While you can spend £500 or £600 on a new smartphone if you want to buy it upfront, you can get essentially the same functionalities at a price point of less than £200 if you look.
Here are five mobiles that are available to buy unlocked and SIM-free and which will come in at under the £200 mark. SIMs are available from most mobile network providers but shop around for the best deal. We like giffgaff as they have some great deals and tariffs without all the hassle you sometimes get from the larger providers.
Nokia Lumia 520
The Lumia 520 is one of the few phones to have been awarded four and a half stars out of five by the respected reviewers at TechRadar, with this rating being handed down as a result of the value for money that it offers.
With a dual-core processor, four-inch touch screen display, five-megapixel camera and colorful array of chassis colors, it is a well-specified smartphone that does not break the bank. It runs Windows Phone 8 and you can get a giffgaff free sim by clicking here to pair with the Lumia 520.
Huawei Ascend G300
This Android-based handset can be bought for around £100 and comes with a single-core processor, four-inch screen and a five-megapixel camera, meaning it matches the Lumia 520 in every respect, apart from its CPU clock speed and core count.
The Android operating system is a little less rigid than Windows Phone 7, meaning you can customise the home screens with your own backgrounds, app shortcuts and widgets. Google Play also has many more programs and games to download and enjoy, many of which are free.
Sony Xperia L
Image credit : http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ASony_Xperia_L.png
This comes in at the upper end of the price scale and you can tell that a little more care has been put into the construction and materials used to build the phone.
It has a 4.3-inch display and runs Android Jelly Bean, while a 1GHz dual-core processor does all the hard work on the inside.
An eight-megapixel camera on the rear can record high-definition video clips, which is a nice touch to see on a phone at this price.
Samsung Galaxy Ace 2
The affordable end of Samsung’s popular Galaxy range is packed with different low-cost handsets for you to choose from, all of which are decent performers for the money.
The Galaxy Ace 2 has a dual-core processor, five-megapixel camera and a sturdy chassis which should stand up to a bit of rough and tumble in everyday usage.
The flexibility of the Android operating system means you can make the most out of its features in any way that suits your needs.
Offering similar capabilities to the Nokia Lumia 520 thanks to the consistency of the Windows Phone 8 ecosystem, the 8S from HTC brings improved design features and good build quality to the table.
Stylish exterior touches and a two-tone approach to colour make it an attractive handset for those with an eye on style. It also has all the usual bells and whistles, from a fast web browser to a five-megapixel camera, with Xbox Live integration available to keep gamers happy.