Ten Androids for under 100 quid
Call for change
LG Optimus L3
Out in mobile mystery shopper mode, I quizzed a high street staffer who insisted the LG Optimus L3 was the best sub-£100 phone on offer. Sure, the L3 has many commendable features, such as a reasonable battery life and an HTML5 browser with Flash support, but it's let down so heavily by a sub-standard display and, let's be honest here, it's just plain fugly.
Still it clocks up a decent performance courtesy of a current-gen 800MHz S1 processor, but praise gets thin on the ground from there on. Not only does the resolution on the 3.2in screen lack sharpness at a hopeless 240 x 320 pixels, but its density of 125ppi doesn't help matters and really poor viewing angles adds to the grumbles.
There's no front-facing snapper and the 3Mp camera on the rear is insubstantial too. Urgh. Shop around and its probably worth the £50 you might find it for, but if you're being asked for nearer a ton, then there are far better choices out there.
Reg Rating 70%
More info LG
Staff workforce isn't the only thing Motorola has cut down in size, after it recently trimmed an Android handset to compete in the sub-£100 market too. The Motosmart – which hits shelves this month running Android 2.3 Gingerbread – is a generic, yet fetching design, akin to the company's slightly more upmarket Motoluxe model. It's comfortable in the hand too and feels sturdy enough to take the occasional knock.
The 3.5in 480 x 320 display looks reasonably sharp, although some rivals in this roundup offer finer resolutions and, as a brand new model for this summer, you'd expect Moto to bring more to the table. At least the 3Mp camera manages to outperform most of the snappers found here.
Featuring Motorola's MotoSwitch overlay, the Motosmart nips along with only occasional lag thanks to a current-gen S1 800MHz processor. Unlike some of the pre-production samples that were floating around, I found this retail ready Motosmart put in a respectable performance. At this end of the market, though, differentiation works better than simply producing a me-too handset and there's little that sets the Motosmart apart. Still, once the novelty has worn off, and with it the requisite price drop, the Motosmart could turn out to be a useful buy, just don't hold your breath for Ice Cream Sandwich.
Reg Rating 75%
More info Motorola