AT&T provides a full lineup on smartphone devices including the iPhone 4 ($199.99) and the Motorola Atrix ($199.99). However, less expensive alternatives do not necessarily mean a drop in quality. While the more expensive models may be out of your budget, our budget picks do not sacrifice style or features. All cell phone prices represent a two-year contract with AT&T.
iPhone 3GS 8GB
The iPhone 3GS is the predecessor to the iPhone 4, but that does not mean it is outdated. This smartphone features a beautiful touch screen, multitasking ability, access to the Apple Apps store and of course a full iPod. Internet surfing is easy to use and ranks among the most user friendly on the market. While the iPhone 4 may feature a faster processor, the 3GS is still quick for basic tasks, internet surfing and gaming. The best feature? The iPhone 4 had a major flaw when it was released; Apple placed the antenna where the phone was held, which contributed to reduced signal strength. The iPhone 3GS never had that problem. Priced at $49, this phone represents a great bargain for consumers who want access to an iPhone but do not want to pay the premium.
HTC Inspire 4G
The Inspire represents a great value for budget minded smartphone customers. The phone features a great 8MP digital camera, ANDROID 2.2 OS, Adobe Flash, large 4″ touch screen and much more. We love the addition of Flash because the program is required to access numerous web-based media, a feature the iPhone does not have. The HD screen is both beautiful and user friendly. Access to the ANDROID marketplace makes this phone great for installing useful apps. Although the phone boasts 4G speeds, AT&T’s 4G network is still expanding. This means 4G speeds are unlikely in most non-major cities. However, as the network unveils, the Inspire will be ready for blazing fast data speeds.
BlackBerry Curve 3G
The Curve 3G is the updated version of the popular BlackBerry 8300 series. This smartphone was built for texting and email with its built in QWERTY keyboard and amazing email client. I currently use the BlackBerry Bold 9700, but got my hands on the Curve 3G. Usability was excellent, whether it was scrolling through the BlackBerry menu, or reading a text, it just felt right. However, the web browser is not the best. Surfing sites on the small screen was difficult, but usable. Overall, for a price of $29.99, this small Curve is perfect for a new smartphone user or a BlackBerry loyalist. However, if internet surfing is your top priority, try the Inspire or iPhone 3GS.