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Budget Android loveliness for all

Look at those gorgeous new Android smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S II and the HTC Sensation, with their enormous 4.3-inch screens. Wouldn't you love to have a beast of a mobile like that to play with? But you're probably tied to a contract, and you're not in a position to spend £400+ on a SIM-free smartphone, we're guessing.

If you want a budget option, there's the Orange Monte Carlo, which offers a high-res 4.3in screen and some decent other specs (5MP camera, 800MHz processor), but it's only available on Orange. Or at least, it was.

But if you're on another network and you don't want to faff about with unlocking, rejoice, because help is at hand. The Orange Monte Carlo is really just a rebadged version of a phone called the Skate, made by Chinese manufacturer ZTE. And now the ZTE Skate is out in the UK in its true form - and unlocked.

OK, it'll cost a little more to get an unlocked Skate SIM-free than it would to get one on Orange Pay as You Go. But not that much more - Clove.co.uk, for example, is asking £220 inc vat for it, compared with around £170 on Orange. It would be cheaper to get it on Orange and then unlock it, that's true, but you'll score points on resale for having the unbadged, original version.

Any way, it's a lot cheaper than a bloomin' Galaxy S II, and that's the main thing.

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