Cellphone deals seem like they would be exclusive to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and that is mostly true. If you're in the market for the latest devices, you'll have to wait for sales. What about low end devices? Have the cheap phones of the world finally reached a point to where a user will get an exemplary experience without breaking the bank?
NPR reports that low-end smartphone are finally starting to dominate the market. It was only a few years ago that lower end smartphones paled in comparison to the iPhones and Galaxy Notes of the world, but low-end is no longer a sign of inferiority. Sure, low-end smartphones still boast lower specs than their cutting edge contemporaries, but the experience is no longer curtailed. Interestingly enough, the trend began with Microsoft.
Nokia defined what the Windows Phone experience should be with its high-end devices, but it provided the same overall experience to low-end devices as well. It all began with the Lumia 520 - a $30 smartphone that delivered a full Windows Phone experience. How did Nokia achieve this? It's all thanks to Microsoft building the Windows Phone platform as one that can easily scale with the hardware that it's on. Nokia followed up the 520 with the 521 and 525 - both of which provide the full Windows Phone experience on sub-$100 smartphones.
— Lumia US (@LumiaUS) December 1, 2014
So let's say you're a staunch Android fan and you're tired of putting up with subpar low-end Android devices. After all, Android was seemingly built for high-end devices, and the experience suffers when the mobile OS ends up on a device with a slow CPU. Thankfully, Google has greatly improved the experience by making later versions of Android compatible with more low-end hardware configurations. In other words, you're now going to get a great Android experience on low-end devices as long as the hardware manufacturer doesn't slow down the experience with bloatware.
The best example of affordable Android devices comes in the form of Motorola's Moto G. The 8GB version retails for $180 while the 16GB version retails for $199 - both of those are off-contract prices mind you. You can also get the Moto G Google Play Edition which comes with stock Android for an even better experience.
— Motorola Mobility (@Motorola) November 26, 2014
The only real holdout is Apple. The company still primarily makes luxury devices so you're going to have to sign a contract if you want an Apple device on the cheap. The good news is that the excellent iPhone 5S is only $99 when you sign a two-year contract. Unfortunately, the off-contract price is $549 so those hoping to avoid contracts when buying an iPhone still don't have a cost effective option.
Only a few years ago, it was unthinkable that a smartphone could cost less than $100. Now there are more sub-$100 options than ever. Those who are still holding out on a smartphone have no excuse this holiday season.