Reliable and affordable smartphones

Let's face it, smartphones can get pricey -- very pricey. But if you're willing to compromise on the latest and greatest in mobile tech, there are some handsets out there that perform well and can fit your budget. Here, you'll find some reliable and low-cost (either on or off-contract) devices that crossed our paths recently.

Editors' note: This piece was originally published on February 19, 2013, and is updated frequently.

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LG Tribute

Not only does the Tribute cost just $80 on Virgin Mobile, run Android 4.4 KitKat and have a 5-megapixel camera -- it is also one of the most elegantly designed, low-budget phones we've seen in a while.

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HTC Desire 510

Available without a contract on Boost Mobile for $100 and Cricket Wireless for free (after you send in a $75 rebate), the Desire 510 is a well-crafted 4G LTE handset with a 4.7-inch touchscreen, a quad-core processor, and expandable memory.

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Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini

Samsung's junior-sized version of its flagship handset from the year before is equipped with a nimble 8-megapixel camera, a dual-core CPU, and a bright 4.3-inch Super AMOLED display. At $250 prepaid on  Sprint, it's one of the "pricier" devices on this list, but it's still pretty reasonable.

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Samsung Galaxy Light

For just $30, the compact Galaxy Light for MetroPCS offers users 4G LTE, strong call-quality, and a decent 5-megapixel shooter.

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First-gen Motorola Moto G (4G LTE)

Currently, the original Moto G with 4G LTE is available on several carriers for varying low prices. On AT&T you can get it for $1 after you sign a two-year agreement. If you prefer to go off-contract, it will cost $180. However, Cricket Wireless is selling it for $25 after a mail-in rebate.

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LG Optimus L70

Currently selling for $30 and $60 on MetroPCS and Cricket Wireless respectively, the Optimus L70 delivers clear calls, a useful and programmable quick-launch button, and a decent 4G speeds.

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Nokia Lumia 635

The Lumia 635 is a popular phone for the price conscious since it sports 4G LTE connectivity and a charmingly colorful design. The Windows Phone handset runs the 8.1 OS and goes for $168 on T-Mobile, $140 on AT&T, and free on Cricket Wireless after users send in a $75 mail-in rebate.

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Samsung Galaxy Avant

At $230 on T-Mobile, the Galaxy Avant is already a competitively priced Android 4.4, quad-core phone. But at $100 (after users send in a mail-in rebate) on MetroPCS, it's definitely a steal.

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LG Optimus F3

Boasting an impressive long-lasting 2,460mAh battery, a bright 4-inch touchscreen, and an adequate 5-megapixel camera, the compact Optimus F3 can be found at Virgin Mobile for $78 and Boost for $100.

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