Buyer's Guide: Spring Break Edition

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| March 23, 2014


Alright, so it’s officially Spring Break, and you’re ready to get your road trip on with your buddies. When it comes down to packing, though, you probably want to pack light. You want to bring clothes and all the essentials, but when it comes to our everyday electronics, we want to keep it to a minimum, right? Honestly, for all intents and purposes, a smartphone is probably the only electronic you would really need for a happy, memorable Spring Break with your friends; but if your current daily driver isn’t cutting it, it might be time to look for an upgrade before heading out for the week. In case you fall into this scenario, we’ve put together a little buyer’s guide to help you figure out which new smartphone is going to suit your style (and your wallet) the best.



5. Nexus 5 / Moto X



We’re going to ease into this buyer’s guide by starting off with the two that are on the lower end of the price range without skimping too much on the specs. Both the Nexus 5 ($349.99) and the Moto X ($399.99) were some of the hottest phones to hit the market last year, and whether you’re looking to buy on-contract or off, these two phones are going to be your best bets.


Both phones are speedy and have decent cameras for all those memories you plan to catch. They’re not the best on the market, but they certainly get the job done.


The Nexus 5 is a great phone for those who are big on specs, but are tired of bloatware from custom UIs clogging up their internal memory as it features stock Android. Meanwhile, the Moto X is a good option for people who are more interested in touchless controls and not so much on the specs of the device.


In the end, both devices are great and on the cheap end, both full-price and with a 2-year contract.



4. Nokia Lumia 1020 (AT&T)

Pretty much any of the Lumias are going to get any of the popular votes when it comes down to the camera, but the Lumia 1020 and its 41-megapixel camera really takes the cake over any of them. While the specs aren’t that impressive compared to your latest Androids or iPhones, you might be surprised to know that Windows Phone actually doesn’t really need all that much to run smoothly. A little pokey? Yes. A little lacking when it comes to apps? Depends on who you are. If you’re looking for a phone with a great camera and has lots of photo-editing software to use, the Lumia 1020 is going to be one of the best options on the market right now (especially for just $49.99 with a 2-year contract).



3. Samsung Galaxy S4 (Verizon/Sprint/T-Mobile)

With the Samsung Galaxy S5 coming out here within the next few weeks, it’s not too hard to find the Galaxy S4 going on sale left and right as stores prepare to bring in the new stock for the new flagship. This week, Best Buy is having a sale on the Galaxy S4 for both Verizon and Sprint for just $49.99 on a 2-year contract. You can also save $48 if you’re upgrading using T-Mobile (through their Spring Sale on T-Mobile’s website).



2. Apple iPhone 5s (Verizon/AT&T)



The Galaxy S4 isn’t the only 2013 flagship to go on sale this week, as the Apple iPhone 5s for both Verizon and AT&T have $50 price cuts as well. It’s not too often that you see sales on Apple devices, but if you’ve been keeping your eye out for one this is it. The iPhone 5s is only 6 months old at this point, so it’s a pretty good deal all around.



1. Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (Verizon/AT&T/T-Mobile)



I’ve been finding most of the best deals at Best Buy, and this last deal is no different. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is a beast of a phone, and you can find it over at Best Buy for just $199.99 with a 2-year contract if you’re with Verizon or AT&T. Normally this phone goes for $299.99, so you’re getting a $100 savings right there (which could make somebody’s wallet very happy). T-Mobile’s Spring Sale also features $48 off of the Galaxy Note 3, which might not be as big, but is still something (especially if you’re considering a switch from another carrier and are getting your ETF paid for).



Honorable Mention: Moto G

Although the Moto G probably isn't the best for taking photos these days, it still carries a decent 5-megapixel on it and uses a speedy quad-core processor, all for a mere $179 price tag. If you're looking for something with a real budget price, isn't the size of your head, and has plenty of color choices, the Moto G actually makes a decent mid-range pick-up if you're in the market for something new.


Whether you’re looking for a phone with a camera so good it can replace your actual camera, or a phone so great it can replace half of the things you use in your daily life, here we have a pretty solid list of some of the best phones on the market at some of the best prices this week.


Readers, are you going to be upgrading your phone before heading out on vacation for Spring Break? Let us know in the comments below!


Images via Tech Radar, CNet, The Unlockr, ABC News, Phone Arena