How To Get A New Cell Phone At The Cheapest Price

Nowadays, cell phones are becoming more and more expensive. What many people don’t know is that instead of spending a small fortune on the latest and greatest smartphone, deals can be found as long as you know where to look!

If you want the latest and greatest smartphone, you could find yourself out at least a thousand dollars. That’s only if you’re paying MSRP too, as scalpers tend to make things even trickier.

Once you do have your device in hand, you still have to keep your wallet open. Flagship devices these days don’t come with chargers in the box. On top of other physical accessories like earbuds and cases, you’ll also need to pay your monthly bill and possibly device insurance.

That all will add up, but don’t worry. Saving money on a smartphone doesn’t mean buying the cheapest unit available. Here are some tips to get a fantastic device for a great price.

Watch the Timing

While prices tend to be very stable around launch days, that doesn’t stay the norm for long. With promotions, new models on the horizon, and overstock, the cost of a phone will fluctuate throughout the year. If you are willing to shop around and wait for the right deal, you could get an expensive phone at a deep discount.

Just keep in mind that these price drops might not last very long. This is especially true of the larger discounts, which may be reserved for flash sales or other short-term promotions. Also, keep your eyes on multiple retailers to ensure you secure the best deal.

Of course, it helps to know what times of the year are most likely to cause sales.

Shop During the Holidays

Everyone knows about Black Friday, but there are many other celebrations that tend to trigger low prices. Carriers and retailers alike will unleash deals around bigger holidays such as July 4th or Labor Day. There are also annual shopping events that happen at the same time every year, such as Amazon’s Prime Day or back-to-school sales in the summer.

Check Carrier Promotions

Carriers are in constant battle for new customers, and will offer attractive promotions for potential clients. They may even have deals that specifically target someone under contract with a rival to steal them away. The important thing here is to always read the fine print before signing a contract. Be aware of how or even when you receive bonuses. For instance, a lot of cashback deals pay you back in the form of bill credit over time.

Consider Unlocked

Buying an unlocked phone might seem counterintuitive to saving money, but that’s the power of flexibility. By not signing a contract with a carrier, you are free to jump ship whenever you want. That way, you can follow the best service plans for your lifestyle instead of being locked into a particular rate.

Online vs In-Store

Be aware that final prices can vary between a carrier’s website and their brick-and-mortar locations. For example, you might get a free activation by purchasing online but not have that option when buying in-person. There will also be promotional gifts or credits on the website that may not be available if you drive to the store. While this might only save you 50 dollars, every penny counts.

Get an Older Model

If you have your heart set on a particular brand, you could save big bucks by turning back the clock. Much like with car dealerships, electronic stores have to get rid of old stock to make room for the incoming models. A newly released mid-tier phone might cost as much as last year’s discounted flagship. You can use this information to your advantage by buying when they have to put the older phones on sale.

Go Refurbished

Buying a refurbished phone is not the same as buying second hand from a person. Stores will make repairs or replace the battery before listing units as refurbished. They’ll also put them through testing to make sure everything is working correctly. Most importantly, refurbs often come with warranties so that you can get another device in case something goes wrong. If you buy a used phone from a stranger, you won’t have those kinds of guarantees.

One thing to watch out for is that you are buying a model of phone that can support the carrier you are on. Look up the exact model on the internet and double check that it can connect on the appropriate band. Also, you’ll want to go through the original manufacturer or big box stores.

Trade In Value

Something that is offered at most places are trade-in promotions. By trading in your old phone, you can get credit that will go towards a new device. In general, devices by Apple, Google, and Samsung will garner the most value.

While dedicated trade-in sites aren’t as easy to use, they will generally give you more value than what you would get with a carrier. It all depends on whether ultimate savings is more important than convenience to you. It’s also important to read the fine print to see if you’ll be getting the credit in a lump sum or in installments against your monthly bill.

Best Budget Smartphones of 2024

Xiaomi Redmi Note 11: The ultimate budget phone
Price at the time of review: £168

Xiaomi has struck gold with its line of affordable smartphones, and the latest addition, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 11, continues this trend. It surpasses expectations with its impressive features and upgrades, making it a compelling option in the budget phone market.

The standout feature of the Redmi Note 11 is its surprisingly fast Snapdragon 680 processor, which delivers performance comparable to phones twice its price. The triple camera setup, including a massive 50MP sensor, produces remarkable photos, and the large 6.43-inch FHD+ AMOLED screen with a 90Hz refresh rate offers a delightful viewing experience.

These high-end specs are typically found in flagship devices, making the Redmi Note 11 an exceptional value for its price. Xiaomi has set a new benchmark for budget smartphones, and it’s hard to find a better option in this price range.

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 2.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 680; Display: 6.43-inch 2,400 x 1,080; Storage: 128GB or 256GB; Camera: 50MP, 8MP (wide), 2MP (macro), 2MP (depth); Operating system: Android 11; Weight: 179g

Nokia C21 Plus: The most affordable budget smartphone
Price at the time of review: £99

Gone are the days when a £100 smartphone was associated with low quality. The Nokia C21 Plus defies its low price point by offering a solid user experience. Running on a specially optimized version of Android for low-powered devices, it performs surprisingly well despite its modest specifications of 2GB RAM and 32GB storage.

The C21 Plus boasts a bright IPS display and a decent camera, making it a suitable choice for everyday use. Its sturdy build quality and compact design ensure durability, and the battery life is more than sufficient. While it may not compete with higher-end devices in terms of processing power, the Nokia C21 Plus stands as the undisputed champion of affordability.

Key specs – Processor: Quad-core 1.6GHz Unisoc SC9863A; Display: 6.52-inch 1,600 x 720; Storage: 32GB; Camera: 13MP, 2MP (depth); Operating system: Android 11 Go; Weight: 178g

Apple iPhone 8 (renewed): The most affordable iPhone
Price at the time of review: From £109

While not the latest iPhone model, the iPhone 8 still offers a reliable smartphone experience. If your budget doesn’t allow for a brand-new iPhone, the renewed iPhone 8 is a cost-effective alternative that delivers on quality.

The iPhone 8’s build quality remains impressive, featuring a stunning 4.7-inch Retina display. Despite its older A11 Bionic processor, it performs well for various tasks. It also supports the latest iOS 16, ensuring compatibility with the newest software features.

For those seeking an affordable iPhone without minding a slightly older model, the iPhone 8 is the top choice.

Key specs – Processor: Hexa-core 2.39GHz Apple A11 Bionic; Display: 4.7-inch 1,334 x 750; Storage: 64GB, 256GB; Camera: 12MP; Operating system: iOS 14; Weight: 148g

Nokia G22: The most repairable budget phone
Price at the time of review: £150

At first glance, the Nokia G22 appears to be a typical budget smartphone with expected specifications. However, what sets it apart is its emphasis on user repairability. Nokia designed the G22 to allow users to easily replace various components, such as batteries, screens, and charging ports, without the need for professional repair services. iFixit offers affordable replacement parts and step-by-step guides for DIY repairs.

While the G22 may not have the most powerful processor or camera, it offers decent performance for everyday use. Its accessible design makes repairs straightforward, and the phone’s warranty remains valid even if you perform the repairs yourself. Additionally, it boasts an IP52 dust and splash resistance rating.

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 1.6GHz Unisoc T606; Display: 6.52-inch 1,200 x 720; Storage: 64GB, 128GB; Camera: 50MP, 2MP (macro), 2MP (depth); Operating system: Android 12; Weight: 196g

Apple iPhone SE 3 (2022): The best-value new iPhone
Price at the time of review: £449

While the iPhone SE 3 (2022) may stretch the definition of a budget phone, it remains the best-value option for those seeking a newer iPhone. Despite its classic design, it features Apple’s powerful A15 Bionic chipset, providing impressive performance comparable to the iPhone 13, which costs significantly more. The iPhone SE 3’s exceptional 12MP camera further enhances its appeal. Although the battery life is relatively short, if you’re willing to spend a bit more, the iPhone SE 3 (2022) is a worthwhile investment.

Key specs – Processor: Hexa-core 3.23GHz Apple A15 Bionic; Display: 4.7-inch 1,334 x 750; Storage: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB; Camera: 12MP; Operating system: iOS 15; Weight: 144g


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