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HTC Explorer proves a smart budget choice in video review

Want a decent smart phone but don't care about screen size, chip speed or camera resolution? The budget HTC Explorer could be for you.

Now playing: Watch this: HTC Explorer

It's easy to get distracted by the glitzy phones we drool over on a daily basis here at CNET UK, but the HTC Explorer comes as a timely reminder that sometimes all you need is an easy-to-use phone that looks smart, is smart and can be bought SIM-free for only £130.

Leaving the nuclear arms race of dual-core, quad-core, and no doubt soon-to-be-octo-core chips to the processor spotters, the HTC Explorer settles for a modest 600MHz chip. That sounds like it wouldn't power your toaster -- it's low even compared to budget smart phone competitors like the Orange San Francisco 2.

But we found flicking through pages and menus to be smooth and lag-free, proving that old adage that it's not about what you're packing, it's how you use it.

The same could be said of the wee 3.2-inch screen, which cowers next to the 4- and 5-inch bullies in the smart phone playground, like the vast Samsung Galaxy Note. The resolution on the Explorer's display is almost retro in its modesty, compared with pricier competitors.

While we'd prefer a few more pixels to make viewing the whole of a web page more a scroll in the park than a finger sprint, it's fine for the occasional YouTube clip or Internet browse.

With no flash to boast of, the 3-megapixel camera is no great shakes. But while some corners have inevitably been cut to bring the price down, it doesn't feel at all cheap. HTC has decked it in an attractive, rubberised back casing, which makes it appealingly grippy for even the sweatiest of palms. 

The operating system is not the latest from Google -- you wouldn't expect it to be for this price. But at least HTC has gotten its icing bag out on the Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS, decorating it with big, easily pokable buttons and a 'most used' tab to get you to your favourite apps quicker.

Compare the price tag to HTC's highly rated Sensatation XE, which sells for £430, and dream about filling your home with smart rabbits and robot netbooks with the £300 you save.

Do you have small pockets you're dying to fill with an HTC Explorer? Hit play on the video above to take a closer look and let us know what you think in the comments below or over on our Facebook page.