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Nokia Lumia 520/521 can't be beat for less than $70
Most people in the US purchase their phones directly from their carrier and look to pay the least amount upfront as possible. This usually means signing a long-term contract and picking up a heavily subsidized phone where the cost of the phone is hidden in the contract fees. And you can buy an affordable one that's not three or more years old.
Times are changing though, thanks in large part to T-Mobile acting like a European carrier. Consumers are starting to understand that buying unlocked smartphones may work better for them.
There are a few reasons you may want to consider an unlocked smartphone, including the following:
- Flexibility to change carriers. You can go with T-Mobile or AT&T from the top four or choose another smaller GSM service provider.
- Limited or no carrier bloatware on the phone. AT&T loads up their phones with a ridiculous amount of apps and services, most of which cannot be removed on Android devices.
- Larger selection of phones, including very low cost phones.
- Ability to use the phone overseas with low cost foreign SIM cards.
- Option to pay carriers just for service and not for the phone subsidy that is rolled in forever.
So now let's look at the best unlocked smartphones available today, in order from lowest price to highest. I tried to find the best under $500, but also included a couple Google Play Editions at the end that exceed this level.
- Nokia Lumia 520 for $59 and Nokia Lumia 521 for $69
- Moto G for $179
- Moto X for $329.99 (16GB) and $379.99 (32GB) until February 14 and then $70 more after that
- Google Nexus 5 for $349 (16GB) and $399 (32GB)
- Samsung Galaxy S III for $370
- Apple iPhone 4s for $409
- HTC One Google Play Edition for $599
- Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition for $649
The Nokia Lumia 520/521 are crazy deals for a phone that performs very well, has a number of Nokia Lumia services, and has no carrier limits. Here's ZDNet's take on the 520.
Some may also be asking about the newest iPhone devices. For your information, the lowest cost unlocked iPhone 5s is $649 (16GB only) with the lowest cost iPhone 5c priced at $549.
ZDNet's Moto G review.
December 10, 2013
The Moto G has its drawbacks, but it's well built, and if its features are sufficient for your needs, then it delivers superb value for money. If you're looking to equip a workforce with a basic Android phone, it's arguably the best choice currently availableThe Moto G has its drawbacks, but it's well built, and if its features are sufficient for your needs, then it delivers superb value for money. If you're looking to equip a workforce with a basic Android phone, it's arguably the best choice currently available.
You can buy the Moto G for $179.