November 27, 2015

2009 Smartphones for Your Budget

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2009 Smartphones for Your Budget

How much do you have to spend on a smartphone? You can find a solution to match any budget.

In this Guide:

Choose what fits your budget:

Pricing on smartphones can be deceptive and may not accurately reflect the comparative value of different models. The products below are grouped by the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, or the price of a phone, when available, in an unlocked version—"free agent" phones that can be used with other cellular carriers and not narrowed to one.

Note, however, the actual cost to the buyer is often subsidized through a phone and service bundle. You may be able to pay half—or even less—when buying the smartphone with a cellular service contract.

Budget Buyer

An entry level price doesn’t necessarily mean  you have to compromise on performance.

Pantech PN-820

A no-frills smartphone for those whose choice is driven entirely by budget. The flip-phone runs the Windows Mobile OS v.5, includes a 1.3MP camera with flash, and supports voice calling, e-mail, Web browsing and audio/video playback. It is Bluetooth compatible and has a miniSD expansion slot. Exclusively available through Verizon Wireless.

iPhone 3G 8GB
Apple Computer

This is the entry version of Apple’s trendsetting smartphone. The iPhone runs a special version of Apple’s OS X and compatible software. The high resolution touch screen automatically adjusts the display to how the unit is held, features a soft-touch keypad, and touch zoom capability. Functions include phone, e-mail, messaging, Web browsing, digital camera/camcorder, GPS navigation and iPod music playback. A 16GB version is also available.

Palm Centro
Palm, Inc.

Palm’s entry smartphone features both a touch screen and mini-QWERTY keypad for data entry.  It runs the Palm OS and features a 1.3MP digital camera with digital zoom, a microSD expansion card slot, and Bluetooth and infrared wireless connectivity.

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Mid-Range Buyer

If you have more money to spend, your selection will broaden to reflect manufacturers’ varied approaches to smartphone design.

LG Incite
LG Mobile Phones

This touch screen model runs Windows Mobile 6.0 and is compatible with AT&T’s 3G network as well as Wi-Fi b/g and Bluetooth. It has a 3MP digital camera, microSD memory card slot, GPS navigation, music playback and on-screen QWERTY keypad. It can handle voice calls and data transmissions simultaneously. It also supports voice dialing and voice commands.


This smartphone is available exclusively through T-Mobile and is the first smartphone powered by Android, Google’s operating system for smartphones. It has a 3.2-inch slide-away touch screen and QWERTY keypad, 3.2 MP digital camera/camcorder, GPS navigation with Google Maps, and microSD expansion card slot. It also supports wireless connectivity to Wi-Fi b/g networks and via Bluetooth.

Nokia E71
Nokia USA

Offered only as an unlocked phone in the United States, this 3G-compatible phone runs the Symbian operating system and compatible software. Support for Web browsing, e-mail, messaging, contact management and calendar is included with the OS. The phone has a QWERTY style keypad, 2.36-inch screen, 3.2MP digital camera with flash, and microSD expansion card slot.

Blackberry Storm
Research in Motion

The first Blackberry to feature a touch screen with soft keypad. The Storm runs the Blackberry operating system and in addition to its communications and Web browsing capabilities, it also has built-in GPS navigation, 3.2MP digital camera/camcorder with flash and zoom, microSD expansion card slot, Bluetooth support, and audio/video playback. Currently, it is only available through Verizon Wireless.       

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High-End Buyer

The higher priced smartphones offer a good indication of where the technology  in these mobile devices is headed.

Treo Pro
Palm Inc.

Compatible with Windows Mobile 6.1, this unlocked 3G phone also has built-in GPS navigation and Wi-Fi b/g compatibility. It has a touch screen and QWERTY keypad with buttons for one-touch navigation of system features. There is also a 2MP digital camera/camcorder with zoom, micro SD expansion card slot, and support for both Bluetooth and infrared wireless connectivity.

Blackberry Bold
Research in Motion

Running the Blackberry operating system, this 3G phone features both a high resolution screen and QWERTY style keypad. It supports voice and data connections simultaneously and Bluetooth wireless and Wi-Fi b/g networking. GPS capability is built-in, along with a 2MP digital camera/camcorder, music/video player and XM satellite radio.

Samsung Mobile

This touch screen model runs the Windows Mobile Professional 6.1 OS and Opera Mobile Web browser. The screen measures 3.2 inches, and it has a 5MP digital/camera/camcorder with autofocus and zoom. It contains 8GB of memory and a microSD expansion card slot. The phone supports text, picture and video messaging, and it has its own business card reader and can be controlled with voice commands.

HTC Touch Pro

A 2.8-inch touch screen slides up to reveal a QWERTY keypad. It runs Windows Mobile Professional 6.1 and HTC’s TouchFLO user interface. There is a 3.2MP digital camera/camcorder flash light, integrated GPS navigation, microSD expansion slot, Wi-Fi b/g and Bluetooth support, and a “TV out” option for connecting the unit to an external video monitor via its mini-USB port.

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This is not intended to be a comprehensive list of the products in this category. NAR doesn’t evaluate or endorse these products and isn’t responsible for changes in product info. Prices are the vendors’ suggested retail prices and are subject to change.

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