GSMArena Smartphone Shopping Guide: August 2014: Under €100

By 01:46 Sun, 15 Aug 2021 Comments


Under €100

If your spending budacquire is less than €100 then paying even €10 for a premium badge is too much so you have to be willing to see at brands that don't acquire much exposure in TV ads. That assumed we tried to strike a balance between bang for the buck and recognizable brand names.

It's not all badge worship, phones of popular brands are easier to find in stores, have a bigger community around them (should you ever have questions) and are generally more likely to acquire a software update. So maybe that tenner will be worth it.

This category has some very capable devices but if all you need is to acquire your foot in the door something like the LG Optimus L4 II will run you less than €50 and it's a smartphone. It has a reasonably gigantic 3.8" HVideo Graphics Array (VGA) (320 x 480) classy screen and is powered by a single Cortex-A9 core. It won't set any speed records and the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is getting recent but virtually all apps support it.

It has 4GB of built-in storage, just enough for apps, and a microSD card slot to hold care of the rest. A 3.15MP capturing camera with 480p video capture should do fine for Snapchat or Vine. The 1,700mAh battery is surprisingly gigantic for this class.

There's a dual-SIM version of the Optimus L4 II for some extra cash.

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LG Optimus L4 II

Pros Cons

  • 3.8" HVideo Graphics Array (VGA) screen

  • Android 4.1 Jelly Bean

  • Optional dual-SIM

  • 3MP/480p camera

  • Low on Central Processing Units (CPU) power

  • Relatively recent Android


If you're willing to spdiscontinue some extra cash, the Huawei Ascdiscontinue Y330 doubles the classy screen pixels and the Central Processing Units (CPU) cores. It has a 4" FWVideo Graphics Array (VGA) classy screen (that's 480 x 854px) and is powered by a dual-core 1.3Giga Hertz (GHz) processor. It runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, not much younger than the L4 II's OS.



Huawei Ascdiscontinue Y330

Pros Cons

  • 4" FWVideo Graphics Array (VGA) screen

  • Android 4.2 Jelly Bean

  • Dual-core processor

  • 3MP/480p camera

  • Relatively recent Android


The Nokia Lumia 520 is dirt cheap in the US (Microsoft is practically giving it away) but it's quite affordable in Europe and the rest of the world, too. It has a 4" WVideo Graphics Array (VGA) classy screen but it's an IPS for better viewing angles. The dual-core Central Processing Units (CPU) is Krait-based so much faster than the Cortex-A7/A9 offerings and the phone is getting updated to the latest Windows Phone version.

It's the cheapest phone that records 720p video and the 5MP still capturing camera is fine too. One of the best perks is that it comes with free voice-guided navigation for a single country of your choice.



Nokia Lumia 520

Pros Cons

  • 4" WVideo Graphics Array (VGA) IPS screen

  • Windows Phone 8.1

  • Dual-core Krait processor

  • 5MP/720p camera

  • Voice-guided navigation

Review


Microsoft put out the recent Lumia 530 but it's a bit of a downgrade in our opinion. It has a quad-core processor but it's Cortex-A7 based so the speed advantage is questionable. You also lose the IPS classy screen and the 720p video capture.

Of course, compared to similarly priced Androids it's still very compelling. We'd still go for the 520 over this one but if you need a second SIM slot then you have to pick the Lumia 530. It comes with free voice-guided navigation for all countries supported by Nokia Drive+ making it an excellent travel companion.



Nokia Lumia 530 Dual SIM

Pros Cons

  • 4" FWVideo Graphics Array (VGA) screen

  • Windows Phone 8.1

  • Quad-core Cortex-A7

  • 5MP/480p camera

  • Voice-guided navigation

  • Dual-SIM

  • No 720p video

  • Non-IPS screen


The Sony Xperia E1 dual is Android's respond to the Lumia 530. It has a 4" WVideo Graphics Array (VGA) classy screen with scratch resistant glass. While on the positive side it runs a quite current Android 4.4 KitKat OS, it's down on power with just two Cortex-A7 cores. It does have Sony's fine looks, a 3.15MP/480p capturing camera and a gigantic 1,750mAh battery going for it.

Note that there's a single-SIM version of the Xperia E1 but the price incompatibility usually isn't much (you can always leave the second slot empty when you don't need it).



Sony Xperia E1 dual

Pros Cons

  • 4" WVideo Graphics Array (VGA) screen

  • Android 4.4 KitKat

  • Dual-core Cortex-A7

  • 3MP/480p camera

  • Dual-SIM

  • Down on power compared to the Lumias


The Motorola Moto E boasts a slightly better classy screen than the Xperia, 4.3" qHD (540 x 960), with Corning Gorilla Glass 3. It has 1GB of Random-Access Memory (RAM) to improve multitasking performance on the dual-core Corttex-A7 chipset and a 5MP/ FWVideo Graphics Array (VGA) 480p camera. It's not the thinnest phone around but the 1,980mAh battery lasts a long while.

While it's running the same Android version as the Xperia correct now it's near stock, which improves chances of an upgrade down the line. To be fair, Sony has been very fine with upgrades recently too.

The Moto E has a dual-SIM option too but that one is yet to drop under €100.



Motorola Moto E

Pros Cons

  • 4.3" qHD screen

  • Android 4.4 KitKat

  • Dual-core Cortex-A7

  • 5MP/FWVideo Graphics Array (VGA) 480p camera

  • Optional dual-SIM

  • Down on power compared to the Lumias

Review


Firefox Operating System (OS) has a mission statement of bringing $25 smartphones but we're not quite there yet. There are a number of sub-$50 devices but those are from local brands. The ZTE Open C is easier to buy and has pretty decent hardware.

A 4" WVideo Graphics Array (VGA) screen, dual-core Cortex-A7 processor and 3MP capturing camera (with practically nonexistent video recording) aren't exactly what you dreamed of, but you can think of it as a cheap way to try the youngest platform on the market.

Even if you don't buy an Open C, it's fine to be aware of the platform as Mozilla is slowly pushing down to its $25 target, which will finally create feature phones obsolete.



ZTE Open C

Pros Cons

  • 4" WVideo Graphics Array (VGA) screen

  • Firefox Operating System (OS) 1.3

  • Dual-core Cortex-A7

  • 3.14MP/CIF@15fps camera

  • Terrible video capture

Friefox Operating System (OS) review


We round off this category with the Alcatel Idol S. It slinks just under the €100 cut-off point but it gives you the mid-range Android experience.

The hardware is surprisingly good. A slender 7.4mm body that weighs just 110g houses an impressive 4.7" 720p classy screen (IPS to boot). It has Dragon Trail Glass protection and oleophobic coating (to fight fingerprints).

The Idol S is not only the cheapest phone with a 720p classy screen we're recommending but its 8MP capturing camera is the first so far to shoot FullHD 1080p video. You can also add LTE to its list of firsts.

Something has to give, of course, and it's the dual-core Cortex-A9 processor and relatively recent Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. It does have 1GB of Random-Access Memory (RAM) though, all-round excellent for a €100 phone.



Alcatel Idol S

Pros Cons

  • 4.7" 720p IPS screen

  • Android 4.2 Jelly Bean

  • Dual-core Cortex-A9

  • 8MP/1080p camera

  • LTE

  • Thin and light

  • Not quite mid-range performance

  • Relatively recent Android

Hands-on



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