Having the latest Apple iPhone can seem like the 'simple' choice when buying a new phone - but it's many smartphones offer the same functions for much, much less.
Smartphone prices drop quickly, so it’s possible to get a versatile yet still pretty powerful device without breaking the bank.
Many models are on sale on Pay As You Go for £50 or less - but offer email, web, camera and social apps such as Facebook.
More manufacturers develop phones for Android than any other OS, which means Google’s mobile OS offers the most diverse array of devices which fall into this realm, with a number of top manufacturers offering more features for less, year on year.
We’ve picked a handful of Android phones on PAYG, which boast great functionality, but without the painful price tag.
PAYG price: £59.99 + £10 top-up
If you’re looking for a great low cost phone, Virgin Media exclusively offers the ZTE Kis. At only £59.99, this is one of the cheapest handsets in our lineup, but it still has all the functionality you’d expect from a fully-fledged smartphone.
It’s solidly built, features a snappy 800MHz processor and Android 2.3 Gingerbread is easy to use, giving you quick access to emails, YouTube and the internet. There’s no camera flash on the 3.2-megapixel shooter and if you’re looking for a high-resolution screen, don’t opt for the Kis, the 3.5-inch screen isn’t the sharpest by any means. But overall it is amazing value.
Sony Xperia Tipo
PAYG price: £79.95 + £10 top-up
Sony makes some of the best smartphones in the business, with distinctive design and access to exclusive Sony features.
At the more affordable end of the range is the Sony Xperia Tipo: a compact powerhouse of a handset which features Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, a new version of the OS which adds a huge amount of functionality over the previous Android experience and a surprise at this price point.
What’s more the 1500mAh battery keeps the Tipo going for a couple of days solidly - a rarity in the smartphone world. The 3.2-inch screen is small, but the most obvious shortcoming is the Tipo’s 3.2 megapixel camera (without flash), whose picture quality won’t appeal to keen shutterbugs.
PAYG price: £44.95 + £10 top-up
The South Korean mobile manufacturer LG recently won yet another prestigious design award for the work done on its L-Series handsets, which includes the LG Optimus L3.
The L3 is a compact, stylish little Android phone utilising a ‘floating mass’ design which makes the screen appear as if it’s floating.
The hardware provides a snappy experience with Android 2.3 Gingerbread onboard, battery life is great and although the 3-megapixel flash-less camera won’t blow your socks off and the 3.2-inch display has the lowest resolution here, for under £50 on PAYG, this phone is an absolute steal.
HTC Desire C
PAYG price: £89.95 + £10 top-up
If you want a smartphone with a premium look and feel then the HTC Desire C should be right up your street.
There are a few shortcomings with its low-res 3.5-inch screen, average flashless 5-megapixel camera and rather sluggish performance, but the small, smooth body of the phone looks great in black or white with eye-catching red accents. NFC for contactless payments and sharing content is unexpected at this price.
The user experience is where the HTC Desire C really shines: not only does it run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, but HTC Sense 4.0, an Android skin with widgets, themes, sounds and a more interesting way of navigating your device. Priced £200 at launch six months ago, the HTC Desire C is ample evidence of how quickly prices drop.
Alcatel One Touch 983
PAYG price: £49.99 + £10 top-up
The company might have skimped with its flashless 3.2-megapixel camera, but the Alcatel One Touch 983 looks and feel pricier than it actually is. Highlights include an expansive if rather low-res 3.5-inch touchscreen with capacitive keys and 1GHz processor ensuring that Android 2.3 Gingerbread keeps running smoothly. Available from Orange for a snip under £50.
Samsung Galaxy Ace
PAYG price: £99.89 + £10 top-up
Available in black or white, the Samsung Galaxy Ace was the best selling phones for over 50’s in the UK last year. The handset’s appeal comes from its price point twinned with its great feature set.
On the front sits a 3.5-inch screen (which isn’t particularly sharp) displaying Android 2.3 Gingerbread with Samsung’s TouchWiz 3.0 overlay - great for those who want to tweak and change the look and feel of their phone.There’s also a wholly usable 5-megapixel camera on the back with an LED flash and the back cover is swappable - if you want to customise the Ace even further.