The best under-£225 smartphones face off!

The real flavour of mid-range phones is in their spec and design ethos reflecting those of high-end flagships, yet being light on your wallet.

We decided to pit some of the best affordable smartphones under-£225 against each other to see which among them offers the best speed, LTE connectivity, storage and battery life in a body that’s pleasing to the eye. Here’s what we found:

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Motorola Moto G 2015 (3rd Gen)

With prices starting at £169, the third-generation Moto G is far more capable and efficient than its predecessors. At the price, you get a 5-inch IPS display, pure Android 5.1 Lollipop OS (upgrade imminent to Android 6.0) without confusing overlays, up to 16GB of storage along with microSD slots, a 13-MP camera with dual CCT flash and a not-to-be-sneezed-at 2,470 mAh battery.

With neither a high resolution display nor a heavy UI to support, Moto G’s Snapdragon 410 is capable enough to support your day’s work with 1.2GHz of power and by supporting up to 150 Mbps of download speeds. It’s complemented by a 2GB RAM which seems suitable enough for a phone that’s made for calls, e-mails and social networking.

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The best part about the Moto G is that it is utterly customisable. Thanks to Motorola’s Moto Maker technology, you can choose your favourite back colour, front colour, accent colour, storage space and can add any engraving that seems right for your phone. Even though customising may cost you a bomb, you can at least get to design your own phone to your liking and not be the one to lap up whatever phone-makers choose to throw at you.

Microsoft Lumia 640 XL

Despite not being among those sparkling new Lumia beauties sporting Windows 10 Mobile, Lumia 640 XL is one rare phablet that you can make yours for under £225. Running Windows 8.1, the phone comes in a choice of colours that’s reminiscent of Lumia phones, giving you a choice of matte cyan, orange and black, as well as both matte and glossy white.

With a 5.7” HD display, Lumia 640 XL is almost as big as the splendid Lumia 1520 but that’s where the comparison ends, and so does the price. With 8GB of internal storage, it’ll let you save precious little in its own drawer but the 128GB microSD slot more than covers up for it. The 3,000 mAh battery sounds perfect for a phone as big as the Lumia 640 XL and the 13-MP ZEISS Optics and 5-MP cameras can better a number of pricier rivals.

Lumia 640 XL is powered by a Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor which is as efficient as the one in the Moto G 2015. However, streaming movies on the 5.7” display could be a strain given that there’s just 1GB of RAM to run the entire system. We wouldn’t recommend running Facebook and Instagram at the same time either. However, you can still play HD movies that are stored in your SD card and do a lot of social networking smoothly if you don’t keep too many apps open at the same time.

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Lumia 640 XL comes with a bag of goodies which includes free OneDrive storage and a surprising number of operators and retailers willing to sell the phone at a bargain, including the likes of Dixon Carphone Group, EE, O2, Vodafone, Three, Amazon, Tesco Mobile and Virgin Mobile.

OnePlus X

Soon after OnePlus 2 started creating waves for offering tasty specs at a bargain, OnePlus went a step further and launches the X, a neat mid-ranger that cost just short of £200. What’s more, the OnePlus X offers the looks of iPhone 5S with a bigger display, a Full HD resolution and a Gorilla Glass 3 screen to top it up.

If it weren’t for the absence of a round home button at the bottom, X could have easily passed off as yet another iPhone but for the specs which are impressive compared to the pricier iPhone 5c. The phone comes with 16GB of internal storage and runs on a Snapdragon 801 processor working in tandem with 3GB of RAM. The Snapdragon chip carries a quad-core Krait 400 CPU which runs at 2.3 GHz, almost twice as fast as the Moto G and offers enough juice to run HD games and movies for as long as you want it to. There’s also a 2,525 mAh battery which lasts longer than the one on the Moto G.

Even though the ceramic version of OnePlus X costs £269, you can get hold of the black glass variant for just £199. The phone comes with 13-MP and 8-MP cameras with wide f/2.2 and f/2.4 apertures as well as phase detection autofocus which lets you snap a picture in one fifth of a second.

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Getting hold of a OnePlus X isn’t as simple though. To get one, either a friend of yours who already owns one will have to recommend you or you’ll have to participate in OnePlus’ online contests to win one. However, OnePlus does offer the phone to the public now and then during festive seasons or flash sales, so you’ll have to keep a beady eye on the OnePlus social media profiles to grab one without an invite.

Honor 5X

It’s not often that phone makers follow up a flagship launch with a mid-range one, but Honor 5X is good enough to warrant your attention, especially since its red hot specs and super keen pricing.

Here’s a £189.99 phone that offers a fingerprint sensor, a fine aluminium alloy body, a phablet-sized display, an octa-core processor and a more than capable 3,000 mAh battery. Apart from sporting 16GB of storage, Honor 5X’ microSD slot offers space for another 128GB and you’ll have the Snapdragon 616 chip and 2GB of RAM to sail you through a hard day’s work.

Honor 5X is a dual SIM phone, offering nano-SIM and micro-SIM slots apart from a super-fast fingerprint sensor and expandable storage. The display is a Full HD one and the 13-MP primary camera comes with a 28mm wide-angle lens for taking panoramic pictures which are normally attributes of a flagship phone. While comparing the phone with Honor 7 won’t make any sense given that the latter locks horns with the likes of Samsung’s Galaxy S6, Apple’s iPhone 6s and Sony’s Xperia Z5 phones, Honor 5X would still be a great addition to your kit if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to mid-rangers like Nexus 5X, Samsung Galaxy A7 or HTC A9 phones.


  1. Guest
    Guest13th Feb 2016

    2nd gen Moto X can now be had for £199. (And it's a better phone than the Moto G.

  2. Guest
    Guest13th Feb 2016

    I've opted for the Jolla at 199 Euros, available from Jolla . com, excellent!

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