Best smartphone under £200 (2016)
By S21, 14 Nov 2016
The price of flagship smartphones keeps rocketing, but you can still get your hands on a good phone for less than £200, or around £15 per month on Pay Monthly, if you know what to look for. There will be compromises and hard choices, so make life easier on yourself and start with our pick of the best.
1. Samsung Galaxy A3
Selling for a little under £200, the Samsung Galaxy A3 is our top choice for a mid-range smartphone, for the second year running.
The A3 is a cut above the rest of the competition in terms of looks and design. It's more compact than many, and is definitely in the "ultraslim" category. It's one of the very lightest smartphones currently available, and has a premium metal design, similar to the company's flagship Galaxy S7.
Its 4.5 inch Super AMOLED screen is bright, with outstanding contrast and colour saturation. It's not a HD screen however.
The phone is powered by a quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor, which is typical of many mid-range phones. It has 1.5GB of RAM, and its performance is enough to run common apps without lag.
The A3 is equipped with a high quality 8 megapixel camera and comes with a generous 16GB of flash memory, plus a memory card slot. Battery life isn't particularly strong, but should be adequate for most users.
The greatest strengths of this phone are its design and looks, plus the generous onboard memory. There are compromises in other areas, but it's a beautiful phone!
2. Samsung Galaxy J5
The Galaxy J5 is another very popular choice. It's larger and heavier than the Galaxy A3, but still very slim, and has the advantage of a superb 5 inch HD AMOLED display. It also has a better 13 megapixel camera.
The processor is the mid-range Snapdragon 410, so performance is the same as the A3. There's only 8GB of flash memory onboard, but a microSD card slot enables you to add more memory for very little cost.
The Galaxy J5 has good battery life, thanks to a large 2600mAh battery. It's a 4G phone with plenty of connectivity options.
Overall, this is a solid all-rounder of a phone. While it lacks the fine design of the Galaxy A3, it makes up for this with a larger screen and longer battery life.
3. Honor 5X
In third place, we've picked something a little different - the Honor 5X from Chinese manufacturer Huawei.
The Honor 5X is a significantly larger phone than our other choices, with a huge 5.5 inch 1920 x 1080 pixel screen. That makes it an outstanding choice for gaming or watching videos. The Honor comes with the processing power to match - an 8-core processor and a whopping 2GB of RAM, making it a very fast phone.
This is backed up by a 13 megapixel HDR camera, 16GB of built-in storage, a microSD memory card slot, and a massive 3,000mAh battery.
The Honor 5X also benefits from a premium quality build with a superslim aluminium body, plus a fingerprint sensor on the rear for added security and convenience.
It's an excellent choice for anyone looking for a big, high-spec phone who's willing to consider one of the less well-known brands.
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