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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

10 cheap smartphones from companies you've actually heard of (2013 edition)

Smartphones are awesome, there's no doubt about that. They take photos, play music, run apps, and do all kinds of neat things that weren't even imaginable just a few years ago. But at the same time, they can be pretty expensive. A top-of-the-line smartphone may cost well over $600 unlocked, and many people just aren't willing or able to pay that much to own one.

Thankfully, there's the low-end spectrum of the smartphone market. There's a whole bunch of not-so-expensive devices that offer many of the core features expected from a smartphone without costing an arm and a leg. And we aren't talking about those no-name Android shipped in white boxes directly from China. There's a fair number of affordable brand-name smartphones, and in this post we've put together some of the cheapest among them. All of the smartphones listed here have been launched on the market in 2013 so they are all pretty new models running recent versions of their operating systems. Check them out in the slideshow below!

Motorola RAZR V

The Motorola RAZR V is a smartphone that can be found for pretty cheap online. It comes with a 4.3-inch screen, 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 8MP camera, and all of that is packed inside a KEVLAR body that's only 8.4 millimeters thick.

Price unlocked: ~$230

Nokia Lumia 620

The Nokia Lumia 620 is a cute and colorful entry-level smartphone that has a lot to offer for its price. It comes with a nice display, good camera, dual-core processor, and lots of apps from the Windows Phone marketplace. Performance is silky smooth, as is the case with all WP8 handsets.

Price unlocked: ~$220

Samsung Galaxy Fame

Nope, the Samsung Galaxy Fame isn't targeted at the rich and famous, but it is a nice budget Android smartphone with okay hardware specs and a pretty usable camera. However, you might be disappointed by its low-res, 3.5-inch screen, which has a mediocre resolution of 320 by 480 pixels. Nevertheless, the Fame isn't a bad choice given its affordable price.

Price unlocked: ~$190

Nokia Lumia 520

It may be one of the cheapest Windows Phone smartphones right now, but it is also among the most popular devices of this category. That's because it offers quite a lot of value for its cost. It is equipped with a pretty decent 4-inch display, a dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, and offers all the smoothness of the Windows Phone operating system. Downsides include the 512MB of RAM, which make the device incompatible with some apps, and the lack of a camera flash, but overall, the phone is well worth its money.

Price unlocked: ~$180

LG Optimus L5 II

The LG Optimus L5 II is another decent low-cost smartphone for buyers on a budget. It comes with a 4-inch LCD display that looks good considering the handset's entry-level nature. Further specs include a 1GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, 5MP camera, 4GB of storage, and Android 4.1 out of the box. A dual-SIM version is available as well.

Price unlocked: ~$180

LG Optimus L4 II

Already available in some parts of the world, the LG Optimus L4 II is an entry-level Android 4.1 smartphone with a 3.8-inch IPS display, single-core processor, and a very basic 3MP camera. Without a doubt, it is a device that won't impress much with anything other than its price tag.

Price unlocked: ~$170

Sony Xperia E

The Sony Xperia E is a cheap Android smartphone that excels with its great call quality. The hardware specs are passable, but don't expect miracles out of its 1GHz single-core processor. Both the screen and camera are of very low quality, but these can't be considered major drawbacks given the phone's low cost. A dual-SIM version is available for those willing to spend a little extra cash.

Price unlocked: ~$165

Samsung Galaxy Young


The Samsung Galaxy Young is a smartphone made for those who want a low-cost, dual-SIM Android smartphone. It is a low-end handset with a 3.3-inch display, 1GHz processor, mediocre camera, and 4GB of storage. Yeah, it isn't much, but one shouldn't really be expecting anything more at this price point.

Price unlocked: ~$150

LG Optimus L3 II

The LG Optimus L3 II sits down at the bottom of the Android foodchain, offering low-end specs like a 3.2-inch, low-resolution screen, slow-ish single-core processor, and a very basic camera. On the bright side of things, it is extremely affordable and has access to lots of apps from the Google Play store.

Price unlocked: ~$125

Samsung Galaxy Star

Just like the previous handset, the Samsung Galaxy Star is one of the cheapest brand-name Android smartphones currently on the market, but it is debatable whether getting one is really worth it. Sure, it is a fully-functional Android 4.1 smartphone with access to lots of apps, but using it may be a frustrating experience given the underwhelming hardware specs of the device.

Price unlocked: ~$100

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