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. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter!
With all the talk about the Galaxy Note 8, iPhone X and other ginormous phones, it's easy to forget that not everybody wants a big screen. Indeed, some users prefer the pocket-friendliness of a smaller model, to say nothing of the ease of operating it with one hand.
For that crowd, Apple offers the iPhone SE, which packs the guts of an iPhone 6S into the case of an iPhone 5S. Of course, this being Apple, smaller doesn't mean cheaper: The iPhone SE starts at $349.
Not today. For a limited time, Walmart has the iPhone SE (32GB) for Straight Talk for $129 shipped (plus tax). That link will take you to the Space Gray version; it's also available in Rose Gold. Apple charges $349 for the exact same phone.
First let's talk about the SE itself, then we'll discuss the carrier.
Apple's entry-level model offers fast performance, good cameras, sufficient storage (32GB isn't a ton, but it's certainly better than 16GB) and something I consider essential: a headphone jack.
Read CNET's review if you want to learn more, because my guess is you already know whether you want this phone or not.
As for the carrier, Straight Talk is Walmart's Tracfone-powered house brand. Because it taps both GSM and CDMA networks, it promises coverage in pretty much every corner of the country. (And as I understand it, your phone will switch to whatever towers are offering the strongest signal wherever you happen to be.)
Straight Talk has unlimited plans starting at $35, which nets you 2GB of high-speed data and unlimited slow data after that. For $45/month you get 10GB of high-speed data, a very competitive price. Whatever option you choose, you can save a whopping $1 per month if you enroll in auto-pay.
Now for a key question: Can the iPhone be unlocked for use with other carriers? Answer: yes, but only after you've been a paid Straight Talk customer for 12 months. If you were hoping to take this dirt-cheap phone to another carrier for dirt-cheap service, you're out of luck until a year from now.
That said, it's hard to quibble with $35 or $45 per month. But I haven't used Straight Talk in a long time, so I have no idea how the carrier rates nowadays in terms of performance and support. (If you do, by all means spill the beans in the comments!)
I've seen the iPhone SE for $159 from various MVNOs, but never $129. If you don't care about the latest bells and whistles but do want a compact, capable phone, this is a tough deal to beat.
Just say this: "Alexa, order a black [or white] Sonos Play:1 speaker." Your price will be just $148, not the usual $200 list price. You can also get a Sonos Play:5 the same way for $399, a savings of $100.
Amusingly (or not), I tried this just now and, sure enough, the price for the Play:1 was $148. But when Alexa asked me to confirm I wanted to order, I said no -- and she put through the order anyway! Thankfully, it was easy enough to cancel, but I most certainly said no, not yes. Talk about selective hearing!
Anyway, you can connect the Play:1 to an Alexa-enabled device and enjoy much better sound than you'd get from an actual Echo. I've always considered Sonos gear to be way overpriced, but this is approaching reasonable. Readto learn more.