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Android has come a long way as a smartphone platform since its inception. It is the fastest growing mobile OS and has been adopted by scores of manufacturers continually rolling out new Android devices at multiple price points. In this article, I will list the top 5 best budget Android smartphones which are priced low but still deliver on features and quality.
If you're willing to spend a bit more then you should check out our list of the top 10 best Android smartphones.
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The HTC Wildfire is probably the best budget phone option for Android users. It has a nice compact design with excellent hardware specifications. It has a 3.2 inch TFT capacitive touchscreen display with a rather low resolution of 240 x 320 pixels, but that's probably its only weak point. It comes with a 5 MP camera with autofocus and LED flash and runs on Android 2.1 Eclair with the HTC Sense UI. It is powered by a 528 MHz Qualcomm processor and has 384 MB of RAM. It has all the standard connectivity options - GPRS, EDGE, 3G HSDPA, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP, microUSB 2.0 and comes with a GPS transceiver with A-GPS. It retails for under $300 for the unlocked version in the US and you can pick one up for as little as £10 per month with a 2 year contract in the UK.
If the screen resolution really bothers you then check out the slightly improved HTC Wildfire S. It is a bit more expensive but the screen resolution is 320 x 480 pixels and it runs Android 2.3 so it's worth splashing out that little bit extra.
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If you have a really tight budget then the Huawei Ideos is tough to beat, you can get an unlocked handset for under $150 in the US and under £120 in the UK. Is it a false economy? Well Huawei isn't a terrifically well known name and there's no denying the build quality here is cheap but the specs are better than expected. You've got a 2.8 inch capacitive touch screen with a resolution of 240 x 320 pixels. There's a 528 MHz processor with 256 MB of RAM and 200 MB of internal storage (expandable to 32 GB with a microSD card). It has a 3.15 MP camera and it supports GPRS, EDGE, 3G HSDPA, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP, A-GPS, and microUSB 2.0. Best of all it runs vanilla Android 2.2. For this kind of money you aren't going to find anything better.
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LG Optimus One P500
This is a nice budget option with decent specs and performance. It has a 600 MHz processor and 512 MB of RAM. It has 170 MB of internal memory but ships with a 2 GB microSD card and it can be switched for a 32 GB card if you want more space. The 3.2 inch capacitive touch screen supports a resolution of 320 x 480 pixels. It supports GPRS, EDGE, 3G HSDPA, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP, microUSB and A-GPS. There is also a 3.15 MP camera with auto-focus, geotagging and face and smile detection. You can get an unlocked handset for under £200 in the UK and under $300 in the US.
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ZTE Blade or Orange San Francisco
Here's another manufacturer you probably haven't heard of. The ZTE Blade, rebranded as the Orange San Francisco when carrier Orange picked it up, is a decent budget Android smartphone. It offers great value for money with a 600 MHz processor, 512 MB of RAM and 150 MB of internal storage. As usual it can take microSD cards up to 32 GB and it ships with a 2 GB card. It has an impressive 3.5 inch AMOLED capacitive touch screen with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels which is impressive on a phone this cheap. It has a 3.15 MP camera and it supports GPRS, EDGE, 3G HSDPA, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP, A-GPS, and microUSB 2.0. Sadly it runs Android 2.1. You can get an unlocked version of this phone for well under $200 in the US and under £100 in the UK.
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Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini
The Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini is the cheapest Sony Ericsson smartphone running on Android. It has a teeny 2.55 inch display with a resolution of 240 x 320 pixels and is powered by a 600 MHz Qualcomm processor. It runs Android 1.6 and seems unlikely to get any upgrade. It has a 5 MP camera with autofocus and LED flash and can record VGA video at 30 FPS. It also has a stereo FM radio with RDS and has all connectivity options from GPRS, EDGE, 3G, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP etc. It also offers a GPS transceiver with A-GPS. You could also try out the Xperia X10 Mini Pro which is similar to the Mini but comes with a QWERTY keypad. You can get an unlocked handset for just over £100 in the UK and under $200 in the US.
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- HTC, http://www.htc.com
- LG, http://www.lg.com
- Sony Ericsson, http://www.sonyericsson.com
- Orange San Francisco, http://www.orangesanfrancisco.co.uk/
- Huawei, http://www.huaweidevice.com/resource/mini/201008174756/ideos/