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back to article Ten Androids for under 100 quid

It feels like yesterday smartphones were a luxury only afforded to those with sexy salaries, but as high-end devices push their predecessors down a peg – these yesterday's men are there for the taking for those on a shoestring. There's a fairly wide choice of attractive handset for less than £100 but you'll not find an iPhone …

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Joke

Thought

Most of them seem to have been based on a rounded rectangle shape. Are they really iPhones in disguise ?

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Meh

T-mobile Vivacity

Double take, thought it was the iPhone then saw the branding.

In answer to why Apple have not come knocking, easy answer.

It is crap, won't sell much and will have no detrimental effect on profits, unlike the S3 which does everything as well, if not better.

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Re: T-mobile Vivacity

Crap? Only if you're taking the same standpoint as someone who drives a high end car and looks down on those in hatchbacks. Given the difference in price versus the difference in performance/features a budget smartphone is an eminently sensible choice for those with a slimmer discretionary wad.

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Re: T-mobile Vivacity

I wouldn't call it crap, it's obviously one of the better phones in its price range from the review. Apple obviously haven't come knocking because they don't care about people who want to spend £100 or less on a phone. Thumbs up for the review btw, been looking at cheapo smartphones for the parents and I had my eye on the Galaxy Y until I saw the lacklustre praise here.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: T-mobile Vivacity

Re the Galaxy Y , I just bought one for my son - he's 17 so not a nipper. I'm really impressed by it and think the review is unfair as far as the display is concerned. People choose to buy a phone with a larger of small screen according to whether they want to lug something large around or not. The 3 inch screen is perfectly readable and the resolution is not up there with my Nokia, but I use mine as mobile office and frequent replacement for camera, etc. For 80 quid the Galaxy Y is very decent. If you want a bigger screen and higher resolution one then sure, an extra 20 quid for the Huwai seems hard to beat, but for some the brand will be an issue.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: T-mobile Vivacity

"In answer to why Apple have not come knocking, easy answer. It is crap ..."

Though from what I remember about trademarks was that unless you took action against all infringements then you had the possibility of losing the trademark ... doesn't the same apply to design patents?

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FAIL

Re: T-mobile Vivacity

Trademark != design patent.

You can tell as they are spelt differently.

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JDX
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Re: T-mobile Vivacity

He specifically meant crap as compared to a £500 iPhone, which was pretty clear from his post. Untwist your panties...

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Re: T-mobile Vivacity

If I dare venture a quite separate opinion then Apple hasn't come knocking because neither ZTE nor Orange are in the Apple supply chain. The lawsuits against Samsung are probably as much a negotiating pawn in next year's parts order as anything else.

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Anonymous Coward

SanFrancisco is pretty good

And it would have been a lot better if it wasn't stuffed with Orange crudware, Orange branding/skinning and usless trial software, none of which is removable - even the sodding trial stuff.

Got shot of that (and Orange) and it's a pretty good phone.

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Re: SanFrancisco is pretty good

"would have been a lot better if it wasn't stuffed with Orange crudwar.... none of which is removable"

Unlock it, stick ROM Manager on and then flash a new ROM. Takes all of 20 minutes and completely transforms the phone. There are LOADS of step-by-step guides including YouTube videos to hold your hand through the process. It really is as simple as installing a couple of bits of software and then following the on-screen instructions.

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Re: SanFrancisco is pretty good

Precisely, that's why I said "Got shot of that (and Orange) and it's a pretty good phone."

Its just a shame Orange's opinion of its customers is so low that they make it necesary to jump through hoops to get a decent product.

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Re: SanFrancisco is pretty good

The phone would be more expensive if it weren't for Orange expecting to make cash from the crudware. There's a reason a phone of this quality is offered at such a price. Barring flashing the ROM etc that 99.9% of buyers won't do, it's a compromise people will have to take.

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Re: SanFrancisco is pretty good

Keep an eye on that useless trial ware which you can't remove.

I looked at my online bills and I'd started getting charged for some crap called Traffic TV. Preinstalled on my phone, no way to remove it. Had to call up orange to cancel it and get my money back. Right now I'm looking at rooting my phone just so I can get rid of this shite.

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Re: SanFrancisco is pretty good

I bought an original San Francisco about 18 months ago. Of course it kept the orange crapware infeste OS on it for all of 10 minutes. But I have to say it's the best £100 I've ever spent. I've nuked it and put on custom Rom and custom Rom so many times now, I've installed app after app, Of course the camera on it is all but useless but I have a real camera for taking pictures. I had a working version Android 4.0 on my ZTE way before my fellow HTC Desire loving colleagues as well. Ok, like for like, it's not a patch on a Desire HD or later, but it's been the most fun, the most flexible, the most well use bit of electronics I've ever owned. Currently it's doubling up as my phone, my skype phone, my wireless router, my firewall, my wireless proxy, in conjunction with my Google Music account it's also my wireless music DLNA server and it's running my two of my php driven, mysql development test sites too. Despite me throwing on some of the ropiest custom bleeding edge ROMs I could find, it's not let me down, not even once. For any price I think it's been great fun, but for <£100 at the time it was a bargain IMO.

WHen it comes to replacing it, I'd have no hesitation about buying another cheap as chips ZTE

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Linux

Re: SanFrancisco is pretty good

Seconded.

I bought a San Fran the day it was released, having read about it in El Reg. My experimentation has been a little less extreme, but I couldn't have had a better intro to the world of smart phones. A penguin in the pocket, with CLI!. I'm now looking for the next step. A300 perhaps, since it even looks like OSF's big brother.

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Re: SanFrancisco is pretty good

I also got an original sanfran just after it was released. Had it rooted, unlocked and sporting a custom rom as soon as i got it. It never missed a beat right up till i replaced it for a arm7 phone a few months ago.

The amoled screen is still a thing of vibrent beauty, the colours and resolution are fantastic for the £110 I paid for it. The screen was so good that it made the pictures the woeful camera(the only bad thing about it) took look suprisingly good. It was only when viewing them on a pc that their lack of quality became apparent.

The other thing I liked was the fact it was small enough to fit in a pocket without discomfort, unlike most smartphones around.

Im still amazed at what the guys at modaco are squeezing out of the old girl, theres even a jellybean port.

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Anonymous Coward

Spend a little more.

extra £40 for an Xperia U will get you a sim-free dual core, front facing camera (for Google Talk/Skype), and a ICS upgrade.

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Re: Spend a little more.

And I would agree with you 100% if it weren't for the lack of MicroSD card suppport in the U. That just kills it for me. How can you really use it as a smartphone with only around 6GB? Most of the uses that define a smartphone require large amounts of storage.

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Vivacity is now £39.99

The T-Mobile Vivacity is now £49.99 plus £10 cash back with Quidco or TopCashback so £39.99 in total.

I think that makes it the best value for money Android phone on the market today.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Vivacity is now £39.99

Wow, if you can get the Vivacity for £40 it certainly is crazy value for money.

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Re: Vivacity is now £39.99

And if it can be had for that much, and flashed with ICS, does it make a better bet as a portable wifi hotspot than investing in a MiFi? Very tempting alternative

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Re: Vivacity is now £39.99

Bloody Oath that's decent. Anyone know if you can unlock it from T-Mobile with the Rooting kits you get online, or if you need to bung a note to one of those guys down the market?

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Re: Vivacity is now £39.99

according to this it's possible http://www.getandroidfree.com/advanced/sim-unlock/updated-unlock-your-t-mobile-vivacity-for-free/

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Vivacity is now £39.99

Tempting - shame they only have the white version on PAYG:

http://www.t-mobile.co.uk/shop/pay-as-you-go/t-mobile-vivacity-white-payg/

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ARMv6/11 chips

The thing to watch with a lot of these budget phones is that they use CPUs based on ARMv6 aka ARM11 which some apps don't support - much to my wife's annoyance!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: ARMv6/11 chips

Yes ... and to confuse matters Qualcomm have migrated their low end chip from ARM11 (ARMv6 architecture) to CortexA5 (ARM v7 architecture) while keeping the chipset name the same apart from a different final suffix letter. (And also, think they have them all in the same "snapdragon" family with the much more powerful devices thtat are powered by their Scorpion processor which is more on a par with CortexA8/A9)

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WTF?

Re: ARMv6/11 chips

I thought Android apps were fully-interpreted and independent of the underlying processor, hence why there is at least one Android phone with an Intel processor?

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Re: ARMv6/11 chips

Many Android apps use ARM binary code for performance. The intel based phone has an ARM emulator package to try to compensate but it's still reckoned to be compatible with 90% of Android apps (and that's Intel's number).

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Re: ARMv6/11 chips

Java has interfaces to native code .. JNI and JNA...

If you want to ship native code you have the choice of shipping an "arm" library that'll work on any ARM based phone that ships with android.. arm-v7a which works on ARMv7a+ (the interesting thing there being NEON) and/or an X86 version.. MIPS is another certified arch IIRC but I don't think it's turned up in the NDK yet.. I seem to remember there being code for SuperH in some of the Android libs so maybe someone tried that too...

The important part is that the market knows about the native code you ship and filters those apps that only ship with libraries your phone can't use which is why some games etc don't appear for these low budget phones.

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I'm still using the original Orange Sanfran running cyanogenmod 7 Android 2.3, Are any of these budget smart phone worth me trading in my Sanfran or should i wait until better spec'd phones with Android 4 start to appear below £100?

And with the source code for Android 4 being released nearly a year ago how come companies are still releasing new phones with Android 2.2/2.3, i thought any phone capable of running Android 2.2 was supposed to be able run Android 4?

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Huawei Ascend G300

Get the Huawei Ascend G300 as ICS upgrade is already available.

Also there are lots of ROM available here: http://www.modaco.com/forum/650-huawei-ascend-g300-g300modacocom/

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Jelly Bean on the original San Fran

I installed an experimental CM10 (Jelly Bean) ROM on my original San Fran a couple of days ago. It really does run faster than CM7 did but the hardware acceleration is a tiny bit glitchy. I don't mind that on balance and am pleased I made the jump.

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Re: Jelly Bean on the original San Fran

I'm going to try this now... Been using ColdfusionX (CM9 based) with zero issues for ages, and that was faster than CM7 too

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Huawei Ascend G300

Worth mentioning that you did a review of this one a few months ago, where it was only worthy of an 80% rating. Somehow it's 90% now, despite nothing having changed?

http://www.reghardware.com/2012/06/25/review_huawei_ascend_g300_android_smartphone/

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Re: Huawei Ascend G300

The Register ratings system:

<=50% = bad

>=80% = good

anything else = were not really sure about this

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Happy

Re: Huawei Ascend G300

80% -> 90% because ICS has just been released by Huawei.

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Re: Huawei Ascend G300

re: change in ratings, perhaps it's because in this review it's stacked up against other sub-£100 phones. As an android phone it might get 80% overall, but 90% if you're buying on a budget. That's my take on it.

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Under $100

Your "Hardware Editors Choice" doesn't fit your own criteria of under £100. cost < 100 is not the same as cost <= 100.

Pedantic I know ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Under $100

Well, it does, it's actually £99 as Vodaphone PAYG. Though you do need to pay a fiver to get it unlocked by someone from Bulgaria on Ebay... Mine's on Orange.

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My recent phones are the HTC Desire from the day it launched in the UK until I upgraded to the Samsung Galaxy S2.

I bought the Vivacity (TMV) last week for £49 + £10 top-up.

Once I'd unlocked it, put on a clean ROM and put my giffgaff SIM in it, all was well.

It's actually a great little phone and looks much better than the OSFII IMO. Almost comparable to the HTC Desire, which only 2 years ago cost £450!

I spent considerable time researching the best phone for the least money and I don't think you can do better than the Vivacity at the moment, even bearing in mind that T-Mobile are currently wanting £69 + £10 top up for the white version.

It's easy to unlock and equip with a debranded ROM too.

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Just noticed it's back own to £49 + £10 on T-Mobile, so I'm about to buy another one for my son, who has somehow managed to kill my old Desire within 9 months :/.

He'll be buying the Vivacity out of his own money!

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If you want an iPhone, just buy an iPhone. Offer your friend £70 for that old 3GS sat in their kitchen drawer, stick in a pay monthly sim and wait until the next gen falls into that price bracket on the secondary market in about 12 months. You'd still be ahead of most of these.

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FAIL

This may come as a bit of a shock, but, well, not everyone wants a bloody iPhone.

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Anonymous Coward

Erm... the 'going rate' for a two year old 3GS is still in the region of £150.

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Anonymous Coward

Evvery phone here is better than a 3GS

Many are even better than a 4.

#FAIL

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Evvery phone here is better than a 3GS

Don't talk crap.

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Happy

Galaxy fit/Y

I got one as an emergency/backup phone. It was alright actually - bit slow, but was it was still a phone, still did email and maps ok. Facebook app was a bit slow (but when is it not). And the battery life was excellent - especially when "off" - it could last for weeks with almost negligible drain.

For 100 quid, what's not to like!

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If you don't mind the Vodafone crapware

Then the Huawei is a great phone.

ICS is in testing and should be rolled out soon so it can only get better.

Got one for my sister using a £15 voucher from tesco and used the saving to unlock it.

If you have any clubcard vouchers then you can double them in value to get one from Tesco now.

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Happy

Re: If you don't mind the Vodafone crapware

I really like the look of the Huawei Ascend G300

I couldn't find it on the Tesco website, is it available as pay & go anywhere,

Was considering eBaying my iPhone 4, I just something simple with enough "features" (like making / receiving calls, sending text's and tethering the iPad to) that I don't really care about dropping from my pocket!

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