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Top 5 best-value smartphones (January 2013)

£239 LG Nexus 4

The LG Nexus 4 is finally available to buy after weeks of being out of stock. Both the 8GB and the 16GB models are available at £239 and £279 respectively, prices to which you need to add £10 for P&P. The Nexus 4 hasn’t had the same impact on the Android smartphone market as the Nexus 7 partly because of stock issues but that’s likely to change over the next few weeks. What sets it apart from the competition is the fact that it comes with better hardware than some smartphones that, only recently, were retailing for almost twice as much. There’s a quad-core system-on-chip, a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro, clocked at 1.5GHz, a 4.7in IPS display with a 1,280 x 768 resolution, 2GB of RAM, an 8-megapixel camera and Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. Check out our review of the LG Nexus 4 here.

£50 Alcatel One Touch OT-983

This is an ideal budget introduction to Google’s mobile platform. The Alcatel One Touch OT-983 is on sale for £49.99 at O2, T-Mobile and Orange with a compulsory £10 extra top-up on all three networks. The phone costs £40 a few months ago and was only available on O2; we suspect that word of mouth caused it to be listed on EE (Orange and T-Mobile) and allowed O2 to raise its price by 25 per cent. Don’t expect much at this price though. It is powered by a single-core Broadcom BCM21552G SoC clocked at 1GHz with a 3.5in display with a 480 x 320, 512MB of RAM, 512MB of ROM, a 3-megapixel camera, a microSD card slot, a 1,300mAh battery and Android 2.3 Gingerbread.

£130 Samsung Galaxy Ace 2

The Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 is one of the reasons why we found the price of the Galaxy S3 Mini so exorbitant. That handset, which was released nearly one year ago at MWC, costs £130 at Orange with an extra £10 top-up voucher. It runs on the same dual-core ST-Ericsson Novathor U8500 chipset (albeit at a lower clock speed, 800MHz vs. 1GHz), has a smaller display (3.8in vs. 4in), less system memory (768MB vs. 1GB) and less onboard storage (4GB vs. 8GB). It is locked on Orange but should be compatible with EE and T-Mobile as well. Other features similar to the S3 Mini include a microSD card, a 5-megapixel camera and a screen with a 800 x 480 resolution. The phone costs a whopping £200 at Asda albeit as a SIM Free model. Check out our review of the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 here.

£150 Nokia Lumia 620

The Lumia 620 is an oddity on the Windows Phone 8 roadmap. There are only three non-Nokia Windows Phone 8 smartphones on the market (two HTC and one Samsung) and already, there are four Nokia ones with the Lumia 620 being the odd one out as it is almost on par with the Lumia 800 and vastly outperforms its predecessor, the Lumia 610. It does hold its own against its (much bigger) brother, the Lumia 820 which costs more than twice the price. It has a dual system-on-chip clocked at 1GHz, 512MB of RAM, a 3.8in display with a 800 x 480 resolution, a 5-megapixel camera and a microSD card slot. O2 sells it for £150 with a £10 additional top up voucher which is a significant discount from the £230 Expansys will charge for the SIM-Free version.

£150 ZTE Grand X

Virgin mobile sells the ZTE Grand X for £200 but ZTE sells it for £150 on its eBay outlet, SIM Free and unlocked. What’s more the latter comes with a dual SIM configuration as well as a different chipset (Mediatek rather than Nvidia). The rest of the configuration is surprisingly mainstream for a smartphone that carries an entry level price tag. Indeed, it is not that different from the much more expensive, Samsung Galaxy S2. It is the cheapest smartphone with a 960 x 540 display that we’ve seen on the market, has 512MB of RAM and a microSD card slot. Check out our review of the ZTE Grand X (albeit a slightly different version).

Desire worked at ITProPortal right at the beginning and was instrumental in turning it into the leading publication we all know and love today. He then moved on to be the Editor of TechRadarPro - a position he still holds - and has recently been reunited with ITProPortal since Future Publishing's acquisition of Net Communities.