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Until 2 years ago, it didn’t make much sense to buy budget Android phones because of the sub-par experience they offered. But things have changed. A lot of the flagship phones from that time are now available for low prices, but can still hold their own and perform well. And new handsets from some manufacturers are offering a bang for your buck.

So we went shopping and found some great deals. We specifically looked for unlocked devices since those save you money in the long run Never Buy a Phone From Your Carrier! Buy Unlocked Phones and Save Hundreds Never Buy a Phone From Your Carrier! Buy Unlocked Phones and Save Hundreds Unlocked phones can cost a fortune, but the savings more than make up for it. You can save thousands by not signing a contract. We've got six phones that come contract free! Read More . So here are some Android smartphones for which “cheap” refers only to the price tag, not quality.

All-Rounder: HTC One X ($243.81)

Affordable-Android-Phones-HTC-One-X

Even two years after it was first released, the HTC One X is still a very capable smartphone. For an affordable unlocked Android handset, this also has the best camera you will find, especially excelling in low-light environments. Apart from that, the Super LCD2 screen is gorgeous and the Tegra 3 processor can take anything you throw at it. The only shortcoming is that it’s not upgradable beyond Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and there’s no microSD slot. But you can easily counter that first part by installing a third-party ROM on the One X How To Unlock, Root & Install a Custom ROM On Your HTC One X How To Unlock, Root & Install a Custom ROM On Your HTC One X I can't say I've been entirely happy with having switched to Android - poor battery life, lack of system updates and general bugginess of my HTC One X being my main issues - but I... Read More .

  • Screen: 4.7-inch Super IPS LCD 2 (1280×720 pixels) with Gorilla Glass
  • Processor: 1.5 GHz Quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3
  • RAM: 1 GB
  • Camera: 8 MP rear (1080p videos), 1.3 MP front (720p video)
  • Memory: 16 GB/32 GB internal, no microSD slot
  • Connectivity: 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4
  • Battery: 1800 mAh
  • OS: Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean

The Big Boy: Huawei Ascend Mate X1 ($344.99)

Affordable-Android-Phones-Huawei-Ascend-Mate

With a hulking 6.1-inch screen, the Ascend Mate X1 is the best value-for-money “phablet” you can find right now. It’s got an IPS display—rare at this size—and some top-notch hardware that will keep the phone running smoothly for some time to come. The only issue with it is the customized Emotion UI skin, which doesn’t look too great and, more importantly, doesn’t auto-rotate; that’s important at this size. Still, if you want something between a phone and a tablet and don’t want to spend too much, the Ascend Mate is what you should go with.

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  • Screen: 6.1-inch IPS (1280×720 pixels) with Gorilla Glass
  • Processor: 1.5 GHz Quad-core Huawei K3V2
  • RAM: 2 GB
  • Camera: 8 MP rear (1080p videos), 1 MP front (720p video)
  • Memory: 8 GB internal, microSD up to 64 GB
  • Connectivity: 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4
  • Battery: 4050 mAh
  • OS: Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean

Battery King: Lenovo P780 ($263.99)

Affordable-Android-Phones-Lenovo-P780

The Lenovo P780 is among the newest phones in this list and was one of our picks for the best Android phones to buy for Christmas in 2013 What Are The Best Android Phones For Xmas 2013? What Are The Best Android Phones For Xmas 2013? There's nothing like the joy of unwrapping your gift to find a shiny new gadget on Christmas Day. Read More . Its claim to fame is the mammoth 4000 mAh battery it houses, without being too bulky or unwieldy. Android phones are notorious for quickly draining battery, but the Lenovo P780 just keeps going on and on, and is easily the longest battery life we have seen in any smartphone. Its only real problem is the lack of scratch-resistant glass, which means you will need to put an ugly screen protector on it.

  • Screen: 5-inch IPS (1280×720 pixels)
  • Processor: 1.2GHz Quad-core Mediatek MT6589
  • RAM: 1 GB
  • Camera: 8 MP rear (720p videos), VGA front (VGA video)
  • Memory: 4 GB/8 GB internal, microSD up to 32 GB
  • Connectivity: 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4
  • Battery: 4000 mAh
  • OS: Android 4.2 Jelly Bean

Note It: LG Optimus Vu ($261.40)

Affordable-Android-Phones-LG-Optimus-Vu

The Optimus Vu has the same specs as the Google Nexus 4, but with one major difference: its screen has a 4:3 aspect ratio, like old televisions and monitors. The result is that it’s a bit wide and may not be easy to grip if you have small hands. But it works like a charm and runs everything smoothly. LG has even packaged a stylus with this device and customized its software for stylus input; however, the lack of a slot for the stylus kind of defeats its purpose. Still, if what you want is a Samsung Galaxy Note replacement on a budget, this is a good option.

  • Screen: 5-inch IPS (1024×768 pixels) with Gorilla Glass
  • Processor: 1.5 GHz Quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3
  • RAM: 1 GB
  • Camera: 8 MP rear (1080p videos), 1.3 MP front (720p video)
  • Memory: 32 GB internal, no microSD slot
  • Connectivity: 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4
  • Battery: 2100 mAh
  • OS: Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean

Budget Buddy: Motorola Moto G ($199)

Affordable-Android-Phones-Motorola-Moto-G

Motorola’s new low-cost handset, the Moto G The Moto G Is Officially Here For Only $179 Unlocked The Moto G Is Officially Here For Only $179 Unlocked Motorola has just announced the rumored Moto G, a cheaper cousin to the Moto X that will cost $179 for the 8GB model and $199 for the 16GB model. Read More , is being hailed as the smartphone to buy if you’re on a budget. For just $179 or $199 unlocked for the 8GB and 16GB versions respectively, it packs good hardware. And most importantly, since Google now owns Motorola, you are assured of timely updates to the latest version of Android.

  • Screen: 4.5-inch IPS (1280×720 pixels) with Gorilla Glass 3
  • Processor: 1.2 GHz Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400
  • RAM: 1 GB
  • Camera: 5 MP rear (720p videos), 1.3 MP front (720p video)
  • Memory: 8 GB/16 GB internal, no microSD slot
  • Connectivity: 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4
  • Battery: 2070 mAh
  • OS: Android 4.4.2 KitKat

Local Brands and OEMs

The above list includes only international brands that have built a reputation of trust and reliability. But there are plenty of local brands in every market or players who source from Chinese OEMs. For instance, in India, Micromax has become a reliable manufacturer with some good devices at budget prices. Then there’s BLU Products, which is huge in Latin America and the Caribbean. So we want to know, have you tried any of these? What has your experience been so far?

Image credit: jakemaymar

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