5 of the best unlocked smartphones under $100 (US)
However, many of the unlocked handsets that cost under a Benjamin are rather old, while others are of doubtful quality (being made by companies that you've never heard of).
With that in mind, we've spent some time trying to find the best smartphones that can currently be bought for less than $100 in the US. While not everyone will agree that these are undeniably the best of them, we're pretty sure they are at least among the best. Check them out below (in alphabetical order):
BLU Energy X
Released in September, the BLU Energy X is the newest handset on our list, and can be seen as a successor to the BLU Studio Energy from January. Running Android 5.1 Lollipop, the Energy X is currently available for as low as $98.99, and is sold in the US via Amazon. The highlight feature of the BLU Energy X is its 4000 mAh battery which, according to BLU, can last "approximately 3 days with standard usage." The handset is powered by a quad-core MediaTek MT6582 processor clocked at 1.3 GHz, further offering a 5-inch display with 720 x 1280 pixels, an 8 MP rear camera, a 2 MP front-facing camera, 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of internal memory, and microSD card support. The BLU Energy X doesn't feature LTE connectivity, but works on the HSPA+ networks of AT&T, T-Mobile, Cricket, and MetroPCS.
Update: the price of the BLU Energy X is often being changed; right now, it's $119.95, though moments ago it was $98.99.
Another BLU smartphone that we believe it's worth your attention is the Life One. Also sporting a 5-inch 720p display, the BLU Life One doesn't include a large battery (it has a 2420 one), but it offers LTE connectivity, and is powered by a quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor. The BLU Life One has two versions: one with 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of expandable storage space, and one with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of expandable storage space. Only the 1 GB / 8GB model costs under $100 unlocked ($99.99, to be exact). The handset currently runs Android KitKat, but can be upgraded to Android Lollipop.
If you don't particularly need Android, but still want a cheap smartphone that was launched this year, perhaps the Microsoft Lumia 435 is exactly what you're looking for. The 435 runs Windows 8.1, and will be updated to Windows 10 in the coming months (though it's not going to get all the features included in the new OS). The Lumia 435 is a pretty small handset, as it sports a 4-inch display with 480 x 800 pixels. Other features include a dual-core Snapdragon 200 processor, 1 GB of RAM, 2 MP rear camera, VGA front-facing camera, and 8 GB of expandable storage space. The smartphone can be bought for $98.21 (shipping included).
While the official price of the Motorola Moto E (2015) is $119.99, the smartphone is currently sold by Amazon for just $94.48. This is the smallest Motorola handset released this year, but it's undoubtedly a good device for its price. Powered by a quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor, the Moto E (2015) features LTE connectivity, a 4.5-inch display with 540 x 960 pixels, 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of expandable internal memory, a 5 MP rear camera, and a VGA front-facing camera. The smartphone is splash-resistant, and runs near stock Android Lollipop.
Here's the second Lumia on our list - the Lumia 635 - though this is a Nokia-branded one, which obviously means it's older than the Lumia 435. Just like the 435, the Lumia 635 runs Windows 8.1, and will be soon updated to Windows 10. The handset features LTE, a 4.5-inch display with 480 x 854 pixels, a quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor, 1 GB of RAM, and 8 GB of storage space. There's no front-facing camera, but you're getting a 5 MP rear camera. An unlocked Nokia Lumia 635 can cost as low as $56.44.