Are Amazon’s Prime-Exclusive Phones Worth It?


As part of Amazon’s kick-off for Prime Day, starting tomorrow July 11th, it’s offering an early deal for Prime members on a host of unlocked smartphones. But while the price is right, as low as $50 on some models, are the phones really worth picking up?

Much depends on how much you care about your smartphone and how advanced it is. While there are a few phones like the Nokia 6 and Moto G Plus available, most of what’s on offer are budget phones from Alcatel. If you’ve had a prepaid phone, you’ve likely used some of Alcatel’s offerings. They’re solid but unremarkable, so if you’re more interested in budget than brand, they might be worth looking at.

However, there are two big catches. The first is that the majority of these Prime-exclusive phones generally only work on AT&T and T-Mobile, despite being unlocked. If you’re on Sprint or Verizon, you’ll want to check for compatibility carefully. The other catch is that the low prices are subsidized by advertising. Every time your phone locks, you’ll be looking at an ad for Amazon’s products. The ads aren’t excessively obnoxious, but they’re the cost of getting a deal.

If budget is your priority, you should at least consider these deals, though you’ll need to buy carefully or you might wind up with a phone you can’t use.