I am ATT-free for four or five years now, and damned proud of it. You can put a gun to my head, but it won't get me back. Go ahead, pull the trigger.
As for "you get what you pay for," consider that this is for my wife--who is coming from years of dumbphone service with PagePlus. Me, my experience is a company Blackberry. I'm looking at this, and at my wife getting into the whole Google experience, and am very pleased.
And this is pretty much an experiment--I don't know if this is something we want to do. So, I get a phone I can re-sell for what I have in it and I can get onto the $30 monthly deal without any obligation. In other words, I can try this out virtually risk-free and walk away if I want to.
Now, for those who live and breathe smartphones, and whose very being is tied to the phone, and who knows which phone has one more (name your spec here) than some other phones, and who defines his place in the pecking order of other phoneaholics by what phone he currently has, I'm sure the Nexus is worth the money. But if I'm coming from riding a horse, and all I need to do is get to Cleveland without much fuss and in air-conditioned splendor, a Corolla is a thing of beauty and wonder--I don't need a Lexus or need to know why a Lexus is better than that Corolla.
Plus, I have other obligations. I've made my choices in life, and am in a position where a bazillion dollars for a phone + "plan" every month is not something I want to do. Neither my wife nor I live and die by the phone, and frankly even $30/month for a portable internet connected computer of ANY kind is very much a luxury that may or may not survive in my life. Hence my stand that the $100 phone is an incredible value, because compared to a dumbphone it's night and day--and then there's that whole resale thing.
On the other hand, should this work out well, maybe I will make the choice to make a Nexus or similar happen in my life. That's the nice thing about choices. And if I start this way, I minimize the chances of wasting money and making mistakes.
The Exhibit II is an incredible value.