Well, I was thinking about this the other day, doesn’t it suck when you break your phone and come to find out that phone you thought was only worth between $0.00 and $200, is really a $300-$850 device. For example to replace a broken iPhone 5, you would have to cough up $650 just for the base model. Its a similar story on the Android side as to replace a broken Galaxy SIII would run you between $400-$600. I found a couple of nice phones, with excellent hardware if you ever find yourself needing to replace that phone of yours.
P.S. If your stuck on CDMA networks (Sprint, Verizon, Virgin, Boost, MetroPCS), unlocked phones really aren’t an option and one of the reasons I prefer GSM over CDMA. With GSM (think At&T and T-Mobile and every other carrier in the world) you can switch carriers on a whim by switching SIM cards. This can lead to a healthy cell phone market with fair prices and no imaginary data caps. This can change, when unlocked phones start taking off Sprint and Verizon will have to develop interchangeable SIM cards, or convert to GSM (like the rest of the world).
Cresponian Approved unlocked phone for $300-$700: Nexus 4 by LG and Google
Cresponian Joy: Pure Android experience, updates straight from Google, NFC, wireless charging, beautiful display, fast Snapdragon S4 Pro processor.
Cresponian RAGE: No expandable storage, no removable battery, camera is not as good as SGS3 or HTC One X, glass back can shatter,moronic decision not to offer 32GB and 64GB versions
Networks supported: AT&T 4G HSPA+, T-Mobile 4G HSPA+
Cresponian Words: This Phone makes almost every other phone on the market pointless. Almost. The lack of storage options is the real sticking point for me. Considering some Android games(and iOS games) are getting titanic, Bards Tale is 3.5GB, and as such really wouldn’t fit on the 8GB Nexus 4 after installing a few basic apps, not to mention the OS only leaves about 5GB of storage left, considering the horsepower under the hood on this phone, the 8GB model is tantamount to putting a lawnmower gas tank on a Lamborghini. You’ll run outa gas before you can have any fun with it. The 16GB one is somewhat useful, and if you use the cloud for music and storing pictures, you can even install some of the larger games that actually take advantage of the hardware on it.
Despite my issue with the lack of storage on this phone, the Nexus 4 is really an amazing device. The screen seems to float above the rest of the phone. It’s magical. It also has twice the performance potential of the Galaxy SIII, as this phone uses a quad-core version of the dual-core in the GSIII, not to mention the Graphics chip which is at least twice as powerful as the GSIII, put all this together and you really have to think to yourself, why is Samsung,HTC,LG,Apple selling phones that are either equal or half as powerful for twice the price? That is why this phone makes almost every other phone on the market pointless.
Cresponian Approved unlocked phone for $200-250: Sony Xperia U
Cresponian Joy: 3.5 inch Reality Display powered by the Mobile BRAVIA Engine, Android 4.0, dual-core 1 GHz processor.
Cresponian RAGE: No expandable storage, no NFC.
Networks supported: AT&T 4G HSPA+, T-Mobile 4G HSPA+ (in select cities)
Last Amazon Price: $202
Final Words: For about $200 the hardware is actually pretty good. The screen is gorgeous even though it’s pretty small, it’s really sharp. It has a dual-core 1Ghz A9 CPU and the Mali-400 GPU, and they have proven to be a pretty awesome combination. Sony is a pretty good phone maker, but I fear this may not receive updates further than Ice Cream Sandwich, which it was upgraded to from Gingerbread. But, for $200, if you broke your phone and need a solid little phone to hold you over till your contracts over, or you want to try out one of the up and coming pre-pay services like SIMple Mobile, Straight Talk, T-Mobile(which can be as low as $30 a month), this little guy would be a great start.