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Phones

Get a TextNow Wireless Moto G for $14.99

There's a catch, but it's not what you think: This phone can be yours without any kind of contract.

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TextNow

I first spotted this deal late yesterday, and it's the kind of thing that tends to melt the Internet -- so I don't know how long supplies will last.

While they do, however, TextNow Wireless has the refurbished Motorola Moto G smartphone for $14.99 (plus around $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.

Amazing, right? As you might expect, there are a few things to consider. First of all, this is the first-gen Moto G, a great entry-level phone by all accounts -- but it's limited to 3G data has just 8GB of storage, and no microSD slot for expansion. Ouch. I'll come back to that in a bit.

Second, the phone is inextricably tied to TextNow for service -- or, at least, for traditional phone service, though there's nothing traditional about TextNow. Like Republic Wireless, it leverages Wi-Fi whenever possible -- not just for data and texting, but also for phone calls. (You can read more about this in a deal post from last year.)

What's cool about that is service plans start at just $18.99 per month, a price that includes 500MB of data and 750 rollover voice minutes. For a first-time smartphone owner or someone who spends most of their time connected to Wi-Fi anyway, that may be ample. (The next tier, Grande, gives you 1GB and 1,250 minutes for $26.99.)

Also cool: You could just buy the phone and not bother with service at all. Any number of free/dirt-cheap apps and services let you make Wi-Fi calls, and you could always tether the phone to one of those free FreedomPop hotspots for those times you need data. (That's some hardcore cheapskate action, there, cheeps!)

Except for the limited storage, the Moto G is a solid Android phone, offering a 4.6-inch screen, dual cameras, and most of the other standard smartphone goodies -- plus Android 4.4 (KitKat), a newer version of the OS than I expected. (Whether or not you'll be able to get 5.0 is uncertain.)

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. All I know is a Moto G for $14.99 is a crazy-good deal, even if it has limited storage. Heck, forget phone calls -- you could use it as a dedicated e-reader, Roku remote, Spotify streamer or the like. Your thoughts?

Bonus deal: One for all and all in one! Or something like that. For a limited time, Epson has the Expression XP-410 multifunction printer for $59.99 shipped. (Amazon is also selling it for that price, with free two-day shipping for Prime subscribers.) Normally $99.99, the XP-410 prints, scans and copies (all in color, of course), and connects to your PC via USB or Wi-Fi. Even better, it supports both AirPrint and Google Cloud Print. It even has a color LCD touchscreen and four-cartridge ink system. Amazing deal. Amazing.