Best Cellphone Deals: Snag Huge Savings On Unlocked and Carrier Phone Deals
Today’s phones take on a lot for us, including communication, GPS, gaming and more — even acting as a camera when we want to capture our adventures. The vast majority of us use our cellphones more than almost any other device we own, which is why it can be worth investing in a quality model that can handle all of those needs and whatever else you throw at it.
That said, despite how important it is to get a phone that meets all of your needs, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should be spending $1,000 or more to get one of the latest devices from Samsung, Apple or Google. There are plenty of deals and discounts available that can help you get your hands on a new phone for less.
Over the past few years, carriers including Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile have become far more aggressive with deals for both new and existing customers as they continue to push their 5G networks. These days it’s not out of the ordinary to find deals that can score you a new high-end phone for free, though you often need to be on a higher-end 5G plan and agree to monthly bill credits over a 24- to 36-month period, which locks you into that service. If you cancel before then, you’re on the hook for the difference.
You can also save with unlocked phone deals with direct discounts at third-party retailers like Amazon and Best Buy or by trading in your old device directly to the manufacturer, 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 deals for those who would rather pay outright for an unlocked phone as well as deals on phones for new and existing carrier customers who are adding lines, trading in phones and more.
Read more: Best Phone Plan Deals
Best unlocked phone deals right now
If you don’t want to deal with monthly bill credits and would prefer to own your phone outright, you can still save some money on your purchase by looking around a bit. There are a few places where you can buy unlocked phones at a discount, though you’ll want to confirm that they are truly unlocked and not tied to any carrier before ordering. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite unlocked phone deals below.
Best phone deals from carriers
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
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.
Best phone deals of May 2023
Buying a new phone? Here are the best deals on the internet, with discounts on the latest iPhones, Samsung Galaxy models, and more.
June Wan, Technology Editor
For how essential smartphones are to our daily lives, when it’s finally time to buy a new one, it’s important to find a device that is both capable and reliable enough to last you for years down the road.
Now while deals on smartphones don’t always last — some good things never do — now is the best time to shop for a new handset, considering every major brand (except Apple) has released something new over the past months. And if you look hard enough, you’ll find a competent device for less than retail.
But that’s why I’m here to lay out all the best phone deals available right now, so you don’t have to waste an extra second comparing prices, wondering if something is worth buying or not, or feeling guilty that what you thought was a deal isn’t actually the case.
The best smartphone deals
PROMO PRICE: $1,049
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra – Save $150
Want the best big phone currently available? The S23 Ultra is ZDNET’s current pick for the best phone overall, and it’s on sale for $1,049 at the time of writing.
View at Amazon
PROMO PRICE: $299
Google Pixel 6a – Save $150
The new Pixel 7a has stolen all the thunder from last year’s 6a, but I secretly believe that the predecessor is the better-value Android buy right now, especially if you can live without the 90Hz display and wireless charging.
View at Best Buy
PROMO PRICE: $700
Apple iPhone 14 Plus (Renewed) – Save $200
Renewed devices are notably cheaper than “new” models, look just as good, and often come with a 90-day return window. Case in point, the iPhone 14 Plus, which typically sells for $899, can be had for around $700 right now.
View at Amazon
PROMO PRICE: $649
Google Pixel 7 Pro – Save $250
Google likely won’t release a new Pixel Pro phone until October. For now, the Pixel 7 Pro remains its most competent Android, and you can buy one right now at a $250 discount at Best Buy.
View at Best Buy
PROMO PRICE: $1,349
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 – Save $450
Samsung’s fourth-gen foldable is its most refined model yet, and at a $450 discount (no activation required), it’s nearing regular flagship phone price and should make a compelling argument over Google’s new $1,799 Pixel Fold.
View at Amazon
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Mobile phone plans, choose the best offer
Even people need cell phones in everyday life. Finding the most reasonable cell phone plan is one of the requirements when choosing wisely cell phones. Due to the extremely high number of network services in this country, this can help you research and research their offerings before deciding on a cell phone strategy.
Before you decide to buy a mobile phone, you can first choose whether you want a prepaid mobile phone service or a standard cell phone plan. If you choose a prepaid mobile phone service, then no problem, no credit check, you just need to pay right away and you will have your phone right away. Some cell phone companies even provide a completely free mobile phone system when you get a prepaid mobile phone service from them. If you need a cell phone plan, you may need to choose per minute or 2nd charges. Both charging processes have both positive and negative sides. You need to evaluate usage frequency and requirements before choosing a cell phone plan. You can check efficiency, such as if they have enough towers to reach you wherever you are. There are various models of cell phones for family and nationwide use. There are also mobile phone plans for regional use. All of them have their advantages, although there are also disadvantages. For prepaid cell phone strategies, there are cell phone systems that may not be capable of this connection.
Other mobile phone plans, such as family plans, are beneficial for families and small businesses. There is an open door for emergencies. In addition, for home tariffs, it is more profitable to call another mobile phone included in one billing. There are also airtime discounts for family members using this mobile phone strategy. In accordance with national strategies, this cell plan includes free long distance calls. There are no roaming charges for this cell phone plan, which is another benefit. For regional use, this cell phone strategy may require you to pay for long distance calls, however airtime rates may be cheaper.
If you have the benefits you need, mobile phone strategies can be beneficial if you can purchase them. The mode of use is a necessary requirement, if you do not need it so much and only in emergency situations, a prepaid mobile phone plan may suit you better than traditional plans where you need to sign an agreement with a service provider.
Prepaid mobile phone strategies are often chosen; however, for travelers, a regular strategy without roaming and long distance charges is best.
All this, although in order to fully and effectively use your mobile phone, you can set some usage rules. If you need a mobile phone for your company, you may need to turn it off when you need personal privacy. Having a cell phone and being constantly available can be unhealthy, so you must be careful not to be interrupted when you need to be alone with or without your cell phone.
Finding the most sensible cell phone strategy is one of the requirements for making smart cell phone choices. Before you decide to buy a cell phone, you may first decide if you want a prepaid cell phone service or a traditional cell phone plan. Some cell phone companies even provide a completely free cell phone system when you get prepaid cell service from them. For prepaid cell phone strategies, there are cell phone devices that may not be able to make this connection.
Having a cell phone and constantly being offered can be unhealthy, so you need to be careful not to let people disturb you when you need to be alone with or without a cell phone.
The best smartphones: TOP models of this year
It can be said that the sales of phones this year were particularly intense – since the beginning of the year, manufacturers have introduced many updates that sometimes seem to even exceed their capabilities. If you want to buy a phone with impressive parameters this year, you will have many worthy options – here are the TOP 10 best phones! If one of the most important functions of your smartphone is photography, we suggest that you study the most important aspects to pay attention to and choose the most suitable one.
iPhone 14 series
What does the newest, already fourteenth iPhone series promise? Enough to make you want to buy such a phone, as evidenced by the undeniable stay of this series at the top among smartphones. This time around, Apple is offering its loyal fans 4 models to choose from so everyone can find the one that best suits their needs.
The stylish iPhone 14 features an aircraft-grade aluminum frame, glass body and a 6.1-inch Super Retina display that fits perfectly in the palm of your hand. The powerful dual camera system, night vision, auto light control, Cinematic and Action video recording features ensure the highest quality images no matter where and in what conditions you shoot or photograph. The latest games will be available without any restrictions thanks to “A15 Bionic” with 5-core GPU. And for those who want an even bigger screen, there’s the new Model iPhone 14 Plus with 6.7-inch display.
For those who want even more features and functionality, choose the new iPhone 14 Pro or iPhone Pro Max with 6.1 and 6.7-inch displays. These models are resistant to water and dust. The stylish body is made of surgical grade stainless steel, not plastic. Thus, the durability of the device is guaranteed. Phones are equipped with new technologies that protect privacy and sometimes people’s lives: they can detect serious accidents and automatically call for help. What’s more, the 48-megapixel camera allows you to take several times better pictures in low light compared to previous series models.
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iPhone 13 series
It can be said that each new series of Apple phones is doomed to success – this happened with the iPhone 13 models, which immediately earned a place in the TOP list. Four smartphones and again surprise with updates that are hard not to be charmed. All phones will feature IP68 dust and water resistance, large battery capacity and “CeramicShield” technology for even more glass resistance . However, it is worth familiarizing yourself with each model more closely.
The 6.1-inch iPhone 13 features a bright “Super Retina XDR OLED” screen that’s easy to see even in direct sunlight. Photo lovers will enjoy even more colorful and wide images, less noise, photo styles and a “cinema mode” that will make you feel like a real director. Meanwhile, the new “A15 Bionic” chipset is currently considered one of the best on the market – it beats the competition in both speed and graphics capabilities.
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The iPhone 13 Mini can offer the same benefits. True, the smaller 5.4-inch model uses a smaller battery, and the screen resolution is also slightly inferior to its brother. However, if you’re looking for a cheaper, smaller smartphone, this should impress you.
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More upgrades to see in models iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max . The size of the first phone is 6.1 inches, while the second is a whopping 6.7 inches. Accordingly, both image resolutions and battery capacity differ. However, their greatest exclusivity is the 120Hz refresh rate, which automatically adapts to the activities you perform to maximize battery life. Instead of four GPUs, these phones will use five.
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Most of the updates can be seen in the cameras. The iPhone 13 Pro and “Pro Max” models, without the features already mentioned, will offer triple rear cameras, impressive night mode portraits, a macro mode, high-quality video compression, and more zoom options.
iPhone 12 series
Despite the success of the iPhone 13 series, the “big brothers” that appeared before it also remain among the best. What they have in common is the 5G network support, Smart Data that switches the network automatically, an improved camera night mode and, gamers will love, a version of League of Legends designed specifically for these phones. However, each of these flagships is charming in its own way and adapted to different needs.
“ iPhone 12″ features a particularly rugged, shock-resistant design and powerful “A14 Bionic” processor. Uses less battery, but at the same time great for working with augmented reality. Also highly rated is the camera, which is completely ahead of the models of yesteryear. The flagship “iPhone 12 mini” will please with similar features – significant differences are noticeable in weight, size and lower price. True, the battery charge will no longer be the same long-term.
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There are many more updates Apple has released for the Pro phones that make it to the top of this list. The iPhone 12 Pro will offer a bigger screen, more efficient RAM and impressive camera capabilities. A triple camera, low-light enhancement “LiDAR” sensor and a revolutionary stabilization system are just some of the features that await you. However, if you need a larger smartphone, it’s worth taking a look at “ iPhone 12 Pro Max” , which is currently one of the largest phones Apple sells. It will differ not only in size, but also in a larger battery capacity and a camera lens that can zoom much more.
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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G
When it seems that phone developers have no room for improvement, they can surprise with unexpected design solutions. A great example of this is this is a foldable smartphone that can offer an impressive 7.6-inch screen size. However, not only because of this, he is mentioned among the best. IPX8 resistance class, powerful processor, S-Pen support and as many as 5 cameras located in three different places will allow you to adapt this smartphone for different tasks.
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Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3
We can say that this is the exact opposite of the model above, because instead of an impressive screen, in this case you will be able to enjoy a compact size that you have never seen . The 6.7-inch screen folds down to 4.2 inches in diameter, making it easy to fit in your pocket. In addition, even if you close it, you can still use it: there is another screen on the outside that will allow you to conveniently view messages, listen to music, or even take a selfie. This smartphone is also highly rated due to its reliability and excellent camera quality.
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Samsung Galaxy A52|A52S
These models will be the best smartphones for those who want to enjoy great specs without spending a lot of money. The Samsung Galaxy A52 will offer FHD+ resolution, a 6.5-inch SuperAMOLED screen, a 4,500 mAh battery, four rear cameras and 4K resolution.
Samsung Galaxy A52S 9 will provide the same parameters0044 . The main exclusivity lies in a more efficient processor. If you’re planning on playing games or doing other tasks that require productivity, you can’t go wrong with this more expensive model.
Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G
This company has always been known for its great value for money phones, so this model will be no exception. In this TOP list, this smartphone was due to an excellent camera system – 64MP main camera, 8MP wide-angle camera and 5MP telemacro camera let you capture the most important moments in ‘s life, while the 20MP front camera will delight you with beautiful looking selfies. Buyers’ attention is drawn to the very thin design, powerful processor and capacious battery, but there are even more advantages to be found.
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Xiaomi Poco X3 Pro
Flagship-level performance is now available with this phone without major investment, a feature that game enthusiasts should definitely appreciate. Adapted for them and touch response rate up to 240Hz that will take this experience to the next level and help you achieve victories. This smartphone also features excellent resistance, can offer a 5160 mAh battery, 33W fast charging, dual surround speakers, a quad DI camera and even more features that will impress even the most demanding.
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Motorola Edge 20 Lite 5G
This is a very good value smartphone that offers a high quality 6. 7-inch OLED screen and great performance for everyday tasks. Three cameras on the back of the phone let you unleash your creativity, while the 32MP front camera and Quad Picxel technology ensure you always look flawless in selfies . The stylish design is also worth praising, but we have no doubt that you will find even more solid features in this phone.
Samsung Galaxy A22
Manufacturers have made sure that this model has everything you might need for comfortable everyday use. Triple camera and 48MP main sensor, long lasting 5000 mAh battery, powerful processor… All of these may not sound like the most impressive, but looking at the price of this phone, it becomes clear why it is so popular.
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Samsung Galaxy S21, Plus and Ultra
As soon as the new “Galaxy S21” phones appeared, they quickly attracted customers and became more popular than the models of the previous “S20” series. Changes are primarily noticeable in their design: instead of a curved screen, it was decided to use a flat design. Although the “S21 Ultra” model is slightly curved, all the screens of these phones look more solid. They’re covered in tough ‘Gorilla Glass Victus’, the front camera is smaller than usual, and the camera arrangement on the back of the phones is much more interesting and gets a lot of compliments.
The smallest and simplest phone is „ Samsung Galaxy S21 “, but don’t underestimate it. On the contrary, the 6.2 inch “Amoled 2x” dynamic screen and 120Hz image playback rate will provide an impressive daily experience. On the back you will find three cameras (12MP wide-angle camera, second 12MP wide-angle camera and 64MP main camera), when shooting at 24fps you will be able to achieve 8K quality.
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Bigger brother, “ Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus ” will be able to offer very similar screen parameters, but due to the 6.