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An Android Phone for $29? Here's What You Get

If you've got $30 burning a hole in your wallet, you've got enough money to pay for Alcatel's latest budget phone. But you will have to settle for some stripped-down specs and a tie-in to a single prepaid carrier to enjoy that bargain-basement price tag.

Alcatel's Tru smartphone is available for $29 when you get it through MetroPCS. That puny price tag includes a $20 instant rebate from the prepaid carrier plus a $60 mail-in rebate. Otherwise, the phone costs a less staggering $109.

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You'll be giving up some performance should you opt for the Tru. Alcatel says the phone is powered by a quad-core 1.1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon. From the spec sheet, it looks like a Snapdragon 210, a CPU that's turned in some sluggish results when we've tested the ZTE Grand X3 and HTC Desire 530.

Other specs include a 854 x 480 5-inch display, 2,000 mAh battery and 8GB of storage that you can expand to 32GB with a microSD card. The Tru's rear camera is powered by a 5-megapixel sensor, with a 2-MP shooter up front for selfies.

Phone makers are increasingly looking for ways to appeal to shoppers put off by high-priced flagship smartphones with budget models. Some, like Motorola and Blu, have turned to lower cost versions of their phones supported by Amazon Prime ads.

Alcatel is following a more traditional path with Tru, betting that shoppers will be willing to compromise on some specs if it means lower-cost hardware. We're looking forward to seeing how the Tru measures up to the growing number of budget smartphones.

Philip Michaels
Philip Michaels is a senior editor at Tom's Guide. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics and old movies. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.