The Nexus 5 is a ground-breaking device. For Android fans, this is the first high-end handset that customers can buy unsubsidized and activate on all but one of the major American carriers. This isn't a big deal with AT&T and T-Mobile, as Nexus 4 buyers could already use their networks last year, but the addition of Sprint is reason to take notice. If they can do it, it stands to reason that so could Verizon. Unfortunately, we don't live in a carrier agnostic utopia just yet. The Sprint Nexus 5 is now available on Amazon, and while it's cheaper to upgrade an existing line here than on the carrier's website, the phone costs a ridiculous $499.99 without a service plan.

Update: Amazon dropped the off-contract price to $449.99.


This off-contract price is $50 more than what Sprint charges, and since this is the 16GB model we're talking about, it comes out to $150 more than what you would pay for the same phone on Google Play. Since it's possible to activate the latter version on the Sprint network, there is zero reason to hand over that much extra money. Seriously. Don't.

But if you're looking to save money upfront with either a new or existing line, Amazon will let you walk away with a Sprint Nexus 5 for only $49. As far as subsidized phones go, that's not bad at all.

Sprint Nexus 5 on Amazon

Thanks, Justin L.

Bertel King, Jr.
Born and raised in the rural South, Bertel knows what it's like to live without 4G LTE - or 3G, for that matter. The only things he likes sweeter than his tea are his gadgets, and while few objects burn more than a metal phone on a summer day, he prefers them that way anyway.

  • mgamerz

    I'm just blown away by my N5 I got last night. It's so smooth. I turned on android ART, and I haven't seen ANY lag, I'm not kidding or making a hyperbole.


    PC: Can it run crysis?
    Phone: Can it run facebook and not have it suck?

    • Michael Pahl

      Lots of FC though right? did you have to revert to Dalvik?

      • Andrea

        Replying because I'm interested about that.

      • SetiroN

        Not really.
        They only problem is that some applications simply don't work.
        They are very few, the ones I know about are only Titanium backup, whatsapp and quadrant.
        I'd say it's a good chance to ditch whatsapp, but the rest of the world isn't so easily converted.

      • mgamerz

        Nope. Only one app so far doesn't work. Its doing what dalvik does except for the whole app at a time and with some optimization.

  • tehsusenoh

    It's really a shame they won't be carrying the 32GB model.

    • Dart

      Agreed. My friend was considering one on Sprint, but he wants 32GB at the subsidized price.

      He might just get the LG G2 instead. I love my Nexus 5 on T-Mobile.

      • tehsusenoh

        I'm kind of stuck on Verizon (due to coverage). I was considering the G2, but I just can't handle the buttons on the back.

        • Andy Stetson

          Have you tried the phone? I was iffy about them, but you get used to it pretty quick and i actually hate using my wife's S3 now.

          • tehsusenoh

            I went to my Costco and tried out the AT&T model. I didn't particularly like it. I wouldn't mind the volume on the back, but the sleep button is just kind of annoying. I know that the first thing I'll do with it is flash CM to it, which means I would lose KnockOn, the only real way to unlock the phone without turning it over.

          • Andy Stetson

            I thought the same, but haven't really found a reason to flash CM. Everything on the phone just works with stock roms. For things that don't, like the Nav bar, there are Xposed modules for it. I've been on an AOSP-ish ROM since the D1 days, developed themes for multiple ROMs along with CM themes, and i don't really miss CM with this phone.

          • tehsusenoh

            Ah, well I hadn't remembered all of the Xposed stuff. I run CM10 on my Bionic, so I don't use Xposed other than for things like Snapshare. Which modules do you use specifically?

          • Andy Stetson

            Xposed LG G2 (device specific mods, like nav bar and some status bar goodies [under LG G2 forum on XDA])

            Greenify (makes awesome battery life more awesome [Google Play])

            NotifyClean (Cleans up the notification area [xda or in xposed app])

            Swap Volume Keys (for when device is in landscape or upside down[xda or in xposed app])

            Unicon (Icon Themer, for using icon themes in Aviate or Stock Launchers, also works great hand in hand with Nova/ADW, etc [Google Play])

            XBlast Tools (good all around toolkit [Google Play])

            XVolume30 (30 step media and phone volume [xda or in xposed app])

            Xposed Default App Picker (double tap app picker [xda])

            Xposed Tweakbox (various tweaks [xda])

            XuiMod (Listview Animations [[xda or in xposed app])

      • Simon Belmont

        My friend is facing basically the same scenario. I told him to try T-Mobile prepaid and a Google Play Store 32GB Nexus 5.

        That way he'll find out how good (or bad) T-Mobile is in his area (it's actually good, because his area is the same as mine), and he can lower his bill and still have the 32GB of space. But he also could still just bring the 32GB Nexus 5 to Sprint if he decided to stay (and he didn't like T-Mobile), so it's win-win.

        • maynefzb828

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      • TeeJ

        Is this feasible?: Use upgrade for an iphone 5 or 5s, sell it, use money to buy Nexus 5 from the Play store, profit.

  • Andy Stetson

    Looks like Amazon is trying to recoup from the snafu yesterday.

    • Dustin


      • Baleeted

        They had a load of devices going very cheaply off contract. like an S4 for $200 if I remember correctly.

      • Dart

        They were selling the LG G2 off contract for $200. Major screw up.

        It was taken down fast. They seem to be honoring the orders.

        • flosserelli

          Yeah I am still upset that I missed out on that deal *sigh*

  • SetiroN

    It's so weird how oblivious Americans are about hidden contract costs.

    Hey guys, watch out, don't pay $500!
    Just pay $50 over an extremely overpriced monthly fee that includes an additional $30*24 for something that actually is $300, they value $450 but are going to make you pay $700.
    Totally checks out. Makes perfect sense.

    • Andy Stetson

      Do you get to pay less monthly on Sprint if you don't have a subsidized phone? If not, then the contract price is the way to go. Otherwise you're spending $300 + another $650 over the term of the contract, which equates to spending $950+.

      • SetiroN

        That's the point: you don't sign a contract like that, where prices for subsidies are equal to device free. It's a scam.

        • Andy Stetson

          Does Sprint even have a prepaid service? I'd check myself, but their website is completly screwed up when i visit it from my work network.

          • Megamaster2

            Ting, Cricket, Boost Mobile.. I don't think they have their own but other MVNOs use their network.

          • Andy Stetson

            Do those all have access to Sprint's [exists almost nowhere] LTE network? Last i knew, Boost still only had 3G, not sure about the other two.

          • tehsusenoh

            Ting does, as far as I know.

          • Robb Nunya

            Ting does.

          • Robb Nunya

            They do, but it doesn't seem to be a price break, and I don't believe it includes data...

      • Simon Belmont

        Nope. Even if you bring your own phone to Sprint (and VZW and AT&T), you pay the same monthly price. It does not lower if you brought your own phone. You essentially pay the same built-in subsidy for a phone that you already paid in full for (it's double dipping).

        That's one of the many reasons I moved to T-Mobile. Your bill is lower if you bring your own phone or it drops to that lower price after you pay off the cost of the phone if you bought it from them.

        • Andy Stetson

          That's what i thought. I could really care less about the MVNOs, the big 4 are what I was wondering about and was thinking TMo was the only one. Still waiting for the day that they have more than 1 tower in my area.

    • Simon Belmont

      I'm not oblvious. I'm on T-Mobile and I brought my own device (A G'Nex and now a Nexus 5).

      T-Mobile doesn't build in the subsidized price. If you buy a device from them, you pay it off, and the bill drops, or you do what I did and bring your own phone and the bill is already lower from the start.

      • SetiroN

        Of course I'm not saying everyone is, but many are convinced that they're actually paying their devices $200, while they are in fact being ripped off.

        Obviously many peope have made the switch to TMo or one of the many MVNOs, but a huge chunk of population is unaware of the issue and it should be a political responsibility to make sure that there is a distinction between service costs and device costs.

        The carrier system in the US is at the same time so unfair and so standard that a lot of people, including the author of this post, can recognise that paying $500 for a $350 phone is ludicrous but are oblivious of how much more they're actually paying with $50 plus another hidden $700 over the course of 2 years.

        • Simon Belmont

          I do agree people need to be educated about how it works. You and I both agree that a lot of people have voted with their wallets and moved to carriers (like T-Mobile) that are more upfront about how things are billed and aren't hiding the way subsidies are paid (and continue to be paid).

          I don't think it makes Americans, in general, oblivious, but more likely just tricked into believing they're getting a good deal. This is yet another reason why the whole "UNcarrier" strategy of T-Mobile is something that hopefully makes large waves across the entire market.

    • UniBroW

      What people like you forget is that often times people will have big discounts on a family plan through their employer or even without discounts a sprint (old 1500 plan) with 5 smartphones comes out to ~$56/line with the cost of a subsidized phone accounted for. It's pretty hard to do better than that and have truly unlimited data (some areas are actually decent to go with sprint).

      Personally, I recently left sprint and have a T-mobile unlimited plan and have a Note 3. I'm definitely paying more right now, even after my 15% work discount but when I transfer everyone over eventually I should be saving some money or paying about the same (depending on phone).

      • SetiroN

        This has nothing to do with the fact that many people forget they're still paying for the remaining $450 (or more) one way or another.

        It might still be the cheaper option in certain cases, but that's another matter. :)

    • Drome

      Man us Americans are SO DUMB. How did we not think of that? Thanks for showing us how to pay less money for the technology our country creates.

      • SetiroN

        How typical of a nationalist to reply asserting his superiority.
        Guess what, Google and (funnily enough) the Koreans at LG, created that technology; being born on the same piece of soil doesn't make you a fraction of that technology's inventor.

        If you took my statement as declaration of dumbness, it's your problem: I'm just attesting how much the fraudulent carrier contracts have been inculcated into the American's mind, so much that the author of this post implied that while paying $500 is ludicrous, $50 plus another hidden $700 over the course of 2 years is not.

        • Andy Stetson

          His post is strictly talking about the carrier SPRINT. Not any other options. Just SPRINT, for those who use their phones on the SPRINT network. Including the title, the author mentions SPRINT 7 times. We all know carrier subsidized pricing sucks. The author is showing the options SPRINT customers have for the Nexus 5 on the SPRINT network.

          • SetiroN

            Yes, but getting a new device binds you to the same carrier for another two years.
            Besides some very specific situations, there are alternatives.

          • Andy Stetson

            yeah, contracts are the devil, i get that. For some people in some locations, Sprint is the best option. And in that case, the author is telling them "hey, don't buy off contract through Amazon, buy on contract because you are saving money because they don't care if you BYOD or not, they'll charge you the same, so save yourself $300.

        • Drome

          Or you could just not make sweeping generalizations about Americans. Lots of companies pay for a work line for their employees but the device cost is out of pocket. So $50 on contract sounds pretty damn good actually.

          • SetiroN

            I'm not saying Americans are idiots, I'm saying they're often oblivious to hidden costs - mostly because the system made sure to hide them well.

            It's obvious that if someone else is paying your contract getting a device at $50 is good, but 95% of people pay it by themselves.

    • http://bertelking.com/ Bertel King, Jr.

      No, my point was that it's stupid to pay $500 for a phone that costs just $350 across the street. But if you're going to trap yourself in a two-year contract, then sure, might as well just pay $49.99 instead of the usual $199 beforehand.

      I personally refuse to sign a two-year contract, and I pay full price for all of my phones, but I'm not going to turn every post about every carrier's new phone into a chance to convert others. Our readers are smart, and they can decide for themselves what plan, or lack thereof, suits their needs.

  • Eric Jones

    It's $100 more so you can get a Sim card, and easily get it activated on Sprint. I'm still back ordered on a SIM card to activate mine on Sprint.

  • David Marion

    Virgin Mobile Canada also has the 16GB for $499.99

  • Crafty

    Jesus. It's like I have 1/3 screen space to put my finger to scroll or click links, or I open an advertisement that takes me to the Google Play Store.

    I respect advertising as a way to support the site, but cripes. It's gotten excessive lately (applies to the mobile browser).

  • David Hart

    Straight talk T-mobile for evah (or until I get the boot for using like 60+GB some months)

    I literally pay my bill yearly. It's like $495 before tax. Some people pay more, and use their phones less.

  • Chris Caldwell

    expected a bit more from ap. if you get the $50 phone your plan is $120/no. if not it's $60/no. that's NOT a $50 phone. that's a $1,000 phone!!!!! stop feeding this sort of deceptive price gouging!

  • Javier Vazquez

    Do you guys think the Nexus 5 will show up on Amazon or anywhere else for the same price as the Google Play store? I was going to wait for it to show up on Amazon to get no tax and free 2-day shipping (Amazon Prime) but it's not looking so good :-/

  • Chris Caldwell

    any plans to write another article on this but including the actual cost of the phone like you did with T-mobile? There are a lot of folks who arent getting that Sprint is actually charging them $1500 for the phone, plus service. I think thats pretty well worth mentioning...

  • Steven Soó

    Why would they even attempt to sell it at a price more expensive without a contract, carrier locked, than when it was first released on the Google Play Store, unlocked?

    I guess it's because it's convenient for people to walk in and out of Sprint with a shiny new phone at 'just $50'?

    Ironic because the Nexus is supposed to be 'that unlocked phone'.

    PSA - why pay more for a phone than what it originally costed when it launched, a whole year later, locked to one network - when you can pay less and use it on any carrier of your choice, untethered from these hungry telecom contracts.