1. Xiaomi Mi 9
- Reviewed on: 15 July 2019
Devilishly fast, insanely beautiful and offering the best value for money you'll find in any smartphone, anywhere. Mi 9 is a cracking deal at £499, and well worth the upgrade from even Mi 8.
New is an in-display fingerprint sensor as standard, Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 855 processor, 20W wireless charging, a larger screen and a triple-lens camera that includes a massive 48Mp lens.
It's available direct from Xiaomi at £499, or on contract from Vodafone. If you're happy to ship from China, GearBest offers an incredible deal at £300.07, and at this price no other phone comes even remotely close.
Read our Xiaomi Mi 9 review.
2. Moto G8 Plus
- Reviewed on: 8 November 2019
The Moto G8 Plus delivers in principal areas like photography, performance and battery life. It also brings a premium-looking design, a clean user experience and some smart modifications on top the Android experience to the table.
The biggest challenge it faces is pricing. Despite being a touch cheaper than its predecessor, the competition has grown more fierce over the past year and newcomers, primarily from Chinese manufacturers that weren't previously established in Europe now throw their weight around with more impressive specs or lower price tags for equivalent performance.
Read our Moto G8 Plus review.
3. Oppo Reno 2
- Reviewed on: 16 October 2019
If you already have any other Oppo smartphone, it's probaby not worth splashing out on the Reno 2. For everyone else, it looks like a good option if you want an Android phone with good cameras, excellent performance and long battery.
You may be among those who still do not trust the resilience of motorised cameras. Although we understand your doubts, the wing-shaped design of the Reno 2 seems good and also allows you to have a beautiful screen without notches.
Read our Oppo Reno 2 review.
- Reviewed on: 17 May 2019
The Pixel 3a might not be the all-singing, all-dancing mid-range option and, in some ways, there are better phones at the same price.
However, you probably have different reasons for wanting this phone. The Pixel 3a will appeal to those wanting a cheaper option to get Google's design and pure Android across areas such as the camera and the OS at a whole.
Then there's the promise of updates for years to come which is something not many rivals can deliver.
Read our Google Pixel 3a review.
5. OnePlus 7
- Reviewed on: 15 October 2019
The OnePlus 7 is a fairly cautious upgrade from the 6T: the same design and the same display with beefed up specs, a new camera, and a few small software tweaks. It's not a game-changer by any means, but it's a confident, competitive mid-range phone with high-end specs that should appeal to anyone who's been tempted by a OnePlus device before.
If you stand it up against the 7 Pro it probably won't seem all that exciting, but with a £150 price difference between the two that's probably not unreasonable - and there's still plenty in the 7 to tempt anyone who can't quite afford the 7 Pro's full-on flagship price point..
Read our OnePlus 7 review.
- Reviewed on: 19 November 2019
While some manufacturers are looking for a headline feature to stand out from the crowd, the 5T quietly prioritises everyday usage by mastering the fundamentals of a solid smartphone. The design is superb, cameras great and battery life better than expected.
We are missing some premium features here - wireless charging, expandable storage, OLED display - but it’s remarkable how quickly you can look beyond these when you use the phone regularly.
As a complete package, it has to be considered among the very best mid-range phones you can buy.
Read our Huawei Nova 5T review.
7. Nubia Z20
- Reviewed on: 14 October 2019
A dual-screen phone won’t be for everyone, but the Z20 is the closest you’re likely to get to a second display with mass-market appeal. A variety of settings and options mean you can use the second display as little or often as you like (for multi-tasking, always-on display, the camera, and more), while still enjoying all the benefits of the main camera for selfies, but it still feels a little awkward even at the best of times.
It’s just a shame that camera itself isn’t better, with strong triple lens hardware let down by software that’s only OK, resulting in heavily over-saturated colours in every shot. Then again, factor in the price - and super specs - and the Z20 delivers plenty of bang for its buck, competing surprisingly comfortably with phenomenal mid-range offerings from Xiaomi, Asus, Honor, and more.
If you want a second screen, the Z20 is almost certainly the best dual-display phone on the market right now - but it’s probably not quite enough to win over any new converts.
Read our Nubia Z20 review.
8. Honor 20
- Reviewed on: 30 July 2019
The Honor 20 is a great-value phone that offers a lot for your money. It's cheaper than the View 20 was when it launched and even though both phones now cost roughly the same, the Honor 20's better cameras make it the better choice, despite the absence of a headphone jack.
It's more powerful than the similarly priced Google Pixel 3a, but the trade-off is that you don't get stock Android or the guarantee of fast updates to new versions.
Read our Honor 20 review.
- Reviewed on: 22 May 2019
Rather than following the trend of notches and hole-punch camera cutouts, the ZenFone 6 offers an innovative Flip Camera system that provides a high-end shooting experience on the rear and front, without compromising on screen real estate.
Images captured are detailed and vibrant, and the ability to record at [email protected] with EIS is a nice touch, too. It's a versatile bit of kit, and more than a gimmick.
Beyond the camera setup, the ZenFone 6 is a stunning bit of kit; it boasts a curved rear that fits nicely into the palm of your hand, a glossy design and most importantly, a 6.4in full-screen display free of bezels and notches.
And with a 5,000mAh battery that comfortably provides all-day usage, there’s not much to complain about - especially at such a cheap price point.
Read our Asus ZenFone 6 review.
10. Honor 9X
- Reviewed on: 14 November 2019
The Honor 9X manages to mimic some elements of flagships but for a fraction of the price. With a geometric, shimmery exterior and a notch-free display thanks to a pop-up camera, you'd find it hard to believe that this is a phone below £250 - especially when you take into consideration the camera that comes with it.
Of course it's not without its flaws. The triple lens camera isn't quite as good as the specs suggest, and night mode in particular doesn't hold up, while performance across the board gives away that this isn't as high-end as it looks. But still, you get a lot for the price, and a phone that looks like a lot more.
Read our Honor 9X review.
Your buying guide for the best mid-range phones
Our chart automatically pulls in the current price, so all these links are clickable and you can go straight to the retailer in question.
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 2019 for the latest flagship handsets that might cost you a little more.
Should I buy a mid-range phone now or wait for Black Friday?
Black Friday is one of the biggest sales events of the year, and in 2019 takes place on 29 November. We're already seeing some great consumer tech deals and expect them to continue right into January, with Black Friday deals followed by Cyber Monday deals, Christmas deals, Boxing day deals and then we've got the January sales.
That's both good and bad, of course, because how do you know that a product won't drop in price the very next week? The truth is you can never be entirely sure, but we're now close enough to the main event that many retailers have already begun their Black Friday sales. Of the big UK retailers, Currys has started its Why Wait? sale, guaranteeing that products won't drop any further in price for Black Friday, while Amazon has a range of Black Friday Countdown deals, with its main event starting on 22 November.
They aren't the only ones, and we've been busy hunting down the best mid-range phone deals so that you don't have to. While prices may go down further for Black Friday, some discounts will also end sooner, so unless you're sure that a product will be discounted it's always best to take a deal at face value: if you think the product is worth that amount of money, go for it. Sometimes it doesn't pay to hold out for something that will never happen.
Below we've provided some buying advice on what to look for in a mid-range phone: even if the products we round up here are not discounted, you may find similar products at much lower prices - and if our #2 or #3 ranked product is discounted, that be enough for you to consider it over the #1 phone.
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 trait, such as the camera or display, and promise flagship-rivalling capabilities in that one aspect; others still used to be those flagships, so will offer fantastic specs at a brilliant price, but may be running on slightly older hardware.
Chinese phones are a great choice in the mid-range market because they balance very good specifications with a lower price than what you would expect to find in the UK. You may have heard of Xiaomi, Honor, and OnePlus offering staggering value when compared to some of the better-known brands, but there are plenty of other less well-known Chinese manufacturers that can also offer a very good deal.
Try to remember that it's not always about specs either. We've hit something of a ceiling when it comes to smartphone tech anyway, so although these phones may not be as fast as your average flagship, 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 your needs.
The prices listed below for each product in this feature are updated automatically, and include the latest early Black Friday deals and sales.