Budget smartphones keep getting better as software matures and components become cheaper. Some companies have produced inexpensive smartphones that are good enough to replace your big-brand flagship. Others haven’t had the same success.
The Motorola Moto X was one of the last smartphones to be made under Google's guise, and it brought with it a range of industry-shaking innovations. These include its ability to leverage Google's Search and Now platforms, and the options – if you were in America – to order the smartphone with custom casing.
Low cost MVNO Aldi will retire its ALDImobile $35 plan, which comes with 2500 call minutes and 2.5GB, on April 2. Replacing the plan is the company’s new XL plan which offers half the minutes and less than half the data.
Budget electronics company, Soniq, will enter the telecommunications market by offering its own range of plans and smartphones on another carrier’s network.
Sony Ericsson's T715 mobile phone is an inexpensive, entry-level slider handset that gets the job done without much fanfare. Built-in Facebook and Twitter applications may interest social-networking buffs, but questionable build quality and a proprietary headphone jack are disappointing.
Dubbed the Corby Plus in many overseas markets but changed in Australia to avoid associations with the Schapelle Corby drama, the Samsung B3410 is an entry-level touchscreen mobile phone that includes a full slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Its lack of 3G connectivity is disappointing, but the B3410's resistive touchscreen and intuitive interface make it a decent proposition for budget shoppers.
Samsung's GenoA is an inexpensive, entry-level touchscreen phone. The GenoA's capacitive touchscreen and Samsung's TouchWIZ interface make it a reasonable proposition, but the lack of 3G connectivity is disappointing.
A successor to the INQ1, 3 Mobile's INQ Mini 3G is an entry-level prepaid mobile phone that has access to social-networking features like Facebook, Twitter, Windows Live Messenger and Skype at the heart of its user interface. An offering likely to appeal to a younger audience, the INQ Mini 3G doesn't possess a great design but it offers good value for money.
Targeted at young people interested in social networking while on the move, Samsung's S3653 is an entry-level touch-screen mobile phone. Featuring interesting styling and replaceable, snap-on rear covers, the Samsung S3653 offers plenty of features for its target market. However, the lack of 3G connectivity is inexcusable.
Samsung's Star is an entry-level, prepaid mobile phone that features the company's TouchWIZ UI.
Retailing for $99, Virgin Mobile's VMX mobile phone is one of the cheapest 3G-capable phones on the Australian market. It's manufactured by Huawei but has Virgin Mobile branding and is sold through the telco's store. The VMX has plenty of shortcomings, but it's hard to argue with its cheap as chips price.
Available for just $69 through Virgin Mobile, LG's L7 GB110 is one of the cheapest mobile phones we've ever reviewed. Despite the budget price, the LG L7 GB110 mobile phone offers an FM radio, MP3 player and removable storage via a microSD card slot. Inexcusably, however, Bluetooth is omitted.
The Sony Ericsson F305 is a Boost Mobile-exclusive, motion-sensitive mobile phone. This slider handset has a 2-megapixel camera, an FM radio tuner and the ability to play MP3s.
Providing a similar feature set to the Nokia 1209, Nokia's 1661 improves on its baby brother with a better quality display, a much thinner design and an FM radio. However, the smaller size comes at the cost of keypad size.
After years of growth, the global market for mobile handsets will contract by about 8 percent this year although smartphones will remain a growth area, according to a new forecast from IDC.
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