Blog: 2009 - year of the budget phone?

Don't get us wrong, we love flagship devices as much as the next geek, but we've noticed more and more low-end handsets arriving at the door to Mobile Choice HQ. Sure, the prepay market has always been well catered for, but the manufacturers seem to be making a lot more fuss about them now than ever before.


Prepay and mid-range handsets are no longer the modest, calls and texts only devices of yore. We're now seeing more and more low-end handsets that not only have slick, sexy high-end looks, but are also fitted with at least a two-megapixel camera, 3G data speeds and a decent onboard music player.


Take the Samsung B2773 Light Edge. Here's a mid-range handset available for just £15 a month that has been modelled almost to the millimetre on the manufacturer's 2008 hero device, the Soul U900. Add in a 3.2-megapixel camera and the ability to surf the internet waves on rapid HSDPA speeds, and it's easy to see why this area of the market is blossoming.


Then there's Nokia's recently launched low- to mid-range music phone series. The highest-spec of the lot, the 5730 XpressMusic is a staunch mid-ranger albeit with a full slide-out QWERTY, while the low-end 5030 basically comes with a FM radio. 


You only have to switch on the news these days to hear the latest chapter in the financial crisis. Still, despite these somewhat trying times, we don't see the stream of high-end devices like the recently unveiled LG Arena and the soon-to-come Nokia N97 and Samsung Tocco Ultra Edition drying up anytime soon.


These hero devices will always drive the market. But with many tightening their purse strings, and manufacturers investing more in the specs and design of non-hero handsets, 2009 also looks to be a massive year for the low to mid-range arena.

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