Cheapest Good Android Experience

I'm not exactly secretive of the fact that I don't like Android, I don't think it is a bad operating system, and I don't think people can't enjoy it, but it just hasn't been for me, I haven't really been able to cope with its compromises the same way I have been able to with my platform of choice. That being said, Android has come a long way since I last used it in any meaningful way, and though I have used the latest and greatest Android has to offer, this has never been in any way more than a short "test drive" if you will. To fix this issue I want to live with Android, I want to actually experience Android, and see what it is really like to use an Android device in 2014. I want to give Android a proper chance.

I don't however, want to break my bank, hence the title, I want a cheap way to get a good Android experience. After all I don't really expect whatever I get to turn into my daily driver, nor do I expect it to change my entire outlook on the platform. I'm not exactly on a budget here, and while I could easily afford one of the more high end options, here is my criteria.

  • Cheap (duh) $300 is probably my max limit, and I'd definitely prefer it to be lower than that
  • I don't care if it is used, so long as it is through a distributer like Amazon
  • I don't care if it is stock or not, so long as the skin doesn't kill the experience and the
    OS isn't outdated
  • It can be a phone or tablet
  • I don't want any contracts, none, not up for discussion
  • I will NOT root; I refuse to use Android in a way that most common consumers wouldn't, I have simple needs anyway and I hate the idea of rooting/ jailbreaking in general, I just can't be bothered.

Thank you for all and any suggestion given in advance, I hope I can give android a fair shake and I'll post my results here in this forum.