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.
Nokia Lumia 928
The Lumia 928 is an all-around solid phone, with a sharp, 4.5-inch AMOLED display, a good 8.7-megapixel camera, and a remarkably bright xenon flash. The real reason you'd pick this model over another free-with-two-year-contract smartphone is Windows Phone. Whether you're in love with Microsoft's phone interface (not unreasonable, considering how slick its big, colored tiles are, compared Android's and iOS's dinky rows of desktop-style apps), or want to access and edit Office, Excel and other Microsoft-based files without worrying about garbled formatting, the 928 is a workhorse well worth its non-existent asking price.
Standout Feature: It's a Windows Phone
[$0 with Verizon Wireless, verizonwireless.com]