Need to replace lost cell phone
September 2, 2014 12:00 PM   Subscribe

I lost my cell phone over the weekend. I'm 8 months away from an upgrade (AT&T 2-year contract). I don't want to pay AT&T's exorbitant prices for a new phone that I'll get a good deal on in April. What are my cost-effective options in the interim?

I use my phone mostly for web browsing, streaming music, and (ironically) only occasional texting and talking. The phone I lost was a Samsung S3. I would like to be able to do all of those things, but don't want to spend a bunch of money since I'm not going to use it for years.

Suggestions on phones that I can use with the remainder of my AT&T contract? Suggestions on where to buy a phone (Android)? Amazon? Walmart? I'm wary of eBay and Craigslist.
posted by mudpuppie to Technology (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Swappa is the online market for used cell phones and seems less shady than ebay and Craigslist. I've used it myself twice with no problems whatsoever, I got good deals on phones and had them in my hand 1-3 days later.

Alternatively, if you are not married to staying with AT&T, T-mobile will pay early termination fees if you want to switch, then you start fresh with a new phone.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 12:04 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Post out to your friends on e-mail/facebook that you lost a phone and if someone has an old smartphone that they'd sell to you. More people keep their old phones that you can ever think of and you'd probably get the phone for free
(I've gotten interim blackberries and I got a old flip phone from posting on this very forum).
posted by sandmanwv at 12:07 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Problem solved.

Even cheaper.
posted by kickingtheground at 12:10 PM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

I can confirm what sandman suggests - at one time we had no less than four old smart phones kicking around our house and would have happily donated one to a friend.

I've also had good luck with refurbished phones and buying odd craigslist (though the signal to noise ratio on CL can be challenging).
posted by kythuen at 12:13 PM on September 2, 2014

For a new phone i think the motorola moto G at 180-220$ is around the cheapest unlocked smartphone, I rather like google's nexus 5, which starts at $350.

Used will be cheaper, i'd check with people you know for that, like others recommend.
posted by TheAdamist at 12:13 PM on September 2, 2014

Best answer: kickingtheground has it.

The Nokia 500 series and Moto G are both amply capably smartphones and sold unlocked. I went from a Galaxy SII Skyrocket to the (non-lte) Moto G and am plenty happy, and that's even in comparison to my wife's Nexus 5.

There's very little reason to be locked into a 2 year contract at this point.
posted by NoRelationToLea at 12:13 PM on September 2, 2014

Wait until next week, buy an iPhone6. If you keep it in mint condition, you'll be able to sell it for for 95% of the purchase price in 8 months.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:37 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

I am a long-term Verizon customer, so YMMV. For smallish things like this, I have been able to talk the sales person into bending the rules and letting me me upgrade a little early.
posted by harrietthespy at 12:40 PM on September 2, 2014

Best answer: Another vote for the Moto G.
posted by cnc at 1:00 PM on September 2, 2014

Best answer: They're announcing an upgrade to the Moto G (lte?) on Sept 4 as part of a mobile industry event that will see the release of a new generation of phones. Even if you buy it now, you may be able to get a price adjustment after they lower the price.
posted by palionex at 2:29 PM on September 2, 2014

Response by poster: Follow-up question: The new Moto G is out today, but doesn't have LTE/4G support.

In terms of performance -- music streaming, mostly, will it make a huge difference? Should I buy the first generation 4G model instead of the second-gen 3G? (I'm clueless about this stuff.)

Thanks for the help!
posted by mudpuppie at 8:35 AM on September 5, 2014

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