back to article Budget smartphones all the rage as punters look sub-£100

Nearly half of the world’s largest smartphone market will consist of handsets under $200 (£127) by 2015 as local device makers and web firms compete to drag the great unwashed into the 21st century, according to analyst Canalys. On the eve of Mobile Asia Expo in Shanghai this week, the stats once again confirm that the bread and …

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Silver badge

I'm all for budget ... and see no need bells & whistles on a telephone.

During the meanwhile, I carry a near 11 year old Nokia.

It works in the Sonoma Valley's so-called "dead zones". "Smart Phones" don't.

Sometimes, a telephone is just a telephone. And perhaps that's not a bad thing.

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Anonymous Coward

Bragging rights

Top end smartphones, pull one out of your pocket, show off to your mate, check out the quad core, have you seen the brightness, I can play games, I can watch a film, text my mate, take a photo, surf the Internet, send an email ALL at the same time!

But the battery is flat by lunch time.

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Re: I'm all for budget ... and see no need bells & whistles on a telephone.

I think there's room for both kinds. I'm guessing your phone might be the legendary Nokia 6310i which was discontinued years ago and which I still pack as back-up. They still fetch good money and I'm surprised Nokia has never yielded to the demand to start making them (or an update with the same ergonomics, talktime, robustness and reception quality but a more durable paint job).

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Anonymous Coward

E71 fan club strikes again

"the legendary Nokia 6310i "

Definitely legendary. Other half still uses my ancient 6310i now (with the extended battery pack). It's been dropped in puddles and survived. A relative was until recently using its 6210 predecessor.

These days, since trying and rapidly abandoning a ZTE Blade which was a free upgrade from my E65, I bought a 2nd hand E71 instead and am quite happy with it. (Nick, does that work for you? E72?).

But that's it for Nokia, no current or foreseeable Nokia product makes sense at any sensible price point.

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Thumb Up

Re: E71 fan club strikes again

My E63 has taken some abuse, and while the internet capability isn't exactly iPhone-like and I tend not to bother with apps on it, it still lives and gives battery time of close to a week.

But if I was going for a new phone it wouldn't be a new Nokia. It's bad enough having to use Windows on servers and desktops without having it ruin my mobile phone.

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Anonymous Coward

The rise of the Neo-Luddites

My phone is shitter/older/less feature rich than your phone

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Re: Bragging rights

True enough about the battery, but I think it's fairly undeniable that smart phones are useful. I had a standard Nokia phone for a long time and dind't get smart phones. I got my first smart phone when I was a newbie contractor and it's saved my arse a bundle of times.

GPS has stopped me getting lost loads and when emails came through pointing out I hadn't filled in my time sheets and thus wouldn't get paid on time unless I did it right now, it was a matter of sorting it out quickly rather than not even noticing the e-mail till I got home.

Your mileage may vary dependant on how good your memory is, or how good your sense of direction is, or your watch ownership, or a multitude of other things. But the phone has helped me out a lot, so I can see the appeal.

Battery life is shit though.

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Silver badge

Re: The rise of the Neo-Luddites

In reply to folks speculating what my phone is, see:

http://forums.theregister.co.uk/post/939029

AC: I'm not a neo-luddite (far from it!), I just need my telephone to make and receive phone calls in out of the way areas. As I said, sometimes a telephone just being a telephone isn't a bad thing.

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Bronze badge

That's probably about how old mine is. Still manages about 2 weeks on a charge as well.

I do wonder how many people are still using old, but perfectly functional equipment.

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Anonymous Coward

Two weeks on a charge?

Do you have any friends?

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Anonymous Coward

@old Nokia users

No wonder Nokia is on a fast downhill slide. Obviously they made phones that were too good if people use them for 10+ years!

Save the company, buy new Nokias folks!

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Re: @old Nokia users

I want to buy a new Nokia right now: my three-and-a-half-year-old E71 just drowned, a victim of the weather, and my bag unexpectedly letting in a lot of water but not letting it out as fast.

Can I buy a successor to the E71? No-one offers or stocks its nominal successor, the E6. Do I really want to pay £350 and have a long wait while a supplier sources it, when Nokia tells us Symbian is an orphan line? I'm thinking about it, but with gritted teeth: it's not at all like the E71 which cost a lot less and wasn't at the time an orphan, making it a no-brainer. Back then Nokia sold superb (among other) phones, today it seems to have lost interest.

It's only the lack of alternatives that would now drive me to that E6. The only alternative qwerty keyboard that can hold a candle to it is the blackberry bold, and I certainly don't want something that size regularly cluttering my pocket! The cheaper Nokia E5 is also too fat, like the wallet that gets uncomfortable in the pocket if carrying train or bus tickets.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @old Nokia users

Unfortunately, all the new Nokias are shit, and already end-of-line. They are littered with problems and boast a smartphone featureset from 2009. That's before you consider than none of them have an upgrade route to Windows Phone 8 (where the app format changes to match Windows8 RT), and are therefore end of life.

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Silver badge

Re: @old Nokia users

I bought a Lumia 710 and I'm no more worried about not having an upgrade route to WP8 than I am about not having an upgrade route to Android or iOS. It does what I want and it does it very well and I prefer the interface to both Android and iOS.

I'm not sure if it qualifies as a budget phone. It cost me £160 SIM-free, but it's a lot cheaper than its rivals and for my needs does al lthe same stuff and better.

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Pint

Re: @old Nokia users

Try the old bag of rice trick. place phone in bag of rice overnight, etc. I can't remember the details. It is supposed to work for phones in the toilet syndrome, perhaps.

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Gold badge

Re: @old Nokia users

Just don't eat the rice afterwards...

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

Good value phones out there.

Well, thanks to the healthy goodness of cheap as chips Chinese manufacturing (and Android), devices like the Orange San Diego provide an awful lot of phone for the money.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Good value phones out there.

I love my Wildfire. Just over a hundred notes, and it does everything a phone three to four times its price costs, except a second slower and with a slightly smaller screen. And seeing as I'm not willing to pay £300 for an extra inch (at least on my 'phone), it's ideal.

I personally don't see any logic in paying £400 for a piece of glass that I have to carry in my trouser pocket while drinking heavily.

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Silver badge
Happy

Re: Good value phones out there.

Likewise. I drink. Moderately, mostly. I have a cheap Samsung feature-phone. I have dropped it countless times, is small enough for any pocket, and the battery lasts a few days. If I really need it, it can do GPS maps and and some light, albeit fiddly, internet browsing- enough to get the postcode or telephone number of a business, for example. Even iPlayer, and downloading some podcasts onto microSD cards that can be put in my £50 Lidl car stereo. Charges off MicroUSB, too.

In contrast, a few weeks back, our mate stuck his Galaxy SII on a one-day eBay auction. Why? we asked. Oh, the SIII is being released in a few days, he replied. WTF does this new phone do that your old one doesn't? we demanded. I can't remember his 'justification', he's always been a rabid first adopter. So we all laughed at him. I think he likes it. On the plus side, his place is like a hands-on tech showroom, we can try before we buy- he buys stuff because it is new, not because it is good.

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Other budget handsets

I think that the current picks of the crop are the Huawei G300 fo £100 from Skodafone or the Orange San Diego with an Intel Atom CPU for £200 - I appreciate that not everyone considers £200 budget though!

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Re: Other budget handsets

I brought the Ascend G300 for my daughter and she admits that she is struggling to see why someone would pay 4.5 times more for a premium handset when this seems to do it all (albeit not as swishly)

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Silver badge
Thumb Up

I use a ZTE skate - and thanks to the Modaco website it runs ICS very smoothly. Not bad for a £100 quid phone with a 4.3" screen. Some people may argue that it only has an 800Mhz processor, but truthfully just what are you going to be doing with your phone that requires you to punch above 1ghz processor?

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Gold badge

Nokia Lumia 710

Now at £99 at Carphone Warehouse. That's pretty budget.

I can't imagine that's doing much good for Nokia's bottom line though. It's got a 1.4GHz processor, 8GB of RAM and a decent screen. I don't know what that costs Nokia, but given they only seem to have sold single digit millions of them, I wouldn't imagine the economies of scale are all that great.

It's faster than the equivalent priced Androids. But less customisable. It's better as a phone though (in my opinion). You pays your money, you takes your choice.

I bet Apple could sell the iPhone 3GS at around £100, and make a small profit.. I also bet they won't...

It wouldn't surprise me if they make more profit on one of those (at £300), than they do on the 4S (at £500).

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Holmes

"Cheap Phones Popular In Places Where Most People Don't Have Much Money!"

Popes, Bears, Etc.

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Thumb Up

Universal Economics

I was thinking the same thing.

By the same token - People who don't have so much money buy smaller cars.

A German car may be technically better/have more features/more powerful engines than a Korean car, but both will usually get you from A to B most of the time, and that's probably one of the key features when buying a motor car, probably before price in most cases.

It stands for most acquisitions - does it do what I need it to do for the price I can/want to pay.

Only the mega rich or criminally stupid buy things that don't fulfill those criteria.

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Coat

Sub-£100 phones are more affordable to replace

I've seen a remarkable number of people soldiering on with an iPhone with cracked glass, because they can't justify the outlay to repair or replace it. I'm currently using an Orange San Fran 2, which cost me £90. If the screen was to get damaged as substantially as that, I would simply buy another (or perhaps a similar sub-£100 Android).

Putting my phone in my jacket pocket instead of my rear trouser pocket.

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Silver badge

Recommendations

Samsung e1170 - about £20 on with Orange free airtime but can never be unlocked.

LG KG 225 - very small flip phone

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Anonymous Coward

What about...

Samsung gALAXY acE AT £39.99 FROM cpw? Best ANdroid for the money.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What about...

Sorry, It Samsung Galaxy Europa, for 39.99.

Apologies.

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San Diego

The San Diego is RRP £199 though. It's the San Francisco that was the big hit, and the Monte Carlo.

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Magic Number?

Is it jsut me or is £100 still sort of considered a magic number for pricing at or below? £100 has been £100 and items have been considered reasonable at below £100 since I was a child, and chocolate bars are 3 times what they were then.

Even when inflation makes everything more expensive, and minimum wage goes up, £100 is still considered some sort of all important barrier. I guess that even though Min wage is up, most people have less hours, and people on more than min wage are accepting less so I suppose I've answered my own question as to why it's still an important number for pricing.

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Silver badge

Re: Magic Number?

I've had a UK distribution manager for a consumer goods company tell me that we should pitch our product at £50 or £100, and not mess around in the middle. It seems that if it were £70, you lose the people who won't pay more than £50 (losing volume) whilst the people who will pay £70 would happily pay £100 (so you lose margin).

Obviously its a fast and loose analysis, but seems there may be some truth in it.

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