Buyers' Guide

Back To School Gift Guide: Mid-Range Smartphones

Welcome to the Gift Guide section, where we list our favourite smartphones, tablets, accessories and deals of the moment.

In this section, some great inexpensive mid-range phones, usually priced between $20 and $150.

Last updated: August 14th, 2013

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The king of the mid-range, the Nexus 4 is an incredibly powerful device for just over $50 on contract, or $249 from Google Play. Thanks to its unorthodox availability from Google itself, the Nexus 4 never quite got the carrier support it needed to become a mainstream hit.

But with a 720p IPS display, glass front and back, stock Android 4.3 and a decent 8MP camera, the device is still the best bang for your buck, especially if you’re looking to buy off-contract and without device subsidy.

The Nexus 4 is available from Google Play directly for $249 for the 16GB model, or through various carriers for around $50 on a 2-year term.


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The HTC 8X is a delightful little smartphone, with a bevy of delicious colours and a smart design that only HTC could pull off.

Running Windows Phone 8, the phone is fluid, capable and fun, and is great for a first-time smartphone user. Its 720p display and 8MP camera rivals any top-tier device out there, but its unassuming nature has depressed prices and is available for between $0 and $30 depending on the carrier.

See also: HTC 8S for something a little smaller and less expensive without a contract.


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The BlackBerry Q5 does a lot of things right, with a sharp, high definition display, a tight, responsive keyboard and excellent performance.

It almost lives up to the reputation of its big brother, the Q10, but at nearly half the price it’s far cheaper and a much better deal. Though the camera lacks detail and the battery life is underwhelming, it’s a great smartphone for those BlackBerry lovers who want to move into the next generation.[/msgg]

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The Galaxy S3 is still one of the best devices for the money, with a fast dual-core processor, LTE capabilities and a large 4.8-inch 720p display.

Thanks to the release of the Galaxy S4, its predecessor has been heavily discounted and can now be found for under $50 on a 2-year term, and second hand for around $300 outright.[/msgg]