2012 Smartphones: Shop by Budget
In This Guide
2012 Smartphones: Shop by Budget
Shop for smartphones solutions by price:
The budget buyer will be happily surprised with the selection of smartphones available from cellular providers at little or no cost with a service contract. If you don’t require all the latest bells and whistles, or will gladly trade significant savings for an older or refurbished handset, short-lived deals like these might suffice.
iPhone 3GS 8GB
$0.99 with special hardware and service bundle from AT&T
Get an older iPhone practically for free with a deal from AT&T. This device runs Apple’s iOS for mobile devices. This version has a 3.5-inch multitouch display, 3 megapixel camera, 8 GB of storage, and GPS, and supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections.
Samsung Gravity Smart
$229 suggested list price; free offer with two-year service contact from T-Mobile
This low-frills 3G smartphone runs Android 2.2. It has a 600MHz processor, 3.2-inch touchscreen, 3 MP camera with LED flash, GPS, and a mini-QWERTY keyboard. It also supports both cellular and Wi-Fi calling and has a 1500 mAh battery.
Blackberry Curve 3G
$249 list; $29.99 with Sprint two-year service contract
This 3G Blackberry can send and receive voice and data over Wi-Fi networks. It has a 2MP camera with fixed focus for photos and video, a mini-QWERTY keypad, GPS with Blackberry Maps, and a 1150 mAh battery.
$399 list; free with two-year service contract and rebates from Verizon
This older DROID runs Android 2.2 and features inclde a mini-QWERTY keyboard, 3.1-inch display, 1 GHz processor, 2 GB of memory, a micro SD card slot, and a 5 MP camera. It supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections and has a 1420 mAh battery.
Moving up from special deals and older models, the selection broadens to include the latest features, affordably bundled with voice and data plans, for hardware prices still well below $200.
$349; $49.99 with two-year service contract
Built for T-Mobile by LG, this Android 2.3 smartphone has a 1 GHz processor, 512 MB of RAM, 2 GB of storage, and a 3.8-inch AMOLED touchscreen display. It’s 4G-capable and Wi-Fi– and Bluetooth-compatible, and has a 5 MP camera that can record 720p HD video.
$399 list; $99 with service contract and rebates from Sprint
Just released, this 4G phone ships with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread). It has a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor with 1 GB of RAM and 4 GB of storage. The 4-inch touchscreen is optimized for viewing outdoors. It includes two cameras, including a 5 MP rear camera with an LED flash. It’s also Wi-Fi– and Bluetooth-compatible; it can serve as a mobile hotspot; and it has a 1700 mAh battery.
Nokia Lumia 900
$449; available for $99 with two-year service contract from AT&T
This 4G LTE Windows Phone smartphone has a 1.4 GHz processor, 512 MB of RAM, 16 GB of storage, and a 4.3-inch AMOLED touchscreen display. It also offers two cameras, including a rear-facing 8MP camera with dual LED flashes and 3X zoom, and an 1830 mAh battery.
Samsung Stratosphere Bundle
$459; $139.99 with two-year service contract from Verizon
This package deal combines the smartphone with optional accessories. The Stratosphere is a 4G Android 2.3 smartphone with a 1 GHz processor, 4 GB of storage, and a 4-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen display. It has a slide-out mini-QWERTY keyboard, a 1.3 MP webcam, and a rear-facing 5 MP camera. It runs on an 1800 mAH battery. The bundle also includes antiglare screen protectors, a car charger, and a shell holster and cover.
At the upper tier of current smartphones are more models with the latest features, but these are either so new to market or in such demand that they command a higher price for now, even when bundled with a service contract.
Samsung Galaxy Nexus
$399 unlocked from Google Play; $199 when bundled with two-year service from Verizon or Sprint
This 4G Google phone runs Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). It has a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor with 1 GB of RAM, a 4.65-inch high-resolution AMOLED touchscreen display, and a 5 MP rear camera with LED flash for photos and 720p HD video. It supports up to 10 devices as a mobile hotspot and is powered by an 1850 mAh battery.
iPhone 4S 64 GB
$399 with a two-year contract from AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon
The top-of-the-line configuration of the latest version of the iPhone has 64 GB of internal memory. It runs Apple’s iOS 5 operating system, supports iCloud file storage, and features Siri, a voice-directed digital assistant. Features include Apple’s A5 processor, a 3.5-inch multitouch display, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless support, and an 8 MP camera with an LED flash and HD 1080p video.
HTC One S
$599; $199 with T-Mobile two-year service contract and rebate
Despite its thin design, this 4G Android 4.0 phone has a 1.5 GHz dual processor with 1 GB of RAM, a micro SD card slot for up to 16 GB of storage, a 4.3-inch touchscreen display, and a rear-facing 8 MP camera with a 28 mm-equivalent wide-angle lens and an LED flash for photos and 1080p HD video. It runs on an 1650 mAh battery.
DROID RAZR MAXX
$649; $299 with two-year Verizon service contract
A Kevlar fiber case and powerful battery are two distinguishing features of this Droid. This 4G smartphone can be upgraded to run Android 4.0. It features a 1.2 GHz processor, 1 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of storage. The AMOLED touchscreen display, reinforced with Corning Gorilla Glass, measures 4.3 inches. Cameras include an HD webcam and a rear-facing 8 MP camera. It packs a 3300 mAh battery.