Editors' Choice Smartphones: Cheapest iPhone 5, Free Phones with $100 Credit

By , dealnews contributor

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.

  1. Apple iPhone 5 16GB Smartphone
    Store: Fry's
    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.

  2. 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.

    Alternatively, Sprint customers can snag the phone in Pebble Blue or Marble White at Amazon for 1 cent with free shipping.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Unlocked Nokia N8 12MP Smartphone
    Store: Amazon
    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

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

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DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. 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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