Those of us picking budget smartphones in the US seldom have the choice of a toughened smartphone, and it’s even more of a challenge when we’re not signed on to one of the top four carriers. US Cellular is offering the cost-conscious a (hardened) olive branch by shipping the Alcatel One Touch Shockwave. Skip past the creaky Android 2.3, 800MHz processor, 3.2-megapixel camera and 3.5-inch, 480 x 320 display — a shock- and water-resistant shell as well as Dragontrail-based glass should keep the smartphone working through most forms of casual abuse. We also don’t mind having preloaded Amazon Appstore and media apps, although the frugal 2GB microSD card in the box won’t leave much room for any downloading. We’d at least keep the Shockwave on the short list when the $ 50 price and long-lasting design will leave ample funds for just about everything else.
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