In the bad old days, getting your hands on a decent mobile meant shelling out a fortune and signing up for a pricey contract too. Not any more. Now there are more and more SIM-free mobile phone deals meaning you can get a decent SIM free handset, and the best priced call and text bundles without a long contract. Phones are getting smaller and smarter, and their price tags are doing the same - and that means you can get a great new mobile without making a great big dent in your bank balance. It's no wonder these five phones are firm favourites.
Samsung E2121B £29.99
If you want a do-everything phone for a bargain price tag, Samsung's latest pocket rocket will be right up your street. At just 83g the Samsung is incredibly light, but that doesn't mean it's light on features: there's a built-in MP3 player, an FM radio with a recording feature, an internet browser and a camera, and the E2121B is as handy for email as it is for texts and calling. It's a doddle to use, you can add more storage via MicroSD cards and there's even Bluetooth for your hands-free, and the battery's good for a mighty ten hours of talktime.
Nokia 2220 Slide Graphite £44.99
Nokia makes some of the world's favourite mobiles, and the 2220 Slide is another winner: it's a compact and stylish slider that covers all the essentials - email, calendar, alarm clock and camera - with a clear, bright screen, FM radio with recording mode, web browser, built-in MP3 player, massive internal storage for your photos and up to five hours of talktime. You can customise the home screen and choose your own ringtones, and the slide-out keyboard is great for emailing and texting. It's a superb little phone: a portable, practical performer.
Sony Ericsson Spiro £69.99
Any phone with the Walkman logo on the front had better be serious about sound quality. The Spiro delivers the best sounds around, with support for your favourite Bluetooth headphones, a built-in FM radio and a clever music recognition system that can identify songs when you're out and about. The Spiro isn't just about music, though: it also does Facebook and Twitter, displays text and picture messages in chat window style, has an integrated camera and delivers up to 476 hours of standby time - or an impressive four and a half hours of constant chat.
Nokia C2-02 £89.99
If you liked the Nokia 2220 but would prefer a touch-screen phone to a slider, the C2-02 is the phone for you. At 2.6 inches the screen is big enough for easy navigation but not so big it destroys your pockets, and as you'd expect from a Nokia it does everything you could possibly want: not just calling and texting but picture messaging, MP3 and FM radio with recording, web browsing and email, Facebook, Twitter and Flickr, maps, downloadable games and even video recording. It's good for five hours of talktime and a massive 37 hours of music playback, which means you'll run out of energy long before your mobile does.
Nokia C3 £89.99
If your thumbs are always flying as you type, text or chat online, you'll love Nokia's C3 smartphone: not only does its QWERTY keyboard offer lightning-fast typing, but its WhatsApp Messenger software lets you group chat, text and IM without paying for extra text messages. There's Facebook and Twitter edition, a great email app and dedicated widgets to keep you up to date with your texts, emails and IMs, and of course it does MP3s, FM radio and Bluetooth too. There's even wireless networking so you can get speedy Wi-Fi wherever there's a hotspot. Expect five hours of talktime, more than 30 hours of music and up to 800 hours of standby from a single charge.
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