CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Phones

Get a TextNow Moto G phone for $11.99

From the Cheapskate: The first-gen G may not be a powerhouse, but it could be perfect for a youngster or anyone on a serious budget -- especially considering the cheap, contract-free rate options. Plus: two freebies!

CNET's Cheapskate scours the Web for great deals on PCs, phones, gadgets and much more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page.


This is an update of a deal I first wrote about early this year. Not only is the price a bit lower, a few areas have been clarified (and, ahem, corrected).

What do you need from a smartphone? If your first answer was, "A dirt-cheap price tag," followed by, "dirt-cheap service," you've come to the right cheapskate.

Ending tonight, TextNow is offering the refurbished first-gen Motorola Moto G phone for $11.99, plus $9 for shipping. That's not your subsidized price in exchange for a two-year contract; it's your price to own the phone outright.

1st-gen-moto-g-front-and-back.jpg
TextNow's version of the Moto G might be skinned a little differently. Motorola

Do note, however, that you will need to choose a service plan as well, at least for the first month. That's hardly a bad thing given TextNow's prices: Plans start at just $18.99, a price that includes 500MB of 3G data and unlimited calling and texting. For a first-time smartphone owner or someone who spends most of their time connected to Wi-Fi, that may be ample. (The next tier gives you 1GB of data for $26.99.)

After that first month, you also have the option of canceling your service and switching over to any number of free/cheap apps and services that let you make Wi-Fi calls. Likewise, you could use the phone for any number of non-phone tasks, like reading books, watching videos, controlling your Roku box, streaming your Spotify tunes and so on.

As you might expect, there are a few catches. First, this is the first-gen Moto G -- a decent entry-level phone, but limited to 3G data and just 8GB of storage (with no microSD slot for expansion).

Second, the phone is inextricably tied to TextNow for service -- or, at least, for traditional calling service. Like Republic Wireless, it leverages Wi-Fi whenever possible -- not just for data and texting, but also for phone calls.

Except for the limited storage, the Moto G is pretty solid, offering a 4.5-inch screen, dual cameras and most of the other standard smartphone goodies -- plus Android 4.4 KitKat. Although Lollipop was recently made available for the first-gen G, I'm not sure the update can be installed on the TextNow version.

And about that 8GB: it's barely enough to hold a decent collection of apps, and definitely insufficient for a music or video library. But for the latter, at least, the cloud can do a lot of the heavy lifting: just stream your media when you're connected to Wi-Fi. Alternately, you can tap additional storage by way of a USB OTG drive.

Too much hassle? Maybe, but $11.99 for a smartphone is flat-out amazing. Your thoughts?

Bonus deal: Freebie time! If you're looking to do some serious photo editing but can't afford the likes of Adobe Lightroom, check this out: You can get CyberLink PhotoDirector 5 Deluxe (for Windows) for free just for sharing your name and email address. This is "last year's" version of the highly rated photo editor, but so what? Here's a comprehensive review if you want to know more about the product, which normally would run you $50. Needless to say, CyberLink will try to sell you an upgrade to PhotoDirector 6; I mention this because some folks get surprised -- even offended -- when those "upgrade now!" emails start to arrive.

Bonus deal No. 2: Freebie time again! I'm a huge fan and longtime user of WorkFlowy, the browser-based brain-dump/list-management tool. There's a free version, but why stop there? For a limited time, AppSumo is offering one year of WorkFlowy Pro for free. Regular price: $49. You don't even need to provide a credit card.