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Get a Samsung Galaxy S4 and free service for $269.97

Not only will you own the phone outright, you'll get a free monthly allotment of talk, text, and data. Plus: free "Lord of the Rings" movie!


I've always felt that the pain of owning a smartphone isn't the cost of the phone itself, but rather the monthly fee you have to pay to use it. Even if you go with a low-cost carrier, you're still probably looking at anywhere from $20-40 per month.

Not today. Today only, and while supplies last, Yugster has the refurbished Samsung Galaxy S4 for $269.97, plus $5 for shipping. That's a pretty solid deal on Samsung's flagship phone of 2013, but it's not even the best part. The best part: it comes with free talk, text, and data. For life.

That service is provided via Sprint-powered FreedomPop, which gives you a monthly allotment of 200 voice minutes, 500 text messages, and 500MB of data. For some users, that's enough.

Indeed, if you spend most of your time connected to Wi-Fi, you're not a heavy talker and you rely on a third-party messaging app like WhatsApp, you could easily make do with the freebie plan.

If not, FreedomPop will give you unlimited voice/texting for $10.99/month (while keeping the 500MB data limit), or unlimited everything for $19.99/month -- still a tremendous bargain.

In case you're not familiar with the Galaxy S4, CNET's review will tell you everything you need to know. It may be approaching its second birthday, but so what? All the benefits it had in 2013 (great camera, powerful processor, etc.) are still there.

FreedomPop sells the same refurbished S4 direct for $329, so Yugster's deal is a steal indeed. To my thinking there's no cheaper way to own and operate a flagship smartphone.

Bonus deal: In case you missed it last time around, Google Play is once again offering "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" (HD) absolutely free. Not a rental, mind you; the movie is yours to keep. (You will, of course, need a Google account with a credit card on file.) You can watch it on your mobile device or, courtesy of Chromecast, Roku and others, on your TV. This on top of yesterday's "Frozen" soundtrack freebie? Google, I think I might love you.


Bonus deal No. 2: One of the cooler products I tested in 2014: the Equil Smartpen 2. It's an ink pen that captures all your writing and syncs it to your mobile device or PC. But unlike certain other smart pens, this one requires no special paper. Instead, it relies on a sensor that clips to the top of your pad -- any pad. And the whole kit stows away in a nifty charging unit.

The gadget lists for $169.99, but for a limited time, StackSocial has the Equil Smartpen 2 for $129.99 shipped. Perfect way to put that Chanukah gelt/Christmas money to good use!