Best cheap smartphones: PAYG mobiles compared

We compare the best budget blowers on the market

5. Motorola Moto E

Motorola Moto E

The Moto E is the baby of Motorola's current range of smartphones and with a super-low price tag comes a solid handset which gives you all the key parts of Android with minimum fuss.

There's a 4.3-inch display, 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 5MP rear camera, 1980mAh battery and Android 4.4 KitKat packed into this dinky dialler and while those specs won't set the world alight they're good enough at this low price point.

It does lack the zip of the Moto G, internal storage is low at 4GB and the rear camera is poor, but stick a microSD card into the handset and it'll cope with most general apps and games.

For £90 or less there are very few compelling options and when it comes to Android handsets at that price we'd argue that there's nothing else out there as good as the Moto E.

4. EE Kestrel

EE Kestrel

If you're really keen on getting a 4G smartphone, but your budget is small, then the EE Kestrel is certainly worth considering.

It touts itself as the cheapest 4G smartphone on the market with a PAYG price tag of just £99, and that gets you a 4.5-inch display, 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 5MP rear camera, 1MP front camera, 8GB of internal storage, microSD slot and a 2000mAh battery.

The Android 4.3 Jelly Bean operating system is getting on a bit now, and the Huawei user interface isn't one of the best overlays we've used, but it's not terrible.

If you must have 4G on your budget smartphone then the Kestrel is a decent shout, but there are better options around.

3. Nokia Lumia 520

Nokia Lumia 520

The Nokia Lumia 520 is a jack of all trades and a master of none - although it really manages to make a good fist of everything it tries, for the price.

It looks good, it's got a decent screen both in terms of size and resolution, it rarely stutters or slows down, it's great for calls and messaging, reasonable for media and okay for photos.

To achieve a lower price point the 520 has had to strip away a few things - there's no NFC, compass, camera flash or front facing camera here.

The Nokia Lumia 520 certainly isn't an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy beater - but it's a superb Windows Phone 8 device that you can pick up for under £100.

If you're a fan of a simple interface with some quality add-ons, then you should definitely look at Nokia's latest attempt to win over the smartphone naysayers.

2. Nokia Lumia 630

Nokia Lumia 630

The Nokia Lumia 630 finds itself several places above its brother the Lumia 635 in the rankings - why you may ask - well let us tell you.

It has the same screen, processor, camera and battery as the Lumia 635, yet costs less because it's only 3G and not 4G. At the low-cost price point 4G isn't too much of a big deal, and thus the lower price of the 630 makes it a better proposition.

You get a 4.5-inch display, 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 512MB of RAM, 5MP rear camera, 1830mAh battery and the new Windows Phone 8.1 operating system.

The Nokia Lumia 630 is one of the very best affordable smartphones currently on the market, and it only narrowly misses out on top spot due to the slightly better speced Moto G.

1. Motorola Moto G

Moto G

Moto G   Best budget smartphone

What's this, a Motorola topping a "best of" list? Your eyes do not deceive you, Motorola is back and the Moto G is a cracking handset.

In fact the Moto G is the best budget handset currently on the market, and if you're looking for maximum bang for your buck look no further.

Take a gander at the spec list and the Moto G simply blows the rest of the phones here out of the water. It's rocking an excellent 4.5-inch, 720 x 1280 HD display, 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 5MP rear camera and 1.3MP front snapper.

If you're willing to splash a little bit of extra cash you can also pick up the Motorola Moto 4G which adds a microSD slot and 4G connectivity into the mix while still keeping the price under £150.

The camera isn't particularly brilliant and there's no NFC, but those are minor concessions in what is otherwise a top notch smartphone.

Looking to pick up a new mobile? Check out our mobile buying guide first: