Amazon Prime Phones: unlocked cell phones start at $49

Amazon Prime phones offer an all-new way to buy unlocked phones for a cheaper than normal price and escape contracts from US carriers like AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint.

There are nine Amazon Prime-exclusive cell phone deals available right now that try to  balance of price, features, hardware, and design. It’s a tricky dance for both smartphone manufacturers and customers. Skimp too much on price, and you might end up with a phone that only lasts several months. Focus too much on design, and the internals of the device may be sacrificed to keep the price down. 

How do Amazon Prime phones work? The online retailer offers a number of budget phones to Prime members with the option to have the phones display advertisements on the lockscreen. It’ll save you between $30 and $80 dollars on a new smartphone. 

Ahead of Amazon Prime Day 2017, let’s take a look at the nine Prime Exclusive smartphones on sale and Amazon’s deal that makes each of these unlocked phones cheaper.

Blu R1 HD

Extremely cheap
Expandable storage
Not Full HD display
Mediocre 8MP main camera

Blu is known for making budget phones, and at just under $60, the Blu R1 HD is just that: the cheapest Amazon Prime Phone on sale right now. It features a 1.3GHz quad-core processor on a MediaTek chipset, has 16GB of storage that can be expanded with a MicroSD card, runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow, has a 1280x720 5-inch display, and packs a 8MP main camera with a 5MP selfie camera. Unlocked and compatible with T-Mobile and AT&T, it’s a highly affordable entry into the smartphone market if you’re looking for a basic Android phone.

$59 with Amazon Prime

Alcatel A30

Extremely cheap
Android 7.0 Nougat
Not Full HD display
Low-end processor

Alcatel’s A30, tied for the most affordable phone among the Amazon Prime-exclusive phones, comes in two flavors: one a GSM phone ready for AT&T and T-Mobile, the other a CDMA version for Verizon. The phone itself features a Snapdragon 210 chipset with a 1.1GHz quad-core processor, 16GB of internal storage, 2GB of RAM, a 1280x720 5-inch display, an 8MP main camera, and a 5MP selfie cam. Surprisingly, this budget phone comes running Android 7.0 Nougat and has a metal rim for a better feeling build.

$59 with Amazon Prime

Alcatel A30 Plus

Quad-core processor
3,000mAh battery
MediaTek chipset
Not Full HD display

The Alcatel A30 Plus is the bigger brother to the A30, but it has some differences. The A30 Plus has a 1.5GHz quad-core processor on a MediaTek chipset running Android 7.0 and its screen is 5.5-inch at a resolution of 1280x720, and it has a large 3,000mAh battery to power them. It comes with a 13MP camera on the back and a 5MP camera on the front. It has 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and an MicroSD slot for expanded storage. It’s compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile.

$79 with Amazon Prime

Alcatel A50

Quad-core processor
13MP camera
Not Full HD display
MediaTek chipset

The Alcatel A50 sits somewhere between the A30 and A30 Plus. It features a mid-sized 5.2-inch screen at 1280x720, and has a 13MP main camera and 5MP selfie cam. It has the same MediaTek chipset as the A30 Plus, with a 1.5GHz quad-core processor. It also features a metal rim for a more premium feel, Android 7.0 Nougat, and can run on T-Mobile and AT&T.

$99 with Amazon Prime

Motorola Moto E4

Carrier compatibility
Water resistance
Not an octa-core
US model lacks all-metal construction

Motorola has been producing a lot of quality budget phones. The Moto E series is its more affordable line of phones, and the Moto E4 is a good phone for the price. At under $100, it comes running Android 7.1 Nougat, boasts a Snapdragon 425 with 1.4GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM, and comes with a fingerprint scanner. It’s even water resistant. It offers a lot at this price point, and is compatible with all four major mobile networks right out of the box.

$129 with Amazon Prime

Motorola Moto G4

Bright, Full HD display
Impressive power
No fingerprint scanner
Lacking NFC

The Moto G4 takes things up a notch, getting into the ballpark of quality phones while maintaining an affordable price. The Moto G4, with impressive power coming from its 1.5GHz octa-core processor, and good visuals on the 1080p 5-inch display. It’s metal rim lends it premium feel while its $129 price tag makes it affordable. It even earned the rank of best cheap smartphone of 2016.

$129 with Amazon Prime

Nokia 6

Quality metal build
Full HD display
Questionable performance

The Nokia 6 is another premium feeling smartphone on a budget price. It has a solid aluminum build around the sides and back and houses a 5.5-inch Full HD display. It also includes a fingerprint scanner with capacitive navigation buttons on either side, freeing up some of the screen real estate. Inside it packs a Snapdragon 430 chipset with 1.4GHz octa-core processor and 3GB of RAM. 32GB of internal storage make it decent to begin with, but it can be expanded with up to 128GB of MicroSD storage. The Nokia 6 is impressive for the price.

$179 with Amazon Prime

Motorola Moto G5 Plus

Design and build quality
Single-button navigation and fingerprint scanner
Non-removable battery

The Moto G5 Plus has a lot to offer. It’s a capable phone with a premium design that leaves it feeling like a more expensive phone. Its fingerprint scanner keeps it up with the times, and its compatibility with all four major US carriers gives customers the freedom to choose. It packs a 2.0GHz octa-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of expandable storage, a 12MP camera and 5MP selfie cam, and it even features Motorola’s TurboPower quick-charging ability. All that at less than $200 and it’s no wonder this is one of the 2017’s best cheap phones.

$184 with Amazon Prime

Alcatel IDOL5S

Fingerprint sensor
Metal build
Most expensive on this list
No 4K video recording

Alcatel’s Idol 5S is another budget phone aiming for premium feel. It has an aluminum frame housing a 5.2-inch Full HD display, and it’s powered by a Snapdragon 625 2.0GHz octa-core processor with 3GB of RAM. It has 32GB of internal storage but can hold a 512GB MicroSD card. A fingerprint scanner is hiding on the back along with a 12MP camera, and there’s an 8MP selfie cam on the front. Alactel Idol 5S is another Amazon Prime phone that runs Android 7.1 and won’t fall behind the times too quickly as many other budget smartphones do.

$199 with Amazon Prime