The Best Pay As You Go Phones

by Dan Forster - , Last Updated on April 15, 2015, Buying Guides

It seems like high end flagship phones are ten a penny these days, not that a top end mobile will cost you a penny, of course. With the big names carrying price tags of hundreds of pounds, getting a mobile can look a little out of some people’s price range. If you’re looking into getting a pay as you go phone, then chances are that finances are an issue. Going PAYG is a great idea if you’re on a budget, since you’ll only ever pay for services that you actually use, as opposed to contract plans where you pay the same monthly price whether you use your minutes, texts and data or not. But if you’ve opted for PAYG then you’re going to need a phone to go with your plan. That’s why we’re here to give you the low down on the best and most affordable PAYG phone options. So, without further ado, let’s get started.

The Microsoft Lumia 435

The Microsoft Lumia 435

The Microsoft Lumia 435

Surprisingly, we’re starting our list with a Windows phone, surprising only because traditionally Windows mobiles have been more expensive. Though the name Nokia has been dropped, the Microsoft Lumia 435 will look familiar to anyone who’s owned a Lumia before. This is the newest budget model in the Lumia range, and retails for a mere £70 or so, but what do you get for your cash?

The Lumia 435 has a solid four inch touch screen. It’s powered by a dual core 1.2 GHz processor and 1 GB of RAM, so performance is very solid indeed. The on board cameras aren’t great, with a simple video calling cam at the front and a mere 2 MP cam at the rear. You do get a healthy 8 GB of memory included though, along with an SD card slot for up to 128 GB of extra space. You’ll be running Windows 8.1 out of the box, though you’ll be getting the Windows 10 upgrade once available.

The Samsung Galaxy Ace 4

The Samsung Galaxy Ace 4

The Samsung Galaxy Ace 4

Samsung’s Galaxy Ace range is the manufacturer’s budget line of smart phones, and if you’re not quite up to spending hundreds on their flagship Galaxy mobiles, an Ace makes a nice compromise. You get the same signature styling, with sleek lines and rounded corners, but pay a good deal less. The Ace 4 will run you around £100 or so, depending on where you buy. What about those specs though?

There’s a nice four inch TFT display with good colour reproduction on the Ace 4. You’ll be running a dual core 1.0 GHz processor and 512 MB of RAM, and whilst that doesn’t make the Ace 4 the fastest of phones every day performance is just fine. There’s a simple video calling camera up front and a nice 5 MP cam at the back. You do only get 4 GB of internal storage, but there’s an SD card slot to pump that up to 64 GB if necessary.

The Motorola Moto G

The Motorola Moto G

The Motorola Moto G

This is the first generation of the Moto G, as opposed to the more expensive recent Moto G 2nd Generation model, and despite being eighteen months old the original Moto G still makes an awesome  budget buy if you want a great PAYG phone, with some very good specs for its price. You’re looking at spending around £110 pounds on a Moto G, so not too much.

You’ll be getting a 4.5 inch LCD display with the Moto G, and plenty of power. This device is running a quad core 1.2 GHz processor and 1 GB of RAM, making it one of the fastest phones on our list. Camera wise you’re getting 1.3 MP up front and 5 MP at the rear. There are two available versions, an 8 GB and a 16 GB, but neither comes with an SD card slot, so you won’t be able to expand that.

The Sony Xperia M2

The Sony Xperia M2

The Sony Xperia M2

Sony’s Xperia line is renowned for cutting edge tech and smooth, sexy design. The Xperia M2 is their current best budget model, and it retails for around £130 or so. It looks fantastic, so if you’re looking for a fashion statement, then the M2 is the way to go, but it’s got some solid performance too.

There’s a 4.8 inch display on the M2, so plenty of room to type. It’s running a quad core 1.2 GHz processor and 1 GB of RAM, giving you plenty of speed and responsiveness. There’s only a video chat camera up front, but at the rear you get the full 8 MP camera that’s standard for mid range phones. Finally, there’s 8 GB of built in storage, but an SD card slot will give you up to 32 GB of extra space.

The EE Kestrel

The EE Kestrel

The EE Kestrel

If you’re looking for a solid budget buy then operator phone choices can be a good option, and EE’s Kestrel is one of the best around. Not only does it have great specs, a £50 price tag, and some serious good looks, but it’s also fully 4G enabled, so you can get faster mobile data speeds. If you’re planning on going with an EE PAYG plan, then the Kestrel is a great choice.

The EE Kestrel has a full 4.5 inch screen, giving you tons of room for video watching and net surfing. It’s running a quad core 1.2 GHz processor, so you’ll be getting great performance. Up front there’s a 1 MP camera, and in the rear a nice 5 MP. Plus you get 8 GB of internal memory and an SD card slot for even more space.

The Huawei Ascend G6

The Huawei Ascend G6

The Huawei Ascend G6

Finally, Huawei have always been a good bet on the budget market, and if you’re looking for a great looking device with a low price tag then you can’t do better than the Huawei Ascend G6. Retailing at around £140 or so, you’ll be getting great performance and some nice camera action as well.

The Ascend G6 features a 4.5 inch LCD display, with IPS for great viewing angles. It runs a quad core 1.2 GHz processor and 1 GB of RAM, so it’s plenty speedy and great at multi tasking. Those cameras are the real selling point though, with a 5 MP camera up front and an 8 MP device at the rear. The Ascend G6 comes with 4 GB of internal memory, and an SD card slot to bump that up to 32 GB if you need it.