Top five phones from under £150

ZTE Racer

An Android phone for under a £100? ZTE shows it can be done with the bargain fuelled ZTE Racer. Its dinky pebble like design means it fits snuggly in your hand and pocket, while the feature set is not to be sniffed out either. Not only do you get an above average 3.15-megapixel camera complete with auto-focus and video recording abilities, it's also equipped with both Wi-Fi and HSDPA meaning speedy browsing and near flawless video streaming. There's even A-GPS thrown into the mix for all your navigational needs. The 2.8-inch touch-screen display may not be the most vivid or the most tactile, but again we'll repeat, this is an Android 2.1 handset for under £100.

PRICE: £99.99 from Three


Size: 102x55x14.5mm

Weight: 100g

Internet: Wi-Fi, HSDPA

OS: Android 2.1

Camera: 3.15-megapixel camera, auto-focus

Talktime: 210 minutes

Standby: 200 hours

Samsung Galaxy Europa

The Samsung Galaxy S was one of our phones of the year in 2010 but it comes at a cost. A cheaper alternative is the Galaxy Europa which while without the higher end features still offers the Android experience. Samsung has maintained a capacitive touch-screen, when resistive screens are far more commonplace on a handset of this calibre, while the inclusion of Wi-Fi is another feather in the Europa's cap. It may be lacking the 1GHz processor found on its bigger brother, but the 600MHz chip means it's no slouch either and with an impressive battery life and eye-catching design, the Samsung Europa is a great introduction to the Galaxy family.

PRICE: £112.33 from O2


Size: 108x56x12.3mm

Weight: 102g

Internet: Wi-Fi, HSDPA

OS: Android 2.1

Camera: Two-megapixels

Talktime: 390 minutes

Standby: 375 hours 

BlackBerry Curve 8520

While we're fans of RIM's SureType keyboards found on the Pearl range, you can't beat a good old fashioned QWERTY keyboard. This is exactly why we love the BlackBerry Curve 8520. The keys are expertly spaced apart and are raised enough so that you can easily determine them apart. It makes for a quick fire typing process whether you're composing texts, emails or simply updating your Facebook status. The connectivity speeds rely on an EDGE connection, but the inclusion of Wi-Fi is another welcome addition, and you can of course sync multiple email accounts, receiving your correspondence as push. The 2.64-inch TFT display may be too small for some people's requirements, particularly if you're heavy internet users, but if you're after a QWERTY keyboard toting BlackBerry and don't fancy splashing out on the more expensive Bold 9780, then the BlackBerry Curve 8520 is great value for your buck.

PRICE: £129.95 from Orange


Size: 109x60x13.9mm

Weight: 106g

Internet: Wi-Fi, EDGE

OS: BlackBerry OS 5

Camera: Two megapixels

Talktime: 270 minutes

Standby: 408 hours  

HTC Smart

Good looks are at the heart of this smartphone pretender. It's a real head-turner, but manages this feat in a subtle rather than brash manner. For example, the four physical buttons found at the bottom of the handset are framed in the same anodized black as the rest of the front facing fascia. The back of the handset is constructed in such a way that it looks as though it is actually made of aluminum, when in fact it is plastic. Though it runs on Qualcomm's unfamiliar Brew operating system, it's easy to master and you can customize each of the home screens to your liking. It may be lacking on some key features - there's no Wi-Fi or GPS - but for value for money, the HTC Smart is a real winner.

PRICE: £69.99 from Argos


Size: 104x55x12.8mm

Weight: 108g

Internet: HSDPA

OS: Brew

Camera: 3.15-megapixels

Talktime: 370 minutes

Standby: 600 hours 

Orange San Francisco

Throw in a 3.5-inch capacitive touch-screen, Android 2.1, Wi-Fi, GPS and HSDPA and it's already sounding like the Orange San Francisco is onto being a winner. Yet add the £99 price tag into the mix and this stands out as a real contender. The matt rubber chassis may account for some of the reason as to how Orange has kept cost to a minimum, but this material fails to deter from the handsets fetching looks. The 3.5-inch display makes for a pleasurable browsing and sat nav experience, and though we weren't enamoured with the unnecessary preloaded Orange apps, you can of course pimp the San Francisco out with any number of applications from the Google Android Market.

PRICE: £99 from Orange


Size: 116x56.5x11.8 mm

Weight: 110g

Internet: Wi-Fi, HSDPA

OS: Android 2.1

Camera: 3.2-megapixels, LED flash, auto-focus

Talktime: 240 minutes

Standby: 192 hours

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Mobile Choice

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