Walmart's $10 smartphone: What's the catch?

Posted at 5:50 PM, Dec 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-03 17:50:39-05

Don't have $500 for your next smartphone? How about just $10?

It may sound too good to be true.

But Wal-Mart has just started selling a smartphone for just $10, with no 2-year contract required.  

Wal-Mart shopper Rickie Howzie told us "That would be amazing, because that doesn't happen! They're really expensive."

Another customer said, "Something that cheap, I wonder if it would even be good, or if it would have some scam with it."

But it's not a scam: It's real.

What You Get

For $10 you get an entry level LG Android phone, subsidized by the prepaid carrier TracFone.

Sure, it's not the latest iPhone, or a Samsung Galaxy. But for $10 you're not going to find another smartphone at a price like this.

So what's the catch? There are several, but you may be able to live with them. 

  • The phone has a 4-inch screen, which looks like a first generation iPhone and is positively tiny these days.
  • There's no front camera for taking selfies.
  • It uses a two-generations old 2013 Android operating system.
  • You have to use it on the TracFone pre-paid network, at least for a year.

And the Verdict is...

But Fortune Magazine says all things considered, it's a great value.

Even if you don't want it for yourself, you can:

  • Give it to a 10- or 12-year-old child as a stocking stuffer.
  • Or you can use it as $10 WiFi tablet
  • Or you can turn it into a remote control for a Roku streamer or a Google Chromecast stick.

Rickie Howzie -- hearing the details -- decided she was suddenly interested. "I might look into it, yeah absolutely," she said.

You can find the offer on Wal-Mart's website, though it may not yet be  available in Wal-Mart's local stores.

It could be a popular holiday gift this year, so you don't waste your money.