Cheapest Smartphones On The Market

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Samsung Galaxy S2

Samsung Galaxy S2

Quality isn’t always at the top of our list when we go mobile hunting. For most owners there’s only phrase that springs to mind when they start searching: the cheapest smartphone. 2011 has, so far, been a time for you, the shopper, to pick up some of the best deals seen in years. Most of the glitches and hardware failures (the Apple antenna shambles or Google’s ill-fated Nexus 1 handset) are well behind us.

Manufacturers now have a good handle on what we do and don’t want. Serious innovation (i.e. a potential disaster waiting to happen) has slowed. With the exception of Apple’s Siri voice recognition software; we’re not likely to see the huge technological leaps that have driven smartphones into 2011.

I’ve put together a list of the top 10, cheapest smartphone contracts (as at 10th November 2011). Obviously, these will expire at some point as handsets are retired or new deals come online. Don’t panic – I will be updating this page on a regular basis. Without further ado, I humbly present the moneysavingzone big, bad list of cheap smartphones.

HTC Wildfire S
Launched in early 2011, This mobile doesn’t have the bells and whistles of some of the latest smartphones. That said, the HTC Wildfire S not only holds its own against newer entrants to the market but it’s incredibly cheap. Tariffs range from as low as £10.50 per month and, for your money, you get a pretty capable smartphone.

Key Features:
Operating System: Android 2.2 (upgradeable to 2.3)
Screen Size: 3.2”, 240 x 320 pixels
Built-in Memory: 384MB
Processor: 528 MHz ARM 11 CPU
Max Memory: 32GB
Camera Resolution: 5MP

Best price: £15.50 per month at www.phones4u.co.uk

Samsung Galaxy S (i7500)
The now venerable version of the Samsung Galaxy is, like the Wildfire S, getting a little long in the tooth for uber-techies. If you can live without the latest software enhancements to Google’s Android OS then you’ll come to love this phone like a long lost son. Again, monthly tariffs are incredibly cheap. O2 are giving the handset away when you sign up for a £10.50 per month plan. Compared to some of the newer phones on the market, the Galaxy S isn’t the slimmest handset you can buy. One of the biggest gripes owners have centres around software updating issues.

Key Features:
Operating System: Android 1.5
Screen Size: 3.2”, 320 x 480 pixels
Built-in Memory: 8GB storage (128MB RAM)
Processor: 528 MHz ARM 11 CPU
Max Memory: 16GB
Camera Resolution: 5MP

Best price: £22 per month at www.three.co.uk

HTC Desire
My number three handset on the list because, apart from being the third cheapest option (£15.50 per month at Tesco) it’s also the first Android phone I owned. When the Desire launched it was billed as a potential iPhone killer but it tanked! Sadly, the phone didn’t live up to the hype behind it. That said, it’s still a very good handset (I keep mine as a spare) just don’t expect too much from it.

Key Features:
Operating System: Android 2.1 (can be upgraded to 2.2)
Screen Size: 3.7″ AMOLED, 480 x 800 pixels or SLCD capacitive touchscreen
Built-in Memory: 576MB
Processor: 1 GHz Scorpion CPU
Max Memory: 32GB
Camera Resolution: 5MP

Samsung Galaxy S (i9000)
Another Samsung handset that failed to live up to the marketing message behind it. The i9000 launched in March 2010 to much fanfare then promptly failed to make much of a dent in the Apple juggernaut. Personally, I wouldn’t put this smartphone anywhere near the the list if specs were anything to go by. At only £15.50 per month from Orange it’s difficult to beat if you don’t expect it to do too much gadget-like wizardry!

Key Features:
Operating System: Android v2.1 (can be upgraded to v2.3)
Screen Size: 4.0”, 480 x 800 pixels, Super AMOLED
Built-in Memory: 8/16GB
Processor: 1 GHz ARM Cortex-A8 CPU
Max Memory: 32GB
Camera Resolution: 5MP

HTC Desire S
What can I say about the Desire S? Hmm… it’s like the HTC Desire only slightly more expensive. Available for £15.50 per month

Key Features:
Operating System: Android v2.3 (can be upgraded to v2.3.5)
Screen Size: 3.7 “, 480 x 800 pixels
Built-in Memory: 768 MB RAM
Processor: 1GHz Scorpion CPU
Max Memory: 32GB
Camera Resolution: 5MP

Best price: £22 per month at www.o2.co.uk

HTC Sensation
Back in April of 2011, HTC launched the Sensation and, for many Android fans, this smartphone really was a sensation. For the day, this mobile phone was one of the highest spec models on the market. Sadly, it blighted by poor battery life when users switched on mobile networking. Not the cheapest offering on the market, the Sensation was a reliable handset. The good news is that HTC have ironed out the problems and brought the cost of owning this phone right down.

Key Features:
Operating System: Android 2.3.3 and includes HTC Sense 3.0 UI
Screen Size: 4.3”, 540 x 960 pixels
Built-in Memory: 1GB
Processor: 1.2 GHz dual-core CPU
Max Memory: 32GB
Camera Resolution: 8MP

Best price: £20 per month at www.tesco.com

Sensation XE

A significant step up in HTC’s offering came in the form of the Sensation XE. Whilst the underlying hardware was barely changed, this new Android smartphone benefitted from processor support that allowed it to supports 3D-like transitions in the menu. Funky!

Key Features:
Operating System: Android OS, v2.3.4
Screen Size: 4.3”, 540 x 960 pixels,
Built-in Memory: 4GB
Processor: 1.5GHz Qualcomm CPU
Max Memory: 32GB
Camera Resolution: 8MP

Best price: £31 per month at www.vodafone.co.uk (a bit pricier than some other mobile operators but, in my eyes, this package is hard to beat).

Samsung Galaxy S2
Technology moves fast and the world of mobile phones is no exception. Whilst the Samsung Galaxy S i7500 may not have been the blazing success that it makers envisaged, the S2 has set tongues wagging. A treasure trove of new features including Near Filed Commnunications and Voice Talk speech recognition make this one this years must have handsets. Fortunately, prices have kept low which is good news for Samsung/Android fans.

Key Features:
Operating System: Android OS, v2.3
Screen Size: 4.3”, 430 x 800 pixels,
Built-in Memory: 16GB/32GB storage, 1GB RAM
Processor: 1.5GHz Qualcomm CPU
Max Memory: 32GB
Camera Resolution: 8MP

Best price: £27 per month at www.o2.co.uk

iPhone 4
Did you really not expect to find the iPhone 4 on the list. Apple’s iconic smartphone still dominates the tech talking shops (even if it doesn’t hold the biggest market share). Sleek, functional and the brain child of the late Steve Jobs, the iPhone is packed full of technology that most of will never come close to fully using.

Key Features:
Operating System: iOS 4 (can be upgraded to 5)
Screen Size: 3.5”, 640 X 960 pixels
Built-in Memory: 16GB/32GB
Processor: 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8 CPU
Max Memory: 512MB RAM
Camera Resolution: 5MP

Best deals – £35 per month at www.dialaphone.co.uk

iPhone 4S
The fervour built from a barely audible whisper amongst the hordes of Apple fans to a roaring fanfare – the iPhone 5, err, no, 4S is here. So, what did this huge leap in technology bring the faithful masses? Not a great deal! I’m being unfair. A dual core processor and Apple’s Siri voice recognition software are two of the major enhancements to the iPhone 4S and these two features alone make it worth the upgrade. Ever tried Google’s voice app? Pfft! It doesn’t come close to Siri.

Best deal – £26 per month at www.vodafone.co.uk

Key Features:
Operating System: iOS 5
Screen Size: 3.5”, 640 X 960 pixels
Built-in Memory: 16GB/32GB/64GB
Processor: 1GHz ARM Cortex-A9 dual core CPU
Max Memory: 512MB RAM
Camera Resolution: 8MP

*Each of the links will take you to the respective supplier’s website.

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