Computer Related > Cheap Smartphones Miscellaneous
Thread Author: Ambo Replies: 45

 Cheap Smartphones - Ambo
Reluctantly accepting that I should have a smartphone, could members kindly advise as to what is good? I am thinking of up to about £200 for an android pay-as-you-go handset with a decent camera, UK use only and gaming not required. Vodaphone are pushing the Samsung Galaxy A20 for £120 but it does not review well.
 Cheap Smartphones - tyrednemotional
I'm not sure if you're quoting Vodafone for a particular reason, but unless you're tied to them, rather than getting locked-in I would probably recommend buying a sim-free phone from one of the many outlets, and (particularly for PAYG) taking an additional sim-only deal from a network supplier.

That gives you the opportunity to hone-in on your usage, and select the best deal and network without being tied in, or limited to particular phones (or networks).

I think something like the Motorola G8 Power Lite (£150 Sim Free from John Lewis*) would be a better bet than that Samsung, but the current best "budget" smartphone choice could well be the full Motorola G8 (£180 from John Lewis*)

(*Other competitive suppliers exist.)

I'm sure others might suggest other sim-free phones.

If you're not accustomed to a Smartphone, and are not quite sure how much use you'll make of it, I'd suggest starting with a GiffGaff (part of O2) Sim, which gives an awful lot of flexibility in cost and usage, and has no contractual tie. Call charges per minute aren't the cheapest if you pay as you go, but credit doesn't expire and with a month's bundle of unlimited minutes and texts and a limited amount of data starting at £6, it is cheap and easy to get the best mix.

Once you've discovered your usage there might be better options around, and you can switch.
 Cheap Smartphones - Bromptonaut
We've found Motorola G in various iterations to be pretty good. Only problem with it is that it gets bigger with every upgrade.
 Cheap Smartphones - smokie
Yep, separate SIM and phone is the way to go.

SWMBO uses a Xiaomi phone which I think was about £130 a year or so back. It is really very capable and does everything she wants very well. (I use a more expensive Xiaomi and it is very good indeed). I'd recommend them. You get more for your money than the ones you'd call "branded", but I expect you may feel more comfortable with a name you know. Anyway this one is on Amazon and has a good spec for £151, albeit a rather large screen (which is desirable for many).

tinyurl.com/ya88n7go , review here tinyurl.com/yazdqou7

I got her a Plusnet monthly SIM so we can cancel anytime, it's about £6 for unlimited calls and messages and 1.5 Gb data (though it may be more, can't remember). I was on Plusnet then Vodafone then being a Virgin customer I found I can get one of their SIMs for £6, all calls and 3Gb data, so that's what I'm currently on, but that was a 12 month contract.

So long as you make sure you use your home WiFi I doubt you'll get near 1Gb of data in a month.
Last edited by: smokie on Tue 9 Jun 20 at 15:20
 Cheap Smartphones - Zero
I have been wedded to Moto G phones for quite a few years now, not cutting edge camera wise, or fancy lookers, but stock android with minimum crap loaded, good softare support, good specs for the bits that matter, good battery life and spectacular value for money.

The G7power is a good all round phone.


That and a contract sim £10 pounds a month 5gb data free calls and txt
 Cheap Smartphones - zippy
The Motorola phones are good.

If you can afford more and can wait until Black Friday you might get an Apple bargain. There really is no comparison imho.

Got Mrs Z a new iPhone XR for £319.99 last November from £629. Sim free from O2 (on their refresh scheme).
 Cheap Smartphones - sooty123
I got a Huawei Y5 a couple of months ago. I think it was 90 quid, it does everything I need to do. I'm fairly low level user of phones, there's probably loads of stuff more it can do but I don't bother with.
On a plus net contract, £8 a month unlimited calls, texts plus loads of data.
 Cheap Smartphones - Zero
you need to be careful about what WahWei phone you buy, some of the newer ones do not have proper android support or access to the play store. Thanks to POTUS.
 Cheap Smartphones - sooty123
Cheers, but I'm not a very in depth user at all, I've only got a couple of apps, not entirely sure what android support is or how to access it. Some form of customer support I assume?
 Cheap Smartphones - Zero
>> Cheers, but I'm not a very in depth user at all, I've only got a
>> couple of apps, not entirely sure what android support is or how to access it.
>> Some form of customer support I assume?

Regular updates, security mostly
 Cheap Smartphones - sooty123
How would I know if it's updated regularly?
Last edited by: VxFan on Tue 9 Jun 20 at 19:43
 Cheap Smartphones - Zero
if it hasnt asked you or told you, its not happening.
 Cheap Smartphones - sooty123
>> if it hasnt asked you or told you, its not happening.
>>

Nothing so far after about two months.
 Cheap Smartphones - No FM2R
>> if it hasnt asked you or told you, its not happening.


My Huawei P20 does not ask me or tell me. Though the information is there if I go and look, which I rarely do. It does it automatically in the early hours and leaves no messages.

The Y5 is a 2018 model. It receives all Android updates, though as it's 2018 there may not be any. Perhaps the occasional security update or provider update.
 Cheap Smartphones - Zero
>> I have been wedded to Moto G phones for quite a few years now,

Out of interest, I looked at upgrading from my G7+ to a G8. Very good camera upgrade, but WTF! they have dropped NFC support in all G8s. No NFC, No mobile pay. What a ludicrous thing to drop in a mobile phone.
 Cheap Smartphones - smokie
That's about the only thing missing from the Xiaomi phones we have. I never used it much so didn't miss it.

Maybe it's quite an expensive thing to have when you are build cheap phones.
Last edited by: smokie on Wed 10 Jun 20 at 11:30
 Cheap Smartphones - Zero
>> That's about the only thing missing from the Xiaomi phones we have. I never used
>> it much so didn't miss it.
>>
>> Maybe it's quite an expensive thing to have when you are build cheap phones.

Given that the Covid pandemic has more or less pushed us into a cashless society, I would say its a glaring mistake. Certainly means I won't be upgrading.
 Cheap Smartphones - God
I think you'll find the G8 Plus supports NFC.
 Cheap Smartphones - smokie
I can't see that it does,

tinyurl.com/yajznb96
 Cheap Smartphones - tyrednemotional
...it does:

www.lenovo.com/gb/en/phones/moto/moto-g-series/moto-g8-plus/p/PMIPMCG21MC

...though we are now into the price realms outside the OP's specification, and the lack of NFC (if I didn't really need it) wouldn't get me up into that price range and away from the standard G8.
 Cheap Smartphones - smokie
Ah yes, I overlooked the word "plus" :-)
 Cheap Smartphones - Zero
It seems that the 8+spec varies depending on what route you take into the Motorola web site.

If it does, and at a target price of £219 quid its still spectacular VFM

I'll wait for the G9 tho, not keen on the G8 colour schemes.
 Cheap Smartphones - Duncan
I have used GiffGaff for some time. No contract, change the plan each month if you want. The £6 job does me.

www.giffgaff.com/sim-only-plans
 Cheap Smartphones - Manatee
All giffgaff phones are unlocked and their prices can be good depending on what you want. They usually have some refurbs too.

You aren't tied to them - I think you have to spend a few pounds on your first goodybag (giffgaff speak for the monthly bundle) to buy a phone.

Giffgaff are OK to use anyway. £10 a month gets you 6GB of data plus unlimited minutes and texts. If you find you use very little data you can get the unlimited minutes and 500MB or 2GB data for £6 or £8.
 Cheap Smartphones - Crankcase
I have a Huawei P Smart 2019, which is fully supported and has the proper Google store etc. I like it a lot, two days plus battery life easily, fast etc. £134 on Amazon at the minute. They've just taken it to Android (EMUI) 10.

I use 3 for a payg sim, so that's 3p a minute calls, 2p per text, 1p per MB data. Supports wifi calling too if needed.

Since retiring three years ago, I have spent a total of £40 on topups, being a light user. However, I do use the phone for satnav every time we go anywhere, (waze mostly) checking mail and a bit of websurfing via mobile data when out and about, all covered in those costs.

Paying 6 to 10 quid a month would be far more than needed for my level of use.
 Cheap Smartphones - Arctophile

>>
>> I use 3 for a payg sim, so that's 3p a minute calls, 2p per
>> text, 1p per MB data. Supports wifi calling too if needed.
>>

The Three 3-2-1 PAYG sim is no longer available. O2 did a similar priced sim... but that is not available from O2 any more either.

However the O2 classic 3-2-1 sim can still be bought via EBay.

www.ebay.co.uk/itm/O2-Sim-Card-New-and-Sealed-Classic-O2-Pay-As-You-Go-02-O2-PAYG-SIM/224020184711?hash=item3428a4be87:g:39YAAOSw9~NeyNp2

 Cheap Smartphones - Crankcase
>>
>> >>
>> >> I use 3 for a payg sim, so that's 3p a minute calls, 2p
>> per
>> >> text, 1p per MB data. Supports wifi calling too if needed.
>> >>
>>
>> The Three 3-2-1 PAYG sim is no longer available. O2 did a similar priced
>> sim... but that is not available from O2 any more either.
>>


I didn't know that, and looking at the new rates for 3 (since March 2020) it's much more money.

I wonder how long they'll let me stay on this plan....
 Cheap Smartphones - No FM2R
>>Giffgaff are OK

I often hear complimentary things about Giffgaff. But, and I realise it is ridiculous, their terminology annoys me so much that I just can't bring myself to use them.
 Cheap Smartphones - John Boy
>> I often hear complimentary things about Giffgaff. But, and I realise it is ridiculous, their
>> terminology annoys me so much that I just can't bring myself to use them.
>>
I feel much the same myself and grateful that I don't have to work for them and use those terms on a daily basis.
 Cheap Smartphones - Bromptonaut
>> I feel much the same myself and grateful that I don't have to work for
>> them and use those terms on a daily basis.

As somebody who spent three years on outgoing phone calls I find the Giffgaff voicemail outgoing message thoroughly irritating.
 Cheap Smartphones - Zero
GifGaf are just your average MVNO, plenty of them about.
 Cheap Smartphones - tyrednemotional
..if you're going to commit to a level of spend every month, or if you're not going to, from time-to-time, predictably use rather more/less data than at others, then there are equal or better options out there.

I think some of the other offerings have chipped away at it, but GiffGaff's main advantage (for some) is its no-contract (not even a rolling month), full flexibility on spend.

PAYG credit doesn't expire, but pure PAYG per call/text/MB costs now aren't the cheapest. Bundled minutes/text/data can be bought at any time, last a month, and can be renewed at any time if you suddenly find you've run out of data (even before the month's anniversary). Minutes/texts are unlimited in all bundles, amount of data is the differentiation.

My usage (normally) varies quite dramatically depending on where I am - whilst at home my usage is low (outgoing calls and data on the landline). If away in the 'van, then demand is quite a bit higher. I can flex my commitment (and if in credit, but with no bundle, still be ready for instant unexpected use).

It works for me. I would expect Ambo's use to be quite low, and, though it might not be ultimately the best solution, it is a cheap and simple way of finding out what the requirement is.
Last edited by: tyrednemotional on Wed 10 Jun 20 at 14:33
 Cheap Smartphones - Ambo
It will be low, especially as regards outgoing calls. I opted for the full-fig, SIM-free Motorola G8, £179.95 from John Lewis, including delivery. I got a SIM from GiffGaf. The instructions say it must be inserted into an unlocked handset. If it is SIM-free, presumably it is unlocked?
 Cheap Smartphones - tyrednemotional
SIM-free would normally mean unlocked, and that one from JL certainly is.

(I'm not sure if you understand the terminology, but "locked" phones are normally sold by a network provider, such as Vodafone that you mention, and will only work with a SIM from that provider*.)

The phone you have bought will allow you to use a SIM from any network provider, and change at will.

(* locked phones can be unlocked at a price, or possibly the seller will issue an unlock code after a certain time - the issue is that locked phones are generally subsidised by the network priovider, and they make their subsidy back from your usage charges on their network).
 Cheap Smartphones - VxFan
>> If it is SIM-free, presumably it is unlocked?

Yep. Any non contract phone is unlocked as the seller has no idea what network you're going to be using.

The phone should configure itself once you insert the SIM and switch it on.
 Cheap Smartphones - Ambo
Thanks for all helpfu comments. In the end, got a new iPhone 7 (not a *cheap* Smartphone then) as I wanted something pocketable and with NFC.

As regards Giffgaff, does topping up involve a new SIM card for every renewal? The reason I ask is that I started with 6gGb/£10 on July 10 and decided to add another £10 yesterday, although I had not made much use of the original card. I got a new card sent to me this morning. Surely, that will have a new activation code and involve another
"getting started "rigamarole.

I thought that, once I got going, I would be able simply top up using the original card.
 Cheap Smartphones - smokie
Here's their published methods for topping up

www.giffgaff.com/help/articles/add-credit-to-my-account

So you can either buy a card from a store and send the code from the phone to the text number or do it using your online account. I imagine that would just go straight onto your account, no code to enter.

It sounds to me like you may have inadvertently ordered a new card, or they processed your request wrongly. If you did it online just run through the steps again and confirm to yourself how you did it.

EDIT: Oh, and no, you wouldn't get a new SIM for each top up!!
Last edited by: smokie on Wed 15 Jul 20 at 10:35
 Cheap Smartphones - Bromptonaut
I had a bit of an issue with Giff Gaff.

When lockdown started and I needed to work at home there was a bit of a hiatus with work provided mobiles. As I had a spare handset at home I agreed to buy a SIM and install it. Went for Giff Gaff based on reputation and bought card for princely sum of £1 but it would not accept a top up. Payment looked as though it was approved but didn't actually go through.

Gave up in the end and used a 3 card I'd had for use in USA.
 Cheap Smartphones - R.P.
Much the same situation as Bromp. Needed a "burn phone" for contacting clients of the local Foodbank. Oddly my supplier ( 3 ) won't do a second SIM for my iPhone XS (a virtual second SIM) at the moment, which would have been an ideal. Fired up my old Wileyfox phone and got a SIM from Giff Gaff. Number of options and I went for the auto top up. Great deal from them. It is what it is but signal availability isn't that good around here, especially in the hinterland. Wileyfox is a superb affordable little handset with dual (physical) SIM capability. 3 sent me a free PAYG SIM - but I couldn't get it to work in anyway. Gif Gaff is good.
 Cheap Smartphones - Ambo
>>It sounds to me like you may have inadvertently ordered a new card

Or could it be that GG credited my account but sent another SIM as a sly encouragement to open an additional account? From some of the above comments, that does not sound too unlikely.
 Cheap Smartphones - VxFan
>> Thanks for all helpfu comments. In the end, got a new iPhone 7 (not a *cheap* Smartphone then)

How much, if you don't mind me asking? The iPhone7 is coming up to 4 years old this September. I imagine Apple will only support iOS updates for another 1 to 2 years. Basically not future proofing for very long in terms of security updates.

I've just replaced my Old iPhone SE with the 2020 SE2 model. Hopefully Apple will support it for the next 5 to 6 years from what the reviews have been saying. Granted is was £469 (128GB model), but is over £300 cheaper than the 11 model, and shares the same processor and a lot of the other features, but is smaller in size which is what I wanted.
 Cheap Smartphones - legacylad
I’m still using my IPhone 5S....I’ve been procrastinating for the past few years about getting a newer model with larger screen. I’ll buy outright ( probably) unless EE, who have by far the best coverage in my rural area, can offer a cheaper contract.
I know Apple are poor value for money, but I understand how it operates, and it works seamlessly with my equally old ipad for transferring photos, videos etc
 Cheap Smartphones - VxFan
>> I’ll buy outright ( probably) unless EE, who have by far the best coverage in my rural area, can offer a cheaper contract.

Apple are doing 24 month 0% APR at the moment on their products.
 Cheap Smartphones - Ambo
>>How much, if you don't mind me asking?

£299 with 2 year John Lewis guarantee.
 Cheap Smartphones - VxFan
>> £299 with 2 year John Lewis guarantee.

Ouch!

I got my SE2 from JL as well.
 Cheap Smartphones - Duncan

>> As regards Giffgaff, does topping up involve a new SIM card for every renewal?

I have been using Giffgaff for some 5 years, or so.

Apart from the rather silly terminology, everything is fine. It runs off O2 (02?). Each month your device is topped up with a new 'goody bag' (see what I mean?). They send you a message just before each goodybag runs out to tell you what they think would be the best goodybag for the next month. There is no attempt to upsell. I have been on £6 a month for some time, I get unlimited minutes and texts and 500MB of data.

www.giffgaff.com/sim-only-plans

In answer to your question which I have quoted - no.
Latest Forum Posts