Want a smartphone under $500?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

WITH prices being one main factor to consider when purchasing an item, smartphone makers recognise the need to produce entry-level products for consumers on a budget and those potential brand switchers.

Previously in Brunei, there weren't many choices for someone not looking to spend more than $500 to own a smartphone, especially for first-timers.

One phone that comes to mind quickly is the HTC Wildfire. It was less than $350, had Android 2.1, adequate speeds and most importantly, it was user-friendly.

Besides that, there really wasn't a good smartphone worth buying for that kind of price.

Now, dual-core going onto quad-core on your mobile (yes, four cores), a lot of attention is taken away from the entry-level market, which has significantly expanded over the last six months.

Remember, this price range is targeted at a parent (or the elderly generation) who's never touched a smartphone, or for someone desperately in need of a phone model that isn't available yet.

Here's the line-up:

HTC Wildfire S ($430)

HTC has added a significant amount of changes to this phone and the price hasn't changed much. It was listed at $438 on local online shopping sites but realistically, the price should be around $380.

Without much cosmetic changes, the Wildfire S, however, now has the tougher Gorilla Glass display with a less pixelated display. It has a huge 512mb RAM as compared to its predecessor, and most importantly, the Wildfire S is sold with Android 2.3 pre-equipped.

Motorola Milestone ($500)

This is a very, very old phone, but it was one of the best around a year ago. Although the Milestone 2 has been released, the original Milestone is still a very capable unit especially since it received the Android 2.2 update. The Milestone is also one of the best Android phones with a Qwerty keyboard.

Samsung Galaxy Ace ($460)

This 3.5-inch rendition of the Samsung Galaxy S will simply be a good buy because of its Samsung screen. Although not an LED screen, Samsung still produces the best displays whether for TVs, monitors or mobile devices.

This Android 2.2 has the usual Samsung characteristics, light but plasticky, and a reasonably good camera on it.

LG Optimus One ($280)

The Optimus One is an upgrade from the old Wildfire, with an even more attractive price tag. It launched with Android 2.2 and supports HTML browsing. The Optimus One has a quality build and is one of the more attractive phones in this list. Basically, the price speaks for itself.

Nokia E72 ($450)

Another old phone, with an out-dated OS, but it would be pretty hard to deny how good this phone is. Many here still look towards Nokia because people believe it is reliable, and they do make phones with exceptional hardware.

The other selling point for this Symbian 9.3 phone is the physical keyboard which is very comfortable.

BlackBerry Curve 8250 ($400)

If your heart's set on BBM and don't want to spend, this is it. Or, maybe for someone who travels a lot and is in need of the BB messaging service, the Curve is the only cheap choice. This will be a better alternative than looking at buying the more recent BBs. The Curve offers the signature Qwerty keyboard as found on most BlackBerrys and gets the job done when you're overseas and in desperate need to respond to those e-mails.

The Brunei Times