Bang for the buck: the best affordable Android phones under $300 unsubsidized
Android phones needn't be expensive to run their basic tasks, and its entry or lower midrange level handsets out there were the ones that really dug the grave for the feature phone, sporting a decent design, plethora of features, access to the Play Store apps, and... a sub-$300 price tag without subsidy.
Of course, there will be tradeoffs to make at such a price, but in the phones below those are a surprisingly small number for the tag they are sold with at the moment.
After covering the $300-$500 SIM-free range, check out the sub-$300 handsets handpicked below if you are in the market for a decent affordable Android - we are including both devices announced this year, and some of last year's crop that have fallen in price quite a bit by now.
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A true heir to the metal-clad One S, but sporting a removable battery, the HTC One SV is one of the few Androids that does 1080p video at that price, but it also sports a decent 4.3" screen, thin attractive body, snappy performance and good call quality. Amazon has it at $250 on prepaid for Boost, and the offer deserves a serious consideration.
The mini Galaxy S III still takes one of the best pictures in its class, and it is a great compact all-rounder to boot, with flashy 4" AMOLED screen, long battery life, and good call quality, not to mention Samsung's Android mojo. Fast forward a year, and it is now very, very affordable, too, especially if you are after a smallish, comfortable to handle Android handset.
One of the most affordable in this class at the moment, Huawei Ascend P1 compensates for the brand suspicion with very thin and light body, decent call quality, camera that does 1080p video, and a vivid 4.3" Super AMOLED display with 256 ppi density.
With the largest battery, yet one of the lowest price points in its class, the LG Optimus L7 II deserves your undivided attention, as it delivers 12 hours of 3G talk time on a charge, and has a dual SIM edition, too. Moreover, it snaps very good pictures, has nice call quality, and good 4.3" IPS display. Processor, RAM and storage each leave something to be desired, but something had to give for reaching that price point.
With a great curved design in punchy colors, the Xperia L is sure to attract attention, and the 8 MP shooter on the back will deliver satisfactory results. The 4.3" screen might not have the best viewing angles, but you get expandable storage, good battery capacity, and a svelte chassis you don't always see at that price point.
Samsung is filling every nook and cranny of the smartphone market with a handset these days, and with the Galaxy Core it seems to have hit the sweet value-for-money spot. The handset snaps one of the best pictures you can expect in the category, which Samsung consistently delivers with its 5 MP units, though video maxes out at DVD quality. The design is a bit too common, but the handset is thin, light, with bright 4.3" display and good battery life, plus it can be had in a dual SIM variant.
Recently updated to Android Jelly Bean, last year's LG midrange leader is this year's sub-$300 Optimus L9 with the largest screen of the rounded bunch. The 4.7" IPS display is 540x960 pixels, so density is enough despite the largish panel, and the phone can record 1080p video. Add a slim chassis, good call quality and decent pictures, both indoors and out, and you got yourself a media consumption Android at half price. The T-Mobile version shrinks the screen a bit to 4.5", but you can find the international version on Amazon for about $260, though it won't support T-Mobile's peculiar frequencies for fast downloads.