- Best iPhone
- Best Samsung
- Best on a budget
- Best battery life
- Best camera
- Best for media
- Easy to use
- Best for the eco-conscious
What to look for
Before buying a phone for a teen, you should keep the following things in mind:
Phones with long-lasting batteries are life-savers when travelling around. Getting a smartphone with a big battery capacity will ensure your teenager’s phone doesn’t run out of charge while they’re out with friends.
They’ll want a phone that’s easy to handle and portable enough to place inside pockets and bags. It should also be big enough for them to watch videos on - either for entertainment or educational purposes.
Your teenager will likely want a phone with good camera quality. It’ll let them capture high quality memories, selfies, and photos to share with friends.
It helps to have a phone that protects against drops and water submersion. Looking for a smartphone that has an IP waterproof rating is important to keep it safe. Also look for phones which are made out of Gorilla Glass, which is more durable than plastic.
To keep your child safe online, you’ll want a phone that’s full of security features to protect against malware. You can also invest in parental control software for younger children.
You don’t want to spend £1000s on a phone, only for your child to lose it. Our recommendations below are more on the value side of things. If you want an ultra-affordable option, you can check out our lists on the best phones for under £100 and £200.
Best iPhone - iPhone SE (2020)
If your teenager is an Apple fanatic, they’ll definitely want an iPhone. Our top recommendation for a younger user is the iPhone SE (2020), the updated version of the popular 2016 model.
✔Portable and easy to handle 4.7 inch screen is ideal for travelling and storing in a pocket or small bag
✔Operates on the newest Apple system, iOS 14, so security measures and bug fixes are up to date
✔Fast A13 chip for speedy processing and downloading
✔Has a waterproof rating of IP67, which means the phone can withstand up to one metre of submersion for a maximum of 30 minutes
✔Comes with three storage options: 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB
✔Bluetooth 5.0 for playing audio wirelessly
✔Compatible with Qi wireless charging
✘Only two cameras - 12MP rear and 7MP front - which aren’t as powerful as many other models and brands
✘Small 1,821mAh battery life might not be enough for most teenagers to sustain all day
✘No 3.5mm headphone jack, so if you want to plug earphones in, you need to buy an adapter for the Lightning cable
✘No memory card slot - if you need more storage, you’ll have to invest in cloud storage like iCloud
✘Not 5G compatible
Best Samsung - Samsung Galaxy S21
Fantastically put together, the Samsung Galaxy S21 is a high-performing handset that offers capable features for most, if not all, smartphone users. Able to bring out the extraordinary in the familiar, Samsung have built a vast array of innovations into this compact yet stylish device.
✔ Premium phone with strong performance
✔ Fast and wireless charging
✔ Able to handle multiple tasks at once
✔ Versatile rear and selfie cameras
✔ Battery life that lasts the whole day
✘ Reduced storage space
✘ Considerable price tag
✘ No microSD support
Best on a budget - Samsung Galaxy A03S
A high-quality, affordable smartphone that brings numerous features for not much cash, the Samsung Galaxy A03S is ideal if you want your next handset to come with top tech and still be fully functional.
✔ Affordable if you’re on a budget
✔ Uses Android 11 as factory default OS
✔ External memory slot for MicroSDXC
✔ Knox security to protect against malware and threats
✘ No NFC for data transfer or wireless payments
✘ Not great for taking photos at low light or when it’s dark out
Want to find out more? Read our full review on the Samsung Galaxy A03S.
Best battery life - Samsung Galaxy A32 5G
Whether you’re travelling, out with friends, or just at home, having to find a charger every few hours can be frustrating. To avoid the fear of your teen’s battery running low, you should invest in a phone with a big battery. And if you also want to keep control of your budget, the Galaxy A32 is one of the best big battery smartphones around.
✔5,000mAh battery capacity, capable of providing up to 21 hours of internet usage, 36 hours of talk time, 20 hours of video playback, and 106 hours of audio playback
✔Big 6.5 inch screen
✔Quad rear cameras - 48MP, 8MP, 5MP, and 2MP, with a 13MP front camera, and 4K video recording capabilities
✔64GB of internal storage with a microSD card slot capable of expanding memory up to a whopping 1TB
✔3.5mm headphone jack and Bluetooth 5.0 for listening to music, radio, and podcasts
✔Made from Corning Gorilla Glass 5, which is one of the strongest materials for phones at the moment
✔NFC-enabled so you can use the phone to pay without the need for coins or a card
Best camera - Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro 5G
Price: From £400
If your teenager likes taking photos, they’ll love a smartphone with a powerful, high-megapixel camera. The Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro 5G will capture selfies and landscapes without any need for editing!
✔Triple rear cameras with a powerful 108MP Wide, 13MP Ultra Wide, and 5MP Macro. It’s also got a strong 20MP selfie camera
✔8K video recording capability for crystal-clear and blur-free footage
✔AI technology built into the camera to naturally enhance and stabilise images
✔Large 6.67 inch screen with high-resolution 2400 x 1080 pixels - perfect for looking back at their favourite photos
✔Large 5,000mAh battery. Also supports Fast Charging 33W to get it back up and running in no time
✔Comes with internal storage of either 128GB or 256GB
✔Upgradeable to Android 11, the newest OS
✔Has Bluetooth 5.1 for strong wireless connectivity
✔Made with Gorilla glass
✘May be slightly heavy for some at 218g
✘No card slot built into the design, so cannot manually expand storage
✘No 3.5mm headphone jack so you will have to use either an adaptor or wireless headphones to listen to audio
✘No formal IP waterproof rating
Discover more Xiaomi phones and camera phones.
Best for media - LG v60 ThinQ 5G
Price: From £400
A phone for videos and gaming needs to have a large, clear screen and a big battery. It should also have decent storage, multiple audio options, and a speedy processor. Luckily, this LG model has all of this and more.
✔Huge 6.8 inch screen made up of two detachable displays. This is a foldable phone, which is great for saving space too
✔1080 x 2460 pixel resolution, capable of displaying vivid, colourful, and detailed scenes
✔Large 5,000mAh battery that can last all day. Also supports wireless charging and fast charging
✔Speedy Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 5G processor
✔128GB or 256GB in-built storage, with a microSD card slot for expansion if needed
✔Supports wired or wireless headphones with both a 3.5mm audio jack and Bluetooth 5.1
✔Includes a 32-Bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC converter for deep, immersive sound
✔Triple rear cameras: 64MP Standard, 13MP Ultrawide, 0.3MP Depth, with a 10MP front camera, and powerful 8K video recording
✔IP68 waterproof rating
✔Made from Corning Gorilla Glass 5, one of the most durable materials
✔5G compatibility makes the device faster and smoother, with less chance of buffering
Discover more film and gaming phone recommendations.
Easy to use - Google Pixel 4a with 5G
The Google Pixel range thrives off having simple interfaces and helpful features for the less tech-savvy. The Pixel 4a in particular is perfect for those looking for an easy to use smartphone
✔Big and clear 6.2 inch screen
✔Includes AI Google Assistant, which allows you to make verbal commands hands-free
✔Dual rear cameras: 12.2MP Wide and 16MP Ultra Wide, with an 8MP front camera, and 4K video recording capability
✔Decent 3,885mAh battery capacity, which also supports fast charging technology
✔Fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor decreases chances of buffering and slow downloads
✔IP68 waterproof rating, letting it withstand up to one metre of water submersion (for a maximum of 30 minutes)
✔Comes with 128GB internal storage, but you also have unlimited storage with Google Photos
Discover more Google phones.
Best for the eco-conscious - Pre-owned phones
Worried about your carbon footprint but not ready to cast aside your smartphone aspirations just yet? Pre-owned phones could be the solution. We’ve teamed up with Renewd to offer a fantastic range of second life handsets.
Buying a used phone not only helps the planet, but also your bank balance. Most pre-owned handsets are available to purchase through reputable companies, and you usually get warranty protection as well.
Likewise, if you’ve got a phone you don’t use anymore, recycle it so the materials can be repurposed into new products. Anything to avoid the dreaded landfill.
✔ Great value for money
✔ Great for the planet
✔ Tested under strict conditions
✔ 2 year warranty
✔ 100% original parts
✘ Sometimes can show minor wear and tear
✘ Limited range of available handsets
✘ Used by someone else before, which some people don’t like
SIM card deals for teens
Now that you’ve found the perfect phone, why not pair it with the perfect SIM? We have a range of great value SIM deals which are ideal for teenagers.
A great middle of the road option is our £10 deal. For just £10 a month they could enjoy 12GB of data, as well as unlimited minutes and texts.
With up to 99% UK population coverage, they’ll always be able to reply to a message or answer a phone call.
It also comes with 5G, Wi-Fi calling, international roaming, and much more.
Already have a phone? Buy £10 SIM deal
Buying a phone with us? Add the SIM deal as you checkout
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