Finest mid-range cellphone 2018: Which is best for you?

Your guide to the latest and best mid-range smartphones of 2018. Check out our reviews and buyer's guide on the top phones under £500 for this year.

Want more help deciding which is best for you? Read our buying advice for the Best Mid-Range Phones

1. Honor 10

  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 14 June 2018

Continuing its run of good form, the Honor 10 is the best mid-range phone you can buy right now.

Battery life might not be anything to write home about but that's not unusual and there's so much to like here. Much of what the Honor 10 offers, like display, cameras and build quality are at the level you'd expect from a phone twice the price.

The software is better than ever and you get a whopping 128GB of storage as standard. Add in smooth performance, a headphone jack, dual-SIM and attractive design and you can see why this is the current mid-range king.

Read our Honor 10 review.

2. Moto G6

  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 16 July 2018

The Moto G6 might not be waterproof, but a water repellent coating is better than nothing and the phone looks better than ever.

For the tidy sum of £219, the G6 is a mid-range (almost budget) bargain with a great screen, dual cameras, decent batter life and a fingerprint scanner.

A combination of 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage won't be enough for everyone so just spend an extra £20 for the better Amazon model.

Read our Moto G6 review.

3. Honor 8X

  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 10 October 2018

Though it only costs £229.99 in the UK, the Honor 8X looks, feels and performs like a high-end smartphone in most respects. It features a gorgeous shimmering glass back and a stunning 6.5in FHD+ bezel-less display on the front, complete with a Notch housing a 20Mp camera.

It offers advanced features including facial recognition that works well in most environments, and although performance isn't perfect when running demanding apps, it should be more than enough for casual browsing and gaming.

Read our Honor 8X review.

4. Asus ZenFone 5

  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 6 July 2018

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the Asus design team are clearly big fans of Apple. Even more than most Android phones with notches, the ZenFone 5 looks a lot like the iPhone X, from the camera alignment and glass back to the rounded metal edges.

For a phone that costs about a third of Apple's that's no bad thing though. The specs are decidedly mid-range, but performance is smooth and fast enough for the average user, and while the camera isn't best in class, it's capable of some great shots thanks to the help of some AI-enabled software tweaks.

The biggest challenge to the ZenFone 5 is the similar looking – and higher spec – Honor 10, which is only a little more expensive. The ZenFone 5's edge is its larger 6.2in display, and this should be an easy choice for anyone looking for a phone that's both full-screen and big-screen.

Read our Asus ZenFone 5 review.

5. Samsung Galaxy A8

  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 15 May 2018

If you've been missing the mini versions of the Galaxy S range then the Galaxy A8 is pretty much an S8 mini.

Getting some flagship design and specs in a cheaper phone makes the A8 a great mid-range choice. It's not perfect though, namely that you can get some really decent phones for an even cheaper price – if you don't mind not having a Samsung logo.

Read our Samsung Galaxy A8 review.

6. Honor View 10

  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 16 July 2018

Another great mid-range option from Honor is the View 10 that's high on specs, low on price. It's similar in style to the Honor 8 Pro rather than the recent Honor 9.

Instead of a glass back, the View 10 favours AI software and Android Oreo. It's a sweet deal, especially if you want dual cameras and a large screen. We wouldn't be surprised if you were tempted by one of Honor's cheaper devices, though.

Read our Honor View 10 review.

7. Honor Play

  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 30 August 2018

At £279, it's very easy to recommend the Honor Play. The display is no match for rival gaming phones like the Razer Phone or Asus ROG, but the Play offers top notch performance at a far lower price than either of those, which might make it the ideal phone for gamers on a budget.

The specs are almost identical to the pricier Honor 10 and even the much pricier Huawei P20, though it's worth noting that it's got a metal chassis rather than a glass back, and the camera isn't a patch on the ones in those phones.

Still, even if you're not a gamer, this is one of the best value phones on the market, offering flagship performance at a fraction of the price, so long as you don't mind missing out on the best photography features.

Read our Honor Play review.

8. Samsung Galaxy A6

  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 25 July 2018

The Galaxy A6 is a solid mid-range phone offering Samsung design and specs for a very affordable price. We particularly like the style and the excellent cameras. Performance is good, too.

However, if you're not too fussed about having the Sammy logo on your phone then the Moto G6 offers a little more for less money. It's got a higher resolution screen and the Amazon exclusive model has 4/64GB of memory and storage for just £239 making it a real bargain.

Read our Samsung Galaxy A6 review.

9. Nokia 6 (2018)

  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 10 May 2018

We like the new Nokia 6 for 2018. It's a solid mid-range smartphone for £229 offering nice design and some decent specs.

One of the main lures is stock software and the Android One program meaning the promise of future updates. We like the 5.5in screen with it's modern 18:9 aspect ratio, and you also get a Snapdragon 630 chip to handle day-to-day tasks.

The Moto G6 is a key rival, though, and is £10 less.

Read our Nokia 6 (2018) review.

10. Nokia 8

  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 8 November 2017

With a Snapdragon 835, attractive hardware and decent display, the Nokia 8 is a cheaper but high end alternative to more expensive Android smartphones.

While its RRP is £499, at the time of writing it is available for £349 in the UK with Carphone Warehouse. Expandable storage, dual cameras and now Android Oreo means this is an excellent way to get a high end phone for less than the £700+ of most other flagships.

Read our Nokia 8 review.

Your buying guide for the best mid-range phones in 2018

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 2018 for the latest handsets that might cost you a little more.

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.

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