The Weather Channel is currently forecasting another adequately warm week on both the East and West Coast of the United States, with the occasional drizzle likely to interrupt your sunbathing enterprises from time to time.
But it’s legitimately raining deals over at Amazon, and the emphasis mostly falls on Android gear that was already fairly affordable. Hence, you’ve got now a barrage of ultra-low-cost handhelds, slates, smartwatches, fitness bands and various mobile accessories to choose from, all excellent distractions for when clouds gather up and a beach timeout is obligatory.
This week’s top smartphone bargains
It truly boggles the mind why the perennial Korean underdog hasn’t been more aggressive in its efforts to make curvaceous gadgets appeal to the masses, particularly since the second-gen G Flex debuted back in February at a reasonable price point.
Following a series of discounts , the tag has dropped into “WTF” territory (in a decidedly good way), and the 5.5-inch banana phone can be had for half of Galaxy S6 Edge’s tariff. Granted, the latter is clearly handsomer, sharper and punchier, but the G Flex 2 doesn’t fall so far behind, with octa-core Snapdragon 810 muscle, 3 GB RAM, Lollipop software and 3,000 mAh battery juice.
In a desperate attempt to improve their mid-end sales achievements, the overall Android kings but especially flagship dominators have taken a cool $120 off the all-metal A5’s original valuation. If this doesn’t work either, there really is a slump in the mobile tech landscape manufacturers need to deal with before it replicates the PC’s downward spiral.
Seriously, what more could Sammy possibly offer at $280 than a premium aluminum skeleton, 5-inch 720p Super AMOLED screen, 64-bit quad-core Snapdragon 410 SoC, 2 GB RAM, 13 MP LED flash rear cam, 5 MP selfie shooter and Android 5.0 Lollipop?
Up to a point, the Grand Prime eerily resembles the A5. Both panels measure 5 inches in diagonal, both front cams sport 5 megapixel sensors, and the hardware shows are run by identical S410 processors. Obviously, the sub-$200 Android soldier needs to cut serious build quality corners (plastic red alert), as well as ditch a gig of memory, 5 rear cam MPs and close to 80 ppi.
On the bright side, the lower-res qHD display, backed by a larger 2,600 mAh cell, should produce higher endurance scores. Decent quality – cost ratio overall.
We bet you weren’t aware this humble little guy was available with no-contract Big Red Plans and 4G LTE connectivity. No wonder, given the cringe worthy spec sheet… of the international model. Surprise, surprise, VZW actually picked up a revised variant, still low-res as hell, but at least quad-core-powered and endowed with 1 GB RAM.
Also, Android 5.0 Lollipop-running. Watch your back, second-gen Moto E!
Tablet deals and steals
It’s not the best ZenPad Asus has in the pipeline, yet it’s extremely stylish… for the price. Slim bezels, 8.4 mm waist, tipping the scales at 265 grams, “ergonomically” curved at the edges, and leathery around the back.
Now, Amazon says the dirt-cheap 7 incher provides decrepit KitKat software, but that’s unlikely. Lollipop goodies all the way, claims the pad’s manufacturer, with 16 GB internal storage and quad-core Intel Atom x3 heat key selling points as well.
Bigger, badder, (slightly) brighter, an amazing multitasker, courtesy of 2 GB RAM, and just as elegant. Too bad it’s backordered, with 2 to 4 weeks listed as the shipping estimate at the time of this writing.
This is turning into an Asus device blowout all of a sudden, with an OG 8 incher situated smack-dab in the middle of the two aforementioned newcomers on the totem pole. The ME181C is also slender and chic, and lets you save 500 GB of data in the cloud for free within your first two years of ownership. In addition to the 16 gigs of local space, that is.
Compatible with T-Mobile and AT&T’s high-speed cellular networks, this aluminum-crafted 8 incher can be used as a ridiculously large phone. It makes and receives voice calls, that’s right, and “keeps going”, thanks to a 4,800 mAh battery.
Android-compatible wearables on the cheap
It’s not technically an Android Wear family member, and it welcomes iPhone synchronization (boo!), but it’s circular, can pull most of the fundamental notifications you allegedly want on your wrist, and withstands dust and water contact with grace.
Plus, it should last several days between charges, specifically because it relies on a simplified proprietary OS in lieu of Android W.
It’s perhaps futile to underline the newest crowd-funded Pebble gizmo can’t be procured very widely or easily at the moment, so you may want to jump at the (limited) opportunity offered by third-party Amazon seller Chachi Toys.
Android and iOS-supporting, as always, the Time ups the display color ante, yet somehow easily exceeds all its rivals in autonomy. What else is new? The interface, as expected, overall device robustness, slimness and, apparently, activity tracking accuracy.
For the first time in the history of our little promotion roundups, none of the week’s recommended wearables is a “fancy” Android Wear smartwatch and instead, all contraptions in this section work with Androids and iPhones.
The Microsoft Band further provides for Windows Phones (as if anyone cares), and stands out with a minimalistic design, decent battery life, 24-hour heart rate monitoring and built-in GPS functionality.
Best deals on mobile accessories
It’s become so easy (and cheap) to greatly extend your phone or tablet’s endurance, it’s almost ridiculous. Think about it, for only 11 bucks, you can add a full on-the-go charge to the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5.
What does the kit include? “Just” a Bluetooth music receiver and USB car charger, with a built in microphone for easy, safe and, above all, legal calls while driving. Not to mention the sound quality rocks, by virtue of aptX coding.
We’ll be honest with you. These types of universal pens don’t work so amazing with all phones and slates. But if you keep your expectations low, in line with the outrageous price, you may end up as satisfied as the 881 Amazon customers that gave this stylus pack a phenomenal review average of 4.7 out of 5 stars.
So, after careful consideration, you decided to stick with the “ancient” GS5 and skip its sequel due to underwhelming battery capacity, no removal possibility, microSD support and lack of waterproofing. Clearly though, to get the most out of the 2015 flagship, you require a backup cell. At $11, why not purchase two… or ten?
Don’t listen to Vladimir Putin’s extremist government. Selfies are tacky, but they’re not dangerous… if you’re not a complete moron. Selfie sticks, meanwhile, are even sillier, but still not hazardous to one’s health. This “premium” mobile accessory is adjustable, ultra-compact, simple to use and fully compatible with everything. Even a front-facing cam-equipped potato.