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The price is right

When it comes to cheap, good phones, we're really living in a world of plenty. Costs have dropped and software is getting better, which means that inexpensive phones with last year's parts (or even parts that were made the year before) are still going to serve you well. Here are the top cheap phones we love.

Editors' note: This gallery was originally published in November 2014, and is updated frequently.

Published:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

Apple iPhone 7

Price: $449, £449 and AU$749

Even as the cheapest iPhone you can buy new from Apple, 2016's iPhone 7 is still the priciest phone in this roundup. But it's a decent device. True, it doesn't have the latest and greatest processor or a fancy iPhone XS-type design. But it's still water resistant, has a satisfactory camera with optical image stabilization and a physical home button.

Published:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

Samsung Galaxy J3 (2018)

Price: $130 to $210 depending on the carrier, converts to about £98 to £159 and AU$175 to AU$282.

Though its camera and processing speeds are only so-so, the J3 is a sub-$250 Galaxy phone that has a removable battery and a compact design.

Published:Caption:Photo:James Martin/CNET

Motorola Moto G6

Price: $230, £196 and AU$399

The Moto G6 has a near-stock version of Android Oreo, good dual-rear cameras, fast charging and a sleek design. And while its battery doesn't last as long as last year's Moto G5 or G5 Plus, it's still a great value with a decent battery life.

Published:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

Motorola Moto G6 Play

Price: $194, £170, AU$299

Unlike the previous Moto G6, the Moto G6 Play has more than a decent battery life -- it has excellent battery life and a smaller price tag. It also features a 5.7-inch screen, an octa-core processor and a splashproof design.

Published:Caption:Photo:Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET

Nokia 6 (2018)

Price: $180, £110 and AU$323

Though it may not be as swanky as Nokia's 8 Sirocco flagship, the Nokia 6 from 2018 is still a great value. It has a 5.5-inch screen, a Snapdragon 630 chipset and a 16-megapixel camera. The phone is available in the US, UK and Australia and is a good deal wherever you buy it.

There's also newer Nokia 6.1, which is still pretty cheap at $225, £229 and AU$380. It promises to be 60 percent faster than the original 6.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Motorola Moto E5 Play

Price: $144 to $192 depending on the carrier, which converts to about £113 to £150 and AU$195 to AU$261.  

Though only available in North America, the E5 Play is still a solid midrange phone. It has a 5.2-inch display, an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 2,800mAh removable battery.

Published:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET

ZTE Blade Max 2S

Price: $180, converts to about £140 and AU$252.

The Blade Max 2S serves as the sequel to 2017's Max XL. It too has a 6-inch display and a 4,000mAh battery. However, it runs the more recent Android 8.0 Oreo software, it has only a single 13-megapixel rear camera (and a 5-megapixel camera on the front), and it's powered by a 1.4GHz octa-core processor.

Published:Caption:Photo:César Salza / CNET

Huawei Honor 9 Lite

Price: £130, converts to about $280 or AU$355.

The Honor 9 Lite doesn't seem to have any of the usual compromises you'd expect when getting a budget phone. That being said, we love its elegant blue design, expansive 5.6-inch display and four (!) cameras. Unfortunately, you can't nab this phone in the US.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
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Huawei Honor 7X

Price: $200, £170, converts to AU$275

Unlike the previous Honor 9 Lite, the Honor 7X is available in the US for a super-affordable price. The phone has a unibody metal design along with a big 5.9-inch display with thin bezels, a fingerprint scanner and expandable storage.

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Motorola Moto E5 Plus

Price: $150, £154, converts to AU$204

Equipped with a 6-inch display, the E5 Plus is the biggest phone of Motorola's budget E-series. It also sports a 12-megapixel camera, an octa-core processor and a generous 5,000mAh battery.

Published:Caption:Photo:Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET

Alcatel Idol 5S

Price: $280 (or $200 with Amazon-sponsored ads), converts to about £215 or AU$355

The Idol 5S has a premium build, amazing speakers and a fingerprint reader -- all while being affordable. Just be cautious that its battery life isn't so stellar. At 7 hours and 48 minutes, it's the shortest run time we logged from any phone in the past two years.

Published:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

Nokia 1

Price: Estimated to go for $85, £60 or AU$110

As Nokia's cheapest phone from its MWC 2018 lineup, the Nokia 1 also runs Android One, like ZTE's Tempo Go, and has a plastic design. But don't let that deter you. It comes in some stylish colors and it has a removable battery, two SIM-card slots and expandable storage.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNETRead the article

Video: Best cheap phones to try now

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