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Walmart selling prepaid Samsung Galaxy S4 for $249

Samsung's 2013 flagship still flies high today. And you can get no-contract monthly service for $45.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read
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Way back in 2013, Samsung's Galaxy S4 was the hot smartphone. Sure, it's been eclipsed in 2014 by newer models, not the least of which is Samsung's own Galaxy S5, but there's plenty of mileage left in this former flagship phone.

And now you can get it for cheap. Like, really cheap: this week only, Walmart has the Samsung Galaxy S4 LTE (16GB) for Straight Talk for $249 shipped (plus tax). This model originally sold for $699 unlocked, and normally goes for $449. It's yet another example of how you can score sweet deals on last year's tech.

There's probably not much I can tell you about the S4 you don't already know, or can't glean from CNET's review (five stars, incidentally). It's a 5-inch phone with two increasingly rare (though highly desirable) assets: a microSD slot for storage expansion and a user-replaceable battery.

A few things, however, aren't entirely clear. First, the S4 comes preloaded with Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean). By all accounts it should update to 4.4 KitKat once you fire it up, but Samsung has yet to officially announce an S4 upgrade to Android 5.0 Lollipop. Thankfully, there's plenty of evidence it will happen, and BGR recently showed off a nice preview.

Second, I can't tell if the S4 is somehow locked to Walmart's Straight Talk network, or if you're getting an unlocked version that would work on pretty much any GSM or CDMA network. (Straight Talk supports both.)

That's hardly a deal breaker, as the carrier offers a competitive $45 per month no-contract plan that includes unlimited talk and texting and 3GB of 4G data. (Alas, you can't use this with the $30 per month plan.)

All told, this is a mighty affordable way to own and operate last year's hot phone. Your thoughts?