Black Friday might be the kickoff to this year’s holiday shopping season, but we can understand if you chose to stay at home rather than push your way through lines to get that doorbuster deal. If you were one of those people, and you’re still on the hunt for a new smartphone, then Cyber Monday was practically meant for you.
Before we get into it, we also have a much larger Cyber Monday roundup, where we hand-selected deals that include everything from televisions and smart speakers to laptops and tablets. Some of those deals will last all week, since more retailers have opted to turn Cyber Monday into “Cyber Week,” while others will be available for today and today only.
With that being said, let’s take a look at five great smartphone deals for Cyber Monday.
Essential Phone with 360 Camera – $400 ($100 off)
It’s crazy how perception of a smartphone can change with a price drop, frequent updates, and bi-weekly AMAs on Reddit, but that’s exactly what happened with the Essential Phone.
Formerly a phone we hesitated to recommend at its former $700 price tag, the Essential Phone became a significantly better buy at its new $500 price tag. Making things better, Andy Rubin’s outfit has been great with updates, and its Reddit AMAs lends a sense of transparency to its efforts.
Put together, Essential did something I did not think was possible when it first launched the Essential Phone: restore a tremendous amount of good faith.
Looking at the Essential Phone itself, the striking bezel-less design makes it one of the best-looking smartphones available today, even with that small notch for the front-facing camera. The Essential Phone also implements a bare-bones version of Android, which may or may not irk you, but it should mean that Android updates will arrive faster than they will for contemporaries. Finally, the Essential Phone features pogo pins on the back that give the phone a bit of modularity, since you can attach accessories like the 360 Camera.
This brings us to the deal at hand, which nets you the Essential Phone and the aforementioned 360 Camera for $400 unlocked. Since the Essential Phone itself normally goes for $500, you’re essentially (no pun intended) getting the 360 Camera for free and a discount on the phone. You have until 12am PST to decide whether the combo is for you, so don’t take too long.
Samsung Galaxy S8 – $574 ($150.99 off)
It might not have been the first smartphone to adopt the bezelless design, but the Galaxy S8 sucked the air out of the room when it initially launched in April. That seems like eons ago in smartphone years, but the Galaxy S8 more than holds up well over half a year later.
Like many of its contemporaries, the Galaxy S8 features Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835, 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of internal storage, and a single 12 MP rear camera that takes great photos in various lighting conditions. You also get a Micro SD card slot, quick charging and wireless charging, and a headphone jack.
Where the phone differentiates itself, for better or worse, are with Samsung’s software overlay and Bixby, Samsung’s virtual assistant that can be summoned with your voice or the Bixby button. These two features may be polarizing among the Android faithful, but they have not stopped the Galaxy S8 from selling very well.
Thanks to its design and powerful internals, the Galaxy S8 continues to hold up well against flagships released in the later half of 2017, and with its $574 price tag through Amazon for Cyber Monday, the phone more than competes in the price arena as well.
Google Pixel XL – $5/month ($624 off)
Let’s get this out of the way: the Pixel XL is a year old. Now that its age is out in the open, we can move right along, since the Pixel XL still offers one of the best Android experiences you can get today.
Even with its age, the Pixel XL is still slated to get Android P and security updates through October 2019. Those guaranteed updates directly from Google are mostly why folks choose Pixel phones over everything else, but there is still plenty to like about the Pixel XL apart from updates.
For one, its rear 12 MP camera takes great pictures, particularly in low-light scenarios. Videos might look a bit dull by comparison, but their stabilization still leaves us wondering how other smartphone manufacturers have yet to pull off something similar. Also, the Snapdragon 821 may not be the newest kid on the block anymore, but you wouldn’t notice based on how smooth Android Oreo runs on the Pixel XL.
As for the deal itself, the Pixel XL can be had for $5 a month for 24 months through Verizon. That translates to a savings of $624 over the two years, but keep in mind that you will need to get the phone on a device payment plan to see the $17.91-per-month bill credit. In other words, you are more than welcome to pay off the phone in full at any time, but if you do, those savings get tossed out the window.
Also, while the Verizon model plays nice with any other carrier, it comes with a locked bootloader. This means that you will not be able to flash any ROMs, kernels, or anything else along those lines.
If none of that bothers you, you can get the deal at the link below.
BlackBerry KEYone – $450 ($100 off)
This might be an odd pick, but the BlackBerry KEYone probably checks off many of the things you look for in a smartphone: long battery life, frequent updates, a good camera, and software that doesn’t get in the way. The phone did these things so well that our own Joshua Vergara, who probably gets an avalanche of phones each year, chose the KEYone as his daily driver for a while.
You can’t talk about the KEYone without talking about the keyboard, which you will either love or not care for. To BlackBerry’s credit, the company did try to bring the keyboard into the 21st century by having it feature touch-sensitive frets that let you scroll through websites and documents, a fingerprint sensor under the space bar, and the ability to long-press any key to complete an action.
The keyboard does take away from the KEYone’s ability to be a media consumption device, but you already know that if you pick up the KEYone. Thanks to Cyber Monday, you can do so and save $100 if you pick up the phone through either Amazon or Best Buy at the links below.
Moto G5S Plus – $230 – $275 ($50 – $75 off)
Not everyone needs a flagship smartphone — they just want something that works and works well. For them, the Moto G5S Plus fit the bill just fine.
Motorola’s Moto G5S Plus offers a clean and snappy Android experience, a fingerprint sensor, and a big 1080p display. It also comes with more premium features like a dual rear camera, an all-aluminum build, as well as a slightly more recent version of Android.
The Moto G5S Plus is going for $230 for the 32 GB model or $275 for the 64 GB model.
Whether you are in the market for a powerful flagship like the Galaxy S8, an affordable option like the Moto G5S Plus, or even last year’s Pixel XL, you will find great deals for this year’s Cyber Monday. Let us know in the comments whether your heart is set on any of these phones, and don’t forget to swing by our Cyber Monday roundup, which contains significantly more deals for your dollars.