1. Honor 10
- Reviewed on: 15 November 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
- Reviewed on: 16 November 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
- 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.
- 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. Honor Play
- Reviewed on: 15 November 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.
6. Nokia 7.1
- Reviewed on: 19 October 2018
While you can spend less on a phone in this price range, the Nokia 7.1 is worth considering over something like the Moto G6. It has better build quality and Android One, meaning guaranteed security updates.
The dual cameras are better than expected too, and battery life is solid thanks to an efficient processor. If you don't mind the notch design and spending around £300 / $300 then it's a top option.
Read our Nokia 7.1 review.
- 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.
8. HTC U12 Life
- Reviewed on: 18 October 2018
HTC is clearly capable of making a decent mid-range smartphone, as we saw with the U11 Life. Its follow-up is quite different, namely the ditching of Android One and Edge Sense, but it makes up for this somewhat elsewhere.
The price is lower so getting the U12 Life for under £300 is an attractive price tag and you get generally decent specs including a large screen, Snapdragon 636 and a big battery. Oh, and the return of a headphone jack.
It's not perfect though, as not everyone will like the design with its shiny/stripy back. We'd be happier if the HDR camera mode was better but we're slightly nitpicking.
Read our HTC U12 Life review.
- 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.
10. Nokia 6 (2018)
- 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.
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 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 flagship 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.