Most people don’t think of Sam’s Club as a great place to buy a smartphone, but for two major Android phone launches in a row they offered the hottest new hardware for less than anyone else.
This time buyers of the Samsung Galaxy S4 should consider Sam’s Club. They’re selling the phone for only $167.88 and, if buyers go on the right weekend, the store will wave the activation fee some mobile carriers charge when a customer buys a new phone. The AT&T activation fee costs $36. The low price for the phone and the waved fee combines for a savings for club members totaling $58.11.
When HTC released the HTC One, Sam’s Club offered the phone for around $175, a savings of about $25. We didn’t know then that Sam’s Club mobile kiosks will wave the activation fee for one to two weekends per month. Those usually coincide with big launches like the HTC One or the Galaxy S4. The kiosk sales person at the local store in Hickory, North Carolina told us that they will wave the fee next weekend as well starting Thursday and continuing through Sunday May 2-5.
The sales associate in our store worked hard to help us with some unusual upgrade obstacles thanks to strange practices by AT&T. Two days before we swapped two lines which seemed to confuse the AT&T upgrade computers. She helped move the erroneous block. Also, since we arrived before the FedEx shipment, she told us exactly when the delivery driver normally arrives. She was right and we only needed to wait for about twenty minutes and walked away with a beautiful new black Samsung Galaxy S4 saving nearly $60.
Sam’s Club charges $35 per year for the privilege of shopping at the member’s only warehouse store. Usually a customer will save enough in a year’s time to make up for the fee. Buyers of these phones who activate on the right weekend can erase the Sam’s Club membership in one purchase. Most of us know a friend or family member who is a member so that’s not a big hurdle even if a buyer doesn’t want to sign up.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 replaces the S3 with few physical changes. The phone’s overall size increased minimally, but the screen takes up more of the phone’s front. That means a slightly bigger screen with a phone that’s effectively the same size. The back edges feel squared instead of rounded like the S3. Samsung designers moved some of the buttons along the edges slightly and then upgraded the internal specs.
Samsung introduced bigger software changes. Hover a finger over the screen to interact with content. The phone’s camera senses when the user’s eyes reach the bottom of the screen and the phone will scroll to the next page. These make up a small sample of the improvements of the Samsung Galaxy S4 over the previous generation.