Smartphone Buyer’s Guide For Budget-Minded Customers: The Best Devices For $99.99 Or Under


It may be the start of the holiday season, but there are always great deals available for prospective smartphone shoppers looking to grab a sweet phone that won’t break the bank. In fact, there used to be the notion that in order to grab a phone under $100 on-contract, you’d have to settle for an outdated or budget-level device. However that notion is no longer the case as customers across all carriers can easily find a decent (if not great) device for a reasonable price. Of course figuring out which device may be a bit difficult, but don’t fret— Talk Android has you covered as we’ve come up with a solid guide with our recommendations of the best devices for under $100 on-contract for your respective wireless carrier. So without further ado, head on past the break to see our picks of the best devices that won’t break the bank.






Touted as easily one of the best smartphones of the year, the HTC One X has offered users a superior experience in an excellent package. The One X comes jam-packed with awesome features including a snappy dual-core processor, excellent Super LCD 2 display, an amazing 8MP camera with ImageSense technology and of course Beats Audio. Of course the device does have limited storage capacity with its lack of expandable storage, but hey— at least users of the device will be treated to an outstanding battery life along with AT&T’s zippy (and ever-growing) 4G LTE technology. The HTC One X smartphone is starting to get up there in age, but with its great technology and Jelly Bean on the way, the device certainly has plenty of fight left against new and upcoming competition.

Price: $99.99 on 2-year contract


Runner Up: Motorola Atrix HD



The Motorola Atrix HD is an underrated device offers excellent value for its price. It has the same processor as other high-end devices like the One X and Galaxy S III, but offers its own excellent display thanks to its “ColorBoost” technology and a near-stock build of Android (with an imminent Jelly Bean update possibly on its way). Of course, the battery life is subpar and the 4G LTE speeds are shaky at best, but for the price, you may not find many comparable devices to the Atrix HD.

Price: $99.99 on 2-year contract






One of the more intriguing the devices of the year, the Motorola DROID RAZR M is easily the most attractive sub-$100 option on Big Red’s network. The first thing that stands out is the device’s diminutive size, but don’t let that fool you— the 4.3-inch screen is the same size as the original DROID RAZR and DROID RAZR MAXX smartphones. The difference between the DROID RAZR/RAZR MAXX’s screen and the RAZR M’s screen is the RAZR M’s screen is edge-to-edge— meaning there is as thin of a bezel as you would find on a smartphone. The diminutive size isn’t the only thing attractive about the device: users will be treated to a snappy dual-core processor, 8GB of on-board storage and a great battery life thanks to its 2,000mAh battery. For customers looking for a great device on Big Red’s network and don’t want to spend too much money, you won’t find a better overall steal than this puppy.

Price: $99.99 on 2-year contract


Runner Up: LG Spectrum 2



As a brand that was once frowned upon, LG came on strong with some impressive devices as of late and the Spectrum 2 is no different. The first thing that stands out about the device is its gorgeous 4.7-inch True IPS HD screen that displays near-perfect content. Complimenting the awesome display is a slick Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor, a sweet 8MP camera and Ice Cream Sandwich. Sure there are other options like the Galaxy Nexus and even the original DROID RAZR, but ladies and gents— the Spectrum offers the best overall value in terms of sheer performance and features compared to the other devices at the same price point.

Price: $99.99 on 2-year contract






Identified as Sprint’s unofficial version of the One X smartphone, the HTC EVO 4G LTE has a lot going for it. For starters, there’s a gorgeous display, amazing camera with ImageSense technology, expandable microSD storage and of course the trademark kickstand. It’s a bit of a drag that most Sprint markets still haven’t gotten a taste of true 4G LTE speeds just yet, but if customers don’t mind operating on 2G-level 3G-level speeds for the time being, they will get to experience what is easily one of the best devices available across all networks.

Price: $99.99 on 2-year contract



LG Optimus L9



The LG Optimus L9 is a surprisingly solid option for T-Mobile customers. Customers will be treated to an acceptable dual-core processor, a 4.7-inch display, a 5-MP camera and of course operates on T-Mobile’s blazing fast 4G HSPA+ technology. The best thing about this sucker— it’s all under 80 bucks on-contract, meaning customers will be able to get a great experience that won’t break the bank too much.

Price: $79.99 on-contract


US Cellular

Motorola Electrify M & Motorola Electrify 2



Both of these devices offer a lot for the $99 price point. The Electrify M is US Cellular’s version of the DROID RAZR M and offers customers items like a small profile but an edge-to-edge screen and Ice Cream Sandwich. The Electrify 2 on the other hand offers a bigger profile like its DROID RAZR sibling and a qHD with “ColorBoost” display, an 8MP camera and full world phone capabilities. Of course US Cellular mobile service isn’t available for the entire country, but for those of you who do live in US Cellular territory— you can’t go wrong with either device. Of course the Electrify M may be of greater interest because of the fact that there is a BOGO (Buy One, Get One) deal listed at the time of this writing, but we’ll just leave it up to you to decide if that strikes your fancy or not.

Price: Both cost $99.99 depending on the market. Additionally, Electrify M currently has a BOGO promotion at the time of this writing.


Boost Mobile

Samsung Galaxy Prevail



This phone may have a smaller screen and a fairly outdated OS in Gingerbread, but for $79.99, you can’t beat this puppy in terms of sheer value. The Galaxy Prevail brings all the typical goodies including stock Android, a 3.2-inch screen, 2.0MP camera and expandable memory. What’s even better is the fact this device is completely available off-contract and can be utilized with one of Boost Mobile’s many flexible all-everything plans. All-in-all, this makes for a great starter phone for the kids or those who are just now starting to dabble in the glorious world of Android.

Price: $79.99 outright


Virgin Mobile

Samsung Galaxy Reverb



This device may not be the most attractive device in all the land, but the Samsung Galaxy Reverb is a sound option for those of you on Virgin Mobile. The Ice Cream Sandwich-powered device features an attractive 4-inch display, 1.4GHz processor, 4-inch screen and all the standard Virgin Mobile bells and whistles like Virgin Mobile Live and ID Packs pre-installed. The Galaxy Reverb offers a lot more than people think and makes an incredibly attractive option for those of you looking to get the most out of a little.

Price: $99.99 outright


Runner Up: Kyocera Rise



While it’s largely unknown on its parent network, the Kyocera Rise offers up a lot of bang for consumers’ bucks– especially if you love texting or instant messaging on the go. This device offers up a full QWERTY keyboard with firm and responsive keys to match. Add to that a solid 3.5-inch display, decent processor, Ice Cream Sandwich and an awesome price, you’ve got yourself one hell of a smartphone on Virgin Mobile’s fast-growing prepaid network.

Price: $79.99 outright






About the Author: Roy Alugbue

Conceived as Spock’s 4th cousin, Roy has had quite the life. He was born in beautiful San Jose, California, raised in Los Angeles, California and now resides in the greater New York City area. He has always been fascinated and obsessed with technology, especially the continuous advancements of mobile platforms. He was a Blackberry slave since his undergrad days at the University of Southern California until realizing in Feb. 2011, there were greener pastures in the land of Android. His first Android phone was the Motorola Atrix 4G, and he hasn’t looked back. He currently works in corporate media, enjoys following media and technology trends, reading a good book, weightlifting, playing on his XBOX 360 and conversing with total strangers.