Your buying guide for the best mid-range phones in 2017
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).
Also see: Best Phone Deals
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 bear 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. See also: The best phones of 2017 for the latest devices.
Specifications to look for in a mid-range phone
It's very hard to define a mid-range phone by specs because some will offer more in a particular area. For example, some manufacturers 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.
1. LG G5
- Reviewed on: 5 May 16
- RRP: £529, US$449.99
The LG G5 is one of the most radical phones to come along in a while and we’re glad the firm has shaken things up with the modular design. The G5 is innovative and interesting with unique features but it’s a shame the design and build feels unfinished in areas. It’s a top-notch device which can hold its own with the best phones in performance and cameras, but it’s LG’s modular design which is the real selling point here. There is bags of potential but the future of this is unclear so it’s hard to be definite right now. The G5 is one of the best phones around but for completely different reasons to the Galaxy S7.
Read our LG G5 review.
2. Moto G5 Plus
- Reviewed on: 6 April 17
- RRP: £249, US$299
The Moto G5 Plus is an impressive phone for under £250. It's barely any bigger than the normal model which is odd but it might well be worth spending the extra to get more storage, a better processor and a significantly better camera.
Read our Moto G5 Plus review.
3. HTC One M9
- Reviewed on: 18 January 16
- RRP: £579, US$549
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.
4. Xiaomi Mi5s
- Reviewed on: 29 November 16
- RRP: £282.75, US$352.69
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.
5. Lenovo P2
- Reviewed on: 26 January 17
- RRP: £199.99
The Lenovo P2 is really being sold on the strength of its battery, and the great news is that it lives up to the company’s hype, offering you days of usage and a power bank in a pinch. Throw in the premium design and build quality, and you have a phone that delivers tremendous value for money. It may not boast flagship performance, but by the time you hit your third day without charging, you’re not likely to care that much.
Read our Lenovo P2 review.
6. Moto G5
- Reviewed on: 21 April 17
- RRP: £169
There’s plenty of competition in Android’s budget market, but the Moto G5 is the best around right now. The build quality alone feels like it belongs on a much more expensive phone, while the fingerprint gesture controls genuinely improve the Android experience. The benchmarks and battery hold it back, but they're not unreasonable given the price - and you won't find a much better looking phone at £169.
Read our Moto G5 review.
7. Honor 6X
- Reviewed on: 12 January 17
- RRP: £224, US$249
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.
- Reviewed on: 27 March 17
- RRP: £279
Overall, the A3's improvements for 2017 are pretty significant and make this nice-size, reasonably priced phone even more appealing for those who like the idea of the Galaxy S7 but can't quite stretch their budget that far. Its waterproofing and fingerprint sensor are both convenient and practical, and the good-looking design makes it easy to forget that this phone has a price tag that's half that of many flagship phones.
That said, there are alternatives if you're willing to look to other brands, and you might be surprised to find that you'll get more for your money. We'd recommend checking out the Moto G5 and Nokia's new offerings before you buy the Samsung Galaxy A3 to see whether they appeal to your wallet a bit more.
Read our Samsung Galaxy A3 review.
9. Huawei P8
- Reviewed on: 5 June 15
- RRP: 499 Euro, US$499
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.
10. UMI Z
- Reviewed on: 31 January 17
- RRP: £239.99, US$239.99
The UMI Z is an excellent-value Android phone with a large battery, a decent screen, the most powerful MediaTek processor you can get and a very good selfie camera. Unfortunately the primary camera doesn't quite live up, but it's otherwise difficult to fault. With full UK 4G connectivity it's a great buy.
Read our UMI Z review.
11. Motorola Moto G4
- Reviewed on: 18 November 16
- RRP: £169, US$245 (TBC)
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 review.
12. Honor 7
- Reviewed on: 4 February 16
- RRP: £249, US$249
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.
13. Google Nexus 5X
- Reviewed on: 12 April 16
- RRP: £299
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.
14. Apple iPhone 5S
- Reviewed on: 30 June 16
- RRP: £379 (16GB); £419 (32GB), US$549
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: 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.
16. Xiaomi Redmi Pro
- Reviewed on: 21 September 16
- RRP: £256.04, 329.99
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, US$249
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, US$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.
- Reviewed on: 4 July 16
- RRP: £295, US$400
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.
20. Sony Xperia XA
- Reviewed on: 12 July 16
- RRP: £159.99
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.