If you’re shopping for a new phone, the world is your oyster. There is no shortage of options to choose from, regardless of which operating system you prefer. But the latest devices can carry a hefty price tag, which is why whether you’re after a basic Android or the latest high-end iPhone, it’s important to look for deals where you can find them.
Manufacturers, carriers and retailers are always offering a rotating selection of offers that can knock hundreds off the starting price, or even help you get a new phone in your hands for free — so there’s no reason to spend more than you have to on your next device. Some retailers, including Amazon, are offering straightforward discounts on unlocked models, and you can save even more if you trade in your old phone or activate a new line of service at a carrier. To help you take full advantage of these offers, we’ve rounded up some of the best phone deals you can shop right now.
Best unlocked phone deals right now
Shopping for a new phone from a carrier comes with all kinds of red tape and fine print that can be a headache to figure out. If you’re looking for an easier alternative, you can pick up an unlocked model instead. Opting for an unlocked phone means you won’t be immediately locked into a multiyear contract or service plan, and you can always activate it with your preferred carrier after the fact. Plus, there are plenty of no-strings-attached deals that you can take advantage to bring down the starting price. These deals won’t save you as much as the carrier deals below, but also don’t require a trade-in or a new line of service. Below, we’ve rounded up some of the best discounts on unlocked phones that you can shop right now.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has the most versatile camera setup on a smartphone available right now. The 10x zoom telephoto lens is unmatched when it comes to taking detailed distance shots. It is combined with powerful performance, top-notch battery life, excellent display and a design that’s comfortable to hold.
OnePlus has immensely improved its flagship this year, with the latest model earning a spot on our list of the overall best phones of 2023. The OnePlus 11 is an all-rounder that offers solid cameras, excellent performance, bright and fast display and an easy-to-hold design. To add to this, the battery lasts an entire day even on above-average use.
The brand’s first foldable phone will launch Oct. 26, but preorders have already begun. Pricing for this new foldable starts at $1,700, but OnePlus is offering $200 off as part of its preorder deals when you trade in any phone, even a broken one, which knocks the price down to $1,500. And CNET readers looking to score this new foldable device can get $50 off the OnePlus Open when you preorder from OnePlus directly and use promo code CNET50 at checkout.
The Galaxy Z Fold 4 remains the go-to option for book-style foldables in the US. It lists for $1,800, but Best Buy is currently offering a direct $360 discount with no strings attached (though you can save even more if you’ve got an old phone to trade in). While the successor has already arrived, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 is still a good buy, especially when you can find it on sale.
Best phone deals from carriers
You can also save by trading in your old device or activating a new line of service at major carriers, meaning you have plenty of places to look for phone deals.That’s why CNET is working with Navi to help cut through the confusion. Navi is an independent marketplace that aggregates information on service plans and phone deals to help consumers find the best choices and prices on the market. Below you’ll find some of the best deals out there for both new and existing carrier customers who are adding lines, trading in phones and more.
Read more:Best Phone Plan Deals
Carrier contracts as we knew them may not be around anymore, but these newer phone deals from Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and more are similar in many ways. Through monthly bill credits, you can get a phone for next to nothing in many cases. The stipulation is that you must remain a customer for a set length of time while you’re receiving the credits. Otherwise you’re responsible for the remaining costs and potentially more, depending on the carrier.
In addition, some carriers will only allow you to take advantage of these deals on specific plans, which are usually some of their more expensive 5G plans, so be sure to understand the monthly costs associated with switching before taking advantage of that “free phone” deal you see advertised.
Read more:Cheap Phone Plans, Compared
The new iPhone 15 Pro comes with USB-C and a few other minor upgrades here and there. If you’re just entering the Apple ecosystem, the iPhone 15 Pro is likely the way to go, with an improved A17 chip, the better 3.2 USB protocol, and the new optical zoom, which is better than the competition. With this deal you will only pay taxes and shipping and a $60 activation fee, which gets credited to your account. Then it’s $60 a month for Boost Infinite, which gives you unlimited talk, text and data.
If you don’t mind being tied to a carrier and service plan, Best Buy is offering even more trade-in savings than Apple right now. The tech retailer has partnered with Verizon to offer some massive trade-in discounts when you activate through the carrier. Verizon customers can save up to $830 with an eligible trade-in and qualified activation.
Apple’s budget-focused iPhone SE is available for the low price of $0 (plus a $35 activation fee) at Verizon with a new line on an unlimited data plan, which starts at $65 a month. The deal applies to the 64GB model and the discount is applied via monthly bill credits. You can up the storage capacity for just a few bucks per month extra. Verizon is also offering a few bonuses, including $200 off an iPad and $120 off an Apple watch with the purchase of an iPhone SE and activation on any plan.
If you’re a new Verizon customer, you can pick up Google’s latest flagship phone for free with a new line on a qualifying unlimited plan, which saves you $1,000. Existing customers can save up to $800 with a qualifying trade-in. Verizon is also offering some other bonuses, including $400 off a Google Pixel Watch with the purchase of a Pixel phone, and a free $200 gift card for new customers who switch their existing number over from another carrier.
New customers can get this phone free with a new line of service. Those switching their existing phone number over from another carrier will also get a free $200 Verizon gift card. Verizon is also offering $280 off an iPad and $120 off an Apple watch with the purchase, though you’ll need a service plan for those devices as well.
Trade in your old Galaxy phone to Verizon and get up to $1,000 off your new Galaxy Z Fold 5 when you sign up for a new line on a qualifying unlimited plan. The up to $1,000 credit takes place over a 36-month period, and if you cancel service before the 36 months is over you’ll have to pay the remaining balance. Also be aware that credits begin within three bills and require that you pay all taxes and associated fees on the retail price up front.
AT&T is offering up to $460 off the Z Flip 4 with no trade-in required and activation on a qualifying unlimited plan. That means you can score the 128GB model for as low as $15 a month, or the 256GB model for $20 a month.
T-Mobile is offering new customers a great way to save on the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max right now. When you trade-in a device and add a new line of service on a qualifying plan, you can save up to $830. If you already have an eligible line of service, and just want to upgrade your phone, you can still save up to $830 with a trade-in. Those on other service plans can still save up to $200 with a trade-in as well. And if you need more than one new phone, you can save up to $700 on a second iPhone with two or more new lines of service on an eligible plan.
Released in March 2022, the third-gen iPhone SE offers a familiar design with enhanced internals. For those looking to stick with Touch ID and have a phone that’s not three years old, this is the best bet. T-Mobile is offering up to the full price off off with a qualifying trade-in and the Go5G Plus plan, or you can save 50% when you purchase an iPhone SE with a new line of service on an eligible plan.
Do you get the best phone deals when you switch carriers?
In order to attract new customers, carriers often reserve their steepest discounts for switchers. That means you may find a more appealing phone deal if you consider moving carriers. It’s a straightforward process for individuals, but can be a little complicated for those with multiple lines. Ultimately, it’s worth shopping around when it comes time to upgrade your phone in case another offers some kind of switcher bonus or switcher-exclusive phone deal.
Unlocked vs. carrier: Which phone deals are the best for most people?
Whether you want to get your new phone on a carrier deal or unlocked will depend on your preferences and circumstances. For a lot of folks, being able to spread the cost of the phone over two or three years makes it much easier to upgrade to one of the best phones on the market. For others, being locked into a long-term plan is less ideal. While carriers often compete with each other for and offer some steep discounts or added freebies, manufacturers now tend to offer their own trade-in and financing programs to make it more affordable to upgrade without involving a carrier in the process.