What’s the best mid-range phone you can buy in the UK?
Your buying guide for the best mid-range phones in 2017
We’re defining a mid-range range phone as one that costs between £200 (the higher limit of our budget phones chart) and £400.
This price criteria means that our list includes new phones that fit the price bracket, but also flagships from the past year or so for which the price has dropped significantly. This can make them a better deal than any recently released phone at the same price.
For that reason, this chart is a bit different to our other group tests. Usually you’d be interested only in what sat right at the top of the chart, but here you might find a phone much lower down the rankings is a better buy, depending on your requirements and priorities.
Our chart automatically pulls in the RRP, so for these older flagships you should ignore this. Much more important is the live pricing – what you’ll pay today if you decide to buy that handset. All these links are clickable, so 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 2017 for the latest handsets.
Best Black Friday phone deals today
If you’re simply after saving on a new handset, here are the best deals on phones we have found for today:
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.
Even though the S8 changed the design of the modern smartphone, 2016’s Galaxy S7 is still one of the best phones Samsung has ever made. Now at just under £400, it is a massive bargain too.
It improved on the S6 in every conceivable way and is still fast and sleek while boasting a camera thats practically the same as the one on the S8. Highly recommended.
Read our Samsung Galaxy S7 review.
2. Honor 9
The Honor 9 is an undeniably impressive phone for an unmatched price right now. In performance terms, it’s nipping at the heels of the year’s top flagships, and only lacking flashy features like waterproofing or a bezel-less screen. It looks great, it runs fast, and it costs less than £400. We’re sold.
Read our Honor 9 review.
3. Nokia 8
Although the Nokia 8 offers some decent specs for the price, it’s just not a device that stands out in a crowded market. Build quality should be better and the fingerprint scanner can be a real pain.
However, niggles aside, you get a decent screen, core specs and dual-cameras with the already lowered price of £399 making it a bit of a bargain if it ticks your boxes.
Read our Nokia 8 review.
4. Moto G5 Plus
The Moto G5 Plus is an impressive phone for under £250. It’s barely any bigger than the normal model which is odd but it might well be worth spending the extra to get more storage, a better processor and a significantly better camera.
Read our Moto G5 Plus review.
We’re pleased to see that Motorola has revived the Moto X. For the most part, we like the new glass design and the specs and features are good for the £350 price – it looks like a more expensive phone.
Waterproofing and the dual-lens camera sets this apart from rivals, and we like the 5.2in screen size for comfort and practicality.
It’s slower than the Honor 9, and has half the storage as standard, but if you’d prefer the water-resistance over the extra speed, the Moto X4 is a great choice for anyone that can’t afford the hefty price tags of the current flagships.
Read our Motorola Moto X4 review.
6. HTC U11 Life
Overall, the HTC U11 Life is a solid mid-range phone. Design and specs are largely decent for the price – especially getting 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM as standard. Meanwhile Android One keeps software clean and simple if that’s what you’re after. This, and Edge Sense, are the main reasons to buy this phone over rivals but there’s strong competition.
At the same price, the Moto X4 has better cameras and a bigger battery if those things are important. A little more will get you the even better Honor 9 and the outstanding OnePlus 5T isn’t much more than that.
Read our HTC U11 Life review.
7. LG G5
The LG G5 is one of the most radical phones to come along in a while and we’re glad the firm has shaken things up with the modular design. The G5 is innovative and interesting with unique features but it’s a shame the design and build feels unfinished in areas. It’s a top-notch device which can hold its own with the best phones in performance and cameras, but it’s LG’s modular design which is the real selling point here. There is bags of potential but the future of this is unclear so it’s hard to be definite right now. The G5 is one of the best phones around but for completely different reasons to the Galaxy S7.
Read our LG G5 review.
8. Xiaomi Mi6
This really is an amazing phone, and only the Chinese software puts us off recommending it for a UK audience. It is crazy fast, crazy beautiful and crazy priced. If you know your way around Android go and get one, and you won’t be disappointed.
Read our Xiaomi Mi6 review.
9. Moto Z2 Play
The Moto Z2 Play is a great mid-range smartphone; it features a gorgeous design, premium build and the Moto Mods support provides extended functionality based on what you require from the smartphone, from extra battery power to an improved speaker and even a built-in projector.
Despite the smaller battery, the Snapdragon 626 processor is incredibly efficient and we comfortably lasted a day on a single charge, and when we did run out it was quick to top up thanks to the included fast charging tech. It holds its own against competitors in our benchmark tests, and real world use is decent.
Read our Moto Z2 Play review.
Overall, the A3’s improvements for 2017 are pretty significant and make this nice-size, reasonably priced phone even more appealing for those who like the idea of the Galaxy S7 but can’t quite stretch their budget that far. Its waterproofing and fingerprint sensor are both convenient and practical, and the good-looking design makes it easy to forget that this phone has a price tag that’s half that of many flagship phones.
That said, there are alternatives if you’re willing to look to other brands, and you might be surprised to find that you’ll get more for your money. We’d recommend checking out the Moto G5 and Nokia’s new offerings before you buy the Samsung Galaxy A3 to see whether they appeal to your wallet a bit more.
Read our Samsung Galaxy A3 review.