Best <£150 smartphone


I bought a family member a Huawei P8 Lite this Christmas as a first smartphone, and I can say so far at £130 I’m really impressed with it, and wanted to share the recommendation for anyone needing a low cost fully featured phone - and ask for other’s suggestions.


Android 7.0 (Nougat)

I love how they say that as a key selling point even though the OS was release 2 years ago and is now superseded by Android 8.1 “Oreo”, which this phone will never get obviously. :joy:

I personally would recommend an used iPhone 6 or SE, those would at the very least get updates for some time still and not leave you vulnerable to nasty hackers.

(Graham - Mental health professional) #3

I was well into Android for some years but am firmly iPhone now. Apart from the loopiness associated with rooting an android device, I’m interested to understand why they are more vulnerable.

I know I went back to Apple when I decided mobile banking is for me, but I’m not sure why I felt Apple would be safer. Is it?

(Allie) #4

Apple gets security updates for longer and more frequently than any Android phone, so long term, yes, unless you’re a nerd really going out of your way (e.g. I run Cyanogenmod which I consider very secure). A Google Pixel is just as well serviced during its service lifecycle.


The issue with Android phones is that most of them never get security updates for two reasons - either the manufacturer doesn’t care (like this cheap phone in the original post), or the phone was bought at a carrier, which means once the manufacturer releases an update the carrier should approve it before it hits your device, but this against the carriers business models (they’d rather sell you a new phone and a new 24-month contract) and requires actual technical expertise which carriers never have.

Apple has a better track record of updating their devices (the iPhone 4s, released in 2011, had its last update in August 2016) and does not let carriers meddle with the update process (an iPhone bought at an Apple Store is identical to one bought at a carrier store).

Because most people get their phones at carriers (especially for Android as many manufacturers don’t have their own stores), you can quickly see how dangerous this becomes - even if you manage to get a phone that normally gets updates (like the Google Pixel), it might not get them should the carrier not be on your side (and scammers are never on your side). But if you know what you’re doing you can get a Google Pixel directly from Google (order online) and it will get updates for a reasonable amount of time, comparable to the iPhone.

(Sacha) #6

I bought a Huwaei P10 Lite for my mum for Xmas; I tend to buy her a new mid-range phone every couple of years, which allows her to then stick to sim only contracts rather than getting ripped off on more costly contracts that include a phone.

I’ve had both Android and iOS, currently the latter although I think I will probably return to Android later in 2018 as I think some of the Android flagships have more of a wow factor than the latest iPhones (the iPhone X looks great but I balk at the idea of paying over £1k for a phone).

(David L) #7

Nokia 3 same price will be getting Oreo …
Nokia is back big time

(Allie) #8

Yeah, the issue with the current Nokia’s is poor band support, ironic given the original Nokia had the first pentaband UMTS phones and was pretty early with quad band GSM also…


Poor band support? It was my understanding that the new Nokia’s supported most bands.

My Nokia 5 is one of the few phones one can buy sim free that will work with EE’s WiFi calling and VoLTE which is a massive selling point for me.

I believe the huawie p10 lite also supports this but the faster updates of the Nokia made it my choice. I’m currently running 8.0 with the December security update.


WiFi calling and VoLTE is more about good software than any kind of band support. I can do WiFi calling on my MacBook even which does not support any bands :wink:


I am aware of that, hence why it is a different paragraph. Still thought it relevent to this thread

(Simon B) #12

I’ve not tried the new Nokia devices, but recent Motorola devices have been very, very good in that price range. The Moto G5 is presently £149.99 at Carphone Warehouse and definitely worth a punt if you’re looking for something in that price range.


What about updates though? I wouldn’t personally suggest throwing 149£ at a device that’s outdated right out of the box and is gonna put the user at risk.

(Allie) #14

Nope, unfortunately they’re very limited :frowning:

The Nokia 3, for example, only has bands 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20, 28, 38, 40. Fine for Europe, not so good for world travel :frowning: Bands 2 and 4 are essential for North America (7 will get you a little coverage in Canada, 12 is pretty important for rural T-Mobile, but 2 and 4 are the biggies). With a MediaTek chip this is somewhat unsurprising.

Think the Nokia 5, with its Qualcomm chip, should be better? Nope! 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20, 28, 38, 40 - the same list!

In fact, you need to go all the way to the Nokia 8 to get even bands 2 and 4, and even then you’re missing band 12. The phones look nice, but they’re not for people who travel overseas at all.

(Simon B) #15

I’ve been using Android literally since Day 1, with the T-Mobile G1 back in 2008 and I’ve never had any security issues that weren’t patched extremely quickly (same with iOS), and I can imagine this is the same for the vast majority of users. I think to say that the user is at risk is a huge exaggeration.

Google has actually taken quite a few steps already to address this. Primarily, Play Protect within the Play Store regularly scans all apps and all updates for issues. Unless you are prone to wanting to side-load apps from outside the Play Store, this will keep things secure for the majority of users. Secondly, security updates are decoupled from OS updates, so your actual point is invalid. Security patches from most major OEMs are happening at best monthly, at worst quarterly, but to suggest that a phone is insecure due to not having a major OS update is invalid due to the way Android works. Yes, your mileage may vary depending on OEM, and there is certainly a chance you could be out of luck if you’ve gone with a smaller OEM, but the major OEMs are doing a decent job with this.

Finally, Project Treble, which applies to any device shipping with 8.0 or later should improve the OS update situation moving forward, as it has decoupled OEM customisations from the base Android OS layer, meaning that Google won’t need to wait for an OEM to adapt the latest version of Android to their device needs in order for said device to get an OS update.

Is it a perfect system? Not at all. But I’ll still take Android over iOS, any day of the week (and I own both). The level of customisation, the freedom of OEM and device to suit needs and budget, all the way from premium £1k devices to sub £100 ones, the tight integration of world-class Google services (Siri makes me want to throw the iPhone at the wall, compared to Google Assistant which gets EVERYTHING right for me, I literally can’t think of a recent time when it hasn’t understood what I wanted), the superior camera on the Pixel 2 to any other device on the market… and many other things.


Security patches from most major OEMs are happening at best monthly

But does that Moto G5 cheap phone get those? I never said anything about flagship Android devices (even though again, carriers are always there to ruin everything so make sure you buy the phone direct from the manufacturer) but I’m skeptical that a cheap device such as this one will get any updates.

(Simon B) #17

No idea as I don’t have one, but at the very least it would have the most recent security patch from when the device was released, which was earlier this year. Moto may not be the best example here as Lenovo don’t have a good reputation in that regard, but I know other OEMs are doing a better job - a relative has a Huawei P8 Lite in the same price range with a listed November security patch.

I tend to agree regarding carriers, however that’s not an Android specific problem. For example. iPhones purchased from carriers are carrier-locked, and iPhones bought from Carphone Warehouse lock themselves to the first SIM you put in them, which is a horrible business practice IMO especially as Carphone is an independent store. My 6S was purchased unlocked from Carphone (I used to work there so got staff discount), but I now can’t use it in the US as I’ve been using it in the UK with an EE sim. And that behaviour comes from Apple, not CPW.