Long gone are the days when 'budget phone' meant 'bad phone'. You can now get a really powerful bit of hardware for a fraction of the cost of a flagship.

Take the Poco X3 Pro - our favourite budget phone of last year. It packs a big battery, fast charging, and the same performance you'll find in phones four times the price. Right now it's also got £30 off in the UK, making it hard to resist.

We've collated a list of some of the best deals we can find on cheap phones right now. Using a similar £250/$300 price limit to that of our best budget phones roundup, below you'll find a host of devices that punch above their weight in terms of features, performance and design, considering their price.

And if you have a little more to spend, remember to look at our separate guides to the best mid-range phone deals and best flagship phone deals.

Best budget phone deals

1. Xiaomi Poco X3 Pro (6GB RAM, 128GB)

From: Xiaomi

Was: £229

Now: £199  (£30 off)

This offer on one of our favourite budget phones of the moment – Xiaomi's Poco X3 Pro – represents phenomenal value.

2. Realme 8 5G (6GB RAM, 128GB)

From: Amazon

Was: £249

Now: £219  (£30 off)

One of the most affordable 5G phones of the moment, the Realme 8 5G sports a 90Hz display and a capable Dimensity 700 chip at its heart. This deal is for the 6GB RAM SKU but discounts on other memory and storage configurations can be had on Amazon too.

3. Samsung Galaxy A12 + Nintendo Switch + Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

From: Virgin Media

Now: From £22 per month

If you're not too fussed about the OLED model, Virgin Media is also offering the Nintendo Switch and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe with the Samsung Galaxy A12 on a 36-month contract. Starting at £22 a month with 2GB of data alongside unlimited calls and texts, it could be a good way to get a new phone and a Switch at an affordable monthly cost. 

4. Xiaomi Redmi 10 (4GB/128GB)

From: Xiaomi

Was: £199

Now: £159  (£40 off)

If you're looking for a brand-new smartphone on a budget, Xiaomi's entry-level Redmi 10 is worth a second look.

5. Samsung Galaxy A11 (32GB, carrier locked to Straight Talk)

From: Walmart

Was: $179

Now: $69  ($110 off)

The budget-friendly Galaxy A11 is more than half-off right now from Walmart. Just be aware, this is a carrier-locked device (locked to Straight Talk).

6. Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro (6GB RAM, 128GB)

From: Xiaomi

Was: £269

Now: £229  (£40 off)

A fantastic screen, a 108Mp camera and awesome battery life make this discount on the budget Redmi Note 10 Pro difficult to ignore.

7. OnePlus Nord N200

From: Best Buy

Was: $239

Now: $189  ($50 off)

Right now Best Buy is offering $50 off an unlocked OnePlus Nord N200 if you activate with a carrier on the day you buy it, making the cheapest OnePlus phone even better value.

8. Oppo Find X2 Lite (8GB RAM, 128GB)

From: Amazon

Was: £369

Now: £259  (£110 off)

The baby of Oppo's 2020 Find X2 line, the Find X2 Lite delivers mid-range performance and design out the gate but now that its successor – the Find X3 Lite – is here, it's enjoying reductions, like this one on Amazon, bringing it down to within the price range of more modest hardware. Discount varies by colour, so double-check before purchase.

9. Realme 7 (8GB RAM, 128GB)

From: Amazon

Was: £239

Now: £173  (£66 off)

The Realme 7 isn't the brand's latest budget model any more, but it's still a really impressive cheaper handset, and made even more appealing by this healthy price reduction on the 8GB RAM model.

10. Oppo A54 5G (4GB RAM, 64GB)

From: AO

Was: £219

Now: £199  (£20 off)

The Oppo A54 is a great all-rounder with solid cameras, impressive 5G performance and great battery life. It's also now more affordable following this discount at AO.

Budget phone buying advice

There are a lot of affordable smartphones out there and although swinging for the lowest price tag can be tempting, it doesn't make sense to skimp on a product you'll likely end up using almost every day for years at a time.

Try and buy from an established brand that you know and trust, not only as bigger companies' products are usually held to higher quality standards, but should anything go wrong with your purchase, more established players also typically offer more robust customer support.

With that in mind, the biggest players in the budget space right now are Xiaomi, Oppo, Realme, Motorola, and Nokia - though Samsung offers a few cheap handsets too.

Don't expect affordable phones such as these to feel like miniature flagships; such phones most obviously sacrifice hardware and/or camera performance to cut costs, while others opt for lesser build quality or less-premium materials, such as polycarbonate instead of glass or metal.

The display and camera used to be two of the most obvious indicators that you were using a budget handset but even these fundamental pieces of phone hardware have improved massively in recent years. Entries like the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro highlight this shift perfectly.

There are also devices like the Moto G9 Power, which place a focus on excelling in one specific area (in this phone's case, battery longevity), whilst still feeling like a more conventional affordable phone in other respects.

One other advantage of buying a more affordable smartphone is that, if you're after a contract, such devices are more likely to come with zero upfront cost, lower monthly pricing and, potentially, shorter-term plans. As such, they also make great first-time options for those new to smartphones, those who are accident-prone and kids.

Where to find deals

If you're looking to buy a phone outright, rather than on-contract, Amazon has some of the biggest bargains, but make sure you check the specs carefully - third-party sellers sometimes use Amazon to shift international stock, which may vary slightly from what you find in local stores.

If you find that you’re missing out on Amazon’s Lightning deals, which run for just a few hours and offer limited stock, we'd recommend signing up for Amazon's 30-day free trial of Prime, which will get you access to deals 30 minutes before everyone else. Plus, you'll get free next-day delivery with the Prime trial, as well as access to Prime Instant Video and more. Sign up for Prime now.

Again, if you'd like to know more about the current affordable phone landscape, give our best budget phones roundup a read or head to our best tech deals right now feature for reductions on other consumer tech.

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