(Pocket-lint) – Choosing a new smartphone isn’t as simple as it used to be. Nowadays, they come in lots of different sizes, with plenty of different features and, critically, at plenty of different price points.
For some, the camera is important, but others may prioritise battery life, size or biometric identification. These days, it isn’t just the very best flagship smartphones that offer these features, though. There’s another breed of smartphone – the mid-range models – that offer great specs at a lower price.
Here, we’ve rounded up the best devices we’ve reviewed that sit roughly around the $200 – $400 mark – or £200 – £400 / €200 – €400, for those in the UK and Europe.
Want something even cheaper? Then check out the best budget phones.
Best Mid-Range Phones in 2022
- Redmi Note 10 Pro
- Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
- Apple iPhone SE (2022)
- OnePlus Nord 2
- Moto Edge 20
- Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G
Our Top Pick: Best Mid-Range Phone
Redmi Note 10 Pro
- Best in class screen resolution
- Great battery life
- High spec for its price point
- Night Mode isn’t great due to the lack of OIS
- Pronounced camera bump
The Redmi Note 10 Pro offers an absolute boatload for your money. It’s got the highest screen resolution of the bunch and that’s paired with a high refresh rate to keep things looking smooth. Battery life is very strong, lasting us almost two full days at a time, and it’s perfectly capable of some gaming, too.
We’re not normally fans of MIUI, but, in the case of the Note 10 Pro, we found it to be very stable and easy to live with. The only real downside is the lack of optical image stabilisation and the big camera bump – small niggles for a great phone at a superb price.
Mid-range phones we also recommend
While the Redmi Note 10 Pro is at the top of our list, we know it won’t be the right phone for everyone. We all look for different things in a smartphone. Maybe you need the beefiest battery life, or maybe your top priority is a bright crisp display. With that in mind, we’ve also selected the following devices for you to consider.
Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
- Lovely display
- IP67 dust and waterproofing
- A headphone socket and expandable storage
- The display doesn’t support HDR
- Macro and depth sensor cameras aren’t very useful
The Galaxy A52 5G ticks a lot of boxes, including 5G, which is something not often seen on phones in this price range.
It’s also got a great display, strong battery life, 3.5mm headphone socket and expandable storage.
The IP67 dust and waterproofing is a standout feature, and, combined with Samsung’s track record of reliability, this makes for a very robust and dependable device. All for less than half the cost of a Samsung flagship – can’t say fairer than that.
Apple iPhone SE (2022)
- Flagship-level power
- 5G support
- Great battery life
- Design is very tired
- No MagSafe
- Camera performance is mixed
The third-gen Apple iPhone SE represents a bit of a quandary for those interested in an iOS smartphone. While it’s a much-improved version of the device that launched in 2020, now coming with 5G support and the same A15 Bionic chip housed inside the iPhone 13 range, it does also feel like a bit of a missed opportunity.
Apple hasn’t really moved the design of this phone on in five years, and though there will be some users out there who enjoy the familiarity of the two-bezel design and Touch ID, it would have been good to see a tweak – perhaps MagSafe charging, at the very least.
Still, considering the price tag, the SE delivers a powerful, smooth experience. Some of the photography features that come with the iPhone 13 are on board (Photographic Styles and Smart HDR 4), and the zippy performance and all-day battery life ensure you won’t massively feel like upgrading any time soon.
We would still recommend trying to stretch to the iPhone 13 mini if you can, but this is a great option for those who want a new iPhone without the flagship price tag.
OnePlus Nord 2
- Speedy performer
- Really fast charging
- Bright and smooth display
- Pretty chunky
- The ultra-wide camera isn’t great
The Nord 2 offers a very flagship-like experience without the flagship price tag. Performance-wise, it’s zippy and can handle gaming with no issues.
Battery life is fantastic and support for 65W fast charging means that you’ll never have to wait long when it needs topping up.
The only area that lets it down slightly is the cameras, we found the primary 50MP camera to be fairly good but the 8MP ultra-wide is far from impressive.
Still, unless you’re constantly taking ultra-wide photos, we reckon you’ll be smitten with the Nord 2.
Moto Edge 20
- Impressive 144Hz screen
- Attractive and slim design
- Good software experience
- Big camera bump
- Poor low-light performance on cameras
The Moto Edge 20 is a unique proposition, rather than flaunting a bulky design with a giant battery, it keeps things simple with a gorgeous slim design.
There’s not much in the way of gimmicks, just an outstanding screen and a streamlined user experience.
You won’t be finding any superfluous apps clogging up your brand new phone here, it’s a fairly vanilla Android experience, and that is really quite refreshing.
If you’re looking for outstanding cameras or gaming performance you may want to look elsewhere, but for a simple, solid all-around smartphone, you can’t go wrong with the Moto Edge 20.
Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G
- Well designed and slim
- Very good battery life
- 5G connectivity
- No OIS on the main camera
- The wide-angle camera isn’t great
The Mi 11 Lite 5G is one of the slimmest 5G handsets we’ve ever tested.
Despite the sleek design, it still has impressive battery life and there’s ample power under the hood too. As the name suggests, you get 5G support here, too, and that makes it particularly good value for money.
If you’re in the market for an affordable 5G phone, you can’t fault the Mi 11 Lite. However, if you don’t need 5G connectivity you can get a bit more for your money, or spend less, elsewhere.
Other products we considered
When trying to figure out what we believe to be the best mid-range handsets currently available, we spent hours testing real-world performance, battery life and gaming; as well as getting out into the real world and taking pictures. We consider a range of factors when it comes to recommending devices – and also when a new device enters our top five selections. This isn’t just our own testing, either, with consumer reviews, brand quality and value all taken into account, as well.
In all of our roundups, there are also many products we test that don’t make the final cut. Since they may be the right fit for some people, however, we’ve listed them below.
How to choose a mid-range phone
Buying a phone is a delicate business, with a lot of different elements to be considered, but there are some key questions to ask yourself.
What’s your budget for a mid-range phone?
While the phones we’ve included in the list you’ve just browsed should all come in around the $400 / £400 / €400 or below, that doesn’t mean that’s a figure you have to spend. As you’ll have seen, there are plenty of price points to be found.
Therefore, it’s certainly a helpful first step to work out what your budget is so that you can see what your exact price can fetch you.
Mid-range phone cameras
A big variable between different phones at the moment comes down to the approach to photography. If you want it, you can easily find quad-camera arrays at this price, giving you loads of options for shooting in different ways.
Equally, though, if you’re happy with fewer lenses of higher quality, that’s something you can keep an eye out for. We think that a standard shooter and an ultra-wide are both nice to use, but aren’t always won over by macro or telephoto lenses at this price.
Mid-range phone operating system
You might notice that we’ve only got Android phones on this list – that’s because you still can’t find a new iPhone for a truly budget price that we think is good enough for this list.
Of course, you can buy used if you want iOS over any alternative, but you’ll have an easier time of it if you’re happy to use Android.
Mid-range phone display size
Another big variable is around the size of phone you want – it’s increasingly difficult to find truly small phones, but there’s still variation in how big they are.
Check out the photos in our reviews to see how big a phone is if you’re interested and compare their dimension to make sure you don’t accidentally end up with something way too big for your hands!
More about this story
Every product in this list has been tested in real-life situations, just as you would use it in your day-to-day life.
A phone is something you use all day, every day, so we’ve used all the options on this list extensively to see how they hold up in the real world. We’ve tested battery life, gaming performance, connectivity, camera performance and everything else you could possibly need to know. Then we’ve given you all the data you need to help with your buying decisions.
As with any roundup, it’s not possible to deliver a list that works for every type of user, but we lean on the experiences and opinions of the wider Pocket-lint team – as well as thoroughly assessing the areas above – in order to do our best in this regard.
What we always tend to avoid when compiling these picks are needless spec comparisons and marketing lines; we just want to provide an easy to understand summary that gives you an idea of what each product is like to use. Our verdicts are concise, but this is purely in the interest of brevity. Rest assured all the things on this list have been fully tested.
Writing by Luke Baker. Editing by Conor Allison.