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Best smartphones for $100 (roundup)

When you add it all up, $100 isn't much to pay for a phone that's really a small personal computer. Here are CNET's top picks.

A hundred greenbacks is a respectable chunk of change, but when it comes to personal electronics like the ultra-personal smartphone, $100 (before taxes and fees) is a darn good deal. Since the smartphone operating system remains the same across handsets from the most entry-level to the most premium, what a price hike usually gives you is a step up in features -- like LTE or HSPA+ 42 support, a faster processor, and more premium camera components, for example.

Here are some of today's top picks.

Motorla Atrix HD
Sarah Tew/CNET
Motorola Atrix HD (AT&T), July 13, 2012
Like their movie counterparts, smartphone sequels can be hit or miss. Ideally, they should build on the highlights of their predecessor while advancing the story with something new. With a less ambitious feature set and a design that shows few changes, the Motorola Atrix HD for AT&T doesn't quite follow the perfect sequel script. And while it has a few faults, that's not to say that it lacks power, speed, and poise. There's 4G, a bright display, Android 4.0, and a very affordable price tag.

Read the full review of the Motorola Atrix HD.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus (Verizon)
James Martin/CNET
Samsung Galaxy Nexus (Verizon Wireless), December 14, 2011
The first Android smartphone to have Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus stirred the Android pot when it launched late last year. The main camera isn't great, but the handset has a beautiful screen, fast 4G, and top-notch internal performance. It's also one of the first phones to get the fast, fluid Android 4.1 Jelly bean OS, and it costs just $99 with a contract.

Read the full review of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G (T-Mobile)
James Martin/CNET
Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G (T-Mobile), March 21, 2012
A strong choice for T-Mobile, the Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G is a sweet package that contains a 4-inch Super AMOLED screen, a solid 5-megapixel camera, a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, and T-Mobile's fastest data network. It currently runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread.

Read the full review of the Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G.

If a Benjamin is still more than you'd like to part with, you should also check out our best smartphones for under $100, and of course, always keep your eyes out for limited-time carrier promotions.