How do you decide to spend how much money you spend on tech? Is owning the most up to date, expensive phone out there a priority for you? Do you want a phone that does everything you need or do you want to be seen with the latest technology?
Everyone has their own priorities, and that’s fine.
We're giving stuff away to help celebrate our tenth anniversary. Are you in?
Right now tech is in an amazing place and phones are getting better and sexier than they’ve ever been. Revolutionary advances in display technology are leading to bigger and more beautiful displays in smaller phones. It’s honestly amazing to hold a phone that is almost entirely screen. Cost, though, must be a determining factor in your purchases. Keeping this in mind, here are nine tech bundles that cost less than the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus by itself.
The Ultimate Stock Android Bundle
Stock Android is the best flavor of Android for me. I love phones that come with stock, or near stock builds of Android because I feel like they allow me to make the phone anything I want it to be. When you have a heavy skin like on Samsung’s devices, you’re locked into Samsung’s vision. And sure, Samsung’s software has certainly gotten better, but it will still have a reputation of slowing down after six months due to a bloated OS. Instead of dropping $850 on an S8, you could get a Nexus 6P and a Pixel C instead.
Are they new? Nope, but Swappa empowers you to know exactly what you’re getting before you buy it. They won’t approve devices that have been blacklisted, are currently on payment plans or aren’t in good enough condition. The listings and sales are heavily moderated and Swappa staff are always around to help out when you need. If you want a new version of the Pixel C, you can actually pick one up from the Google Store for $600.
While these aren’t the newest pieces of tech, they still perform fantastic in 2017 and have a few years of life ahead of them. One of the biggest advantages of buying Nexus and Pixel is the development community. Even if Google decides to stop updating the devices, there is a dedicated group of developers on XDA Developers that will pick up the mantle.
Consider this: the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, a phone released 5.5 years ago has a newer version of Android (7.1) than the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus will at launch due to the folks over at XDA who continue development.
Total Price: $800
A flagship phone and smartwatch bundle
If you don’t want to pay flagship prices, but you still want flagship specs, this one is for you. We’re going to lead it off with the OnePlus 3T, one of, if not the, best value in smartphones right now. The OP3T has a Snapdragon 821 processor, 6GB (Yes, six!) of RAM, 64GB of storage, one of the best fingerprint sensors in the game, a 5.5″ display, DASH charging, and close to stock software. It’s my daily driver for a reason, it’s a fantastic phone. The OnePlus 3T starts at $439 for the 64GB model and ranges up to $479 for the 128GB version.
In addition to the OnePlus 3T, you’ll also have cash left over to pick up the best Android Wear watch on the market right now, the LG Watch Style. Sleek and stylish, the LG Watch Style comes with Google Assistant built in. You’ll have access to all your Android apps while looking great. The LG Watch Style starts at $250 for the silver and titanium models while the rose gold version will cost you an additional $30.
Total Price: $689
The Ultimate Android Gaming Bundle
There are a ton of games in the Play Store, and while we’re far from getting the newest AAA titles, there are some excellent games like Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, Portal, Super Meat Boy, Borderlands 2, and BAMF VR. This bundle is designed to satisfy all your gaming desires while leaving a little bit of coin still left in your pocket to buy the games from the Play Store.
We start off with the only real Android console out right now, the Nvidia Shield Pro. The Shield Pro supports 4K HDR media which means, not only can you play games on your TV, but you can also watch Netflix and Youtube in 4K. It’s one of the most cost-effective ways to view 4K media right now. The Shield Pro comes with one remote and one controller to play your games with. If you have a computer with a Geforce video card, you can also stream your games from your computer to your tv through your Shield with GameStream.
But, Android gaming isn’t just about sitting down at your TV and starting a game with a controller in hand. We have VR too so you’re going to need a sweet VR headset. While it is true you can pick up something like Google Cardboard on the cheap, those are more for just viewing content on the quick and cheap. The VICTONY 3D VR Headset comes with a gamepad to interact with your device and games and a comfortable design.
But what phone should sit in that VR headset? None other than the battery life champion, the Moto Z Play. If you want to game FOREVER, get the Moto Z Play. Within the phone is a 3500mAh battery and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor that combine to give some users upwards of 10 hours of screen on time and two days of use. You could use the Z Play to play games all day and still have battery left over at the end of the night.
Rounding out our gaming bundle is a well-reviewed Bluetooth gamepad. These gamepads come in handy if you like playing first-person shooters, side scrollers, or emulating games like Pokemon. The GameSir G3s Bluetooth Wireless Controller has a 4-star rating on Amazon with some glowing reviews.
- Nvidia Shield Pro – $299
- VICTONY 3D VR headset – $20
- Moto Z Play- $449
- GameSir G3s Bluetooth Wireless Controller – $30
Smart Home Bundle
One of the coolest areas of tech to watch the past few years is the boom in Smart Home tech. Want to turn on your lights? Yell at your Amazon Echo to control your Philips Hue bulbs. Too cold? Use the Ecobee app to turn up the heat. Here are some awesome smart home toys you can get all for less than the Galaxy S8 Plus.
First, we’re going to start with lighting. Philips Hue is one of the biggest names in smart home functionality right now, so we’re going to pick up a starter kit. You can control your new Philips Hue bulbs through an app, but what fun is that? Let’s tell them what to do instead. For that, we’re going to pick up an Amazon Echo. With Echo, you can do all sorts of things like initiate searches, order things from Amazon, control your smart home products, listen to music and more.
Ecobee3 makes one of the highest rated smart thermostats currently listed on Amazon so we’ll be picking on of those up too. The thermostat allows you to stay on top of how much energy you’re using on heating and cooling your home and allows you to turn the heat and air on or off while you aren’t at home.
At the front door, your guests will be greeted with two more pieces of tech, an August Smart Lock that allows you to open your doors without a key and a Zmodo Greet Wifi Video Doorbell. The August Smart Lock will allow you to lock and unlock your door with the included app so if you’re carrying a load of groceries, you don’t have to worry about fumbling with keys.
The Zmodo Greet doorbell gives you eyes on whoever is at your door. We’ve all seen the commercials on TV of crooks casing houses acting like delivery drivers, but what you don’t see is the most useful feature of these doorbells: avoiding salesmen coming to your door. We live in an unregulated energy state and we must have three or four energy salesmen come to our door a month. I might pick one of these up just for that.
Rounding off our Smart Home package is an Echo Dot. While your Echo can be the central hub in a room like your living room, your Echo Dot is convenient to put in a bedroom and tell your thermostat to start warming up the house in the morning or turn down those lights to 20% when you’re reading in bed at night.
- Philips Hue Starter kit- $70
- Amazon Echo – $179
- Ecobee3 Thermostat – $199
- August Smart Lock (2nd Gen) – Keyless home access – $179
- Echo Dot (2nd Generation) – $50
- Zmodo Greet WiFi Video Doorbell – $80
Total Price: $756
Getting Fit Bundle
If you’re like most, your New Year’s resolution to get healthier is long since broken. But, it doesn’t have to continue on like this. Instead of picking up that Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus, why not use that cash to pick up a great phone and some gear that’ll help you get fit?
Both the Fitbit Charge and Fitbit Alta are great options. The trackers will help you keep an eye on your steps, calories burned, and other metrics while looking nice and without costing an arm and a leg. In addition to a Fitbit, we’ll also be picking up a Weight Gurus Smart Scale too. This scale connects to your phone through Bluetooth so you can track exactly how those workouts are impacting your waistline. One of the reasons that people give up is because they aren’t seeing results fast enough, tracking your weight with this smart scale will help you see those as quickly as possible.
Our next two smart items both have to do with water. First, we’re going to pick up the Swimbuds Headphones and 8GB waterproof MP3 player. Swimming is great for your health and it’s even easier to stay pumped up with your tunes on. This waterproof MP3 player will allow you to store enough music to get through all your workouts. We’ll also be picking up a Hidrate Spark, a smart water bottle. Yeah, I didn’t know they existed either. This water bottle, while more expensive than your normal water bottle, lets you stay on top of what’s going in your body, and that’s extremely important when you’re trying to get healthy.
So, we’ve picked up all of these smart workout items, what phone are we getting? Well, I’m going to suggest the awesome Blu Pure XR, which we reviewed here. For $300 you get a phone that performs like a flagship with one of the best macro cameras we’ve seen out there today. Awesome build quality and a beautiful 5.5″ display are just a few of the headlines of this awesome budget device.
- Fitbit Charge – $150, Alta – $130
- Weight Gurus Bluetooth Smart Connected Body Fat Scale – $60
- Hidrate Spark – $55
- Swimbuds Headphones and 8 GB SYRYN waterproof MP3 player – $60
- Blu Pure XR – $300
Total Price: $625
Rock Out Bundle
If you’re anything like me, music is a driving force in your life. I have headphones on or earbuds in every chance I get. This music bundle is designed to enhance your music listening with every product.
We’re going to lead it off with the best Bluetooth earbuds out there right now. Jaybird makes the X lineup and Freedom lineup and you can’t go wrong with either. I use my Freedoms and get excellent battery life and they sound great. You can tune the how the earbuds sound with the Jaybird MySound app too. Pretty cool.
If you prefer headphones over earbuds, pick up the Sennheiser HD 598 Cs. These are my “daily driver” headphones that I wear every day while writing. They’re extremely comfortable and sound excellent. I get no fatigue while wearing them and I think they look great too. Can’t say enough good things about these headphones.
The House of Marley Get Together Bluetooth Speaker is one of the best out there in its price category. As you can see in our review, we loved how the speaker looks, how it sounds and how much it costs.
We thought a lot about which phone to pick up for this package. It has to have excellent speakers and an upgraded DAC was considered too. We finally decided on the ZTE Axon 7 (review here) due to the high-quality front-facing speakers and quick software updates. The phone also has close to stock Android and awesome build quality. It’s one of the best phones on the market and won’t run you anywhere near what the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus will.
- Jaybird X3 – $130, Freedom – $150
- ZTE Axon 7 – $400
- House of Marley Get Together – $180
- Sennheiser HD 598 Cs – $99
Total Price: $829
Out and About Bundle
Is there anything better than the great outdoors? Just imagine yourself out for a walk, run, or hike with the sun on your shoulders and a sky full of puffy white clouds. Love camping under the stars or going tubing? Well, you may want to invest in some of this tech to take with you instead of just one new phone.
There is a ton of stuff in this package, so let’s jump right in. We start with the Sharkk 2O Bluetooth Speaker that has an IP67 rating. That IP rating means this little guy is water resistant and should be great to have on the beach or when you’re out for a day on the water.
If you love to camp, pick up the BioLite CampStove Bundle. It comes with a Grill and KettlePot attachment plus a USB Light. The beauty of this device is that it generates electricity from burning wood to charge your mobile phones, tablets, or what may have you. While you’re cooking your dinner, you may need a bit of light so grab an MPOWERD Luci Outdoor 2.0 Inflatable Solar Light. Powered directly by the sun, this light has no additional batteries needed and will give you enough light to get around at night while in the wilderness.
If the USB port on the BioLite CampStove isn’t enough, consider grabbing a Dizaul 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank. With a 5000mAh capacity, you should be able to recharge most any phone or tablet and then recharge the battery bank with the power of the sun.
The phone we’re going to grab in this bundle is the Samsung Galaxy S7 Active. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with Samsung’s flagship-level devices from 2016 and the Active version of the S7 gives you a little more piece of mind if you drop your device. It’s perfect for an outdoorsman. We’ll gather all of our gear into a new TYLT Energi Bag with built in battery bank and head into the woods!
- Sharkk 2O Bluetooth Speaker IP67 Waterproof Speaker – $52.99
- Dizaul 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank – $15
- TYLT Energi Bag – $99
- BioLite CampStove Bundle with CampStove, Portable Grill and KettlePot Attachments and USB FlexLight – $150
- MPOWERD Luci Outdoor 2.0 – Inflatable Solar Light – $20
- Samsung Galaxy S7 Active – $450
Total Price: $787
Console Gaming and TV Bundle!
One of the great things about the last few years in tech is how cheap it’s all getting. Instead of picking up a Samsung Galaxy S8, you can literally get a game system, a headset for that system, a TV, soundbar and a phone too.
We’re going to start out with the TV, a 40″ Sceptre LED 1080p TV. While not the most recognizable name, the TV does have excellent reviews on Amazon. We don’t have one to review ourselves (feel free to send one over, Sceptre!) but feel pretty confident in the reviews. If you bump up your budget just a hair you can pick up an option from Samsung.
We’re going to pair that 40″ LED TV with an AmazonBasics 2.0 Channel Bluetooth Soundbar. TV audio generally sucks, so to get the most out of this package, a soundbar is a must. AmazonBasics is an awesome brand from the online retail giant itself and this particular soundbar has a 4/5 rating with almost 500 reviews.
What are we going to use that TV for? Video games and streaming media, of course! Picking up either an Xbox One S or PlayStation 4 enable us to have hours of fun playing games with our friends or streaming media from apps like YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, or Twitch. So that we can communicate with our friends when we’re playing games alongside them, we’ll also grab a Turtle beach Ear Force 50X headset for your console of choice.
That’s a ton of stuff, but it still leaves us plenty of room in the budget to pick up the best budget phone on the market right now, the Moto G5 Plus. We recently reviewed the G5 Plus and put it in the same category as the OnePlus 3T for bang for your buck. You honestly feel like you’re using a phone that costs twice as much when you’re using the Moto G5 Plus. Motorola did an excellent job.
- Sceptre 40″ LED Class Full 1080P HDTV X405BV-F – $210
- AmazonBasics 2.0 Channel Bluetooth Sound Bar – $70
- Xbox One – $240 PlayStation 4 – $268
- Turtle Beach – Ear Force Recon 50X Stereo Gaming Headset – Xbox One – $30/ PS4 – $35
- Moto G5 Plus – $240
Google-fied Home Bundle
This little bundle is dedicated to all things Google. We bent the rules a hair on this one by getting the price to almost exactly what you’ll pay for an S8 Plus, but we think its worth it for everything you get.
Google Home is one of my favorite tech products in my house. Sure, it doesn’t do quite everything I think it should, but we really enjoy the ability to voice control our Philips Hue lights, tell it to play some tunes, or ask what a Lion sounds like. Google Wifi was a product announced alongside Google Home and it’ll be our next addition. With Google Wifi, you get three bases that you place throughout your home creating a WiFi mesh network. This should keep your speeds and coverage consistent. Google suggests that you add one WiFi point for every 1500 sq ft. in your home so you may only need one depending on your place.
A Nest Thermostat is the next entry in our list. The smart thermostat can regulate your house’s energy use by detecting if you’re at home or not based on your cell phone’s connection to the home WiFi. Pretty neat. Also, if you’re cold or hot at night, just grab your phone and use the Nest app instead of getting out of bed to change the temperature. The Nest is a lazy, cold person’s dream and I would know because I am that person.
Rounding out our list is a Chromecast and a Chromebook. The Chromecast makes any TV into a smart TV with the ability to cast media from apps like YouTube, ESPN, Netflix and a ton more apps. With the money left in our budget, we’ll grab a nice little 11.6″ Chromebook from Lenovo. The 80SF0001US is just enough computer to allow us to surf the web and cast a tab to our TV through our Chromecast with the Cast button in Chrome.
- Google Wifi – $299
- Lenovo 80SF0001US 11.6″ HD N22 Chromebook- $138
- Google Home – $129
- Nest – $249
- Chromecast – $35
Total Price: $850
While all our bundles might not tickle your fancy, we hope that a few do. The point of this article is more to point out that you can get so much more for your money than just a flagship phone. Don’t get us wrong, flagship phones are awesome and we lust after them too, but you can get a lot of bang for your buck with that dough. Mid-tier and budget phones are getting so good now that you can get a great device while only spending $300 to $500 and use that leftover money for some fun toys.
One small note before we wrap things up. You’ll notice that some of the items we linked above have Amazon affiliate codes in them. Amazon affiliates pays a percentage of the item to the person who presented you the link. It’s a small percentage, anywhere from 2% to 10% in most cases. We don’t make a lot on these or link these items only because we can make money on them, but it does help to pay for some of our costs associated with the site.
If you don’t feel comfortable with that, we completely understand and suggest signing up for an Amazon smile account instead. Amazon Smile makes a donation to a charity of your choice for every eligible purchase you make and those can really add up. If you want one of these products and want to bypass the Affiliates code, go to smile.amazon.com and copy and paste the item name in the search bar.