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Get an iPhone SE (32GB) for $159.99

Available from Boost Mobile and Virgin, that's a huge discount on Apple's 4-inch phone, which remains a popular choice for some users. Plus: a VR headset and remote for $11.99.

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.


A current-gen iPhone for $159.99!


Not everybody wants a big phone. 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 has 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 $399.

Not today. For a limited time, Boost Mobile has the iPhone SE (32GB) for $159.99, or the 128GB model for $259.99. Those are the lowest prices I've seen, by far, and they're also available from Virgin Mobile. (Both companies are owned by Sprint.)

First let's talk about the phone, then we'll discuss the carriers.

The iPhone SE offers fast performance, good cameras, ample storage (especially if you opt for the 128GB model) 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 carriers, both Boost and Mobile offer unlimited music streaming as part of their data plans. Not from every service, mind you, but from half a dozen, including Pandora and Spotify. That means you can stream all you want and it won't count against your monthly data allowance.

Boost's entry-level plan ($30 per month) affords unlimited everything and 2GB of 4G LTE data, while Virgin gives you 5GB of high-speed data for $35 a month. Again, both carriers rely on Sprint's network, so you'll have to determine whether coverage is sufficient in your area.

Another question: Can these phones be unlocked for use with other carriers? Answer: unknown. I've read some threads indicating that services like Unlock4less can get the job done for around $17. It's up to you to do your homework if unlocking is on the agenda.

This is a pretty rare deal. Who knows what Apple will unveil at next month's WWDC, but if you want Apple's current-gen small iPhone, there's never been a better time to buy.

Bonus deal: There are several zillion smartphone-compatible VR headsets floating around Amazon, Ebay and other sites, all of them pretty similar, many priced in the $15-20 range. But here's one that's even cheaper, and it comes with a bonus: Sidardoe (via Amazon) has a VR headset and Bluetooth controller for $11.99, shipped free with Prime. That's after applying promo code OKO5PPL8 at checkout.


This headset ticks all the important boxes: adjustable elastic headband, pupillary-distance and lens-distance adjustment dials. There's also the aforementioned remote/game controller -- which, alas, is compatible only with Android. You can use the headset with any phone (including iPhones) between 4 and 6 inches. Then check out the 7 best VR games for iPhone, the 9 best VR apps for iPhone and all the VR apps available from Google Play.

If you've never tinkered with VR and want to see what all the fuss is about, here's your chance to do so on the cheap!