half the price of a 2016 flagship. It’s solid, but we are strangely still waiting for Sony’s world-beater. We’re beginning to think it might never appear.
Read our Sony Xperia XA review.
- Reviewed on: 30 July 15
- RRP: £230
The mid-range smartphone market is always tricky, especially with budget devices getting so good. If you are looking for something around this price, the Sony Xperia M4 Aqua is a solid choice although the Honor 6 is worth a look for extra features. It offers flagship-like design, a great camera and a user-friendly Android Lollipop.
Read our Sony Xperia M4 Aqua review.
- Reviewed on: 16 January 17
- RRP: £192.93 inc. VAT
The Redmi Note 4 isn’t a huge upgrade over the Redmi Note 3 in terms of core hardware, with simply a greater amount of storage and a faster processor, but the design changes are a huge improvement over its predecessor. If you don’t care about looks and can make do with less storage then the cheaper Redmi Note 3 may well meet your needs. The Redmi Note 4 remains a great buy, but the omission of Google Play support may put off some users. O2 and Giffgaff customers should also note the lack of support for 800MHz 4G.
Read our Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 review.
20. Elephone S7
- Reviewed on: 12 January 17
- RRP: £177.11
The Elephone S7 is a very good-looking phone at an affordable price, with decent performance and a generous helping of storage. On the down side the cameras are disappointing and the rear panel is plastic. Even at this price you don't need to compromise so heavily.
Read our Elephone S7 review.