Looking for a budget smartphone? Here are the best that 2016 has to offer!

Now if you are operating on a limited budget, certainly flagship smartphones such as the Apple iPhone 7 and the Samsung Galaxy S7 are out of your reach. Don’t despair, there are a range of budget smartphones on the market that are more than capable of performing the tasks you require of your handset.

Thanks to the fact that technology is becoming more and more accessible and more companies are moving into the mobile field, these phones are available at extremely competitive prices. Let’s take a look at some models that our experts at JP Phones feel are more than worthwhile.

Moto G

This is an excellent little budget smartphone. It comes with some more processing power than its predecessor in the form of an octa-core Snapdragon 617 processor. This is the best processor to be found in budget smartphones at present, so if speed is a factor, then this phone is for you. It has a 5.5-inch screen with a decent resolution of 1920×1080. There are two options storage wise, the 16 gig and the 32 gig while a 13-megapixel camera is perfect for all those holiday snaps! It weighs 155g and costs just £169.

Vodacom Smart Prime 7

This is an excellent option if you are looking for a phone on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ contract. It is perhaps the perfect option as a first smartphone for teenagers. It features a quad-core 1.3 Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 processor, which while not the best, certainly does a good job for an entry level smartphone. It comes with a 5-inch screen offering a resolution of 1280×720. Again, this is not the best on the market but at a price of £75, you cannot argue too much! One drawback is that it only comes with 8 gigs of storage but does allow for a micro SD card, so this can be bumped up to 128 gigs if need be. Finally, this 128g phone has an 8-megapixel camera, perfect for those student selfies!

Motorola Moto E

The second generation of this popular phone is a great compact option. It features a quad-core 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor which offers decent performance. With a relatively smalls screen size, just 4.5 inches as well as a fairly low resolution (960×540) the Moto E is a little let down in this regard, especially if you want to watch movies or stream videos. It does offer excellent battery life, however. Storage is a little low at 8 gigs but you should be able to fit on a fair amount of music or movies. It weighs 145g and costs £73. This is the perfect smartphone for a housewife or a retired person in our book.

Samsung Galaxy J5

Samsung are not really known for their budget handsets but the J5 has certainly become an exception. With a quad-core 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor, the J5 is fairly quick while a 5 inch, 1280×720 AMOLED display delivers excellent quality despite a lower resolution than other budget handsets. The phone offers 8 gigs of storage which is a little bit disappointing. 16 gigs would have been a far better match for the other specs found on the phone. Finally, this £150 handset has a 13-megapixel camera and weighs in at 146g.

Microsoft Lumia 640

For those wanting a Windows based phone, look no further than the Lumia. It is powered by a Quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor and has 8 gigs of storage. It offers a 5-inch screen with 1280×720 resolution.  But it is its big, bold and funky design as well as a range of colours that make it a real fashion statement. Storage-wise you will only have 8 gigs and the camera comes in at 8 megapixels. Not the greatest but certainly capable of doing a decent job on photographs. It weighs 145g and will set you back £100.

In this article, we have just touched on a range of budget smartphones available to the public of the United Kingdom. There are many models out there and no doubt, you will be able to find one to not only suit your needs but your budget as well.

Looking for a budget smartphone? Here are the best that 2016 has to offer!

Battery life – which smartphone wins this all important battle?

Without a doubt, and heavy mobile phone users will attest to this, nothing is more infuriating than having to search for a charging point for your phone in the middle of the afternoon after it just sat at 100% charge in the morning.

Smartphones are incredible pieces of technology but as of yet, their manufacturers still cannot give us a battery that will match their overall abilities. Remember the old Nokia 3310? That phone would last up to FIVE days on one charge! Granted, it could only send texts, make phone calls and play Snake but mobile phone users still value a decent battery life as an important selling point for a phone.

Let’s be honest though. Smartphones today simply do so much for us. From social networking, emailing, texting, instant messages, surfing the internet, apps for just about anything and of course, playing games, it is no wonder that the battery life on a smartphone doesn’t last for a day in most cases.

That said, some phones do perform far better than others and for that reason, we at JP Phones decided to run a test to see which of the top smartphones on the market perform the best.

Our test method

We tested a range of smartphones, excluding the recently release Apple iPhone 7 which we will add to this test result later in the year. Now testing a battery needs a fairly involved effort that is universal across all the handsets that are tested.

To do this, we looped a music video to run for 36 hours (not that we believed a phone could get there but it is better to be prepared). We then ran that video on each and every phone with the sound output coming from a pair of headphones.  We then recorded and timed the sound coming out of the headphones and when it died, we knew the battery was all used up in each particular handset. Each phone was put into its relevant airplane mode while we kept them all set to the same brightness level. We also turned off any automatic sleep settings. In each case, we used the default player on each phone to play the video.


Why do we put the phones into airplane mode? Well, that turns off all unnecessary background systems including Wi-Fi. If we left Wi-Fi on, each phone would hunt for Wi-Fi signals as they become weaker or get stronger and so use up battery life. As each phone does this differently, Wi-Fi needs to be turned off.

Also, we did not run these test just once. Each phone was tested three times with the average of the battery life recorded below.

Test results

Well from our results, smartphones from Samsung are the clear winners in terms of battery life. Let’s take a look.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 21h33m

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge 18h35m

Samsung Galaxy S7 17h43m

OnePlus 3 16h50m

Apple iPhone SE 16h33m

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge 15h45m

Motorola Moto X Force 15h01m

Apple IPhone 6s Plus 14h55m

Motorola Moto G4 13h25m

Samsung Galaxy 6 13h22m

Sony xperia Z5 compact 13h20m

OnePlus X 13h04m

Microsoft Lumia 950 XL 13h01m

Vodafone Smart Prime 7 12h54m

Huawei P9 Plus 12h30m

Apple iPhone 6s 11h20m

Google Nexus 5x 10h15m

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium 9h38m

As you can see, there is a massive difference between phones and battery life can certainly be an important factor when choosing your smartphone. For example, you might be a sales rep and on the road all day. You would certainly need a phone that can last for a 12-hour stretch.

Battery tips to consider when buying a smartphone

When you do buy a new smartphone, or upgrade on your existing contract, there are a few things that you can do to ensure that you pick a phone with a decent battery (if this is one of your primary requisites when choosing a phone).

The most important thing to look at is the overall capacity of the battery. This is measured as the mAh rating. So if you have two phones you like and you would prefer the one with the better battery, then choose the one with the higher mAh rating. In other words, the more the mAh rating of the phone the more battery life it should have.

There are other factors at play here however, and they do need to be considered. These include the brightness of your screen as well as its resolution and how much battery power the operating system of the phone uses when it is idle. But generally, if you are worried about battery power, choose the phone with the higher mAh rating.

Battery life – which smartphone wins this all important battle?