What is the best mid-range phone you can buy? Not everyone can afford a flagship phone like the Samsung Galaxy S10 or iPhone XS, but the good news is that plenty of cheaper devices offer an excellent experience. Some are half the price or even less, so don’t panic if you’re on a bit of budget.
What is the best mid-range phone you can buy?
Not everyone can afford a flagship phone like the Samsung Galaxy S10 or iPhone XS, but the good news is that plenty of cheaper devices offer an excellent experience. Some are half the price or even less, so don’t panic if you’re on a bit of budget. Here, we have reviewed and ranked the best mid-range phones you can buy today.
We’re defining a mid-range range phone as one that costs between £200 (the higher limit of our even cheaper budget phones chart) and £500 in the UK on a SIM-free basis.
Mid-range smartphones can wonderfully combine flagship-level features in hardware of great value. You may to compromise slightly on camera and build quality, but it is often totally worth it to save hundreds – and some of the phones at the top of the price range are flagships in their own right.
Phones from the likes of Honor, Xiaomi and Motorola are prime choices, and we’ve listed our current ten favourites below.
1. Moto G7
The Moto G7 is not only the best Moto G phone yet, it’s the best mid-range phone you can buy. Sure, you can spend over double its RRP on a OnePlus 6T but unless you desperately need the better processor, screen and cameras then the G7 is more than good enough.
It has Android 9 Pie, a 1080p screen, good battery life and decent performance in a premium feeling handset. This is the best value in the mid-range phone market and you won’t be disappointed.
Read our Moto G7 review.
2. Xiaomi Mi 9
Devilishly fast, insanely beautiful and offering the best value for money you’ll find in any smartphone, anywhere. Mi 9 is a cracking deal at £499, and well worth the upgrade from even Mi 8.
New is an in-display fingerprint sensor as standard, Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 855 processor, 20W wireless charging, a larger screen and a triple-lens camera that includes a massive 48Mp lens.
It’s available direct from Xiaomi at £499, or on contract from Vodafone. If you’re happy to ship from China, GearBest offers an incredible deal at £361.10, and at this price no other phone comes even remotely close.
Read our Xiaomi Mi 9 review.
The Pixel 3a might not be the all singing all dancing mid-range option so in some ways there are better phones at the same price.
However, we think that your buying this for different reasons. The Pixel 3a will appeal to those wanting Google’s design and pure Android across areas such as the camera and the OS at a whole.
Then there’s the promise of updates for years to come which is not what many rivals can deliver.
Read our Google Pixel 3a review.
4. OnePlus 6T
This is one of the best phones you can buy even if it is the first OnePlus phone without a headphone jack. An in-screen fingerprint sensor, better speaker and more battery is the pay-off, and it’s worth it.
The large display is excellent, the dual cameras are more capable than ever and performance is the best you can get on Android right now along with the Pixel 3.
You’ll need to like the colour black, but OnePlus continues – just – to undercut industry prices enough to stand out.
Read our OnePlus 6T review.
The Honor View 20 is stunning to look at – from just about any angle, thanks to the one-two punch of the pinhole camera on the front and the genuinely unique holographic V effect on the glass rear. The photos look great, but don’t really do this thing justice – it’s properly gorgeous.
With a Kirin 980 and 6/8GB RAM the specs are plenty powerful to match, and comfortably rival much more expensive flagship phones (including Huawei’s own Mate 20 Pro). And perhaps for the first time, Honor deserves to be in the same conversation as the big names when it comes to camera quality. Touting a 48MP lens is meaningless, but it’s hard to argue with the results, especially from the AI Ultra Clarity mode.
At just £499 for the base model, and £579 for one with extra RAM and storage, this is genuinely affordable too. Honor’s flagships have always offered serious specs and slick design while undercutting rivals on price, but it usually feels like there are a couple of compromises along the way.
For perhaps the first time, the View 20 doesn’t feel that way. Sure, premium features like wireless charging and waterproofing are still missing, but for most people those remain nice-to-haves – whereas with the core features here Honor is firing on all cylinders.
Read our Honor View 20 review.
There’s no doubt that the Pocophone F1 is one of the best Chinese phones we’ve ever tested.
Xiaomi has done an outstanding job of creating an impressively high-spec phone for a mind-blowingly cheap price. It’s might not be the thinnest and lightest phone around but the design is still attractive and desirable.
If you like the Mi8 but your budget can’t stretch this this is the phone for you.
Read our Xiaomi Pocophone F1 review.
7. Honor 10
Continuing its run of good form, the Honor 10 is the best mid-range phone you can buy right now.
Battery life might not be anything to write home about but that’s not unusual and there’s so much to like here. Much of what the Honor 10 offers, like display, cameras and build quality are at the level you’d expect from a phone twice the price.
The software is better than ever and you get a whopping 128GB of storage as standard. Add in smooth performance, a headphone jack, dual-SIM and attractive design and you can see why this is the current mid-range king.
Read our Honor 10 review.
8. Honor 8X
Though it only costs £229.99 in the UK, the Honor 8X looks, feels and performs like a high-end smartphone in most respects. It features a gorgeous shimmering glass back and a stunning 6.5in FHD+ bezel-less display on the front, complete with a Notch housing a 20Mp camera.
It offers advanced features including facial recognition that works well in most environments, and although performance isn’t perfect when running demanding apps, it should be more than enough for casual browsing and gaming.
Read our Honor 8X review.
9. Honor Play
At £279, it’s very easy to recommend the Honor Play. The display is no match for rival gaming phones like the Razer Phone or Asus ROG, but the Play offers top notch performance at a far lower price than either of those, which might make it the ideal phone for gamers on a budget.
The specs are almost identical to the pricier Honor 10 and even the much pricier Huawei P20, though it’s worth noting that it’s got a metal chassis rather than a glass back, and the camera isn’t a patch on the ones in those phones.
Still, even if you’re not a gamer, this is one of the best value phones on the market, offering flagship performance at a fraction of the price, so long as you don’t mind missing out on the best photography features.
Read our Honor Play review.
10. Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite
The Mi 8 Lite is an excellent-value mid-range phone with a gorgeous design and some decent hardware, particularly in the camera department. We’re excited for what Xiaomi’s entrance to the UK means for the mid-range smartphone market.
Read our Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite review.
Your buying guide for the best mid-range phones
Our chart automatically pulls in the current price, so all these links are clickable and you can go straight to the retailer at which we found any given price.
Star ratings are awarded at the time of review, so bear this in mind when comparing older models with more recent ones.
Also see the best phones of 2019 for the latest flagship handsets that might cost you a little more.
Specifications to look for in a mid-range phone
It’s difficult to define a mid-range phone by its specification, hence why we’ve opted for a price bracket instead.
Some mid-range phones will take the all-round good-value approach, with capable specs in each area; others will focus on a key area such as the camera or display and promise flagship-rivalling capability; and others still used to be those flagships, so will offer a fantastic spec at a brilliant price.
Chinese phones are a great choice in the mid-range market, because they balance a very good specification with a lower price than what you would expect to find in the UK. You may have heard of Xiaomi and OnePlus offering staggering value when compared to some of the better known brands, but there are plenty of other less well known Chinese brands that could also offer you a very good deal.
Try to remember that it’s not always about specifications. We’ve hit something of a ceiling when it comes to smartphone tech anyway, so although these phones may not be as fast as the flagships they are almost certainly fast enough for most users. Go for a phone that balances value, performance, features and design in a way that appeals to you and only you.