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Alcatel's Idol 5S is a bargain if you can stomach Amazon ads

It's yours for $200 contract-free.
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Alcatel/TCL

Alcatel's Idol 4S phone was a good value at $350, but its emphasis on virtual reality support (such as a box that doubled as a headset) may have held it back. Unless you're a big VR fan, wouldn't you rather spend less on a no-frills device? You're getting that opportunity soon. Amazon is including Alcatel's new Idol 5S in its latest wave of Prime Exclusive phones, and it's clear that you're getting a solid deal. If you're an Amazon Prime subscriber, the unlocked handset will ship on July 10th for $200 -- you'll have to put up with Amazon's offers and ads, but that's a low price for what looks to be a well-rounded device. It's also available in a standard $280 version if you'd rather not turn your phone into a tiny billboard.

Whichever version you get, you'll find a 5.2-inch 1080p display, an eight-core Snapdragon 625 processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of expandable storage and a rear-mounted fingerprint reader. Both the front (8 megapixels) and rear (12MP) cameras are stabilized, too, so you shouldn't have to worry so much about blurry selfies. The specs are a slight step back from the 4S, but you're also paying a lot less.

The initial version will only work with GSM carriers like AT&T or T-Mobile, but Amazon is promising Sprint and Verizon support later in the summer. We'd suggest looking at the Moto G5 series before you pull the trigger, as it's sitting in a similar price range and might just tickle your fancy in a way Alcaltel's phone doesn't. However, the Idol 5S is inexpensive enough that you can at least mention it in the same breath as the G5 and similarly-priced hardware.

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