There was a time when spending £150 to £200 would get you a pretty basic and low-quality smartphone. Thankfully, those days are now long behind us. Driven by the Chinese manufacturers, initially Huawei (who have now moved up-market) but now by the likes of Xiaomi and Realme, the rest of the smartphone world has had to catch up to ensure they maintain market share.
Initially developed for emerging markets like India, this price category is now important world-wide, with not everyone wanting to pay big bucks every few years for the latest all-singing and all dancing handset. Indeed, one of the phones on this list – the A40 – was Samsung’s best-selling smartphone in the UK in 2019, outselling its then flagship the S10.
So, smartphones in this category typically do the important things well (screen, camera and battery life), without being class leading in any particular area. Without further ado, let’s get down to business. The following list is in no particular order, it’s here to help you chose a new phone in this price range.
The A41 is the successor to last year’s best-selling A40. It has been upgraded with a bigger 6.1 AMOLED screen, a triple main camera array consisting of a 48MP f/2.0 wide, 8MP f/2.2 ultrawide and 5MP f/2.4 depth lenses. On the front is now a 25MP f/2.2 selfie snapper and the battery is now 3500 mAh. Based on last year, this is obviously the phone to watch in 2020 in this sector and is likely to sell well with the upgrade it has. It certainly sets the standards for the others in this range to match up to.
Xiaomi Mi A3
The Mi A3 also has an AMOLED screen, this one is a bit bigger at 6”. The 32MP selfie camera is in centrally positioned teardrop cut out in the centre. It has a triple rear camera array with 48MP wide, 8MP ultrawide and 2MP depth sensor lenses. Available with 4 or 6GB of RAM and 64 or 128GB of expandable storage, the Mi A3 is powered by a 4030 mAh fast charging battery. It is part of the Android One program, meaning you should get updates quicker. Again, available for less than £200, the only thing that lets the Mi A3 down is the lower 720p screen resolution. If you can live with that, it is well worth considering.
The second Samsung phone on this list is a bit of an oddity as it is better than the higher priced A70 in some areas and worse than the lower priced A50 in others. Firstly, it has a 6.3” LCD screen rather than the AMOLED of most other A series handsets. It has a triple camera array on the rear with a 32MP wide, 8MP ultrawide and a 5MP depth sensor lenses. On the front in a pinhole on the left is a 16MP selfie camera. The battery is only 3500 mAh but the LCD screen and lower powered processor means it should last you for 2 days. Available for just under £200 it is not bad value for money.
Since their relaunch a few years ago Nokia have focused on feature phones and a full range of smartphones. The smartphone range is numbered (unimaginatively) 1 through 9 and it is the second iteration of the 6, the 6.2 that makes our list. It has a 6.3” LCD screen with a glass back and plastic frameas well as a triple lens rear camera array of a 16MP wide, 8MP ultrawide and a 5MP depth sensor with an 8MP selfie camera in a teardrop notch. Battery is a reasonable 3500 mAh one with no fast charging. Available now for around £170, the 6.2 is not a bad phone for the price.
Constantly evolving market sector
So, there you have it, our choice of 4 smartphones in the £150-£200 sector. Please bear in mind that updates to phones are coming now nearly every 6 months, so while this article was up to date at the time of writing (April 2020) things may be different when you are reading it.
Already this month a new handset look set to gatecrash this list – the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 Pro Max. Although these are slated to launch with prices slightly over £200, they will drop in a matter of months and with ever improving specs are great value.
As I said at the start of this article, the list is in no particular order. But, as always, the choice is yours!