The fact that every cutting edge, top-of-the-line smartphone is outclassed by another model within months (or weeks) of release has an upside: There's a glut of great smartphones that are unbelievably cheap. Provided you qualify for a new-phone discount, the array of high-quality smartphones that can be had for less than $100 is impressive. We're not hyping a bunch of consolation prizes or bargain-bin finds. These handsets prove that spending more than a c-note for a new smartphone is as obsolete as a Blackberry.
Note: Prices are subject to change, and may vary by region.
Apple iPhone 5c 16GB
Business and tech writers had an extended field day in the months following the iPhone 5c's release, gleefully tracking its lack of sales in non-US markets, where the relatively low price point (for a new iPhone) was intended to draw users away from cheap Android handsets. For the consumer, however, the 5c is an unqualified win, offering all of the advantages of a premium operating system for a non-premium price. The A6 processor loads pages fast, the 8-megapixel camera keeps up with all but the best that Nokia and HTC have to offer, and in a sea of white and black iPhones, the colors on the 5c's case are a welcome splash of design personality.
Standout Feature: iOS Apps
[$99 with AT&T; att.com]