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HolidayBuyer's Guide

A phone for modest needs and budgets

Classic clamshell

Relatively svelte

Sturdy hinge with a dedicated camera button

A compact package

Old-school keypad

Low-res, 2.4-inch display

Plenty of expandable storage

A very basic flip phone

Feature phones like the T-Mobile 768 aren't nearly as impressive as flashy modern smartphones, but they'll prove handy if you're on a tight budget, and just want to make a few calls. This particular flip phone doesn't offer much, but will only set you back $72, no contract required.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Ah, the venerable flip phone. While many of us have moved on to smartphones with touchscreens, these classic clamshell designs remain a great option for folks who want something that's comfortable to hold, but petite enough to disappear into your pocket or bag.

The T-Mobile 768 also offers a display on the front lid, which serves a caller ID, and can show you if you've got any missed calls or text messages.  There's also a 2-megapixel camera, though photo and video quality isn't very good.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

The T-Mobile 768 is 0.69 inch thick when shut, making it about as thick as a modern smartphone when cracked open -- though quite a bit longer, of course.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

It's a rather sturdy hinge too, clacking authoritatively like a good flip phone should -- watch those fingers!

A dedicated camera shutter button sits on the right edge of the phone, while the left offers a volume rocker and a Micro-USB charging port.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

The whole package weighs 3.45 ounces. There are, of course, lighter phones out there, but the T-Mobile 768 is still a rather compact pacakge.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Like old-school predictive texting? You'll be right at home here, pecking across the keypad to construct words the phone's dictionary may or may not recognize.

But it is a rather pretty keypad, isn't?

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

The 2.4-inch screen is a bit less pretty, with a meager 320x240-pixel resolution that has trouble with glare and color accuracy.

But that's OK: while the phone does offer 3G connectivity, the onerous typing experience likely  means you won't be using it for much more than shooting off emails. Text is crisp and clear, and I actually spent quite a bit of time tooling around on Wikipedia without complaint.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

The phone's textured backplate is comfortably grippy, and stays put on most surfaces. Underneath, you'll find an expandable storage slot that supports up to 32GB microSD cards, and a removable 850 mAh battery rated for 5.5 hours of talk time.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

It's not the prettiest phone, and far from the most capable. But if you're looking for something off-contract, $72 is not very much to spend.

Have a bit more room in the budget? Check out the Kyocera Verve, with its QWERTY-keyboard and functional camera. The Pantech Vybe also offers a spacious keyboard and solid call quality, and remains a decent alternative too.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
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