Fantastic handsets for the cost-conscious (pictures)
You don't have to give up your first-born for a decent smartphone. Whether on or off-contract, CNET rounds up some recent handsets that weren't only impressive, and reliable, but affordable to boot.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.