Sure, the winter solstice is neigh, but these smartphone deals can't get much hotter. These five Editors' Choice picks are for some of the most in-demand models of 2012, including the Samsung Galaxy S III and the Apple iPhone 5, and more.
Apple iPhone 5 16GB Smartphone
Price: $126 with free in-store pickup
Lowest By: $1
Is It Worth It?: While Walmart charges just a buck more for Apple's "best iPhone to date," this deal comes in at $126 and is the lowest price we've ever seen for an iPhone 5. It features an Apple A6 processor, 326-ppi (pixel per inch) Retina 4" display running at 640x1136, front- and rear-facing cameras, 8-megapixel camera with LED flash, 1080p video capture at 30 fps, 802.11n dual-band wireless networking, 1GB RAM, dual microphones, and more. Of note, 32GB and 64GB models are available for $226 and $326, respectively. Those are also price lows. The phones come in White or Black, and you'll need a new 2-year agreement to get these prices.
Samsung Galaxy S III 4G Android Smartphone for Verizon bundled with a $100 Dell Gift Card
Store: Dell Home
Price: $99.99 with free shipping
Lowest By: $150
Expires: December 22
Is It Worth It?: Tied with last week's mention and the lowest total price we could find (assuming you use the gift card), this is a phone that CNET praises mightily: "Pumped with high-performing hardware and creative software features, the Samsung Galaxy S III is an excellent, top-end phone that's neck and neck with the HTC One X." Available in four colors (Marble White pictured), this quad-band CDMA 4G phone features a 4.8" 720x1280 Super AMOLED touchscreen, Snapdragon 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB memory, 8-megapixel rear camera, 2-megapixel front camera, 1080p video capture, GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11n wireless, Google Android 4.0 OS (Ice Cream Sandwich), and more. You'll need to pay a $35 activation fee for a new 2-year contract.
Best Buy Cell Phone Sale
Store: Best Buy Mobile Solutions
Discount: 25% off via coupon code "HOLIDAY25"
Shipping: 99 cents s&h or free in-store pickup
Is It Worth It?: Sign up for a new, 2-year cell phone contract at Best Buy, and you'll save 25% off a new smartphone of your choice via coupon code "HOLIDAY25". This promotion is tied with our November mention and the best percent-off coupon we've seen from Best Buy Mobile Solutions, as it yields several price lows.
Verizon Wireless Android Cell Phones bundled with $100 Dell Gift Card
Store: Dell Home
Price: From free
Shipping: Free shipping
Expires: December 22
Is It Worth It?: These Verizon Android phones are a rare find: Assuming you use the gift card, a number of these cell phone become for-profit: they are at no cost to you and are bundled with a $100 Dell Home gift card. This promotion includes the Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX 32GB 4G LTE Smartphone for Verizon Wireless bundled with a $100 Dell Gift Card for $49.99 with free shipping (a low by $120). CNET praises the DROID RAZR MAXX for its "marathon-worthy battery life" and "multimedia chops." This 9mm-thick phone includes a 4.3" AMOLED Corning Gorilla LCD, Kevlar backing and water-repellent nanocoating, 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, 32GB total memory (16GB built-in, 16GB microSD card pre-installed), 802.11n wireless, Bluetooth, and Android 2.3.5 OS (Gingerbread). A $35 activation fee applies.
Unlocked Nokia N8 12MP Smartphone
Price: $199.99 with free shipping
Lowest By: $100
Is It Worth It?: This the lowest total price we've seen for this phone by $100, one that CNET says "excels as a camera phone" and is "one of the company's best smartphones to date. While this phone has an MSRP of $549, we found it for just $200 in Green (pictured), Blue, or Silver. It features a 3.5" 640x360 AMOLED touchscreen, GPS with voice navigation, accelerometer, ambient light detector, 12-megapixel camera with Xenon flash and Carl Zeiss optics, 720p video capture, 16GB of internal memory, microSD card slot, microUSB interface, HDMI port, 802.11n wireless, Symbian 3 OS, and more. It comes