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Best mid-range smartphone 2024: Fully tested and reviewed by our experts

Forget the flagships and save some money with the best mid-range smartphones we’ve tested and reviewed

With flagship prices regularly stretching beyond £1,000, the best mid-range smartphones are more appealing than ever for those who don’t want to sink four figures on their next phone. And it’s not even much of a concession these days, with the slick designs and impressive hardware of flagship phones steadily trickling down to more affordable models.

We’ve tested and reviewed the best smartphones from all corners of the market and gathered here the finest mid-range handsets for all needs and purposes. We’re constantly getting new phones in for testing and reviewing, so this list is regularly updated with the newest and most impressive mid-rangers.

If you’re unsure what exactly you’re looking for, our buying guide below has a brief rundown of the features to keep an eye out for. Otherwise, read on to see our picks of the best mid-range smartphones to buy right now.

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Best mid-range phone: At a glance

Best overallGoogle Pixel 7a (~£399)Check price at Amazon
Best mid-range iPhoneiPhone SE 3 (2022) (~£429)Check price at Amazon
Best mid-range SamsungSamsung Galaxy A54 5G (~£496)Check price at Amazon
Best mid-range phone designNothing Phone (2a) (~£352)Check price at Amazon
Best-value optionXiaomi Redmi Note 13 Pro 5G (~£309)Check price at Amazon

How we test mid-range smartphones

When we receive a handset for review, we put it through a variety of tests. The first is performance, where we use two apps on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store: Geekbench 5 and GFXBench. These benchmarking apps provide CPU and GPU processing scores, and allow us to see where the phone fits in against the competition. A phone’s display is tested using our colorimeter and DisplayCAL software, which measures how colour-accurate a screen is, as well as providing maximum brightness and contrast ratio.

Testing a Google Pixel 7a with Geekbench 6 benchmarking software

Our in-house battery life testing is performed using a looped video via the VLC app, with the screen set to 170cd/m2 brightness and flight mode engaged. We simply record where the video stops when the phone’s battery runs dry. Cameras are tested in a wide variety of lighting conditions, including landscape shots and indoor still life photography, and these images are compared against similarly priced rivals.

READ NEXT: Best smartphones

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Best mid-range smartphones 2024

1. Google Pixel 7a: Best mid-range phone overall

  • Great for… Phenomenal cameras and performance
  • Not so great for… Relatively slow charging and minor price increase

Google’s affordable mid-range handset has returned anew. It represents everything we’ve come to expect from the company in recent times, providing top-notch hardware at a near-unbeatable price. Powered by the flagship Tensor G2 chipset – the same CPU inside the full-fat Pixel 7 – performance is exemplary, and the 6.1in OLED display is remarkably colour accurate, showing an average Delta E colour variance score of just 0.86 in our tests.

The star of the show, however, is the Pixel 7a’s photographic capabilities. Don’t let its unassuming dual-camera array fool you: the Pixel 7a is capable of capturing some truly remarkable images, with astonishing clarity and detail even in less than ideal lighting conditions. The new 64MP main camera even manages to give four-figured flagships a proper run for their money – if you’re an avid Instagram poster, there’s simply nothing better at this price.

Read our full Google Pixel 7a review

Key specs – Processor: 2.85GHz Google Tensor G2; Screen: 6.1in, 2,400 x 1,080; Camera: 64MP, 13MP (wide); Storage: 128GB; Operating system: Android 13

2. iPhone SE 3 (2022): Best mid-range iPhone

  • Great for… Compact and powerful performance
  • Not so great for… Poor battery life and only a 60Hz display

It might look like a bit of a relic, but the iPhone SE 3 (2022) is Apple’s best-value smartphone yet. Apple might prefer customers to spend more on the latest generation, but the lower asking price for the iPhone SE 3 makes it a far more exciting value proposition, and your wallet will likely breathe a sigh of relief in return.

Despite costing more than half the price, the iPhone SE 3 (2022) uses the same speedy processor as the iPhone 13 – the A15 Bionic – which still proves blisteringly fast in our CPU tests. The only fly in the ointment is that its battery life is a fair bit behind other options here, only lasting for around 12 hours in our looping video test.

If you would rather not spend the silly amounts of dosh for a newer iPhone, and don’t mind sacrificing a few camera features and a smaller design, then the iPhone SE is absolutely the best-value Apple phone you can buy right now.

Read our full iPhone SE 3 (2022) review 

Key specs – Processor: 3.23GHz Apple A15 Bionic; Screen: 4.7in 1,334 x 750; Camera: 12MP; Storage: 64GB, 128GB, 512GB; Operating system: iOS 15

3. Samsung Galaxy A54 5G: Best mid-range Samsung phone

  • Great for… Stylish design and vibrant display
  • Not so great for… Not rated for HDR and more expensive than rivals

The Samsung Galaxy series of phones doesn’t begin and end with the S-series flagships. Samsung’s A-series lineup is a very different proposition, offering flagship-like goodies without the high price tag – and the Galaxy A54 5G is no different. An impressive, affordable smartphone that not only looks good, the A54 5G also has a great screen and more than enough power for most people – even if its processor isn’t quite as fancy as its siblings.

It also takes great pictures for the price, and if battery life is at the top of your smartphone-buying agenda, then you’re in luck: the Galaxy A54 5G lasted almost 27 hours in our battery life test. If you’re a Samsung fan, or simply want a reliable yet impressive smartphone that doesn’t cost the earth, then the Galaxy A54 5G might be the phone for you.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy A54 5G review 

Key specs – Processor: 2.4GHz Samsung Exynos 1380; Screen: 6.5in, 2,340 x 1,080; Camera: 50MP, 12MP (wide), 5MP (macro); Storage: 128GB; Operating system: Android 13

4. Xiaomi Redmi Note 13 Pro 5G: Best-value mid-range phone


  • Great for… Striking display and impressive performance
  • Not so great for… Bloated software and weak video capture

Despite launching for the same price as its predecessor, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 13 Pro 5G displayed several key improvements during our testing. The main camera gets bumped in both pixel count and aperture, delivering a greater level of detail in both low-light and zoom photography during our test shoot. The display is also improved; on top of the sharper 2,712 x 1,220 resolution, we recorded a lower (and therefore, better) average Delta E colour variance score of just 1.09, which speaks to terrific colour accuracy, regardless of price.

Performance was particularly impressive, with the Note 13 Pro 5G outpacing all other Android phones in its price range during our CPU benchmark tests – including gaining a 23% lead on its predecessor in the multi-core section.

The GPU results weren’t as impressive, with the 13 Pro hitting roughly the same frame rates as the 12 Pro, and Xiaomi’s software continues to be a bloated mess, but even considering these issues, the Redmi Note 13 Pro 5G is just too good value to be discounted.

Read our full Xiaomi Redmi Note 13 Pro 5G review 

Key specs – Processor: 2.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 7s Gen 2; Screen: 6.67in, 2,712 x 1,220; Camera: 200MP, 8MP (wide), 2MP (macro); Storage: 256GB; Operating system: Android 13

5. Nothing Phone (2a): Best mid-range phone designNothing Phone (2a) on a grey cushion, display showing homescreen


  • Great for… Unique design and excellent battery life
  • Not so great for… Middling performance and colour accuracy

The Nothing Phone (2a) isn’t just the brand’s best phone yet, it’s also the most uniquely styled mid-range phone around. Carrying over the transparent back and rear LED ‘Glyph’ lighting from its predecessors, the Phone (2a) further distinguishes itself from rivals with horizontal, googly eye-style rear cameras and improved widget-based software. The result is a phone that looks like nothing else on the market right now.

The appeal goes beyond aesthetics, too. The Phone (2a) performed exceptionally well in our looping video battery life test, lasting for 27hrs 31mins before needing a recharge. The vibrant OLED display also gets far more bright than either of its predecessors, topping out at 671cd/m2 at full brightness.

Colour accuracy and CPU performance are both a little lower than the Phone (1), but neither to the point where we wouldn’t recommend the Phone (2a). For such a low price, this is an incredibly well-rounded handset, especially if you want something that stands out from the crowd.

Read our full Nothing Phone (2a) review 

Key specs – Processor: 2.8GHz MediaTek Dimensity 7200 Pro; Screen: 6.7in, 2,412 x 1,080; Camera: 50MP, 50MP (wide); Storage: 128GB, 256GB; Operating system: Android 14

6. Xiaomi 12T: Best mid-range phone for fast charging

  • Great for… Colour-accurate display and 120W fast charging
  • Not so great for… No IP rating and middling secondary cameras

It’s a little older than some options on this list, but the Xiaomi 12T is still incredible value for money. The biggest selling point here is the stupendously fast 120W charging, which took the phone from empty to 68% in just 15 minutes, and onto full in 20 minutes in our tests. Even with that backing it up, the battery should see you through a full day by itself – in our looping video stamina test, the Xiaomi 12T lasted for 17hrs 37mins, which is great for this price.

The 6.67in AMOLED display also fared well in testing, with an exceptional average Delta E colour variance score of 0.8 (anything under 1 is near-enough perfect) and a reasonable, albeit not class-leading, peak brightness of 473cd/m2. Our only real issues with the 12T are that the secondary cameras don’t match the quality of the main lens and the phone lacks an official IP rating for weatherproofing.

Read our full Xiaomi 12T review 

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 2.85GHz MediaTek Dimensity 8100-U; Screen: 6.67in, 2,712 x 1,220; Camera: 108MP, 8MP (wide), 2MP (macro); Storage: 128GB, 256GB; Operating system: Android 12

How to choose the best mid-range smartphone for you

How much should I be spending?

With phone prices constantly on the rise, the middle of the market is something of a moving target. For the purposes of this list, however, we’re looking at phones that fall between £300 and £600. Anything less is getting into budget territory, while above is where we’ll find the all-singing, all-dancing flagships. Here, you’re getting the best of both worlds, with plenty of great features for a price that won’t break the bank.

READ NEXT: Best budget phones

What features should I look out for?

Everyone will have different priorities, but the beauty of this price range is that you’re getting a better bang for your buck, in terms of functionality. Mileage may vary from handset to handset, but in general, these are the key features to bear in mind while perusing the products:

Display: The size, resolution and refresh rate of a display will give you a good idea of how it will feel to use, while our expert testing and full-length reviews can let you know how bright the display can get and how accurate the colour reproduction is. LCD screens are still very common at this price, but there are a fair few OLEDs in here too, which in general have more impactful colours and a deeper black level.

Cameras: This is one area in which you really do need to spend the big bucks if you want the best on the market, so don’t expect to see any far-reaching telephoto cameras here. You will, however, get a decent array of main lenses, backups like ultrawide sensors, close-up macro cameras and selfie shooters. We lay out the resolutions offered by each phone’s cameras, but to see them in action, head to the full reviews, where we’ve got camera samples for you to check out.

Battery life: We use the same test to judge every phone’s battery life, allowing us to accurately compare their performance. You can see in the full reviews how individual handsets perform if battery life is top of your priority list. Also, keep an eye out for charging speeds – even at this price, we see some truly ridiculous speeds that can fill a phone from empty in less than an hour.

Performance: As with most features, the top-end chipsets generally don’t make it down to mid-range phones, but that doesn’t mean that you lose out on performance. For most people, the speeds offered by mid-range phones are more than enough for daily tasks, and the GPUs can often put in a decent showing with relatively graphics-intensive games, too.

Storage: The phones in this list generally offer one or two of the following storage capacities: 128GB, 256GB and 512GB. For most people, there should be plenty of space for all your apps and photos, but if you find yourself nudging up against that space limit often, look out for models that have a microSD card slot – this will let you expand the storage on the cheap.

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