Fantastic handsets for the cost-conscious (pictures)
These days, budget handsets are improving to be more powerful, reliable and capable. CNET rounds up some recent phones that weren't merely impressive, but it also won't cost you an arm and a leg to buy.
Impressive and inexpensive handsets
Smartphones can get pricey -- very pricey. But you don't have to make a lot of compromises to get a decent handset. There are plenty of devices that are both reliable and fit a tight budget. Here, you'll find some stand-out and low-cost phones that crossed our paths recently.
Editors' note:This piece was originally published on February 19, 2013, and is updated frequently.
If you want a Windows Phone device with a lot of screen real estate for less than $300, the Lumia 640 XL LTE serves up a generous 5.7-inch display, a nimble 13-megapixel camera and an enduring 3,000mAh battery.
Starting at $180 unlocked, the waterproof Moto G isn't afraid to get a little wet. It also has a comfortable design, colorful back plate options and a nearly untouched Android 5.1.1 Lollipop experience.
Equipped with a 5-megapixel camera, a 4.5-inch display and expandable memory, the Galaxy Core Prime may not be the most powerful handset, but it's a solid midrange device with a $150 off-contract price.
With its expansive 5.7-inch screen, the G Vista is an affordable big-screen "phablet" in the sub-$250 price bracket. It sports a bright 720p display, a quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor and an 8-megapixel camera.
When we reviewed the Desire 510 back in November, we declared that "4G LTE phones don't come much cheaper than this," and that still holds true. For about $200 off-contract, you'll get a handset with stylish looks, a reliable 2,100mAh battery and a capable quad-core processor.
Who says budget devices can't have style? The Aquos Crystal is a unique-looking 5-inch handset with an edge-to-edge display that runs right up to its sides. Its 8-megapixel camera takes solid photos, and its $100 prepaid price is extremely competitive.
As LG's first Windows Phone handset in several years, the Lancet is a decent introductory device for Microsoft's mobile operating system. Available on Verizon for $120, the Lancet has a compact design and a satisfactory 8-megapixel camera for all your informal picture-taking needs.
As Motorola's most affordable phone, the Moto E starts at $120 and is one of our favorite budget handsets. Not only can you swap out its bumper band, it has a satisfactory 540p display and 4G LTE capabilities as well.
Featuring a wide-angle 5-megapixel front-facing camera, the boldy-colored Lumia 735 is great for Web chatting and selfies. Its 4.7-inch display also has a sharp 720p resolution, and its petite size makes it comfortable to hold.