Frequently asked questions about cell phone deals
Welcome to the FAQ section, where we answer all of your burning questions about love, life, and cell phones … well, mostly about cell phones actually.
When is the best time to look for cell phone deals?
It depends on what you want. It’s well known in the industry that Apple tends to unveil its new devices in September of each year, while Samsung usually sticks to a January release date. So, if you want a new iPhone or Galaxy phone, then those will be the times you’ll see a flurry of deals on new models.
You’ll also see a good amount of deals landing around Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and other holidays.
If you’re not interested in waiting for the right deal to land in your lap, then you can take the initiative by switching to a new carrier or adding a new line to your plan (to make it a family plan). Since pretty much every company has done away with restrictive contracts, it doesn’t really matter when you switch.
Should I switch to a different cell phone carrier to get a good deal on a cell phone?
The short answer is yes, unless you’re really happy with your current carrier.
Not only are the best deals usually saved for new customers, but many companies will also give you other incentives to “break up” with your current cell phone company. For example, T-Mobile will pay up to $650 for you to pay off your phone or phone bill with your old carrier when you switch over.
What are the best upgrade cell phone deals?
There is some incentive for folks to stay with their existing carrier. Most companies will offer upgrade deals every year or two. These deals can help you keep up with the latest models from Apple, Samsung, or Google, but they might not be as substantial as the deals for brand new customers.
If you think you should be eligible for an upgrade, give your carrier a call.
What are the best refer-a-friend cell phone deals?
Mint Mobile has one of the best referral deals around. You can get up to $240 of credit when you refer up to five friends. That’s enough credit to get you a full year on Mint’s 10 GB plan! Plus, each friend that you refer will get a $15 credit for themselves. Everyone wins.
Most companies have a referral program. So, if you’ve got friends looking for a new phone plan, be sure to ask your current carrier about their referral deals. You may be able to score some credit for a new phone or to help pay your bill.
What are the best cell phone trade-in deals?
That old iPhone 8 may seem totally worthless to you. But it could be worth a couple hundred bucks in the right context. Verizon Wireless probably has the most robust trade-in program, offering up to $800 (!) off a new iPhone 12.
Of course, trading in your old phone might not fetch as much as selling on your own using Facebook Marketplace.
What are the best smartphones?
There are several contenders for the best smartphone on the market. But after a lot of research and analysis, we’ve come up with three devices that clearly beat out the competition.
Best overall performance: The Samsung Galaxy S21+ quite simply has everything. The best camera, a lightning-fast processor, an insanely beautiful display, 5G capability, and pretty much everything else you could want.
Best overall value: If you want a phone that balances incredible performance with reasonable price, the iPhone 12 is the way to go. You’ll get the beautiful design and solid reliability of an Apple product for less than $1,000 factory price.
Best for budget: Google has snuck into the cell phone market in recent years with some phones that rival the performance of Apple and Samsung but cost half as much. The Pixel 4A is no different. You can get this surprisingly powerful phone for under $400.