Smartphone and Tablet Bonanza Plus Storage Drives [Tech Deals]

Kannon Yamada 06-02-2014

Retailers continue to liquidate older electronics from last year. The sales will continue throughout February. This week, we’ve got a treasure trove of unlocked smartphones and tablets, a Lenovo Yoga Ultrabook convertible and a large number of storage drives at amazing prices.


Tablet and Smartphone Users

Lots of older smartphones are getting cleared out by retailers this month and next. We’ve got several Android smartphones, a Windows Phone and the ultra-exotic FirefoxOS – all unlocked.

MetroPCS LG Optimus L9 Smartphone

lg optimus l9

For those of you wanting a dirt-cheap unlockable phone, you’re in luck! The Optimus L9 is now selling for the low price of $19.99 (after a $70 mail in rebate). Its specs are quite reasonable: Android 4.1.2, Dual core 1GHZ CPU, 1.6GB of internal storage, 4.5-inch display and Gorilla Glass 2.

While it initially comes attached to the inexpensive MetroPCS, after fulfilling their terms the phone can be unlocked online and switched to another carrier. However, this phone is CDMA technology, meaning it can only be switched to another CDMA carrier, like Ting. The terms of the rebate require two-months of service.

Be aware that, despite the picture above, this is for the CDMA MetroPCS model. Not the GSM T-Mobile variant.


ZTE FireFoxOS Smartphone

ZTE firefox os

  • Price: $74.97
  • Retailer: eBay – Buy it Now

I don’t want to oversell this phone – the specs are anemic and the phone isn’t that great. However, it’s the absolute cheapest route to picking up the exotic, open-source FirefoxOS operating system. The design of FirefoxOS is actually quite elegant as it uses HTML5 to run all its apps – similar to what Apple initially proposed doing when it began development of the iPhone.

Because it’s unlocked, you can throw in a SIM card from an MVNO (what’s an MVNO? What Is an MVNO and How Does It Save Money on Your Cellular Bill? [MakeUseOf Explains] In the US and Canada, we're taught that we need to sign contracts because cell phones and cellular service are so pricey. That's a bald-faced lie. Read More ) and save a great deal of money on your monthly cellular bill. This particular phone also operates extremely well as a burner Sick of the NSA Tracking You? Burn Them with a Burner Phone Sick of the NSA tracking you using your phone's positioning coordinates? Prepaid phones known colloquially as "burners" can provide you with partial privacy. Read More – the open nature of its operating system makes it inherently more secure (although the hardware security is another matter).

Virgin Mobile Samsung Galaxy Reverb [No Longer Available]

samsung galaxy reverb

  • Price: $79.99; compare to MSRP of $199.99
  • Retailer: Virgin Mobile – Buy it Now

The Samsung Galaxy Reverb’s single core 1.4GHz CPU won’t impress your friends, but for a prepaid Android smartphone, it offers excellent value. Virgin Mobile’s plans start at $35 a month and offer some of the best value for a Sprint-based MVNO (what’s an MVNO? What Is an MVNO and How Does It Save Money on Your Cellular Bill? [MakeUseOf Explains] In the US and Canada, we're taught that we need to sign contracts because cell phones and cellular service are so pricey. That's a bald-faced lie. Read More ) around. If you haven’t heard of an MVNO before, consider making the switch. MVNOs can save a lot of money Save Money By Switching To An MVNO: 4 Requirements You Must Know In the United States and Canada, getting ripped off doesn't take any effort, just a signature. When you sign a contract for cellular service, you also sign away your freedom. Read More .

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 (Refurbished)

samsung galaxy tab 3 10

  • Price: $274.99; compare to $399 MSRP
  • Retailer: eBay – Buy it Now

This particular model (GT-P5210) comes with a 10.1-inch screen and 16GB of internal storage. The 1280 x 800 screen is good, although not amazing. It comes with Android 4.2.1 (firmware update unlikely), 1 GB of RAM and both front-facing (1.3MP) and rear-facing (3MP) cameras.

For refurbished models, I highly suggest stress-testing the unit for potential defects How To Check New & Used Devices For Problems Using Simple Tips & Software Are you thinking of purchasing a new or used smartphone or computer? While you absolutely must test used electronics, even brand new smartphones and computers can suffer from defects that you may not notice until... Read More . The warranty period is 60-days, so if problems show up, it’s better that you find them earlier rather than later.


Also Consider:

  • 16GB Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 (refurbished) for $170 with coupon code ‘WINTER10’.
  • Verizon Nokia Lumia 928 Windows 8 Smartphone (refurbished) for $199.99
  • Asus Memo Pad ME201 10.1-inch 16GB Tablet for $199.90

Laptop Users

Get an Ultrabook that’s also a convertible tablet – for cheap!

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 Convertible Ultrabook (Refurbished)

lenovo yoga

  • Price: $601.22; compare to $1,100 brand new
  • Retailer: (formerly – Buy it Now

The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 uses an Ultrabook form factor (what is an Ultrabook? What Is An Ultrabook & Can It Succeed? [Technology Explained] Remember when the word laptop described virtually every mobile computer on the market? The choices were certainly easier back then (because there was simply less choice available), but today there’s a far wider variety including... Read More ) and can convert into a touchscreen tablet. It uses the last generation dual-core, Core i5 Ivy Bridge CPU and includes an 128GB SSD. For those looking for an Ultrabook or convertible tablet, this is very good deal. We’ve reviewed the IdeaPad Yoga 13 and it rocks What Are 2-In-1 Laptops and How to Pick the Best One? 2-in-1 laptops combine the portability of tablets with the ergonomics of a laptop, but are they any good? Is it better to get a tablet and a laptop separately? We explore. Read More . It also comes with 593 Rakuten points, which translate into $5.93 in Rakuten credit.

For those of you who love Linux, users are reporting that Ubuntu works well on the Yoga.


System Builders

We’ve got two great complementary system components this week – an SSD and an HDD – for super cheap.

Western Digital Blue 500GB Hard Drive

western digital blue

Western Digital drives tend to offer greater reliability than its competitors. They also tend to cost slightly more. For $38, this particular drive remains one of the cheapest hard drives you can find anywhere. If you elect to pick up at a Sears brick and mortar, shipping is free.

According to Sears, this is NOT a refurbished unit, despite the image watermark.

Crucial M500 240GB Solid State Drive

crucial M500

  • Price: $119.99; compare to $179.99 MSRP
  • Retailer: Newegg – Buy it Now
  • Coupon code: EMCYTZT5636

The Crucial M500 SSD (what’s an SSD? How Do Solid-State Drives Work? In this article, you'll learn exactly what SSDs are, how SSDs actually work and operate, why SSDs are so useful, and the one major downside to SSDs. Read More ) provides very good, although not cutting edge, performance along with excellent reliability. The drive consistently receives some of the best scores for SSDs and its current price (at $0.50 per gigabyte) is among the lowest I’ve seen for it.

If you do take the plunge, consider optimizing your system for SSD use How To Optimize SSD Speed & Performance Although Solid State Drives can deliver break-neck computing speeds, most users don’t know a nasty secret - your drive might not be properly configured. The reason is that SSDs don’t come optimized out of the... Read More (although this isn’t necessary with modern SSD drives, it will extend its lifespan).

Also Consider:


This week is loaded with low priced electronics. It’s a tough choice, but out of the deals available today, I prefer the Western Digital 500GB storage drive and the MetroPCS LG Optimus L9 smartphone. The hard drive is priced low enough that you can just add an additional drive for peanuts. The smartphone is priced so low that one must wonder if it fell off the back of a truck.

That’s it for this week folks! Check back next week for other great deals on all kinds of goodies!

Related topics: Buying Tips, Save Money.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Tiago Veloso
    February 7, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    I was thinking of buying the LG Optimus L9, but I live in Portugal... if I bought it from Fry's, would it work with a portuguese Vodafone SIM?

    • Kannon Y
      February 8, 2014 at 12:05 am

      I'm not sure if Fry's ships internationally, but even if they do, this phone is MetroPCS, which is a CDMA technology. You would need to check with your local telecoms to see if CDMA is supported and, if it is, if this particular phone is supported. Also, the rebate may not work outside of the US. Unfortunately, you may need to contact Fry's and check the terms of the rebate.

      I think it's too much of a hassle for international buyers. I'm sorry about this.

    • Tiago Veloso
      February 8, 2014 at 11:00 am

      Damn. Well, thanks anyway.

  2. Guy M
    February 6, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    I like this new feature on MUO! Way to go Kannon.