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Sprint opens Essential Phone preorders with a $260 discount

Sprint opens Essential Phone preorders with a $260 discount

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the essential phone
Photo by Asa Mathat / Recode

Sprint is now taking preorders for the Essential Phone, and it’s offering subscribers a pretty good perk to jump on it early: a discount of about $260.

Naturally, Sprint being a phone carrier, all kinds of confusing terms and conditions apply here. Sprint is advertising the deal as “50 percent off the Essential Phone,” but that’s not true. What it’s actually doing is giving 50 percent off its standard payment plan, the “Sprint Flex 18-month lease.”

It’s closer to a 30 percent discount in the end

The catch is, at the end of that lease, you don’t actually own the phone. You’ll have only paid off $525 of the phone’s $700 price (though you’ll have paid half that, because of the discount).

At that point, you’ll have the option of trading the phone in for something else, which seems like a bad deal, or paying off the remaining $175 so you can actually own the phone. If you do that, you’ll end up paying around $440 in total, which is still a good discount.

Sprint is only offering black versions of the phone right now and says units will ship by August 28th. Essential announced earlier this week that white models of the phone were delayed, and began offering customers the option to switch their order to the phone’s other color.