We've already brought you the 10 best smarphones available on PAYG, but what if you're after something a little bit more affordable? Maybe you're in the market for a budget handset for yourself, or you're thinking about getting them for the kids for Christmas. With only six full shopping weeks left until the yuletide festivities begin, we thought that you could do with a helping hand when it comes to your mobile shoppong. We've pulled together our pick of the best budget PAYG handsets around, with prices starting from as little as £9.99, there's one for everyone. Read on for the full lowdown.
Orange San Francisco
According to Orange, the new San Francisco handset will be the first in a new range of Android devices. Available for £99 on Orange's Dolphin tariff, the phone will give you 300 free texts for a monthly £10 top-up, 600 for a £20 top-up and unlimited texts if you shell out £30 a month. The phone is perfect for app lovers as the deal gives you free internet, while the handset offers Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 3G. Running on Android 2.1, the San Francisco supports a data capacity of up to 32GB and comes with a 2GB microSD card and 150MB of built-in memory.
This 3G Android handset sports a 2.8-inch capacitive touchscreen and represents a great bargain and is one of the cheapest handsets available that offers Google's operating system. Equipped with a 3-megapixel camera, this diminutive handset also boasts MP3 player functionality and GPS navigation. Vodafone has put its own stamp on the Android 2.1 OS by increasing the number of home screens to seven and also including a variety of useful widgets. If you want to get online then you can get yourself a web pack for £5 for 30 days, which includes 250MB of data.
Virgin Media VM800
- Virgin Mobile
Firmly aimed at the younger market, this budget handet sports a funky design with changeable covers and a 2-megapixel camera. You'll be able to Tweet away to your heart's content as the budget £49.99 price tag will get you unlimited web access free for 6 months, and also includes £10 of airtime along with 300 free texts. A monthly top-up of £10 will get you 300 free texts, while £15 will buy you unlimited texts and web access. If you've topped up with less than £15 then you can still get unlimited web access for just 30p a day, paying only on the days that you use it.
Samsung Genio Touch
Despite its lack of 3G or Wi-Fi support, this little phone is still a bargain and is equipped with Bluetooth and a 2-megapixel camera. As the name suggest, the Genio touch also sports touchscreen operation and you'll also get an MP3 player along with 50MB of built-in memory and the ability to upgrade to 8GB with an external microSD card. You can pick it up for £60 from Vodafone, if you're watching the pennies then an Orange deal, starting at £49, might be more suitable.
Palm Pixi Plus
At just £100, this is a mega cheap phone, considering what you get for your money. Along with a 2.63-inch screen with a multitouch 320 x 400 resolution, the Pixi Plus comes loaded with Palm's impressive webOS platform. It has sports a full QWERTY keyboard, as well as a 2-megpixel camera with LED flash, geotagging and video capture. It has boasts multi-touch operation and even a wide variety of apps including games and a Facebook client. With its impressive feature list, this is a good choice for someone who wants to take their first tentative step into the world of smarphones.
LG Viewty Snap
This slick handset from LG will appeal to snap-happy buyers as it boasts a good quality 5-megapixel camera with autofocus and zoom, making it stand out among its rivals. But that's not all - it's also got a dedicated Facebook app and you'll also get an MP3 player. Unfortunately there's no 3G or Wi-Fi support, but the excellent camera and social networking abilities go some way to making up for this, and it also offers Bluetooth connectivity. The Viewty Snap is available on several different networks with the best deal being Vodafone's price of £79.95.
T-Mobile Zest E110
If you’re really after hard, rock bottom bargain, then a rebadged phone is the way to go and fewer get cheaper than the T-Mobile Zest E110. Naturally, specs are pretty low-fi with just a VGA camera on offer but obviously you can still capture stills and use them as your wallpaper and such. Otherwise the highlights include an MP3 player, FM radio and a built-in torch. The real heart of the deal, though, lies in the detail that the handset comes with the promise that you get “unlimited” texts each month if you top up with the minimum of a tenner. Not bad at all.
T-Mobile Vibe E200
Surprisingly, the T-Mobile Vibe E200 is the only bargain handset around at the moment in the landscape slideout form factor but it’s not just for that reason that we’ve included it in our list. This QWERTY communicator comes with all your social networking apps pre-installed - Twitter, Bebo, Facebook, MySpace - and offers you a 2.8-inch touchscreen to play with as well as the keys. On top of that, there’s even a half decent 2MP camera and 2GB memory card to show for it as well. It’s got an FM radio, MP3 player, video player and you get T-Mobile’s offer of “unlimited” texts for a tenner top up each month as well as an intro of 30 days internet too. Also available in black.
Sony Ericsson Zylo
You’ll find the Sony Ericsson Zylo at just about all the providers but it’s Vodafone that appears to have the best price. It’s a music phone at heart with the Walkman Player 4.0 central to what you get. It’ll play lossless FLAC files as well as MP3s, so is referred to as an HD audio player. There’s also a nice piece of software called TrackID which will name the tune, the artist and the album it comes from if you don’t happen to know. On top of that, there’s also a pretty good 3.2MP camera to shoot video as well as stills, an FM radio, GPS, 3G and it also happens to be Quad-band so you can even use it anywhere in the world.
INQ Chat 3G
With its QWERTY keyboard, the Chat 3G represents an affordable BlackBerry alternative and, as its name suggests, it sports 3G connectivity, although it doesn't offer Wi-Fi. It's a fairly basic handset, but it does include social networking apps for all you Facebook addicts and you can also alter the colour with a range of changeable covers. Priced at £74.99, the Chat 3G is available on 3 and is preloaded with the All in One 10 add-on which offers 100 minutes, 500MB internet and 3000 texts for 30 days. Best of all though is the potential free calling you can get out of that Skype app that's on it and the specially relationship 3 has had with VoIP calling.
So which is your favourite bargain of the lot and what are the phones that you'd like to see come to PAYG deals? Let us know in the comments below.
Vodafone has introduced Vodafone Freebees on Pay as you go - where customers get great value pay as you go price plans with free texts and web access, or international calls when they top up. Go to www.vodafone.co.uk/freebees for more information