Funny thing is after I lived with the flip phone for a year or so, about a year ago I bought the cheapest smartphone I could ($30, at Walmart!) and was stunned at how much better it was than the GN. OK, the screen was worse, as was the amount of storage -- though the fact it took SD cards mitigated that in part, but it really was faster, smoother, and the UI had less bugs. It resold me on Android.
I honestly don't think price has much to do with device "niceness" in the Android world. Sure, in the early days, you had a few "cheap" phones with sub-WVGA screens that were barely usable, and right until a couple of years ago even the slightly better ones seemed cobbled together, but right now I'm actually seeing low end hardware that's caught up with Android's needs, while critical features continue to get removed from phones as they get more expensive.
And some of those removed features do, actually, make the phone less frustrating. That cheap $30 Walmart special had dedicated navigation buttons for example - its replacement doesn't, meaning I have to swipe from the corners to get buttons that'll close a full screen app or just send that full screen app a "back" signal. How is that an improvement? It isn't. The buttons are removed because it interferes with the lines of the device and would make it fractionally bigger, aesthetic considerations that undermine usability and makes the device more annoying to use.