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Get a refurbished unlocked iPhone 5C for $99.99

From the Cheapskate: That's for the 8GB GSM model; it's also available with 16GB for $134.99. Either way you get a free case. Grab this as a backup phone or maybe a starter phone for your kid.

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. And find more great buys on the CNET Deals page.

"Apple products are a rip-off! How can you call yourself a cheapskate and still promote iPhones? I wouldn't use an iPhone if Apple paid me! How much is Apple paying you to shill their junk?"

Whew. OK, now that we've got all that out of the way...

See, I've been at this long enough to know what all the haters are going to say, so I figured I'd just spare them the trouble. If you're rabidly anti-Apple, that's cool, you're entitled to your opinion. Feel free to move along to the bonus deal (it's really good!), or maybe just check back tomorrow. Because I'm not really interested in hearing a lot of pointless Apple-hate today, you know?


Pretty phones. Pretty, pretty phones.


On to business. Not everyone wants a big phone. In fact, rumors persist that Apple will once again offer a smaller iPhone. And why not? They're lighter, easier to pocket, easier to operate one-handed and, in some cases, way cheaper.

Example: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Daily Steals has the refurbished factory-unlocked iPhone 5C (8GB) for $99.99 shipped, a price that includes a free case. Both the phone and case are available in your choice of colors.

If you feel like 8GB isn't enough -- I agree -- Mobilepros (via eBay) has the same refurbished unlocked iPhone 5C with 16GB for $134.99 shipped. Again you get a free case, though the yellow one appears to be sold out.

I always felt the iPhone 5C was unappreciated -- probably because it didn't improve on the iPhone 5's specs, only added color to the equation. But they're pretty, you know? Fun. Playful-looking in a way that most smartphones aren't.

And for $100 or $135, they're a potentially perfect pick for, say, a kid getting his or her first phone, or even someone looking for a backup phone or business line. Because they're unlocked and GSM-compatible, you can easily add them to an existing plan or go for a low-cost, no-contract carrier such as Cricket.

Indeed, just two years ago, if I'd told you you could buy an iPhone -- any iPhone -- outright for $100 and get unlimited no-contract service for $35 per month, you'd have been buying me drinks.

Now for the buy-your-own-damn-drinks news: These refurbs may show "scratches and scuffs," and neither seller makes any mention of a warranty. Daily Steals has a 30-day return policy, while Mobilepros gives you just 14 days. That should be ample time to determine whether there's anything major wrong with the phone, but even so it's a caution flag.

My key concern would be the battery; it obviously won't be new. But it's actually pretty easy and very cheap to replace an iPhone 5C battery (here, let me google that for you), so maybe that's not such a big issue.

Your thoughts? Because I know you have some.

Bonus deal: Stop juggling remotes! Wireless OEM Shop has the refurbished Logitech Harmony Touch universal remote for $76.49 shipped when you apply coupon code 10off at checkout. (Just be prepared to endure an obnoxious number of email registration pop-ups. Oy.) The Harmony Touch features a color screen and charging station and can control up to 15 devices. It lacks the IR accessories included with the pricier Touch Ultimate, but if you don't need that, this is a killer deal.