1. Honor 10
- Reviewed on: 15 May 2018
Even though battery life is a little underwhelming, it’s a minor quibble with what is an exceptionally good phone for the price. The display, cameras and build quality are verging on those of a phone twice the price and the performance is the best we’ve seen on an Honor phone.
The software is the best EMUI has ever offered, and the notch is not a big deal when all is said and done. The 128GB storage as standard is also a major plus, and dual SIM is also welcome. Add to that a headphone jack, and the Honor 10 could well be the best featured mid-range phone ever – it’s certainly the best you can buy in 2018.
Read our Honor 10 review.
2. Moto G6
- Reviewed on: 11 May 2018
At just £219, Motorola is offering a fantastic phone in terms of combining design, specs and software.
It might not be waterproof, but a water repellent coating is better than nothing and the G6 looks and feels much more expensive than it really is. You get a decent 18:9 screen, fingerprint scanner, dual cameras and decent battery life to boot. 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage won't be enough for everyone but you can upgrade for just £20 with the Amazon model.
The Moto G6 is a mid-range bargain.
Read our Moto G6 review.
- Reviewed on: 15 May 2018
The Galaxy A8 is by far the best A-range device to date and effectively the Galaxy S8 mini we always wanted. The Galaxy S9 is here now but that's not too different so it's a similar situation.
If you're looking for that Samsung style in a cheaper form then the A8 is the right choice for you.
However, there's some excellent phones in the mid-range that offer a similar experience for less money. Check out the Honor 10 and Nokia 8 to see if either takes your fancy.
Read our Samsung Galaxy A8 review.
4. Honor 9
- Reviewed on: 11 December 2017
The Honor 9 is an undeniably impressive phone and although the Honor 10 is out, you can still buy it even cheaper direct from Honor.
In performance terms, it's nipping at the heels of the year's top flagships, and only lacking flashy features like waterproofing or a bezel-less screen. It looks great, it runs fast, and it costs less than £300 now.
Read our Honor 9 review.
- Reviewed on: 10 May 2018
There's nothing particularly outstanding about the Nokia 6 for 2018. Although there's nothing that jumps out as amazing, this is a solid mid-range phone across the board.
For just £229 you get a good looking and well-made handset with decent specs and performance. It's main competitor is the Moto G6 which has some advantages but a lower grade chip.
Read our Nokia 6 (2018) review.
- Reviewed on: 4 January 2018
The Honor View 10 is another flagship device from a company that promises a lot with high specs and low prices. The phone is much more similar in look and feel to the Honor 8 Pro than the recent Honor 9, and loses the attractive glass back in favour of AI software perks and Android Oreo.
At £449 you could opt for the same-price OnePlus 5T which has more attractive software design, but it could turn out that the Honor View 10 is an intelligent choice with Android Oreo out the box thanks to promising, if unrefined, AI features and strong dual cameras.
Read our Honor View 10 review.
7. Nokia 8
- 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.
It's the best Nokia phone you can buy at the moment.
Read our Nokia 8 review.
- Reviewed on: 15 January 2018
The Moto G5S Plus has now been succeeded by the excellent Moto G6, but it remains an option for those looking for a cheap phone.
As it stands, the new and old phones are priced the same at £219 which makes the G6 a no brainer but we'd expect the G5S Plus to drop very soon. So you could pick it up at under £200 making it a budget option.
The G5S Plus combines build quality, photography and performance well.
Read our Moto G5S Plus review.
9. Moto X4
- Reviewed on: 6 November 2017
We’re pleased to see that Motorola has revived the Moto X. For the most part, we like the new glass design and the specs and features are good for the £350 price - it looks like a more expensive phone.
Waterproofing and the dual-lens camera sets this apart from rivals, and we like the 5.2in screen size for comfort and practicality.
It's slower than the Honor 9, and has half the storage as standard, but if you'd prefer the water-resistance over the extra speed, the Moto X4 is a great choice for anyone that can’t afford the hefty price tags of the current flagships.
Read our Moto X4 review.
10. HTC U11 Life
- Reviewed on: 9 February 2018
Overall, the HTC U11 Life is a solid mid-range phone. Design and specs are largely decent for the price – especially getting 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM as standard. Meanwhile Android One keeps software clean and simple if that's what you're after. This, and Edge Sense, are the main reasons to buy this phone over rivals but there's strong competition.
At the same price, the Moto X4 has better cameras and a bigger battery if those things are important. A little more will get you the even better Honor 9 and the outstanding OnePlus 5T isn’t much more than that.
Read our HTC U11 Life 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.