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Someday we'll all look back on the two-year phone contract and laugh. Sure, we were subsidizing the sky-high price of the phone itself, but we were also severely limiting our options.
Today, you can buy a seriously good unlocked phone and take it to any compatible carrier. That means you can shop around for the plan and price that suit you best. And when you're ready to upgrade, you just buy the latest and greatest new phone.
Like this one: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Amazon has the unlocked Google Nexus 6 (32GB) for $349.99 shipped. It's available in your choice of cloud white or midnight blue, and for an extra $50 you can score the 64GB model.
I don't love the word phablet, but let's be clear: This is a phablet. True to its name, the Nexus 6 sports a 6-inch screen. It's a gorgeous, razor-sharp screen, but awfully big for a pocket. And still likely to draw a few snickers when you hold it next to your head.
Hey, snickerers gonna snick, am I right? When the Nexus 6 debuted late last year, it had a sticker price of $649. You're getting it at close to half off, so the last laugh belongs to you.
The phone runs Android Lollipop, of course, and includes a blazing-fast Snapdragon processor, 3GB of RAM, a dual LED-enhanced camera, front-facing speakers (yes, speakers, plural) and support for wireless charging. Alas, there's no microSD slot, so I'd say spend the extra $50 to get the extra storage.
I haven't had any hands-on time with the Nexus 6, so I'll turn you over to CNET's review for all the salient details. A big ding was price, but obviously that's not a big issue now.
Speaking of big, there are other unlocked phones you can buy in this price range -- the new, the -- but nothing quite this size. If you want, well, a smallish tablet that can also make phone calls (via your choice of GSM carriers), this is the deal to beat.
Bonus deal: Free music! Head to Google Play to score a bunch of The Very Best of... albums for zero dollars. Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Billie Holiday...shall I go on? OK, the selection includes some more modern artists as well, like Ciara, Britney Spears and Destiny's Child. (Use your browser's search option, usually accessible by pressing Ctrl-F, to quickly locate the albums listed as "free.")