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Fear of Committment? These Unlocked and No-Contract Phones Get You


Shopping for a new phone can be the worst if you're not looking for a new contract to go with it. Despite the efforts of carriers like Virgin and T-Mobile, most phone companies would still rather sell you a phone at a subsidized price with a long contract attached. In the interest of giving our contract-shy readers a helping hand, we've rounded up the week's best unlocked and no-contract phone deals. Grab a no-contract Nokia Lumia 521 for $49, save $58 on an unlocked Sony Xperia Z Ultra, or get $100 off an unlocked iPhone 5.

  1. Nokia Lumia 521Nokia Lumia 521 8GB No-Contract Windows Smartphone for T-Mobile
    Store: Microsoft Store
    Price: $49 with free shipping
    Lowest By: $20

    Is It Worth It?: Don't let this phone's lack of LTE scare you: "Nokia's Lumia 521 is one of the best bargain smartphones on any platform," according to CNET. An Editors' Choice pick at $49, you'll save $20 on this Windows phone. The Lumia 521 features a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 1GHz dual-core processor, a 4" 800x480 IPS LCD, 512MB of RAM, 8GB of internal memory, a 5-megapixel camera, a microSD slot, WiFi, Bluetooth, and Windows Phone 8 OS.

  2. Sony Xperia ZUnlocked Sony Xperia Z Ultra Google Play Edition 16GB 4G LTE Android Smartphone
    Store: Expansys
    Price: $334.99 with free shipping
    Lowest By: $58

    Is It Worth It?: Looking for a phablet? Grab this Google Play Edition Sony Xperia Z Ultra, already unlocked and good to go at $335. That's a $58 savings on this dual-band GSM smartphone, which features a 2.2GHz Qualcomm MSM8974 quad-core processor, a 6.4" 1080p touchscreen, 16GB of internal storage, 2GB of RAM, an 8-megapixel rear camera, a 2-megapixel front camera, 1080p video capture, 802.11a/n wireless, Bluetooth: 4.0, and Android 4.4 OS (KitKat).

    Google Play Edition devices run a more efficient, stock version of Android and receive updates more quickly than devices that operate on a brand-skinned versions of Android. However, these devices may lack certain brand-specific features or apps.

  3. Apple iPhone 5Refurbished Unlocked Apple iPhone 5 64GB GSM Smartphone
    Store: Factory Certified via eBay
    Price: $499 with free shipping
    Lowest By: $100

    Is It Worth It?: We've previously speculated that eBay seller Factory Certified is actually Apple in disguise, as it's able to offer factory-refurbished iPhones (like this one) with full Apple warranties. You'll save $100 on this Editors' Choice iPhone 5, available in Black or White. This previous-gen iPhone features an Apple A6 processor, a 4" 1136x640 Retina display, 64GB of storage, 1GB of RAM, an 8-megapixel iSight camera, a 1.2-megapixel FaceTime HD camera, 1080p video capture, 802.11n wireless, Bluetooth 4.0, and iOS 7.

    A 1-year Apple warranty applies.

  4. Dell Venue ProUnlocked Dell Venue Pro 8GB GSM Windows Smartphone
    Store: Eclipse3211 via eBay
    Price: $59.99 with $9.99
    Lowest By: $4
    Expires: August 23

    Is It Worth It?: This unlocked Dell Venue Pro is only 3G capable, but it offers a slide-out QWERTY keyboard — not an easy find these days. All in all, $60 isn't a whole lot to pay for this Windows phone, which CNET described as "well-built and smooth-running." It features a Snapdragon 1GHz processor, a 4.1" 480x800 AMOLED touchscreen, 8GB of storage, a 5-megapixel camera, 802.11n wireless, Bluetooth, and Windows Phone 7 OS.

Features Writer

Marcy pens consumer news stories of all sorts, in addition to adding pithy prose to many of the roundups you see every day. Her work for DealNews has appeared on sites like Lifehacker, the Huffington Post, and MSN Money. She is by far the most metal member of the DealNews staff, and you can see why by following her on Twitter @ThatBonebright.
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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