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The Best Budget Smartphones

You can get a full-featured smartphone for $100 or less.


You don't have to break the bank to get a smartphone. You don't even have to break the bank to get an iPhone -- not anymore, anyway. Here's a list of smartphones that are all available for $100 or less. You'll find some of the most popular handsets available today on our list of the best budget smartphones.

Prices typically are set by the service providers, who offer discounts in order to get you to sign a service contract. It's usually worth it to sign the contract, as you'll need a voice and data plan to use the phone, anyway. Just make sure you read the fine print.

1. Apple iPhone 3GS: $99

iPhone 3G S

No, the iPhone 3GS is not the latest and greatest iPhone. But, while it may not have all the features found on the Apple iPhone 4, the iPhone 3GS remains one of the best smartphones on the market, hands down. Plus, it doesn't come with those pesky antenna problems that have plagued the iPhone 4 since its launch. And, with its price lowered to $99, the iPhone 3GS is one of the more affordable smartphones, too.

2. HTC Droid Incredible: $100

HTC Droid Incredible

With a name like the Incredible, this smartphone has a lot to live up to. But the HTC Droid Incredible manages. Like the EVO 4G, it runs the latest version of the Android OS, and also offers a 3.7-inch display and an 8-megapixel camera. The Droid Incredible is available from Verizon Wireless.

3. BlackBerry Style: $100

BlackBerry Style

The BlackBerry Style is not as high-style as its name would imply; it's actually more of an old-fashioned-looking phone. But that's not a bad thing. Even though it lacks a cutting-edge touch screen and a big, giant display, the Style's style makes it an eminently usable phone.

4. BlackBerry Curve 3G: $50 and up

BlackBerry Curve 3G

RIM's BlackBerry Curve smartphones have long been among my favorite devices. They offer the excellent e-mail handling that BlackBerry phones are known for, but in a sleek, curved device that's appealing to consumers. And the BlackBerry Curve 3G offers all of that, plus 3G connectivity and an affordable price.

5. BlackBerry Tour 9630: Free - $49

BlackBerry Tour

There's a lot to like about the BlackBerry Tour 9630 smartphone. It has a gorgeous display, a sleek design, excellent e-mail handling, and offers voice and data service both inside the U.S. and outside the country. In fact, the BlackBerry Tour really has just one major flaw: a lack of Wi-Fi support.

6. Samsung Intercept: Free - $99

Samsung Intercept

Most of today's new Android smartphones are all about being bigger and better than past models. That's fine, if you want a smartphone with all the bells and whistles -- and don't mind paying for it. But you do have another option in the Samsung Intercept. This full-featured Android smartphone may lack the flash found on some of its higher-profile rivals, but it's still a very capable device -- and one that comes at a very affordable price.

7. BlackBerry Bold 9650: $100

Palm Pixi Plus

The original BlackBerry Bold impressed me when it debuted on AT&T's network a few years back. But not everyone likes AT&T's network. Not to worry: you can get the Bold 9650, a handsome, business-friendly

8. Palm Pre Plus: Free - $99

Palm Pre Plus

The Palm Pre Plus boast something that only one other phone on this list can offer: Palm's excellent webOS platform. The webOS software, also found on the Palm Pixi Plus, is fun to use (I love tossing apps off the screen to close them) and offers some impressive features, like true multi-tasking, so you can get more done.

9. T-Mobile myTouch 3G Slide: $50

myTouch 3G Slide

The T-Mobile myTouch 3G Slide is an excellent update to its older sibling, the myTouch 3G. It features a similar attractive design, but adds a full QWERTY keyboard for easier typing and sports a bigger display; its screen measures 3.4 inches, while the original myTouch 3G features a 3.2-inch screen.

10. BlackBerry Curve 8500 Series: Free - $50

BlackBerry Curve 8520

The BlackBerry Curve 8500 series of phones is available from all four of the big cellular carriers: Verizon and Sprint offer the Curve 8530, while T-Mobile and AT&T offer the Curve 8520. Both devicesa top-notch BlackBerry smartphones that won't break the bank. And you still get top-notch messaging and access to BlackBerry App World, where you can find plenty of apps to download.

11. LG Ally: Free - $49

LG Ally
LG's first Android-based phone for the U.S. market succeeds on many levels: it ships with the latest version of Android, it features a nice slide-out keyboard, and it sports an attractive price. Android purists also will like the fact that LG does not add its own user interface or overlay on top of the mobile operating system.
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12. Nokia E73 Mode: Free - $49

Nokia E73 Mode
The Nokia E73 Mode is a slim, sleek, messaging-friendly phone from T-Mobile. It offers a comfortable QWERTY keyboard for typing, plus a decently-sized 2.4-inch screen for composing and viewing messages. The Symbian-based phone lets you switch between two home screens, one for work and one for home. And it comes with free access to Nokia's Ovi Maps app for turn-by-turn navigation.
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How Much Will You Pay for a Smartphone?

Now that Apple and AT&T have cut the price of the iPhone 3GS down to $99, other smartphone makers are following suit. That has me wondering: How much are you willing to pay for a new, full-featured smartphone? Let me know.
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