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Back to school smartphones under $100 (Gallery)
Last week I posted my top 10 smartphones for the summer, but these phones range from $200 to $400 (iPhone 5 64GB) with a subsidy. Low cost feature phones don't have the apps and services students and parents want, but you can still find solid smartphones at less than $100 with a subsidy.
T-Mobile no longer has phone subsidies, or contracts, so you pay for your phone in monthly installments or outright. As you can see in this image gallery, the two T-Mobile phones I selected are very reasonable priced and combined with T-Mobile's low starting entry cost plans this is the value carrier for the student.
There used to be a huge price gap between smartphones and feature phones, but that has gone away in many cases. In addition, with shared data plans and a low cost to add a line, generally just $10/month, smartphones are replacing feature phones across the board.
I only covered newer phones in this gallery, but with many carriers you can pick up refurbs or last year's model (iPhone 4 or 4S for example) at low prices as well. Make sure to check out your preferred wireless carrier's website for online deals or specials during this time of year. T-Mobile has a promotion going on now where almost all of their phones have $0 down so it is fairly inexpensive to get out the door with a new phone today.
Related ZDNet coverage
- Top 10 hottest smartphones of summer 2013
- Low-cost Nokia Lumia Windows phones offer more than iOS and Android
- Sprint's HTC 8XT brings BoomSound and HTC camera to Windows Phone 8 (Gallery)
- IDC: Windows Phone sees largest year-over-year increase, Android still dominates
- AT&T promotion offers HTC First for 99 cents; market for Facebook phone questionable
- LG Optimus G Pro: An excellent 5.5-inch Android smartphone - gallery
T-Mobile LG Optimus L9
LG has been rolling out some excellent Android smartphones lately and a nice low cost device from T-Mobile is the Optimus L9. The full retail price, with no subsidy, is just $240. This can also be paid in $10/month payments for 24 months.
The LG Optimus L9 features a 4.5 inch display in a form factor just 0.36 inches thick. Android 4.2 is included with a dual-core processor, 5 megapixel camera, WiFi Calling, and more.
T-Mobile Nokia Lumia 521
The new Nokia Lumia 521 on T-Mobile is an amazing value at only $144 full retail price or $6/month for 24 months. The Windows Phone 8 OS is extremely responsive and since it is a Nokia device there are a ton of software and service options included.
I believe lower cost Windows Phones offer more than old iPhones and cheap Android smartphones and recommend this for T-Mobile customers.