Really low budget


Well-known member
Mar 16, 2011
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I'm a music teacher, and considering requiring my private students to have a smart phone for the coming fall term. They don't need to have cell service, or even use wifi; I just want them to have something to use for taking notes, recording audio (doesn't need to be high quality), snapping photos, a tuner and metronome. I also plan to email pdf notes to them, but that's actually optional.

I can show them how to set up what they need, and how to get a Google voice account set up, so they can use it as a phone if they want.

Here's the rub. Some of my students are very low income, like living on social security fixed income level. So I need some budget options for them. They have already spent some major $$ for an instrument and lessons, and I do not want to burden them any more if I can help it.

Does anyone have recommendations for really low budget phones that would fit the bill? Does anything exist in the $50 or even cheaper range?

Thanks in advance for any and all advice. I have even been thinking of picking up a bunch of used phones to provide to them, but I'd prefer not to cross that line if I can avoid it.

Best wishes,


Trusted Member Team Leader
Dec 4, 2012
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I am honestly not sure what to suggest. Almost everything I ma finding sub $50, is horrible; amd I am looking at only one much internal storage is on the device, and assuming 4.5 GB of internal for the OS. I am not finding much with 8 GB (remember, you want them to take sound files and photos....something an SD card may not play nice with).

Aside from that....I am running into another issue....availability. When I see something decent within the price range it's a refurbished item. There is nothing wrong with refurbished, but if you want more than one, you may be hard pressed finding the number you need. Maybe if you grouped 2-3 students per device?


Well-known member
Nov 10, 2012
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Well... that is new.

There are several options in the "pay as you go" devices that are below 50.00. As a general rule, both ZTE and Motorola are doing nice things in the low end market. My son- sick of buying expensive phones he brakes- got a ZTE for 70.00 off the AT&T Go options at our local WalMart and he is very happy with the basic performance and battery life.

Good luck with this. Honestly, this is not a horrid idea. The younger generation depends on the smart phone for everything, you may get a decent response from your students if you can get this idea to fly.

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