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SOME OF THE DEALS MENTIONED IN THE ARTICLE MAY BE EXPIRED

Call Us on It: 5 Budget-Friendly Cell Phone Deals

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By , dealnews contributor

If smartphones get any smarter, we'll probably be able to hire them as our personal assistants to do laundry and fetch coffee. But until then, we're happy to have a handy device that can check the weather, cash checks, update email, comparison shop, and yes, make calls. The phones featured in this roundup include picks from both the Android and iPhone world, as well as a single standard cell phone. Plus, we've got four Editors' Choice deals to boot. Of course, which phone to go for is, dare we say, your call.

  1. Android Smartphones for Sprint
    Vendor: Amazon
    Price: $0.01 with free 2-day shipping
    Lowest By: Varies
    Expires: March 26

    Is It Worth It?: With this Editors' Choice deal, start a new 2-year contract with one of the eligible Android smartphones, and Amazon Wireless will waive the $36 activation fee, making this a bargain that's about as close to free as you can get. A best bet is the Samsung Galaxy S II Epic Touch 4G Android Sprint Phone in Black (pictured) or White, selling for the lowest total price we could find by $80. This CDMA phone features a 4.52" touchscreen display, dual cameras, and runs Android 2.3 OS (Gingerbread).

  2. Cricket Muve ZTE Score Android Smartphone
    Vendor: Best Buy
    Price: $29.99 with free in-store pickup EXPIRED
    Lowest By: $40

    Is It Worth It?: This Editors' Choice bargain allows you to scoop up a no-contract smartphone for just $30. It features a 3.5" capacitive touchscreen, 3.2-megapixel camera, WiFi, Bluetooth, speakerphone, 4GB microSD card, and Android 2.3 OS (Gingerbread).

  3. Unlocked Samsung Star S5230 GSM Smartphone
    Vendor: newegg
    Price: $79.99 via coupon code "EMCNGJG35" with free shipping
    Lowest By: $47
    Expires: March 19

    Is It Worth It?: Make sure you're a newegg email subscriber to get this rockbottom price on the unlocked Samsung Star. This quad-band GSM smartphone weighs 3.3 oz. and features a 3" touchscreen display, 3.2-megapixel camera, with up to 10 hours of talk time, and more.

  4. Refurbished Apple iPhone 4S Smartphones for AT&T
    Vendor: AT&T
    Price: From $249.99 with free shipping
    Lowest by: $49 below new price

    Is It Worth It?: Many iPhone 4 users were gun-shy about jumping to the iPhone 4S, figuring there wasn't enough difference between the two phones to justify spending all that dough. But this deal from AT&T should help sweeten the pot; we're calling it an Editors' Choice for the $49 markdown below new prices. Pick up the Apple iPhone 4S 32GB Smartphone in Black or White for just $249.99. Or go bigger and pocket the 64GB version in Black or White for $100 more, or $349.99.

  5. Refurbished LG 290C Prepaid Cell Phone for Straight Talk bundled with a
    30-Day Unlimited Talk, Text, and Mobile Web Card
    Vendor: Walmart
    Price: $50 with $2.97 s&h
    Lowest By: $52

    Is It Worth It?: Although it's not a smartphone like the above deals, this offer rings in as an Editors' Choice for its amazing value; the bundled prepaid card alone costs $45 direct from Straight Talk! This phone includes a 1.3 megapixel camera, Bluetooth, up to 3 hours talk time and 7.5 days standby time, hands-free speaker, and more. Note that no warranty information is provided.

Front page photo credit: EcoFriend


Lou Carlozo is a dealnews contributing writer. He covers personal finance for Reuters Wealth, and was most recently the managing editor of WalletPop.com, and before that a veteran columnist at the Chicago Tribune.

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Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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