Books, tuition fees and supplies can leave a dent in your wallet. With only a two-year contract, these budget friendly phones get an A+ for affordability. They take the sting out of not being able to afford iPhone 6.

Document your first term

Just because you’re on a student’s budget doesn’t mean you can’t have a bit of gold in your hand. The HTC One Smartphone has a no-gap, all-metal unibody with tapered edges and a slight curve in it body. The 12 cm (5in) touchscreen in TFT HD Super LCD has crisp HD resolution with vivid colours offers stunningly crisp full HD 1080p displays that can handle text, graphics and videos. Use HTC One’s supersensitive camera for your shots or movies and then use the enhanced photo editing. You can add 3D-style dimensions to your shots as well. The HTC Zoe captures photos and short videos to compile them into personalized movie. Chronicle your first semester at school and add a soundtrack. Crack up the sound without any distortion with the HTC BoomSound’s dual front-facing stereo speakers. The Integrated WiFi means you can connect wherever there’s a WiFi hotspot. The rechargeable lithium-ion battery lasts up to 25.7 hours

Built tough but stays classy

Durable, resistant to dust and waterproof, the Sony Experia Z2 is a sturdy but elegant phone. Sporting a 13 cm (5.2 in.) display screen, with 1920×1080 high resolution, this smartphone has a 1GHZ Quallcomm S4 Plus dual-core CPU. This means fast streaming and gaming. The Sony Experia Z2 Full HD TRILUMINOUS display with Live Colour LED gives you vivid, true-to-life video. Dual stereo speakers featuring Digital Noise Cancellation technology round out the whole mobile entertainment experience. The 16GB built in memory is expandable to 64G, so you’ll have plenty of room for photos, apps, and more. Kit Kat Android 4.4 OS is customizable and works well with any Google Apps from the Play Store. This smartphone also has an excellent camera. The Experia Z2 is equipped with using Sony’s award-winning G Lens that works with 20.7 MP Exmor RS and image sensors to produce high-quality snaps. WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity lets you easily connect to the web or your Bluetooth enabled devices. Great battery life is another bonus. An great phone at an affordable price.


Powerful upgrade

The Moto G (Gen 2) Smartphone is a slim and light smartphone with an elegant design. It’s tall and slender at 141.5 x 70.7 x 10.99mm and weighs 149 grams. It’s been upgraded to a 12.7 (5 in.) HD (720×1280-pixel) IPS LCD screen but has kept its edge-to-edge display stretching to all four corners of the phone. Moto G images are sharp and crisp and the Corning Gorilla Glass means this screen is scratch-proof – a big plus when you’re throwing it into bag or storing it in a locker where there are hard cement floors.

There’s better sound clarity now that dual speakers have been added at the top and bottom. This second generation smartphone also features an 8-megapixel autofocus rear camera with LED flash and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. Definitely big upgrade. It also runs on the super friendly Android 4.4.4 KitKat OS and it already preloaded with a number o Google apps. apps.

Classic substitute

With its signature  Motorola proves that simplicity is powerful. Don’t let the low price tag fool you. The MotoG may cost less than other devices but it performs like a higher end Smartphone. The 11cm (4.5in) TFT LCD touchscreen with 720 x 1280 resolution delivers sharp edge-to-edge HD display so you can watch, read and browse with ease. A

1.2GHz quad-core processor multitasks smoothly and handles the latest Android apps and games. Runs on Android 4.4 (KitKat) operating system for a smooth, customizable user experience with access to a huge variety of apps on Google Play. With 8GB built-in memory (expandable to 32GB), you have enough space to store your files, photos and videos. It’s got a basic 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera and a 5-megapixel rear shooter with LED flash and can record 720p HD video. Motorola has also installed great camera software inclduingthe Auto HDR which helps with the sensor. When it comes to battery life  is an absolute trooper, lasting up to 48 hours. Read my full review on the .

Runner up as most popular

The Nokia Lumia 625 Smartphone makes your apps, photos and videos look vivid and sharp. The 11.9 cm (4.7″ in) LCD touchscreen has 800 x 480 display. This is the phone for an active digital lifestyle; the Lumia People Hub has extensive navigation functions so you can stay in touch with your social network and plan trips with downloadable route and transit maps.

You can even multitask on the go with Office Mobile where you can access, edit and share Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote documents. You get access to 8GB built-in memory with expansion option up to 64GB via microSD card. Link to other Bluetooth 4.0 and WiFi 802.11 access points. Take action shots and edit photos with the 5MP camera. Battery talk time lasts up to 24 hours.

Back to basics

Chatr ZTE F160 Prepaid Cell Phone has no contract to tie you down. It’s pay as you go with this basic cellphone — which can be a good for your budget. It’s got the basic candybar compact body that is perfect for talking and texting (what else do you have time for while in school?). Chatr ZTE has a 6 cm (2.4”) has a 240 x 320 pixel resolution display that sits atop an alpha-numeric keypad. This sleek phone supports up to 8GB of memory and comes equipped with a microSD card as well as a 3- megapixel camera. Leave the Chatr ZTE phone in your locker without it running out of juice – the long-life battery lasts up to 192 hours. Bluetooth lets you sync files with other portable devices.


Shelagh McNally
I’ve been covering technology since 1992 and I’ve seen a lot of technology come and go. I enjoy following the trends, spotting the winners and losers and teaching consumers how to get the best products and services for their needs. My work has been published in the National Post, Reader's, Yahoo, Miami Herald and other North American publications and websites.