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Virgin Mobile is now offering the refurbished iPhone 7 (32GB) for $299.99, along with six months of unlimited service for $1 per month (when you transfer your mobile number from another carrier). Similarly, you can score a refurbished iPhone 7 Plus (32GB) for $349.99, plus $6 for six months.
As regular readers know, I’m, because that’s usually the only way to save any money on them. And Apple does such a good job, er, refurbing, the gear is literally good as new.
Virgin’s “Pre-Loved” iPhones get essentially the same treatment: Apple-grade testing and inspection, a new battery and charger, new EarPods and a one-year warranty.
What’s more, Apple proper doesn’t currently have any clearance iPhone 7 models available. You could buy a refurb elsewhere, but you’d be unlikely to get the new battery, full warranty, etc.
So, for all intents and purposes, this is a new iPhone 7 for $300 or iPhone 7 Plus for $350. Not all colors are available, though, and for now you’re limited to the 32GB SKUs. If you want 128GB or 256GB, you’re out of luck.
The carrier question
The real “catch,” of course, is that you have to hitch your service wagon to Virgin Mobile for at least six months. Thankfully, at $1 per month (plus any applicable taxes/fees), that’s hardly a hardship.
Or is it? Virgin is a Sprint MVNO, and I’ll just charitably say not everyone is a fan of Sprint’s service. It really depends on where you live, work, travel, etc. In my house, I can barely get a signal. Of course, I have Wi-Fi, so I barely need a signal.
After six months, you’ll be switched over to Virgin’s $50 unlimited plan — still a good deal, especially considering some of the Inner Circle perks that go with it. And there’s no contract, so you can cancel if you want. Ah, but can you get the iPhone unlocked at that point and take it elsewhere? From what I can tell, and there’s some conflicting information online, phones activated as part of the Inner Circle plan can be unlocked at any time — but don’t quote me on that. (I’ve reached out to Virgin and will update the post if/when I get clarification.)
Despite this handful of caveats, I think this is an amazing deal. It’s ludicrous to pay $700 or more for an iPhone 8 or $1,000 or more for an iPhone X. But $300 for last year’s (okay, 2016’s) flagship model? That’s more like it.
Bonus deal: If you’re wondering whether 32GB of storage will be enough, or you’re just running low on your existing device, consider a wireless flash drive.
Like this one: For a limited time, you can get the SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick (128GB) in bulk packaging for just $30 shipped when you apply promo code FSHIPOUT at checkout. Price for the identical, retail-packaged version: $70!
The Connect looks like a fairly typical USB flash drive, and it is that — but it’s also a wireless drive that can connect to up to three mobile devices simultaneously. Use it to feed music or movies to a storage-strapped phone, or to offload extra photos, videos and the like.