While the Android operating system is available on some of the most powerful smartphones around it is also scalable enough to find a home on budget mobiles. This means you can enjoy cutting edge functionality without paying vast amounts for the privilege of access. Here are the five best budget Android models on the market.
1. HTC Wildfire S
Following in the footsteps of the original Wildfire, the S edition has a higher resolution touchscreen display for crisper onscreen imagery and improved web browsing. It also has a five megapixel camera with LED flash, Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity and a plucky 600MHz processor. Its dinky size and excellent functionality means that it continues to fly the flag for affordable Android phones. If you like the look of the HTC Desire S but want to get something a little cheaper, this is the mobile for you.
2. Samsung Galaxy Mini
The Galaxy range has worked wonders for Samsung's credentials as a top mobile manufacturer and this scaled-down edition called the Galaxy Mini is in keeping with this great family of phones in terms of hardware and usability. Android 2.2 is onboard and is features a compact but functional 3.14 inch touchscreen display. While onboard storage is minimal you can add plenty more via a microSD memory card and with a durable exterior design it will take knocks without falling to pieces.
3. ZTE Blade
The ZTE Blade may be a little older than some other budget Android phones but it still stands up against modern alternatives. Its 3.5 inch screen with an 800x480 resolution gives it more visual clarity and space to breath than most cheap mobiles. It also implements Android just as Google intended it without going too overboard with custom interfaces and other unnecessary extras. The fact that the touchscreen is capacitive also works in its favour, allowing for feather-light interactivity that cannot be achieved on some cut price handsets with resistive touch technology. Localised versions of the phone include the Orange San Francisco and T-Mobile Blade.
4. LG Optimus One
While range-topping dual core Android phones can last less than a day on full charge with moderate usage, budget rivals like the Optimus One have a greater chance of giving you more time between trips to the plug socket. Its 1500mAh battery means you can get 48 hours of use from the phone before it needs recharging, while its 600MHz processor and 3.2 inch display make it more than a match for the other budget models on this list. The option to upgrade the software from Android 2.2 to 2.3 will please many users because other budget handsets are often stuck with older iterations of the platform indefinitely.
5. Huawei Ideos
If affordability is at the top of your list then Huawei has created the Android phone to match in the Ideos or Comet. Version 2.2 of the software is onboard, along with a 528MHz processor and a passable 3.2 megapixel camera. It is not the most technically advanced phone available but if you have a decent data allowance it will let you roam the web and download apps without any problems.