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Smartphones in general have rapidly become very expensive devices and in most countries, most customers buy their new smartphone as part of a pay monthly contract.

In the UK, picking a new contract often means searching through lots of carriers and retailers to find the best deal and then, you have to deal with different warranty policies, delivery charges and other hidden charges that might increase the cost of your plan.

Related: Best Android smartphones

To help you find the best Android contracts in the UK, we’ve picked a few price points and we’re going to compare the different deals available from the four major networks – EE, Vodafone, O2 and Three – and independent retailer Carphone Warehouse and give you our top pick for a combination of handset and inclusive allowances along with an honourable mention at each price point.

£0 – £25.99 per month

The low end of the mark is where OEMs offer the cheapest possible experience in an attempt to capture first-time smartphone users and those on a budget.

HTC Desire 820-27

Top Pick: HTC Desire 820

Deal details:

  • Network: iD (runs on Three)
  • Price per month: £25.50
  • Upfront cost: £0.00
  • Monthly Minutes: 1200
  • Monthly SMS: 5000
  • Monthly Data: 2GB 4G
  • Contract Length: 24 months
  • Inclusive Extras:
    • Free roaming in 22 countries around the world
  • Retailer (link): Carphone Warehouse
  • Review (link): HTC Desire 820 review

Honourable mention: Xperia Z3 Compact

The Xperia Z3 Compact was arguably the best mid-range Android smartphone released last year and nearly a year later, the handset is still one of the best mid-range devices. It borrows most of the specs of its flagship sibling – the Xperia Z3 – and is powered by a quad-core CPU, has a 20MP camera and is dust and water resistant.

sony xperia z3 compact review aa (1 of 21)

Deal details:

  • Network: Three UK
  • Price per month: £24.00
  • Upfront cost: £0.00
  • Monthly Minutes: 600
  • Monthly SMS: unlimited
  • Monthly Data: 1GB 4G
  • Contract Length: 24 months
  • Inclusive Extras:
    • Free roaming in 18 countries around the world
    • Free 0800/0808/0500 calls in the UK
  • Retailer (link)Three UK
  • Review (link): Xperia Z3 Compact Review

Honourable mention: Honor 6 Plus

Honor might be Huawei’s e-commerce brand but its handsets are certainly impressive and the Honor 6 Plus is no different. It’s a fantastic device that is packed with premium specs at a very competitive and affordable mid-range price point. This deal only came below the Xperia Z3 Compact deal as it has less inclusive monthly data.

Huawei's Honor line is just one example of where Xiaomi competition has turned to online-only sales models.

Deal details:

  • Network: Three UK
  • Price per month: £24.00
  • Upfront cost: £19.00
  • Monthly Minutes: 600
  • Monthly SMS: Unlimited
  • Monthly Data: 500MB 4G
  • Contract Length: 24 months
  • Inclusive Extras:
    • Free roaming in 18 countries around the world
    • Free 0800/0808/0500 calls in the UK
  • Retailer (link)Three UK
  • Review (link): Honor 6 Plus review

£26 – £39.99 per month

From the entry-level price point to one of the most fiercely contested as flagships are replaced and drop to this very affordable price. Choosing our picks for this category was arguably the hardest choice of this entire feature, especially when handsets such as the Galaxy S5, Galaxy Note 4 and LG G3 are all available at this price point.

Top Pick: LG G4

The LG G4 is without doubt one of the best Android smartphones on the market and despite only landing on the market a few days ago, it’s available at this excellent price (by comparison, the Galaxy S6 started at over £45 per month as did the iPhone 6. It’s one of my favourite devices of the year and delivers the best alternative to Samsung’s flagships at a much more affordable price point.

lg g4 color comparison aa (1 of 11)

Deal details:

  • Network: EE
  • Price per month: £36.99
  • Upfront cost: £39.99
  • Monthly Minutes: Unlimited
  • Monthly SMS: Unlimited
  • Monthly Data: 5GB 4G
  • Contract Length: 24 months
  • Inclusive Extras:
    • Free calls and texts while roaming in selected European countries
    • Double-speed LTE-Advanced 4G (up to 300Mbps)
  • Retailer (link): Carphone Warehouse
  • Review (link): LG G4 review

Honourable mention: HTC One M9

The HTC One M9 may not be the handset for everyoneI’ve already shared my views on HTC’s latest flagship – but it still offers a compelling package and for a handset that has a recommended price in excess of £500 ($750), this deal is rather good value for money.

htc one m9 review aa (34 of 34)

Deal details:

  • Network: Vodafone
  • Price per month: £35.00
  • Upfront cost: £79.99
  • Monthly Minutes: Unlimited
  • Monthly SMS: Unlimited
  • Monthly Data: 6GB 4G
  • Contract Length: 24 months
  • Inclusive Extras:
    • 3 months unlimited internet (Data Test Drive)
    • £3 per day roaming in European countries (Vodafone EuroTraveller)
  • Retailer (link): Carphone Warehouse
  • Review (link): HTC One M9 review

£40 – £49.99 per month

From the mid-range to the flagship and this price point is where most modern flagships enter the market at. If you’re willing to spend this much each month, you’ll pretty much get your own pick of which handset you buy.

samsung galaxy s6 review aa (38 of 45)

Top Pick: Galaxy S6 32GB

Choosing any deal at this price point pretty much includes selecting the Galaxy S6, which is why Samsung’s flagship takes top spot at this price point. While there are other handsets available, as mentioned at the beginning, this comparison takes into account the retail price of the handset, which is why the Galaxy S6 offers a more compelling package at this price.

Samsung’s latest flagship is certainly impressive with a metal and glass build, Quad HD Super AMOLED display, octa-core Exynos 7420 processor, 16MP camera and built-in dual wireless charging. It may not have a removable battery and expandable storage like its chief rival – the LG G4 – but it ticks the other boxes and deserves its top billing. The plans at this price point are all rather similar but Three takes top spot as its the only one to offer unlimited 4G data.

Deal details:

  • Network: Three UK
  • Price per month: £48.00
  • Upfront cost: £0.00
  • Monthly Minutes: Unlimited
  • Monthly SMS: Unlimited
  • Monthly Data: Unlimited 4G
  • Contract Length: 24 months
  • Inclusive Extras:
    • Free roaming in 18 countries around the world
    • Free 0800/0808/0500 calls in the UK
  • Retailer (link)Three UK
  • Review (link): Galaxy S6 review

Honourable mention: Galaxy Note 4

The Galaxy Note 4 might be a few months old now but Samsung’s phablet still offers one of the best experiences on the market. The premium specs – including a Quad HD display, 16MP camera and quad-core CPU – are coupled with the innovative S-Pen stylus and faux leather cover for a truly impressive handset.

samsung galaxy note 4 s pen aa (2 of 18)

Deal details:

  • Network: EE
  • Price per month: £49.99
  • Upfront cost: £9.99
  • Monthly Minutes: Unlimited
  • Monthly SMS: Unlimited
  • Monthly Data: 10GB 4G
  • Contract Length: 24 months
  • Inclusive Extras:
    • Free calls and texts while roaming in selected European countries
    • Double-speed LTE-Advanced 4G (up to 300Mbps)
  • Retailer (link)EE
  • Review (link): Galaxy S6 review

Honourable mention: Galaxy S6 32GB

EE’s network is the best in the UK for coverage and data speeds and this plan is certainly made for the heavy data user as it offers a large data allowance and super-fast speeds.

samsung galaxy s6 vs s6 edge aa (33 of 39)

Deal details:

  • Network: EE
  • Price per month: £49.99
  • Upfront cost: £9.99
  • Monthly Minutes: Unlimited
  • Monthly SMS: Unlimited
  • Monthly Data: 10GB 4G
  • Contract Length: 24 months
  • Inclusive Extras:
    • Free calls and texts while roaming in selected European countries
    • Double-speed LTE-Advanced 4G (up to 300Mbps)
  • Retailer (link)EE
  • Review (link): Galaxy S6 review

£50+ per month

This is the price point where the extremely premium handsets enter the market. Alternatively, this is the price at which you’ll get those insanely large data allowances and just about every package your network provider offers as they tempt you to part with your hard earned money.

Modern smartphones are only increasing in price so it’s only a matter of time before more smartphones enter the market at this price each month. Contracts in the UK a few years ago used to cost this much per month but deals then became affordable and over the past six to twelve months, we’ve seen a trend for monthly prices to increase as smartphone prices increase.

Like the Galaxy S6 above, this section is dominated by the Galaxy S6 Edge, which is arguably Samsung’s true flagship handset. Choosing a deal at this price point was incredibly tough as all the networks offer large data allowances and it came down to perceived value and our experiences with each network (in terms of coverage, speeds and reliability).

Top Pick: Galaxy S6 Edge 64GB

Picking a top deal was certainly interesting as at this price point, most of the deals are rather similar. However, our top pick comes from EE, who are offering the 64GB Galaxy S6 Edge with a large amount of data and a reliable network at a lower price than the competition.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge-26

Deal details:

  • Network: EE
  • Price per month: £54.99
  • Upfront cost: £69.99
  • Monthly Minutes: Unlimited
  • Monthly SMS: Unlimited
  • Monthly Data: 20GB 4G
  • Contract Length: 24 months
  • Inclusive Extras:
    • Free calls and texts while roaming in selected European countries
    • Double-speed LTE-Advanced 4G (up to 300Mbps)
  • Retailer (link)EE
  • Review (link): Galaxy S6 Edge review

Honourable mention: Galaxy S6 Edge 64GB

Choosing an honourable mention was difficult as there were lots to choose from but we settled on the only 12-month contract on our list (the rest are 24 months). Vodafone still offer 12-month contracts and while they have become relatively expensive, they still offer value for money and the ability to change devices more often.

Deal details:

  • Network: Vodafone UK
  • Price per month: £59.99
  • Upfront cost: £279.00
  • Monthly Minutes: Unlimited
  • Monthly SMS: Unlimited
  • Monthly Data: 4GB 4G
  • Contract Length: 12 months
  • Inclusive Extras:
    • 3 months unlimited internet (Data Test Drive)
    • 5GB BT Openzone Wi-Fi
    • Free Inclusive calls to the UK from European Zone
    • £3 per day roaming in European countries (Vodafone EuroTraveller)
    • 6 months inclusive benefit (Now TV, Sky Sports Mobile TV or Spotify Premium)
  • Retailer (link)Vodafone UK
  • Review (link): Galaxy S6 Edge review

Wrapping Up

Choosing a new smartphone is certainly a challenge with a myriad of networks, retailers, handsets, offers, price plans and allowances to choose from. You may have just been looking for some recommendations on what to spend your money on and we hope that you’ve at least gained some insight into what your monthly budget might get you.

Our top picks for Android deals: which will you buy?

It’s worth remembering that there are hundreds – and even thousands – of pay monthly deals available and while we’ve picked the ones we think are top picks, there are probably others that also suit your needs. Some networks – EE and O2 – allow you to customise your package by paying more upfront and less per month and vice versa so the same deals mentioned above may be available at other prices.

Related: Best Bluetooth Speakers

Based in the UK and spotted a deal that you think we’ve missed? Which deal would you choose and why? Have we helped you with our top picks for Android contracts in the UK? Let us know your views in the comments below guys!!

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