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The Ultimate Smart Phone Buying Guide: The Cheapest Places to Get the Best Phones

Posted In:  cell phone

With the emergence of Amazon Wireless, your smart phone shopping options have opened up exponentially. You can save $100 or more buying through Amazon instead of your service carrier’s website. Here is a breakdown of the top-rated phones and notes on where you can get the best deal on each phone.

On all phones, you get the same plans and the same devices, just different discounts and special offers. I based my research on phone prices in my Plymouth, MA location. Phone ratings came from the service providers’ websites because Amazon Wireless, being a new service, does not have many ratings on its site yet. Your results may vary depending on availability and location. All prices assume you commit to a two-year phone plan. Prices can change at any time.


AT&T Top Rated Phones and Prices

  • Motorola Bravo, $49.99
  • Blackberry Pearl 3G (9100), $149.99
  • Samsung Focus, $99
  • Blackberry Curve 8900, $9.99
  • Palm Pre Plus, Free!
  • Samsung Captivate, $149.99


 Right now, AT&T is offering free activation and free overnight shipping. However, most of these phones cost just one penny at Amazon Wireless, including free shipping. You will have to pay an activation fee of $36 as a new customes or $18 if you are an existing customer. This makes AT&T is your best bet only for the Palm Pre Plus and the Blackberry Curve 8900. Amazon has the Pre Plus for one penny, but you still have to pay for activation, making it cost more in the end. Amazon doesn’t offer the Blackberry Curve 8900.

A Word about the iPhone

The AT&T iPhone stands in a class by itself. In fact, AT&T’s site doesn’t even offer ratings or customer reviews. You can’t get the iPhone at Amazon Wireless, so if you’re looking for a good deal on the latest iPhone 4, the best you can do is a $79 refurbished phone from AT&T. Unfortunately, there are no other special deals to go along with that.


Verizon Top Rated Phones and Prices

  • Motorola Droid R2D2, $199.99
  • Motorola Droid X, $199.99
  • HTC Droid Incredible, $99.99
  • LG Vortex, $39.99
  • Samsung Fascinate, $199.99
  • Blackberry Bold 9650, $99.99


Verizon does not charge an activation fee if you are upgrading your existing phone line. If you are adding a new phone, you’ll pay $35. Right now, Verizon is offering free shipping on all of these phones, but so is Amazon. All things being equal, you’ll save between $39.99 and $150.00 buying at Amazon Wireless. The HTC Droid Incredible, LG Vortex and Blackberry Bold 9650 care all just one penny. Both of the Motorola Droids are $150 cheaper at Amazon at $49.99 each. The Samsung Fascinate is $39.99 at Amazon.

Like AT&T, no special offers are available on the much sought after iPhone 4. Still, Verizon is offering a sweet deal to entice AT&T customers to jump fence. You can get the new iPhone at Verizon Wireless for just $199.99.


T-Mobile Top Rated Phones and Prices

  • myTouch 4G, $199.99
  • G2, Free!
  • Blackberry Curve 8520, $29.99
  • Motorola DEFY, $99.99
  • Blackberry Curve 3G, $49.99
  • Garmin-Asus Garmiphone, Free!


T-Mobile is breaking the mold. It is the only carrier that remains competitive against Amazon Wireless. The carrier offers many Blackberry phones that Amazon simply does not sell. The only Amazon penny phone shown on our list is available free at T-Mobile. In addition, T-Mobile is waiving the $35 activation fee. You will still save money at Amazon on the myTouch 4G (save $120) and the Motorola Defy (save $50), but the G2 ($129.99 at Amazon) is free at T-Mobile.


Sprint Top Rated Phones and Prices

  • Motorola ES400S, $549.99
  • HTC Evo 4G, $199.99
  • Samsung Epic 4G, $199.99
  • Blackberry Bold 9650, $199.99 (watch out, one version has no camera for the same price)
  • LG Optimus S, $49.99
  • Blackberry Style 9670, $99.99


Sprint has one very pricey phone that you can’t buy anywhere else, the Motorola ES400S. At that price, I think it should do laundry! Otherwise, you can save from $80 to $100 by getting your phone through Amazon Wireless instead of Sprint. The exception is the LG Optimus. Amazon only has that available for T-Mobile users at the cost of one Penny. Unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t sell that phone with a Sprint plan. By the way, Sprint is offering free activation when you buy online.

So if you have a choice of carriers in your area, you have a wider choice of phones and potential savings. Even if you only get signal from one of these companies, a deal should be waiting for you. Here is a summary of my findings in another format showing you where to buy each phone for the best price.


Amazon Wireless

  • Motorola Bravo for AT&T, 1 cent
  • Blackberry Pearl 3G (9100) for AT&T, 1 cent
  • Samsung Focus for AT&T, 1 cent
  • Samsung Captivate for AT&T, 1 cent


  • Motorola Droid R2D2 for Verizon, $49.99
  • Motorola Droid X, for Verizon, $49.99
  • HTC Droid Incredible for Verizon, 1 cent
  • LG Vortex for Verizon, 1 cent
  • Samsung Fascinate for Verizon, $39.99
  • Blackberry Bold 9650 for Verizon, 1 cent


  • myTouch 4G for T-Mobile, $79.99
  • Motorola DEFY for T-Mobile, $49.99


  • HTC Evo 4G for Sprint, $119.99
  • Samsung Epic 4G for Sprint, $99.99
  • Blackberry Bold 9650 for Sprint, $99.99 (available for one penny if you go with Verizon)
  • Blackberry Style 9670 for Sprint, $19.99



  • Pre Plus, Free!
  • Blackberry Curve 8900, $9.99
  • Refurbished iPhone 4, $79.00



  • New iPhone 4, $199.99



  • G2, Free!
  • Blackberry Curve 8520, $29.99
  • Blackberry Curve 3G, $49.99 (it’s cheaper at Amazon if you go with AT&T)
  • Garmin-Asus Garmiphone, Free!



  • Motorola ES400S, $549.99
  • LG Optimus S, $49.99 (Amazon has the Optimus for T-Mobile for one penny)



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