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What makes a good budget phone?

These days, lower-cost phones are better than ever. But you still need to pick your priorities.

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Phones have become absolutely critical in our lives. The technology that's crammed into our devices has improved at an astonishing rate. Features once exclusively found on the most expensive phones are now widespread -- even in budget phones.

You want a good camera, a fast experience and great battery life? You can generally have all of those and not spend a fortune. Budget phones regularly add more high-quality components. And even the big guns like Apple, Google and Samsung have more-affordable options.

So what features are absolutely critical to you? CNET's Jide Akinrinade digs in. He conducted viewer polls and chatted with colleagues Patrick Holland and Iyaz Akhtar to find out what people are looking for in a budget phone.   

cnet-budget-phone-poll

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CNET/Jide Akinrinade