I consider myself an advocate of the affordable smartphone. 2015, and the years before it, seemed to paint a picture of promise for the mid and low-end smartphone, a noble future as the no-frills alternative to the $800 wonder-brick. I cannot help but feel we have failed to watch that potential emerge in a way that we can really say has served consumers well.
Who’s to blame for the promising ZenFone turning into a bloatware-ridden pile of bugs languishing on Lollipop, seven-plus months since Marshmallow was released? What’s the reason Alcatel’s relatively unbloated Idol 3 took nearly as long to get Marshmallow itself (mine still doesn't have it)? Read More
Much of the innovation in Android right now is happening on the budget side of things. At a time when high-end phones are making largely incremental improvements over previous models, low-end handsets have gone from being barely functional iPhone sales pieces to compelling devices that make for great starter phones.
The original ZTE Imperial was certainly not top-of-the-line, but the phone was affordable and its specs weren't particularly embarrassing at the time. Now a successor is available from US Cellular that delivers more phone for even less money.
The ZTE Imperial II comes with a larger, 5-inch qHD display that replaces the previous 4-inch, 800 by 480 offering. Read More
Getting your hands on a budget tablet for around a hundred bucks isn't particularly challenging, but these decidedly underwhelming gadgets typically don't come with the latest version of Android. Toshiba intends to do budget shoppers one better by providing them with a 7-inch tablet with Android 4.4, all for $110. This little guy goes by the name of Excite Go. Read More
The Archos name isn't unheard of around these parts, but while the company has introduced more than a handful of affordable tablets into the market, it isn't the first brand to come to mind when thinking of smartphones. It has produced some before, but they were nothing particularly exciting. Now the company will up its game by rolling out not one but two 4G LTE-capable smartphones at CES next week - the largely identical-looking 45 and 50 Helium.
As you would expect from Archos, neither of these handsets will be particularly groundbreaking, but if you're in the market for a phone priced reasonably competitively with the $179 Moto G, there's something to see here. Read More
BLU is an up-and-coming smartphone manufacturer offering budget-friendly devices that have a knack for also being halfway decent. Today they've announced a new line of smartphones that look situated to continue this trend. The DASH series won't blow anyone's minds, but these highly affordable, and dare I say - adorable, handsets could make for a decent way to introduce a newcomer to the world of smartphones.
The three phones making up the DASH series include the DASH Jr., the DASH MUSIC 4.0, and the DASH MUSIC 5.0. The DASH Jr. costs only $49.00 unlocked and comes with specs that match its insanely low price point. Read More
Since there's no shortage of good, name-brand cases for the Nexus 7, it's generally not a bad idea to be wary of the cheapies. But after getting a heads up from Bob Severns (the guy who presses the buttons on our podcast), I decided to give a pair of $4 Nanum cases a go. Having never heard of "Nanum" before, I was skeptical of how good this extremely affordable duo would be. But much to my surprise, both of these cases are pretty great.
I ordered both the Multi-Angle Stand case and Ultra Slim Fit case, and while there are a few different colors available, I decided to get both in white. Read More
Excited for the ThunderBolt? If so, you're not alone; but if not, you've got even more companions.
However, thanks to Amazon Wireless, haters now have one less reason to pick on the ThunderBolt: the online retailer is selling Verizon's first LTE phone for just $179.99 - $70 less than the official $249.99 price.
When you add free two-day shipping and no taxes (in most states) to the mix, this immediately becomes the best ThunderBolt deal available - in fact, it's $20 lower than WireFly's offer. Additionally, the $179.99 price also applies to upgrades - definitely a huge bonus for existing VZW customers. Read More