Archos 35 Carbon is an £80 unskinned Android phone

The super-cheap 35 Carbon leads a new range of budget blowers from French company Archos, all of which run pure Android.

Nick Hide Managing copy editor
Nick manages CNET's advice copy desk from Springfield, Virginia. He's worked at CNET since 2005.
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Nick Hide
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Hold your horses on that Asus FonePad, or that Huawei G510 -- there's a new range of super-budget Android phones in town. The Archos 35 Carbon, 50 Platinum and 53 Platinum are dirt cheap and running pure Android.

The Archos 35 Carbon is the cheapest of the cheap, at just £80 (pictured above). It's very much a bargain-basement blower, with a very low-res 480x320-pixel 3.5-inch screen, 1GHz processor and a meagre 512MB of RAM. It can only cope with Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich, the poor thing.

Splash more cash and you'll bag yourself the £180 Archos 50 Platinum (below left), or the £200 53 Platinum (right). They have 5- or 5.3-inch 960x540-pixel screens, quad-core 1.2GHz chips and 1GB of RAM. They run the more up-to-date Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, which is almost the most recent version. Both phones will be available in the UK at the end of May.

To its credit, Archos hasn't tampered with the software in any way, letting you get at Android the way its makers intended. That's often a problem with cheap Android phones -- the interface on the Huawei G510 is absolutely shocking.

Those are very much last year's specs though, apart from the size of the screen, and with only 4GB of storage included, you'll have to supply your own microSD card. Those screens are pretty basic too, with just 220 (or 208 on the 53) pixels per inch -- worse than the original Samsung Galaxy S.

All three have two SIM-card slots, so you can use a second service -- handy for travelling abroad, and keeping your superhero identity secret.

French company Archos is best known for its shoddily built tablets and digital media players, none of which have scored more than three and a half stars in our reviews since 2009. Its latest, the GamePad, was utterly dire. I'm not overly optimistic about the build quality of the new phones, but they do have the great benefit of being exceedingly inexpensive.

We'll make a proper judgment in our full review, but in the meantime let me know what you think in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.