Since it release, the best budget Android phone in the market has been the LG Optimus One. As competition arrived, the prices of the Optimus One adjusted with the market, and more than six months after it was released, it is still the best budget Android. It is now selling for as low as Php9,800 with an official one year LG warranty.
The Optimus One has a 320 x 480 (HVGA) pixel resolution, which is improtant since this was the original Android reference screen resolution, which means good app compatibility. The 3.2 inch TFT capacitive touchscreen display is big enough and the 600MHz processor and 512MB of RAM make this phone fast enough. It runs Froyo (Android) 2.2, which is good enough even if not updated (and an update to 2.3 is promised). This allows you to install apps on the SD card making the low internal storage of budget phones less of an issue.
When the price went below 10K, we stopped recommending the 240 x 320 screen resolution budget offerings which we had been recommending. The 320 x 480 is well worth the additional 1-2K.
But our favorite budget Droid now faces some serious competition.
Cherry Mobile Cosmo. Get past the Cherry branding. Cherry is an ODM which sells phones manufactured by third parties under their own brand name. The Cherry Mobile Cosmo is actually a Spice Mi-310. These are the official Cherry Mobile Cosmo specifications:
- Android 2.2 (Froyo)
- Qualcomm MSM 7227 600Mhz
- 3.2" HVGA Capacitive Touchscreen
- ROM: 512MB / RAM: 256MB
- Dual Band GSM / GPRS / EDGE
- WCDMA / HSDPA
- 2MP Camera
- Portable Wifi Hotspot
- WIFI / Bluetooth / 3G / GPS
- FM Radio
- Standard Micro USB 2.0
- 3.5mm Stereo Audio Jack
- Expandable Memory up to 16GB
Priced a Php6,900 is has similar specifications to the Optimus One and is a very good alternative. It is not as good as the Optimus One coming with only half the RAM, a smaller battery (1300 mAh instead of 1500 mAh) and a lower specification camera. It also apparently cannot handle 32GB MicroSD Cards, being limited to 16GB. But it is priced Php2,900 lower, roughly about 33% less.
Alcatel OT-990. Another new offering is the Alcatel OT-990. Specifications are similar to the Cosmo, but it comes with a larger 3.5-inch screen, a 5MP auto focus camera and can handle 32GB MicroSD cards. Price is supposed to be about Php10K. Basically, the OT-990 will have a larger screen and higher MP camera, with the Optimus One having more RAM and a larger battery.
At this price Optimus One looks like better tried and tested choice, but a 3.5-inch screen 320 x 480 screen is a big plus factor. That is the screen size and resolution is that of an Apple iPhone 3GS.
Others. You also have two offering from Torque, dual sim Androids at Php7,999 at Php9,999... but those are honest to goodness "China phones" manufactured by companies who we cannot identify. One is a know-off of an HTC, the other a iPhone 4 look-a-like (down to the buttons). We will hold off on recommending these for now until we find out more about them.
The choice is yours, but it is great to have choices.
Update: The Alcatel OT-990 is available for Php9,999, but that is a temporary promotional price. The regular price is Php14,999, which is much higher than the Samsung Galaxy Ace which has better spec's.