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Get a Motorola Moto X4 for $279.99

If you don't mind an Amazon-heavy OS, this unlocked, carrier-agnostic phone is a stellar deal. Plus: A DJI Mavic lookalike for under $350 and a laser printer for $50!

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 features like a dual-lens rear camera and built-in Alexa, the Moto X4 is a pretty amazing deal at $280.

Juan Garzón / CNET

I consider it utterly ridiculous to pay $1,000 for a phone -- not when you can pay a fraction of the price for one that's very nearly as good.

To wit: For a limited time, Amazon is once again offering the Motorola Moto X4 with Special Offers for $279.99. Reg. price: $329.99 (or $349 if purchased directly from Motorola).

Let me get the negatives out of the way right up front. The X4 doesn't support wireless charging, and the Special Offers add an annoying amount of clutter to the lock screen.

That's pretty much it (in my humble opinion). And guess what? For as little as $10 you can add wireless-charging capabilities (more on that in a future article), and for $15 you can eliminate the ads (while still coming out ahead on the price).

Now for the good:

  • The X4 is unlocked and works with any carrier. It doesn't limit you to just GSM or CDMA networks, it supports both.
  • It has a USB-C port instead of micro-USB. The latter deserves a special place in hell, the former is the future.
  • It has a headphone jack.
  • It has a dual-lens rear camera that does a solid job creating bokeh effects.
  • It has an expansion slot for adding tons more storage on the cheap.
  • It's water-resistant and comes with hands-free Alexa.

I mean, what else do we need? According to CNET's Motorola Moto X4 review, the phone's camera can be slow to load and has a few issues with wide-angle images. My take: BFD.

Having spent some time with the X4, I've found it an excellent phone overall; the lockscreen ads are my only real complaint. I'm fairly surprised by the 3.6-star average user rating. A few of the negative reviews are kind of ridiculous, like the one complaining about available storage space (welcome to every computing device in history) and the presence of ads (that's what "with Special Offers" means, bud).

That said, I'm approaching this from the perspective of someone who wants Apple's latest but simply cannot and will not pay that much. It's ludicrous. The X4 is one of many so-called midrange phones offering incredible capabilities for an incredible price. Are there other models in this category that might be better? Quite possibly.

Is this a helluva deal with the extra $50 off? Quite certainly.

Your thoughts?


Look familiar? Nope, this isn't the DJI Mavic Pro. It's an unapologetic copycat with a considerably lower price.


Bonus deal: If you're caught in this seemingly endless death-grip of winter right now, flying a drone is probably the last thing on your mind. But better weather will come, so why not scoop up a drone deal while you can?

You've heard of the DJI Mavic Pro, the $1,000 quadcopter everyone wants but few can afford? Guess what? There's a clone. For a limited time, has the Obtain F803 for $347.99 shipped. That's after applying promo code RCF803 at the checkout. (Make sure you've selected either the black or white model, the other one costs even less but lacks the remote, which I consider essential.)

The Obtain F803 looks and feels very much like the Mavic Pro -- metal chassis, folding arms, intelligent flight modes, 20-plus minutes of flight time. Does it fly the same? That I don't know yet -- it's way too cold and windy here for me to test it. I can tell you its built-in camera tops out at 1080p instead of 4K, and both the remote and app are different. One big missing feature: Obstacle-avoidance.

But for roughly one-third the price? Definitely worth a look. And I hope to report back with some flight tests after Michigan thaws out.


Brother, can you spare a Dell-branded printer?


Bonus deal No. 2: I kind of wish my trusty old Brother HL-2170w would die so I could replace it with something a little more wireless-friendly, but the dang thing just keeps chugging along.

Were I shopping for a replacement, however, it'd be this: For a limited time, and while painfully limited supplies last, Staples has the Dell E310dw monochrome laser printer for $49.99 shipped (plus tax).

Looking an awful lot like similar Brother models, cough-cough, the E310dw is noteworthy for its automatic duplexer, AirPrint/Google Cloud Print support and 250-sheet input tray. Plus, replacement toner can be had for cheap ($20 or less, provided you don't mind third-party cartridges).