As some of you know Amazon offers its Prime customers exclusive deals on smartphones as part of its membership benefits. First introduced in the summer of 2016, the program has evolved to where there are currently more than one dozen models to choose from.
Today finds Amazon selling discounted devices from a variety of manufacturers including Motorola, Nokia, Alcatel, and LG. In the past we’ve also seen Blu listed among the brands with prices that start as low as $49.99.
The phones sold via Amazon Prime Exclusives are unlocked and include discounts of approximately $50 off their normal retail price. For some devices you’ll save a little less, whereas others come with much steeper discounts.
Once you have the phone you can select which carrier you want for service. While a lot of them are strictly GSM-based and work with AT&T, T-Mobile, and their respective prepaid brands, others can be paired with CDMA networks like Verizon and Sprint.
What is the Difference?
So what’s the catch with an Amazon Prime Exclusive phone? Why would it be that much cheaper over going directly through the handset maker? Personalized ads. Indeed, these phones feature an ever-so-slightly changed UI which offers ads on the lock screen and occasionally through notifications.
In essence, Amazon will subsidize some of the cost of a phone just so long as you let them advertise to you. Rather than just throwing anything and everything at you, the ads will slowly learn your habits and Amazon-based tendencies. Over time they should come to be more in line with what you would want to buy or check out.
If you are an Amazon Prime subscriber and are considering a new phone, you should probably think about purchasing through the program. That is, of course, if the phone speaks to you and fits your need.
We’ve gathered up the current crop of Amazon Prime Exclusive phones and ranked them in order of value. Among the criteria we used to judge these are overall hardware and performance, network compatibility, and discount over standard pricing.
Do note that just because one ranks higher over another doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least consider other options. We’ve tried to pick out the best overall devices for their respective money.
Everyone has different needs, brand affinity, and budgets to work with. Consider this a solid framework to start, but don’t solely base your purchasing decision from it.
Handy Dandy Chart
We’ve put together a chart to give you an at-a-glance view of all of the models offered today. This should help you understand the pricing, discounts, and carrier compatibility for each phone. Feel free to sort by any of the columns and around with it!
Taking the top spot is the recently introduced LG G6+, a full-on monster of a smartphone. Powered by Android 7.0 Nougat, it’s compatible with AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon bands. The processor is a generation back at Qualcomm Snapdragon 821, but the 4GB RAM and capacious 128GB of storage space ensure there’s plenty of performance and room for your files.
The G6+ offers up a 5.7-inch display at 18:9 ratio while the 3,300mAh battery (with wireless charging) keeps things running for the long term. Perhaps best of all, the phone is IP68 rated to protect against dust and water resistance and the MIL-STD-810G certification means it will take a beating.
When it comes to bang for the buck, it’s damn near impossible to top the Moto X4 (READ OUR REVIEW). Motorola took a year off for its X line but it returned with a vengeance. Not only is it sexier than before, but it’s powerful, too. Oh, and it runs a lean and clean version of Android, too.
Compatible with all four of the big wireless carriers, this waterproof phone features Amazon Alexa’s hands free technology. With a 5.2-inch display and a pair of great cameras (12-megapixel/8-megapixel) on the back, it’s more than enough to get your jobs done. It’ll even have leftover resources to get your game on as well.
Unlocked for any of the major service providers, you can take the Idol 5S to and from carriers as you see fit. Powered by Android 7.1 Nougat, you’ll get a pretty strong punch from the hardware.
The phone draws strength from a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor with 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage. The rear camera is 12-megapixel while the front gives selfie lovers an 8-megapixel sensor with video stabilization.
Yes, it’s that Nokia. It has been some time since we bothered to look in their but we’re fond of this particular package. Unlocked for GSM carriers AT&T and T-Mobile, it’s a solid mid-range device that punches a little above its weight yet the price tag caters to more budget friendly buyers.
Running Android 7.1 Nougat, the Nokia 6 has a 5.5-inch full HD display with 2.5D curved glass. Internals include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor, 3GB RAM, and 32GB storage, with a microSD expansion card slot. The rear serves up a 16-megapixel shooter with an 8-megapixel camera around front.
While it’s certainly not among the most powerful phones on this, it’s one of the best bargains for the money. It’s compatible with Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint, and their respective prepaid brands, something that few on this list can claim.
As one of the best “band aid” phones you can get, it can be had for $100 and no commitments whatsoever. The 5-inch HD display is sharp and water repellent and the 8-megapixel/5-megapixel camera combo serves most needs. Don’t push it too hard, though, as the internal hardware is about the minimum of what you can get away with.