We reveal the winner of the Recombu Award for best value mobile phone of 2016, as well as the full shortlist of celebrated nominees.
Whilst we love swooning over the shiny flagship smartphones that companies bring to the table every year, it’s the affordable market where things can get really heated and 2016 has been no exception.
You can get more bang for your buck now than ever before and if you’re in the market for an affordable smartphone there are a host of great options to choose from, most of which now back features once enjoyed exclusively by pricier devices.
Here’s our pick for the best value mobile phone of 2016, as well as all of the excellent nominees that also come highly recommended.
To see the rest of the Recombu Awards 2016 nominees and winners, in categories such as Best Luxury Car and Best On-Demand TV Service, check out our Recombu Awards hub.
Best value mobile phone of the year – winner: Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus
We can’t talk about budget handsets in 2016 without mentioning plucky underdog Wileyfox. The British phone maker has continued to deliver on its promise of beautiful design, the latest materials and impressive tech features and the Swift 2 Plus is the perfect embodiment of this. With a metal body, a versatile camera, a fingerprint sensor and innovate software features, this phone came out of the blue to give rivals like the Moto G4 Plus something to worry about.
Best value mobile phone of the year: Honor 5X
Huawei’s sub-brand Honor is all about offering a premium experience at an approachable price. The Honor 5X, which we reviewed at the head end of 2016, brought a metal-bodied dual-SIM 4G handset with decent performance, a large Full HD display and some rich camera chops to the table.
Best value mobile phone of the year: Moto G4 Plus
The Moto G line has served as the gold standard of top-notch low-cost smartphones over the last few years and this year’s Moto G4 family was no exception. The Moto G4 Plus packs a pair of seriously good snappers (including a huge 16-megapixel rear sensor) for the price, a clean skew of Android, quick-launch gestures and a fingerprint sensor.
Best value mobile phone of the year: LG K8
Design is a big part of what makes the LG K8 so appealing; with its curved glass display and LG’s signature centrally positioned rear hardware controls for ambidextrous convenience. Selfie fans should appreciate the intelligent front-facing flash that frames your mug within the centre of the screen, which happens to be one of the nicest 720p HD panels around too.
Best value mobile phone of the year: Sony Xperia E5
The Xperia E5 is the device that brings Sony’s beautiful blend of 2016 hardware and software and encapsulates it in an affordable offering. It doesn’t have the fancy Alkaleido metal finish of its more premium sibling, the XZ, but it does look good, proves to be surprisingly rugged and packs great performance and battery life to boot.
Best value mobile phone of the year: Vodafone Smart Ultra 7
Vodafone’s had a stellar year by introducing some exceptional low-cost handsets into the market. The Platinum 7 takes the fight to rival flagships, but the Smart Ultra 7 offers a big-screen experience for an impressively small price tag. It’s an impressively slim and lightweight phone for its size, boasts a clean take on Android with some smart additions and all for under £100.
Best value mobile phone of the year: ZTE Blade 7 Lite
ZTE’s Blade 7 Lite undercuts rivals like the Moto G4 and Sony’s Xperia XA but retains a premium design with beautifully thin bezels and an aluminium alloy body, a highly customisable skinned spin on Android and tons of smart gesture controls to quickly get at its most useful features.