Worldwide smartphone sales have really taken off in recent years, and that's not necessarily due to cutting-edge phones like Apple's iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S III.

At least, not entirely.

Rather, it's because as high-end smartphone technology has launched into the stratosphere, cheaper and slightly less cutting-edge phones have poured in to fill the space below.

You can now pick up a highly capable smartphone for less than half the price of Apple's latest pocket trinket. And if you shop wisely, you can get yourself a device that can tackle the latest games for less than £200.

And we're not just talking about handsets running the latest 2D games, either. We're talking about phones with (for the most part) dual-core processors and capable GPUs that can push complex 3D stuff around without breaking a sweat.

Here's a selection of five great smartphone buys for all you pocket gamers on a budget.

LG Optimus 2X (£179.99 from Amazon)

When LG first started shipping the Optimus 2X in January 2011, it was the first-ever dual-core smartphone. Obviously, the microprocessor game has moved on considerably since then, but the Optimus 2X's Tegra 2 CPU can still hold its own when it comes to games.

Indeed, through the TegraZone app, you'll find high-profile games that have been optimised for Tegra hardware, such as the Shadowgun series.

While the LG Optimus 2X's 4-inch 800x460 display might seem modest in comparison to the current 5-inch 1080p Android behemoths, it still offers a nice clean picture thanks to IPS technology (which can also be found in the iPhone).

ZTE Grand X (£155.99 from Amazon)

ZT-what-now? The Chinese manufacturer might not be a household name here in the West in the same way that Samsung and HTC are, but it's no plucky upstart, either. ZTE was, in fact, the world's fourth-biggest handset manufacturer in 2012.

The ZTE Grand X represents an early attempt at a strong own-label device. It's a formidable package for money-conscious pocket gamers, offering a dual-core Tegra 2 CPU and a sharper-than-average (at this price range) 4.3-inch 960x540 LCD display.

That processor, in particular, will ensure that you can play pretty much anything on the increasingly well-stocked Google Play Store. And all for just £155.99.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Play (£147.90 from Amazon)

What to make of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, eh? It was, without doubt, a bit of a disappointment.

It was a single-core device that arrived at a time when dual-core was becoming the norm. Sony also failed to capitalise on the PlayStation brand by not producing enough unique 'gamers' games' for it.

But it still deserves its place on this list for one vital reason: those superb slide-out physical controls, which no other smartphone worth a damn can boast.

While the Xperia Play's 1GHz CPU is getting a little long in the tooth, it can still handle most games on the Google Play Store.

Nokia Lumia 620 (£144.99 from Amazon)

Here's our left-field choice.

While we know that Windows Phone 8 is playing catch up to Android and iOS in terms of pure gaming range, we also know that Microsoft is betting big on both the Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 ecosystems.

Windows Phone 8 is not going to go away. And with affordable-yet-capable devices like the Nokia Lumia 620 available, there's no reason it should.

Featuring a responsive 3.8-inch display and a pokey 1GHz dual-core CPU, the Nokia Lumia 620 can handle interesting Xbox Live exclusives like Skulls of the Shogun and ilomilo plus with ease.

And all for less than 150 smackers.

HTC Desire X (£206 from Amazon)

Don't let HTC's beating at the hands of Samsung in recent years fool you. The Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer still makes some of the best Android blowers around.

While most of that top-drawer 'droid hardware sits at the upper-mid and top end of the scale, the HTC Desire X provides plenty of bangs for not a lot of bucks.

Okay, so we've broken our own rule a little here - the HTC Desire X retails at the time of writing for just over £200 on Amazon. But only just. And it's a very tidy little phone, with a 1GHz dual-core Snapdragon CPU backed by a healthy 768MB of RAM (the most on this list).

Admittedly, the Desire X's Adreno 203 GPU isn't the hottest out there, but it should still be able to handle most games comfortably enough. We've seen it running Dead Trigger pretty much faultlessly, and few Android games get anywhere near that level of 3D complexity.

Also, HTC does have the habit of sticking some stellar screens in its phones. The screen on this one is a respectable 4-inch 800x480 Super LCD display.