Amazon: $50 Off Android Phones, With a Catch


One of the perks of Android (at least for me) is that you can find phones at a wide variety of price points. From the $700+ flagship phones down to dirt-cheap $50 phones, if you can image a price point, you can probably find an Android phone to match. And now, Amazon is offering a $50 discount to Prime members that purchase some select mid-range Android phones.

Starting today (6/29/16) Amazon will take $50 off of two Android phones: the BLU R1 (bringing it down to $49), and the Motorola G (fourth generation), bringing it down to $149. These phones are both factory unlocked and only require you to insert a SIM card to be up and running.

While I don’t know much about the BLU phone, the Moto G (fourth generation, also called the Moto G4) has gotten excellent reviews for such a low price, and seems like a great option for a backup phone or a phone for someone who may be accident prone.

While $50 off is a pretty good discount (especially when it is 25% of the phone’s final price) this is not a normal sale. Amazon is borrowing from their experience with the (short-lived) Fire Phone and the widely successful Kindle for this discounted price.

The Catch…

The caveat is similar to the lower-priced Amazon Kindle (which I have and love!). In Amazon’s own words:

The breakthrough pricing on unlocked smartphones is supported by personalized offers and ads, including deals and product recommendations, displayed on the phone’s lockscreen. When a customer sees an offer, they can tap to learn more about it or simply unlock their phone to dismiss.

For the Kindle, this is not really such a big deal. While I rarely see ads that interest me, these ads are not a big imposition. They don’t seem to slow down the experience of using a Kindle, and occasionally they contain something useful. On the phone it would be a slightly different story, but as a guess I don’t feel that this would be too big of an imposition. If the ads swipe away quickly (and don’t slow down the experience of unlocking your phone), then I think this would be a fair compromise for those looking to save a few bucks on a phone (plus, if you’re a Prime customer, you likely already buy lots of things through Amazon).

I do see one potential problem, however. Amazon is also including several pre-installed apps on these discounted phones, but with no indication if these are system-level apps (that can’t be deleted by the user) or regular apps that can be uninstalled. If they are system-level apps, this would especially be a problem for the BLU R1 – which starts at a measly 8 GB of storage (the Moto G4 starts at 16 GB).

Of course, the bigger problem for me – neither of these phones would work with Google Fi, but that would not be a deal-breaker for most people.

This offer runs through the end of July, so if you want a good, mid-range Android phone at an even lower price – get on it!


About Colin Dorman

Colin is a freelance horn player and teacher, as well as a fan of tech of all sorts, aviation, and increasingly complex flight simulators. He also enjoys beer, bourbon and fitness - but not at the same time. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, as well as right here at ColinDorman.com!