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Top cheap and cheerful smartphones

Want to give someone the gift of mobile contact without cracking your piggy bank? Never fear. These picks will deliver a smartphone fix while satisfying your secret inner Scrooge.

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Jessica Dolcourt
Jessica Dolcourt is a passionate content strategist and veteran leader of CNET coverage. As Senior Director of Commerce & Content Operations, she leads a number of teams, including Commerce, How-To and Performance Optimization. Her CNET career began in 2006, testing desktop and mobile software for Download.com and CNET, including the first iPhone and Android apps and operating systems. She continued to review, report on and write a wide range of commentary and analysis on all things phones, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds. Jessica began leading CNET's How-To section for tips and FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of topics ranging from personal finance to phones and home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).
Jessica Dolcourt
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1 of 7 CNET

HTC Inspire 4G (AT&T)

It used to be that you had to pay top dollar to get a decent smartphone, but not anymore. At $100 on contract, the HTC Inspire 4G/a> offers a great design, a spacious display, and an excellent camera, which makes it an incredible value.
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2 of 7 Josh Miller

Apple iPhone 4 (8GB) (Verizon Wireless)

The iPhone 4S may be the hot ticket, but not everyone can afford it. For a more wallet-friendly alternative, check out the 8GB iPhone 4. You may not get some of the latest performance upgrades or the Siri personal assistant, but the iPhone 4 still offers plenty of goodies for just $100 on contract.
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3 of 7 Josh Miller/CNET

Samsung Focus Flash (AT&T)

For about a quarter of the price of a high-end smartphone, the Samsung Focus Flash Windows Phone for AT&T gives you a fast processor, 4G HSPA+ speeds, a good rear-facing camera, and all without sacrificing design. Not bad for a smartphone, eh?
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4 of 7 Josh Miller/CNET

Motorola Atrix 2 (AT&T)

The Motorola Atrix 2 is more than just a sequel. With a sharp 4.3-inch qHD display and a luxurious feel in the hand, the Atrix 2 has plenty of brains behind its beauty. It packs in Android 2.3 Gingerbread, a dual-core 1GHz processor, support for AT&T's HSPA+ network, an 8-megapixel camera with 1080p HD video capture, and support for Webtop, a unique platform that turns the phone into a portable PC when docked into a compatible accessory. For only $99.99 after a new two-year service agreement with AT&T, we think it's an absolute steal.
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5 of 7 Josh MIller/CNET

HTC Evo Design 4G (Sprint)

For just $100, the HTC Evo Design 4G packs quite the punch. It's a 4G Android Gingerbread phone with a 1.2GHz processor, a good 5-megapixel camera, a front-facing camera, and 8GB of storage right out of the box. With HTC's smart and savvy Sense UI, Sprint's fifth Evo really delivers. Plus, it's a world phone, so you can take it with you when you travel overseas. Start packing!
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6 of 7 CNET

HTC Wildfire S (T-Mobile)

Prices change all the time, but when you see a deal that's too good to pass up, you should grab it. Such is the case with the HTC Wildfire S. A compact little Android 2.3 Gingerbread number, it's smaller than the smartphone giants roaming the Earth these days, and has HTC's characteristically good construction. It has a 5-megapixel camera with LED flash and good call quality. It's only $79.99 full price, but we recently saw it for free on T-Mobile's Web site with a new, two-year contract.
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7 of 7 Josh Miller/CNET

Samsung Replenish (Sprint)

An Android smartphone that costs nothing with a two-year contract? Yep, you read that right; it's down from its initial $50 asking price. The Samsung Replenish is pocketable, has a surprisingly good 2-megapixel camera, and a tactile keyboard that feels good to use. Sure, you're missing some features, like Flash support, it runs Android 2.2 Froyo only instead of Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and the build isn't the most upscale we've seen, but the price sure is right for getting ready access to Google's many services. And now for the cherry on top: it's eco-friendly, too.

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