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Best back-to-school phone deals: Get a new iPhone for under $150

With the new school year almost ready to start, students of all grades should already own a dependable smartphone to communicate with their classmates, do online research, and use educational apps — as well as to play video games and watch streaming content while taking a break from their studies. There’s no shortage of phone deals online, and the sheer number may get overwhelming, so we’ve rounded up the best phone deals in the market right now to help you with your search. If you see an offer that you like, buy it immediately because we’re not sure how long it will remain available.

Motorola Moto G Pure (Tracfone) — $50, was $60

The Moto G Pure has a water resistant nano coating.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The low price of the Motorola Moto G Pure doesn’t mean that it’s an unreliable smartphone, as it offers a surprisingly decent 13MP camera for an entry-level model for daytime shots, in addition to a nice water-repellent design. The device is powered by an octa-core processor with HyperEngine, offers storage of 32GB, and comes with Android 11.0 out of the box, but it will only work with a Tracfone prepaid plan.

TCL 40XL — $150, was $170

The TCL 40XL smartphone on a white background.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

TCL is known as one of the best TV brands because of the value that its products provide to shoppers, and that continues in the smartphone space with the Android 13-powered TCL 40XL. The device features a 6.75-inch display, a MediaTek Helio processor, and 4GB of RAM, with 128GB of storage that may be expanded by up to 512GB through a microSD card. Those are already impressive specifications for such an affordable smartphone, but add to that a triple-camera setup at the back with a 50MP AI main camera and a long-lasting 5,000 mAh battery, and you’re striking gold.

Apple iPhone SE (Straight Talk) — $149, was $379

The Apple iPhone SE (2022) being held in a mans hand.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Apple iPhone SE 2022 is in our list of the best iPhones as the top option for tight budgets. If the Apple iPhone 14 is beyond your budget, this is the device that you’ll want to buy because it comes with Apple’s A15 Bionic chip that’s also found in the latest version of the smartphone. The iPhone SE 2022 comes with a 4,7-inch Retina HD display, a 12MP Wide camera at the back, a 7MP FaceTime HD camera at the front, and an IP67 rating for water resistance. The catch, however, is that this device is locked to a Straight Talk prepaid plan.

Google Pixel 6a — $299, was $349

Someone holding the Google Pixel 6a. The display is on and showing the lock screen.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

The Google Pixel 6a, the cheapest and smallest model in the Google Pixel 6 lineup, retains its value because it offers flagship-level performance with the Google Tensor chip that’s also found in the Google Pixel 6 and Google Pixel 6 Pro. It comes with a 6.1-inch OLED panel with Full HD+ resolution and a 60Hz refresh rate, plus a 12MP camera that works with a comprehensive suite of photo tools and a storage capacity of 128GB. The Google Pixel 6a also offers an IP67 rating for water and dust resistance, and it ships with Android 12 but you can easily upgrade to Android 13.

Motorola Moto G Stylus — $299, was $400

Moto G Stylus 5G 2023 with stylus popped out.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

The Motorola Moto G Stylus is a surprise for its price, as you’ll be getting fast performance from its Qualcomm Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 processor and 6GB of RAM, in addition to a built-in stylus that will make it much easier to take down notes for classes. The device is also equipped with a 6.6-inch screen with Full HD+ resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate, 256GB of storage space, and a 50MP camera system that will let you take sharp and bright photos even in dark environments.

Google Pixel 7a — $449, was $499

The Pixel 7a in a case and being taken out of a pocket.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Google Pixel 7a is a fast and efficient smartphone with the Google Tensor G2 chip and 8GB of RAM, with Android 13 out of the box. It also comes with a 6.1-inch OLED screen with Full HD resolution and a 90Hz adaptive refresh rate, a storage capacity of 128GB, a 64MP main camera and 13MP ultrawide sensor at the back, and a 13MP selfie camera at the front. The Google Pixel 7a’s fast-charging battery can last more than 24 hours on a single charge, and up to 72 hours if you activate Extreme Battery Saver mode.

Google Pixel 7 — $499, was $599

The Google Pixel 7's screen, held in a man's hand.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Google Pixel 7 is included in our roundup of the best Android phones as the best value Android phone because of its combination of excellent software with Android 13 pre-installed, a great camera system featuring a 50MP main camera with optical image stabilization, and long battery life that can last throughout the day. The smartphone also has a 6.3-inch AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate and a 2400 x 1080 pixel resolution with HDR10+, and it’s powered by the Google Tensor G2 with 8GB of RAM and a 128GB capacity.

Samsung Galaxy S23 — $700, was $800

A Samsung Galaxy S23 with the power menu, showing the option to turn it off.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

The Samsung Galaxy S23, the base model of Samsung’s current flagship lineup of smartphones, is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy, which is a special version of the processor that combines with 8GB of RAM for superfast performance. The device features a 6.1-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with Full HD+ resolution and a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate, 128GB of storage, a triple-lens camera system that’s headlined by a 50MP main camera with optical image stabilization, and Android 13 with Samsung’s One UI 5.1.

Google Pixel 7 Pro — $799, was $899

The back of the Pixel 7 Pro held in a person's hand.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Google Pixel 7 Pro is the top-of-the-line model of Google’s current-generation flagship smartphone, and it comes with a top-tier camera system that includes a 50MP main camera with an f/1.85 aperture and laser detect autofocus, a 12MP ultrawide camera, and a 48MP telephoto camera with 5x optical zoom and up to 30x with Google’s Super Res Zoom. The device also features a 6.7-inch OLED display with 3120 x 1440 resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate, the Google Tensor G2 chip, and Android 13 out of the box.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra — $1,000, was $1,200

The Galaxy S23 Ultra sitting on a table and showing its home screen.
Andy Boxall/DigitalTrends

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is the best phone for Android in our list of the best smartphones because it offers unparalleled performance with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy and 8GB of RAM, in addition to a simply beautiful and massive 6.8-inch Super Dynamic AMOLED 2X display. The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra offers a 200MP camera, which is the highest camera resolution on a smartphone, while the built-in S Pen gives you another input option.

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