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Top 10 Best Budget Android Camera Phones For Photography Under Or Around 300 2018

Top 10 Best Budget Android Camera Phones For Photography Under Or Around £300 2018 - We round-up the best budget smartphones for photography, the best budget camera phones with a good camera. Under £300 sim-free.

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Huawei Honor 9 Lite in Camera Phones

Cameras in smartphones have come a long way over the last few years, with a number of features that have greatly improved the quality of images produced by smartphones, including optical image stabilisation (OIS), larger sensors, bright lenses, and even optical zoom making them even better for photography. But you don't need to spend a fortune to get a good camera on your smartphone, here we look at the best camera phones available for under £300 sim-free.

You'll also find more in-depth comments on each of the smartphones featured in our list over in reviews, plus, take a look at our technique and feature sections where you'll find a range of articles that'll have you snapping top smartphones shots in no-time. 

 

1. Honor 9

Huawei Honor9 (1)
 

The Honor smartphones are part of Huawei's more affordable smartphone range, and the Honor 9 is a premium smartphone but at a more reasonable price (just hitting the £300 point). It may not be as new as some of the smartphones listed below but scoring 4.5 stars, we've not reviewed a budget-smartphone that's beat its overall score... yet. 

The Honor 9 offers a dual camera smartphone, plenty of ram and storage, a stylish and good looking design, and offers all of this for a much lower price than you would expect. The dual camera offers a “Hybrid Zoom” giving a 2x zoom, with only a slight loss in image quality. The black and white camera takes impressively sharp and detailed 20mp images, and noise is well controlled whether shooting colour or black and white.

Whilst the smartphone doesn’t feature a waterproof body, there are few smartphones at this price point that do. The camera also records 4K video, and results are good. The biggest shortcoming is the lack of optical image stabilisation (OIS) which not only affects photos but also video.

If you want to try true black and white photography, and don’t quite have the money for a Leica M Monochrom, then the Honor 9 smartphone with a black and white camera, would make an excellent choice. 

Camera features at a glance: 12mp colour sensor f/2.2 lens, 27mm equivalent 20mp black and white sensor f/2.2 lens, 27mm equivalent 8mp f/2 front camera, 4K video at 30fps with stereo sound, FullHD video at 60fps, 720p video at 120fps, EIS, Electronic Image Stabilisation, ISO50-ISO3200

Overall Score: 

Buy On Amazon UK | Buy On Amazon USA

 

 

2. Honor 8X 

1/125 sec | f/3.2 | 12.0 mm | ISO 200
 

Here's the thing... the Honor 8X is a brilliant phone for its price point but that's also the snag - its price point. The Honor 8X looks and feels more expensive than it is but when you start to look a little closer, some of the features aren't quite as good as the phone looks. The second lens making up the dual rear camera isn't great meaning that the bokeh effect isn't always spot on, there is no 4K video mode, the AI can be a little overzealous, digital zoom is terrible and there's the small annoying matter of a microUSB connection. However, on the other side of the coin, the Night mode is excellent, selfies are great, the day-to-day picture quality is good and the screen is pretty much spot-on. Don't forget that a Pro mode is available, too, something that's still lacking from Apple! Also, I know we've mentioned it already, but it's a lovely looking phone that could fool most into thinking it costs a lot more than it does. 

So, who should buy this phone? We would say, teenagers as it's reasonably priced, looks cool, has an easy-to-use camera app that means selfies will be social media ready in minutes but, we know how much they love a well-known brand to give them social status so it could be a hard sell for parents. Other people who may be interested in the Honor 8X are those who aren't brand loyal and simply want a good performing phone with a decent camera, a large 6.5inch screen, good battery life and style at a price that won't have them taking out a small loan. 

Yes, the Honor 8X isn't perfect but it's perfect enough to warrant giving it a 'Recommended' award. 

Camera features at a glance: Rear dual-lens (20MP f/1.8 + 2MP), 16MP f/2.0 front-facing "selfie" camera, Night Mode, AI, Pro Mode, ISO50-3200, Full HD and Slo-Mo video (no 4K) 

Overall Score: 

Buy On Amazon UK 

 

3. Nokia 7.1 

Nokia 7 1 Blue (2)
 

The Nokia 7.1 has an excellent screen, a dual-camera set-up and can shoot 4K video which are all features you don't always see in budget-friendly smartphones. Image-wise, they're pretty decent but it's no surprise that when light levels drop, so does the quality of the photo you can capture. 

If you're looking for a smart-looking smartphone that can take good photos, has 4K video built in and has a good screen, the Nokia 7.1 could fit the bill. It's a budget-friendly smartphone that improves on its predecessor so if you're not brand-loyal and simply want a good performing phone, the Nokia 7.1 might be the smartphone for you. 

Camera features at a glance: Rear Camera: 12MP, f/1.8 main lens and a 5MP, f/2.4 secondary lens (ZEISS optics), Front Camera: 8mp, f/2.0 (ZEISS optics), Video: 1080p (both cameras), 4K (rear camera), Pro Mode, ISO 50-3200

Overall Score: 

Buy On Amazon UK

 

4. Nokia 6.1

1/80 sec | f/3.5 | 14.0 mm | ISO 200
 

Just behind the Nokia 7.1 is the Nokia 6.1 which is another reasonably priced smartphone that is capable of producing good images and excellent video in most situations. Yes, it does struggle a bit in low light and when scenes have a wide dynamic range, results can be disappointing but overall, it did a decent enough job. Plus, when you consider how reasonably priced it is, you can almost let slip its low light performance issues as in all other situations, it's a really great smartphone camera. 

If you're looking for a smart-looking smartphone that can take good photos, has 4K video built in and captures awesome selfies then the Nokia 6.1 might just be for you. It's a budget-friendly smartphone that surprised us and we reckon you won't be disappointed with how it performs either.  

Camera features at a glance: Rear Camera: 16mp, f/2.0, 27mm Zeiss lens, Front Camera: 8mp, f/2.0, Video: 1080p/30fps (both cameras), 4K (rear camera), Pro mode, ISO 100-3200

Overall Score: 

Buy On Amazon UK | Buy On Amazon USA 

 

5. Nokia 7 Plus

1/80 sec | f/5.4 | 34.0 mm | ISO 320
 

Just creeping under the £300 mark is the Nokia 7 Plus which is capable of capturing pleasing images in good light. Plus, the live bokeh feature adds a lovely layer of bokeh to portraits. However, in low light, quality does start to waver and niggles such as the smartphone struggling to lock focus can get annoying. Is it a standout phone that will make you go 'o,wow'? Probably not, but if you're looking for a reasonably priced smartphone without too many frills that still performs really well, the Nokia 7 Plus is well worth considering. 

Camera features at a glance: Rear Camera: 12MP f/1.75 & 13MP f/2.6 2x telephoto lenses (ZEISS optics), Front Camera: 16MP f/2.0 lens, Dual tone LED flash, 4K video recording, Live Bokeh, Pro Mode, ISO 100-3200

Overall Score: 

Buy On Amazon UK | Buy On Amazon USA

 

6. Honor 7X

Honor 7X (1)
 

The Honor 7X offers a very good 18:9 screen, and an impressive amount of storage for a great price. If this smartphone dropped to under £200, it will represent incredible value for money. Sure, it’s not waterproof, but at this price point, it’d be hard to find a phone that is. It would be nice if one of the cameras featured OIS, but again, at this price, it’s difficult to find a smartphone that has OIS. The camera performance is reasonable, but nothing particularly special, with some weaknesses found in video quality, and low-light performance.

Camera features at a glance: Rear Camera: 16mp f/2.2 (26mm), and 2mp, Front Camera: 8mp f/2 front camera (Selfie, 27mm), HDR shooting, FullHD video, ISO50-1600

Overall Score: 

Buy On Amazon UK | Buy On Amazon USA 

 

7. Moto X4

Moto X4 (12)
 

The Moto X4 has some nice features, in a fairly compact smartphone (by today's standards), with a waterproof body, and dual cameras. The ultra wide-angle camera has obvious distortion and image quality issues, but as a second camera, it’s quite good fun.

4K video can be recorded with the main camera, and FullHD video with the ultra-wide-angle, so you could use the smartphone as an action camera if you wanted, particularly as it's waterproof.

Camera features at a glance: Rear Ultra-wide-angle 8mp f/2.2, 120-degrees, 16mp f/2.0 selfie camera, with LED flash, Auto HDR shooting, 4K video, ISO80-3200. 

Overall Score: 

Buy On Amazon UK | Buy On Amazon USA 

 

8. Moto G5

Moto G5 (1)
 

If you’re looking for a fairly stylish entry-level smartphone, the Moto G5 offers good value for money, with metal touches, and a fingerprint sensor giving the smartphone a more premium feel.

Images from the camera are good, with good colour and detail, with reliable exposure. Auto HDR helps in scenes with high levels of contrast, and the camera app gives more advanced controls in the Pro mode (more controls than most point and shoot cameras!) – it’s a shame compact cameras limit your controls – yet a budget smartphone gives you manual controls! Due to noise in images, shooting in sunny bright conditions will give better images.

The limiting factor could be the amount of storage, as 16GB is quickly used up if you install a lot of apps, take a lot of photos and video, or want to put music on your phone. Otherwise, this is a good little phone.

There's also the Moto G5S which is slightly newer but it didn't score quite as well as the Moto G5. 

Camera features at a glance: Rear Ultra-wide-angle 8mp f/2.2, 120-degrees, 16mp f/2.0 selfie camera, with LED flash, Auto HDR shooting, FullHD video, ISO80-3200. 

Overall Score: 

Buy On Amazon UK | Buy On Amazon USA 

 

9. HTC U Play 

HTC U Play In Hand
 

The HTC U Play is a stylish, slim and attractive smartphone, with a good camera that offers optical image stabilisation, a 16mp BSI CMOS sensor, and a fairly bright f/2.0 aperture. Whilst the f/2.0 aperture is quite good, others smartphones are available with a brighter lens, and the lack of 4K video recording is disappointing. The lack of headphone jack is a shame but where the U Play does make up for some of these shortcomings, is in the provision of a 16mp selfie camera, which also features a f/2.0 aperture lens. 

Overall, the HTC U Play is a pretty good budget smartphone, with the built-in OIS and stylish design making it very appealing. 

Camera features at a glance: Rear Ultra-wide-angle 8mp f/2.2, 120-degrees, 16mp f/2.0 selfie camera, with LED flash, Auto HDR shooting, FullHD video, ISO80-3200. 

Overall Score: 

Buy On Amazon UK | Buy On Amazon USA

 

10. Honor 9 Lite 

Honor 9 Lite (9)

The Honor 9 Lite smartphone looks great, with a stylish design, good colours, and a large 18:9 screen. It also offers a good amount of storage considering the price. However, the camera(s) on the smartphone is a little disappointing. Video quality is quite low, and the lack of image stabilisation is particularly noticeable. The budget price is hard to argue with though, and for general use, the smartphone offers an appealing option. 

Camera features at a glance: Rear cameras: 13mp f/2.2 (26mm), and 2mp, Phase Detection AF (PDAF), LED flash, Dual front cameras: 13mp f/2.0 (28mm), and 2mp, Full HD video, ISO50-1600. 

Overall Score: 

Buy On Amazon UK | Buy On Amazon USA 

 

More Top Lists 

You're going to need a MicroSD card to expand your phone's memory so have a look at our complete guide to memory cards to find the right MicroSD card for your smartphone, or you can take a look at more camera phone reviews if you haven't found what you're looking for.

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