What is the cheapest smartphone worth buying on the market today?

It seems that everyone has jumped on the smartphone bandwagon in the past few years. Although they were far from the first company to create a smartphone, Apple can surely be credited with the meteoric rise in popularity of the systems, thanks in no small part to their hugely successful iPhone range.

But as we're sure you're aware, the iPhone sits close to the top of the pile when it comes to expense, regardless of the irrefutable quality it offers, so what are the more affordable alternatives? And more importantly, are they any good? We set out to discover what the cheapest smartphone worthy of your money currently is.

Since we can discount Apple right off the bat, we can also rule out HTC. The Asian giant has been gradually gaining headway in the race to the top of the smartphone tree with a string of consistently brilliant (and pricey) handsets like the HTC Hero or HTC Desire.

This leaves Motorola, Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson to battle it out. Although each of these companies offers some seriously high tech devices, they haven't forgotten about the lower end of the market, and regularly release some excellent budget phones for our consumption.

After studying what's on offer from each, we have reached the conclusion that the forthcoming Nokia Astound offers the best value for money in the smartphone range. It's got a 3.5 inch touch screen, 8 MegaPixel camera, 8 GB of memory built in and support for up to 32 GB of additional memory using inexpensive Micro SD storage cards.

Although only available in the USA at the moment it costs a mere $79.99, and we should expect to see it available on our shores at a comparable price very soon.

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