Best of Android Smartphones Under £250

Android Smartphones Under £250
Best of Android Smartphones Under £250
You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a great smartphone. We test seven impressive and affordable devices.

Moto G6

Motorola has an excellent record of striking the right balance between performance, looks and affordability. The Moto G6 maintains this commendable trend, and its sophisticated curves and polished glass make it barely distinguishable from vastly more expensive models. Reduced from its original price, it now costs around £199 – not ultra-cheap but in a world where the most expensive models exceed £1,000, not to be sniffed at.

Best of Android Smartphones Under £250 Moto G6

And since the phone runs Android 8.0(Oreo), it can do pretty much everything that its pricier counterparts can. The large 5.7 in the display has a tall, narrow, 18:9 ratio with a resolution of 1,080 x2,160 pixels. The screen is rich and vibrant, but it’s not the brightest(peaking at 408cd/m2), nor the most colour accurate (reproducing a relatively low 86.3% of the sRGB colour palette). While the phone’s 1.8GHz octa-core Snapdragon 450 processor may not be the fastest smartphone chip around, it’s enough to make the Moto G6

feel responsive for everyday tasks, with benchmark scores that match other phones in this price bracket. Also, Motorola’s version of Android is cleaner than most and doesn’t come over burdened  with unnecessary extra apps and user interface elements, which gives it some extra zip.

The most impressive thing about the G6 is its camera. The rear snapper is made up of two cameras working in unison, the second used for depth perception to create top-quality portrait images. It takes brilliant outdoor photos, too, and although it doesn’t perform as well in low light, its results are still impressive.

The main disappointment, however, is its battery life. The 3,000mAh battery lasted only 10 hours and 45 minutes in our test, which should still get you through a full day, but was bettered by the other award winners in this group.

If you’re on a strict budget and you’re after a phone that looks good, feels natural to use and takes great photographs, there’s none better than the Motorola MotoG6.
Although it’s the second-most expensive phone in this test, it offers superb value for money. Sure, it can’t match every aspect of vastly more expensive flagship phones that are way beyond the budget of this review, but the compromises made are in all the right places, with fussy extra strimmed while core features remain intact.

Moto e5 plus

Our next-favourite sub- £250 smartphone is another Motorola, though this one is a bit cheaper and, therefore, less of an all-rounder than the G6. However, if battery life is your priority, look no further than the E5Plus.

With its huge 5,000mAh battery, this phone lasted 24 hours and 2 minutes in our tests, which is longer than any other currently available phone–at any price–that we’ve tested.

Best of Android Smartphones Under £250 Moto E5 Plus

The camera is also superb. There are no fancy options involving dual lenses, but it takes wonderful photos that are vastly superior to any other model that’s this affordable.

The E5 Plus’s plastic case shows where some cost has been cut, but it still feels surprisingly classy and houses an impressive 720 x1,440 pixel screen, along with a microSD card slot that lets you expand the phone’s storage up to 256GB.


Although this is more than £100 under our budget, the Motorola E5 Plus has everything in all the right places. Best of all is its epic battery life, which is better than any other phone you can buy. It also takes cracking photos.

Samsung Galaxy j5

It was a tough call not to give Motorola a clean sweep of all three top awards in this GroupTest, but Samsung’s J5 has dropped in price significantly since its £250 launch last year, so it’s an absolute bargain.

Best of Android Smartphones Under £250 Samsung Galaxy J5

It’s the J5’s display that elevates it from the rest of the pack.It has an AMOLED screen, with an sRGB coverage of 98.5%. Although it doesn’t get as bright as some of its rivals, maxing out at 297cd/m2, its contrast is wonderful and displays velvety dee pinky blacks.

Our battery tests ran for 18hours and 26 minutes on the J5, which is impressive, even if it’s hours less than the MotoE5 Plus. Its  1.6GHz octa-cre processor is better than the ones in the Motorola models, though, which gave the J5 better scores in our performance benchmark tests and gives Android a smoother, slicker feel.


It may not have the battery life of the E5Plus or the general well-roundedness of the G6, but if your main requirements from  a phone are a slick interface and a luxurious screen, then the Samsung Galaxy J5 is an excellent choice.

Honor 8x

The Honor8X is the biggest, fastest phone you’ll get for less than £250, with a huge6.5in screen that’s surprisingly easy to hold thanks to its thin 19.5:9 aspect ratio and narrow bezels.

Best of Android Smartphones Under £250 Honor 8X

It has a sharp resolution of 1,080 x2,340 pixels and reasonably accurate colours (91.6% of sRGB), though it’s not particularly bright.

In our benchmark tests, it out performed every other phone in this Group Test, both in games and processor performance, helped by its 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. The camera and battery aren’t great, though.

Moto e5

The MotoE5 doesn’t have the mighty battery life of the E5Plus (though it still lasted a solid 19 hours and 39 minutes in our tests) but it’s otherwise just as good.

Its solid plastic case feels comfortable to hold, the generous 5.7in 18:9 ratio display has no major flaws and its rear13-megapixels camera is brilliant.

Storage and RAM are a bit mean at 16GB and 2GB, but there’s a microSD slot to expand this. However, performance from the 1.4GHz quad-core processor is a touch sluggish, which is why the Samsung J5 beat it to third place.

Vodafone smart N9 Lite

This is the only phone we’ve tested that runs Google’s Android Go operating system, which is a lightweight version of Android 8.1 designed to help ultra-cheap phones run faster.

However, the N9 Lite still feels sluggish, particularly when using apps that aren’t optimised for Go. Its 480 x 960 pixels screen is a generous 5.34in but it’s not colour accurate, displaying only 64.1% of sRGB colours.

Battery life was also weakest in our tests, lasting just 8hours and 50minutes

Vodafone smart N9

The N9’s main attraction is its modern18:9 ratio screen, which has a decent resolution of 720 x 1,440 pixels and is surprisingly good quality, with sRGB coverage of 90.9%.

It feels well made, and has a fingerprint reader and NFC for your convenience.

However, the camera is poor and battery life is disappointing (9 hours and11minutes in our tests). That’s an acceptable compromise for the price but you get so much more if you stretch your budget to the Moto E5 or beyond.

Final verdict

The Motorola MotoG6 scooped our Gold Award from tough competition. It’s a fantastic all-round smartphone, available fora very reasonable £200. You can’t expect it to compete in every aspect with rival models that cost five times as much, but the G6’s compromises are in all the right places, making it extraordinary value for money.

If that’s still too expensive, the E5 Plus is a more affordable alternative that actually trumps the G6 for battery life. It also takes great photos, offers superb value for money and wins our Silver Award.

Anyone looking for top performance without sacrificing too much in other areas should look beyond Motorola to the Samsung GalaxyJ5, which nabbed our Bronze Award.

This smartphone has an exceptional screen and are a reasonable battery life, but isn’t as good at taking photos as the Motorola models

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