Five smartphones for less than $300
You don't need to sign up for a two-year contract to make a smartphone affordable!
These phones won't always run the latest apps perfectly or work as fast as you may like, but they'll certainly let you check your email and Facebook, browse the web, transfer money around, and tweet your thoughts - many of the things that make smartphones great.
LG Optimus L5 II
$299 (off contract) from Telecom.
This LG packs a pretty good punch for the price point. While the camera isn't great, it's got a decent 1GHz processor, a fairly good screen, and runs Android 4.1, which is close enough to up-to-date. This means most Android apps will run fine, except for exceptionally demanding games.
Nokia Lumia 520
$299 (off contract) from Telecom, 2 Degrees, Vodafone and retail outlets.
A solid phone that feels good in your hands, with a great screen, excellent camera, and speedy dual core processor. This Lumia runs Windows Phone 8, not Android. It's a much prettier, smoother operating system, but there are far fewer apps and games available.
Samsung Galaxy Ace 2
$299 (off contract) from Telecom and retail outlets.
This Galaxy is a far cry from the gigantic S4, but it does offer a swift dual core processor, an excellent camera, and a crisp screen. Annoyingly, it runs Android 2.3, an older version of the operating system which doesn't run as many apps.
Samsung Galaxy Young Blue
$199 (off contract) from Telecom.
While this is the cheaper Galaxy on the list, it runs a newer version of Android, 4.1. However, it is cheaper for a reason, with a decidedly 'budget' feel permeating every aspect of the phone's hardware. Decent for the price.
Huawei Ascend Y201
$159 (off contract) from 2 Degrees.
Surprisingly, this cheaper than cheap Huawei runs the relatively modern Android 4.0. Unsurprisingly, the screen, processor and camera aren't so hot. Still, you could do a lot worse for the price - it's still a capable phone.