Smartphone Deals: Samsung Galaxy S3 for 1 Cent, An iPhone 5 Plan That Saves

By Joshua Nichol-Caddy, dealnews contributor

OK, it's 2013. It's high time to embrace on-the-go smartphone technologies. Not only is having internet access at the palm of your hand a convenience, but these smartphone deals make investing in a new cell phone an inexpensive venture.

  1. Samsung Galaxy S III 16GB 4G Android Smartphone for Sprint
    Store: Amazon Wireless
    Price: 1 cent with free 2-day shipping EXPIRED
    Lowest By: $80

    Is It Worth It? According to CNET, the Samsung Galaxy S III is "[p]umped with high-performing hardware and creative software features" and "is an excellent, top-end phone." But it won't cost you top-dollar with this Editors' Choice deal: the one cent price point ties our mention from a week ago and is the best price we've seen for this phone from Sprint.

    This 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. Note that a $36 activation applies.

    If you're not a Sprint fan, check out the refurbished Samsung Galaxy S III 4G Android Smartphone for AT&T in both Marble White and Pebble Blue for $29.99 with free shipping and a new 2-year contract. That's $20 under our now-expired mention of a new model of this phone from two weeks ago and $100 below the lowest total price we could find for a new AT&T unit today. Note that a 90-warranty applies, but it's unclear who supports it. Also, a $36 activation fee applies.

  2. iPhone 5 with Unlimited Talk, Text, and Data Plan via Straight Talk Wireless
    Store: Walmart
    Price: From $749 and $45/month with free in-store pickup

    Is It Worth It?: For those who are hesitant to switch over to a smartphone, for fear of dealing with contracts and expensive data plans, this deal will change your mind. While you'll have to invest upfront in a new Apple iPhone 5 in Black or White starting at $749 (the 16GB version is currently sold out), you can then save about $1,000 over a 2-year period, according to the New York Times, when you also sign up for a pay-as-you-go plan like Straight Talk Wireless. You'll get unlimited talk, text, and data for $45 a month. Yes, that's unlimited data, which Gotta Be Mobile calls "incredibly attractive," and we call just plain smart.

  3. HTC EVO V 4G Prepaid Android Smartphone for Virgin Mobile
    Store: Virgin Mobile
    Price: $149.99 with free shipping
    Lowest By: $30
    Expires: February 12

    Is It Worth It?: Again, for those cell phone users who don't want to be tethered by 2-year contracts, Virgin Mobile continues to discount select smartphones, including the pictured HTC EVO V 4G Prepaid Android Smartphone, which is $149.99 after the promotion. According to CNET, this is "one of the most compelling phones to hit Virgin Mobile in a long while," despite a few design flaws.

    Also available through this deal is the contract-free Motorola Triumph 3G Prepaid Android Smartphone for Virgin Mobile for $179.99 (a low by $35). According to Laptop Mag, "the Motorola Triumph provides a very good Android experience without a contract," though they note that its battery life isn't the greatest. Note that this offer expires January 28.

  4. HTC Droid DNA 4G 1080p Android Smartphone for Verizon Wireless
    Store: LetsTalk
    Price: $107.99 via coupon code "TALK4TEN" with free shipping
    Lowest By: $42

    Is It Worth It?: Although we saw this smartphone for $18 less three weeks ago, this is the lowest total current price we could find by $42. Sign up for the 2-year contract and pay the $35 activation fee, and you're still coming out ahead with "HTC's flagship Android phone." And despite a few design flaws, the Droid DNA has a "top-notch" camera and "is at the top of its class."

    Features include a 5" 1920x1080 (1080p) touchscreen with Corning Gorilla Glass 2, Qualcomm 1.5GHz quad-core processor, up to 12.8-hour talk time, 16GB internal memory, 8-megapixel rear camera with 1080p video recording, 2.1-megapixel front camera, microSD card slot, Bluetooth 4.0, and Android 4.1 OS (Jelly Bean).

  5. Unlocked Cobalt 5" 8GB Capactive Touchscreen Android Phone
    Store: Cobalt Electronics via eBay
    Price: $159 with free shipping
    Lowest By: $5

    Is It Worth It?: Unlocked phones are the perfect way to make the most of the smartphone world. Free of contracts and networks, insert an active GSM SIM card into this quad-band GSM handset — which is the cheapest unlocked 5" 8GB Android 4.0 phone we could find — and start making calls and browsing the web right away.

    Features include a 5" 800x480 touchscreen display, 1GHz processor, 512MB RAM, 8GB memory, microSD memory expansion, 5-megapixel camera and camcorder, Bluetooth 2.0, WiFi, Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) OS, and more.

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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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Emily Dovi (DealNews)
That's right.There is no LTE service via Straight Talk, but instead HSPA+ service.
I remember reading that the StraightTalk plan from Walmart is 3G only, and does not include LTE access. Seems to me that that would remove much of the reason to drop $700+ on an LTE-capable phone.
Agree - I am not seeing the 1 cent gs3 on amazon at all...booooo
Amazon Wireless is reporting the GS3/Sprint for $99 not the 1¢ you note.