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The best basic smartphones for under £50

Written by  Jan 07, 2018

Need a basic feature phone, Android phone or Windows Phone? We round up the 6 best smartphones under £50 you can buy in the UK in 2018.

For many people, a truly basic phone that can maybe get them online but allow them to make calls and texts is all they need. Older readers will remember these were once the only type of mobile you could buy! Here we round-up the best cheap basic phones you can buy in the UK in 2017. All the phones in our list cost less than £60.

A super-cheap, simple smartphone may not be top of your wish list, but there are many situations in which one could prove to be very handy. For example, do you need an emergency phone you can leave in the glovebox or use only when you leave the house?

Do you need something to give to young children so they can keep in touch with you as they venture out into the big wide world? Maybe it's a kid's second phone for the school run. Have you broken your usual smartphone, and need something cheap to get you through to pay day? Or are you just looking for a cheap phone you can take to festivals and parties and not worry about losing?

Here is a list of the top basic phones you can buy today.


Nokia 3310

Nokia 3310 UK-SIM Free Feature Phone - Warm Red Nokia 3310£49.95 at Amazon UK

All aboard the nostalgia train to the year 2000. That's right the Nokia 3310 is back in a new model.

The 2017 version of one of the most iconic mobile phones isn't perfect but that doesn't stop us from wanting to own one. It's got physcial keys and a large, for it's kind, 2.4in screen.

It's also got a new version of Snake and great battery life but there's no Wi-Fi and the Micro-SIM slot will make it hard for some users to switch to the 3310 as a backup device.


Alcatel OneTouch 10.16G

Alcatel Onetouch 10.16G Volcano Black £14.99 at Amazon UK

Phones don’t come much more basic than this – if you yearn for the simplicity of phones (and life) from the 90s and 00s, this phone from Alcatel will do the trick. It really is incredibly basic: calls and texts.

That’s it, apart from the added bonus of an FM radio with the bundled headphones acting as an aerial. It’s only 2G capable, so there’s no Internet connectivity possible. But when it’s available for free plus a £10 top-up, this doesn’t matter. Would work excellently as an emergency phone or a starter phone for a young child. The battery life is also exceptional, at around six days.


Nokia 216

Nokia 216 SIM Free Feature Phone Black £29.99 at Amazon UK

The Nokia 216 straddles the line between new and old. On the one hand it harks back to the sturdy Nokia phones of old, with a decent build quality to match. However, despite not having a touchscreen, and only having 2G capabilities, it has in-built basic apps for Facebook, Facebook Messenger and Twitter.

So, if you still want access to these very popular apps when you’re not at your computer but don’t want the fuss of a full-blown smartphone, this could be the phone for you. It’s got a ton of features, and is well worth the exceptionally low price.


Nokia 130

Nokia 130 SIM-Free Mobile Phone (2017 Edition) - Black £26.00 at Amazon UK

The Nokia 130 harks back to the sturdy Nokia phones of old, with a decent build quality to match. It's compact and lightweight, so you hardly feel it in your pocket. And you won't feel the cost hit your pocket either.

It's a great little phone if you just want to use it for calls and texts – even though it does boast a colour screen (though not a touchscreen), MP3 music player and FM radio. You can add a microSD card to keep your music or video files on the phone.

Nokia claims a standby battery life of 36 days between charges - and so for just calls and texts it's perfect. Give this to your kids and they shouldn't get too distracted by it on the way to and from school - and it's not the end of the world if it gets lost or broken, unlike an expensive smartphone.

On Tesco's Triple Credit tariff you get your credit tripled when you top up £10, £15 or £20, and you get free minutes and texts if you top up £15 in one go.


Vodafone Smart First 7

Vodafone Smart First 7 Pay As You Go Smartphone (Locked to Vodafone Network) - Black £17.00 at Amazon UK

Vodafone makes a range of excellently priced smartphones, the cheapest of which is this, the Smart First 7 – never mind the name, it’s only £25. This is by no means a dud though, with a bright 3.5in display and basic 2Mp camera. For the lower price, you do run an older version of Android, but it doesn’t matter on a phone with lower specs like this.

It is amazing that a phone this cheap can support 4G, so you’ll be able to browse the web and use basic apps – however you can pretty much forget running games on it as the processor is incredibly basic. It will also only sync with a PC, not on a Mac, and it’s exclusively for us eon the Vodafone network.


Alcatel 10.35

Alcatel Onetouch 10.35X 1.8" 75g Black,Grey - mobile phones (Single SIM, Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), 128 x 160 pixels, TFT) £36.00 at Amazon UK

This is an excellent value flip phone for those who just need a basic flip phone. It even has the most basic of MP3 players, but we wouldn’t recommend trying to use it given its primitive nature. Concentrate on the fact it is dead easy to use and the battery will last for absolutely ages.

Also see: Which is the best budget smartphone for under £400?

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