The Best Budget Smartphones for 2014

by Brandon Ackroyd - , Last Updated on May 23, 2014, Buying Guides

Smartphones were made for convenience; for easy access to communication and multimedia – but for some users it becomes an inconvenience when they have to spend £500 to get a smartphone from Google, Apple, Samsung, Sony or Nokia. Also paying £35 per month for a contract is expensive and not everyone has that kind of money lying around.

The good news is you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a decent smartphone in 2014. You can get good quality phones with great features, everything you need in a smartphone, for less than £200, sometimes even less than £50 as you’re about to find out.

Cheap smartphones are not necessarily always bad either. In fact in some regards they are better than expensive flagship phones. They often bring more value to the table than the big boys and you might be surprised by the prices in this list.

The Best Budget Smartphones as chosen by TigerMobiles.com

So here we go, lets take a look at the best budgeted phones to lookout for in 2014. We only had one criteria, the phone must come in at £200 or under when purchased on PAYG or SIM Free.

Nokia X (£75)

Nokia X

Nokia X – £75

What list of budgeted phones would be complete without Nokia’s name in it? The Nokia X is the first Nokia smartphone that runs on Android OS. It has a 3.5 inch screen, 4GB of internal storage along with a MicroSD card option. The ram is only 512MB, but can you really blame Nokia for that at this price?

Pros

The phone is a bargain and it offers great value for money. It has good features and decent hardware. There are almost no performance issues either, it runs smoothly. At this price range, phones normally have a make-do UI but not the Nokia X – it has a very fresh and “Windows-looking” UI. It has a colourful body too which gives it a tremendous look.

Cons

What is most disappointing is the below average battery life – something Nokia have excelled with in the past is sadly missing here. The camera isn’t too great either, in fact it is also below average. These two flaws could’ve been improved despite the very reasonable price.

User’s suitability

With vibrant and flashy looks, it can be described as the phone for “fun” people who like carrying standout handsets. The price is very good, anyone can afford it. It doesn’t have many apps at the minute so the “techies” might not be well suited to this device.

ZTE Blade V (£100)

ZTE Blade V

ZTE Blade V – £100

ZTE aren’t a smartphone giant and they have been doing a good job by keeping restrained and exploiting the budgeted market instead of challenging the big names and failing. The ZTE Blade V is a decent all round phone, nothing spectacular and nothing atrocious – everything just balanced at a lower scale. It has 1.2 GHz snapdragon chip, 1 GB RAM, 4GB storage (with no SD card slot). The screen is 4 inches but the resolution is very low; only 480 X 800.

Pros

The phone brings a lot in terms of value. Priced between £100 – £120 SIM free, it is wonderfully cheap. It has a powerful quad-core processor, but it can sometimes lag. One of the most important things in a smartphone is its battery, and ZTE Blade V gets full marks for battery. One other thing that won’t disappoint you is the keyboard.

Cons
The camera is 5MP but it is horrible but to be fair, you can expect a poor in this price range. The overall design and build quality leaves a lot to be desired too but it’s not a complete showstopper. Lack of SD card slot is also a thumbs-down for ZTE Blade V.

User’s suitability
Not a good camera, not a huge internal storage, this phone is definitely for the uncomplicated smartphone user. It is great for texting but is overall very simplistic, which it had to be to stay cost effective. Smartphones like the Blade can be great for users who like it “unpretentious”.

BlackBerry 9720 (£130)

BlackBerry 9720

BlackBerry 9720 – £130

The BlackBerry 9720 is the exact definition of an “unremarkable phone”. It doesn’t have a great design, it doesn’t have the latest BlackBerry OS, it has an outdated touch but despite all this, it is a good phone to have. Why? Because it has QWERTY keyboard and it is cheap. It has a sturdy build, 2.8 inches touch screen with a resolution of 480 X 260 pixels – but it also has a physical keyboard, the benchmark of BlackBerry phones. Overall it is a good purchase simply because of the pricing, QWERTY keyboard and BlackBerry legacy.

Pros

BlackBerry have announced regular updates for 9720. There is even a white design being launched to improve the looks. The camera of the phone is a good performer too. At 5MP it’s not ground breaking but it does the job quite efficiently. The features are overall well balanced as it is hard to pinpoint good or bad qualities.

Cons

The display is poor, the resolution is low and the screen is painfully small. Although the phone doesn’t lag a lot the processor is a meek 806 MHz with 512 MB RAM.

User’s suitability

It is an excellent, cost effective choice for users who are new to smartphones. It is strongly built and easy to use and that makes it a viable purchase for those new to smartphones.

Samsung Galaxy Core Advance (approx. £200)

Samsung Galaxy Core Advance

Samsung Galaxy Core Advance – ~£200

The Samsung Galaxy Core Advance will be released in May or early June 2014 and could very well turn out to be one of the best budgeted smartphones of 2014. It is not as low cost as other phones mentioned in the list but still priced at below £200, it offers way more than a lot of phones mentioned here. It is not a tiny screen handset. It has 4.7 inches screen (which is bigger than any iPhone), 8GB storage that can go up to 64GB with a MicroSD card and a 1.2 GHz processor.

Pros

The phone will have Android Jelly Bean 4.2 that is very advanced given the price. The phone has an excellent set of features, seemingly a good camera and all the leaks and releases point towards a very good design – which we have come to expect from Samsung. Moreover Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS will be compatible.

Cons

There will be no 4G on offer and as far as we can tell, there will be no Android KitKat 4.4 update either. But these are both liveable flaws.

User’s suitability

The phone has got pretty much everything you can hope for. It is suitable for the advanced level smartphone users who are keen to carry a good looking device with good camera, social media integrity, Skype, WhatsApp and other such features.

Moto G (£135)

Motorola Moto G

Motorola Moto G – £135

The Moto G is a stellar device and our show stealer in the budgeted phone list. There are very few (if any) smartphones that offer so much at this price point. For a mere £135 (or £159 – 16GB) you get 8GB of storage, Android KitKat 4.4 and water resistant body. It has a 4.5 inch display, which is more than most budgeted smartphones have to offer and it brings fantastic value. Motorola have made an explosive comeback to the smartphone market with the Moto G.

Pros

The Moto G races ahead of its competitors who have similar price range but lesser features. It has a great 4.5 inches screen with 1280 X 720 display. It has a decent overall design with a very stylish interface. The quad-core snapdragon 1.2 GHz processor rounds everything up nicely. And of course, the Android 4.4 at this price is heaven-sent.

Cons

There are two things that let Moto G down. One, the camera could’ve been better and two, there should be expandable memory.

User’s suitability

It is suited to users of all tastes. It has a colourful body, great specs, easy UI, sturdy built, good screen and its cheap – It is suitable for smartphone geeks to first timers which is why it’s our favourite budget smartphone of 2014.

Sony Xperia M (£150)

Sony Xperia M

Sony Xperia M – £150

Sony aren’t too far behind the Moto G here with their response; the Sony Xperia M. It is available in the UK for £140 – £150 and it has many good features. This is a competitive handset in terms of price but unfortunately for Sony, the competition is way too fierce. The short comings of this phone mean that users can get a better phone for less money. But if you are hell bent on buying a budget Sony phone, the device itself isn’t too bad. The general specs are 4inch screen, 1GHz dual-core processor, and 1GB RAM.

Pros

The phone is good looking. It has colourful body cases and is lightweight. It looks good in the hand. It has expandable storage and the loud speaker quality is better than most budget-friendly phones. The phone handles well too, it doesn’t lag or slow down a lot.

Cons

The screen is 4 inches but it still looks cramped and jumbled. The keyboard isn’t that good either. Xperia M runs on the outdated Android Jelly Bean OS. The internal storage is only 1GB – that is not good at all.

User’s suitability

This phone is suited to “hip hop” users due to its coloured designs. It is cheap and easy to use. But it doesn’t offer enough to satisfy a hardcore smartphone user.

Nokia Lumia 620 (£100)

Nokia Lumia 620

Nokia Lumia 620 – £100

The Nokia Lumia 620 is the other shining light in our budget smartphone list. When you compare it to other smartphone’s in its league, you will see that the Nokia Lumia 620 is ridiculously cheap. In the UK, the handset is available for less than £100. The phone differs from the Moto G in one key aspect: the OS. The Lumia 620 is based on Windows 8. Some like it, whereas some prefer Android, overall it is a fantastic handset than provides great value for money. It specs are 1GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 CPU, 3.8-inch screen, 512MB RAM, 8GB internal memory, 5mp camera.

Pros

The Lumia 620 has an excellent design and really it is the phone that brought Nokia back into the market. It has a huge 8GB internal memory, given its price, that is a huge plus. The screen is good quality despite being low resolution. It has a strong camera as well to back up rest of the features.

Cons

There is a profound shortage of apps on the App roster of the Lumia 620, in comparison to that of Android phones anyway. That can be said for many Windows based handsets though not just the 620. Battery life is also slightly disappointing.

User’s suitability

The Lumia 620 is suitable for all kinds of users, the phone is good looking, it is fast and it has a great camera and a good screen. It is very hard not to like it. However, users who are fond of using modified apps and games might find themselves a little short.

Huawei Ascend Y530 (£150)

Huawei Ascend Y350

Huawei Ascend Y350 – £150

A Chinese tech company isn’t going to sit out and watch others produce cheap handsets so here’s our pick in the form of the Huawei Ascend Y530. The Ascend Y530 has everything you expect in a decent budgeted phone, but unlike Lumia 620 and Moto G the phone doesn’t offer jaw dropping specs for the money. It is a simple and straightforward device. It is neat and swift, making it very easy to use as opposed to many Chinese and Korean handsets. The phone’s OS is Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. It has a 4.5 inch screen and 1.2 GHz dual-core processor – not bad for £150.

Pros

The Ascend Y530’s best quality is that it is a “vanilla” phone. It is simple and forthright type of device. There are no hidden complications. There is not much to experiment on. It is all very user-friendly. The design is good and the battery live is extremely good.

Cons

The internal storage capacity is very small. And there is no official statement regarding its Android update to 4.4. The Ascend Y530 does not support 4G.

User’s suitability

The Ascend Y530 is best suited to users who are not brand conscious. It has a decent screen size and a good OS, so overall it is a good catch if you are ready to challenge the status quo i.e. that Chinese handsets are not “cool”.

Mozilla Firefox Phone (£15)

Mozilla Firefox Phone

Mozilla Firefox Phone

Surprised? Shocked? Stunned? – Mozilla the famous browser giant are also dabbling in smartphones, and it’s also going to be unbelievably cheap. The phone is expected to come out in August – September 2014 but nothing has been made official yet. The Firefox phone will have Firefox OS, which is very exciting. We might have something completely new in the market which is much needed. Reports suggest that phone will have a 3.5 inch screen.

Pros

Of course this is all a conjecture but we can predict a few things. The phone will have a unique customized OS that will complement the phone perfectly. The phone won’t be overloaded with extra features or bloatware either. At £15, the phone is very low-cost and it’s hard to ignore a phone at that price.

Cons

At such a low price, the Mozilla Firefox Phone is expected to have a low quality build. The design might be alright but the quality of screen and body may lack. The other drawback is the limitations of apps that would be compatible with Firefox OS.

User’s suitability

The phone might not be a huge success as it’s not a well known brand but as a backup smartphone or something just to try if you are a curious user and you like to try new things it could be the phone for you.

Nokia Asha 503 (£100)

Nokia Asha 503

We round off our list by presenting a very well rounded phone in the form of the Nokia Asha 503. It is a phone that offers excellent features and great value. The looks and design might look a bit off but the phone has many virtues. It is the ideal low range phone for a sub £100 price.

Pros

The Asha 503 takes full marks in battery life, believe us when we say it’s incredible. Next, it has a nice feature of changeable rear covers that come in bright colours like white, green, blue and yellow.

Cons

The screen at 3 inches is a huge disappointment. It doesn’t offer high resolution and there aren’t many apps that run on Asha 503.

User’s suitability

The Asha 503 is small and durable. Funky colours and reasonable price makes it ideal for casual users. You shouldn’t think twice before buying it if you have a £100 budget and are looking for a decent looking phone with a solid set of features.

So there you have it, our top run down of the best budget smartphones for 2014. Which is your favourite? Can you pick out any that we may have missed?

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