Android continues to grow in popularity as it powers high-profile, high-powered flagship devices. One of the greatest aspects of Android, however, is that it enables cheaper hardware to run a fully capable OS that also has a huge ecosystem of applications, and a modern web browser.
Forum member Z4CH1NT0SH has asked our Android forums what the best “cheap” Android device is. He is looking for a device around the $200 ballpark, though isn’t afraid to go a little higher for quality.
Without a doubt, the best unlocked, cheap device currently available is the Nexus 4. Built by LG, powered by a Snapdragon SoC, and running the very latest version of Android from Google, the Nexus 4 is literally competing with the iPhone 5, Galaxy S III, and HTC One X, but at roughly half the (unlocked) price. The combination of hardware and software is well worth the extra $99 that would be required to be spent in order to obtain this device.
The Nexus 4 is available directly from Google.
There are, however, other options. Likely the cheapest of all of these is the Sony Xperia U, which shipped last year. It is being sold on Amazon for only $214 new and unlocked, which is quite a deal. The device is powered by a 1 GHz Cortex A9 dual-core CPU, features a 5 MP camera, and is compatible with most GSM networks. The downsides include Sony’s skin, a low screen resolution, and an outdated version of Android.
Lastly, the Galaxy Nexus is still a great device. While not officially available from Google, it is being sold quite cheap on Ebay: anywhere from $220 to $275 will land you the predecessor to the Nexus 4. The Galaxy Nexus is also unlocked, which means that it can be used on almost any GSM network. Shopping around for the device could land you quite a deal.
So there are three options, but what else is there in the Wide World of Android? What is the cheapest device possible? Is the Nexus 4 really the best device in its price category? Sound off in the comments!