Whether you just begin your adventure with smartphones or you are about to get your 10th handset, you always face a bunch of dilemmas when it’s time to buy a new phone. There are so many decisions to be made that you may feel overwhelmed and tempted to leave everything to fate and get yourself the first phone that catches your eye. Well, to be honest, it’s not the best idea. You would be much better off, if you knew exactly what you are getting yourself into. That’s what we will attempt to explain. Here’s a short guide to help you find the best way to buy a new cell phone.
Subsidized Phone on Contract
One of the most popular ways to get a new cell phone is signing a two-year contract with a carrier. This solution has its benefits, the most obvious of which is the possibility to buy a brand new phone at much lower price. If you go for this option, you will be able to grab the hottest devices on the market at a fraction of the price you would have to pay if you bought them directly from the manufacturer or sites like eBay or Amazon. Some models (usually older generations) are even offered for free at no charge.
But are they really free? Do you think that the carrier is paying for your phone? Not exactly. The bill that you are paying each month is not only for calls, texts and Facebook updates, but it also covers the price of your new phone. It’s all good as long as you don’t plan to switch carriers in the next two years and handle your phone carefully. However, if you break it or lose it, the replacement device won’t be free. In fact, you will have to pay full retail price and of course still keep paying your monthly bills.
The biggest disadvantage of on-contract purchase is that it ties not only to one carrier but also to one phone for two years. A two-year-old smartphone is seriously outdated, to put it mildly. Heck, even one-year-old device is not exactly up-to-date in times when new phones are announces on a daily basis. That’s why carriers came up with a solution that allows users to upgrade to a new device more frequently, most commonly every 6, 12, or 18 months.
How does it work? It’s pretty simple. The price of the phone is divided into a number of equal chunks which are paid every month. After a certain period of time and required number of payments, you can trade in your old phone for a new one. The fee depends on how early you want to upgrade and on the price of the phone. In other words, if you choose an expensive device and want to upgrade after just 6 months, the fee may be pretty high, whereas cheap phone and longer time between upgrades equals lower fee. This option still ties you to a carrier, but it seems more flexible than a contract.
New Cell Phone
You know the feeling when you are about to open a box that contains something you were dreaming about for a long time? It’s a great feeling as along as you have enough money to cover the expenses and still be able to buy food and pay bills for the rest of the month. It might not be that easy if what you are dreaming about is the latest and most premium smartphone on the market – these things can be pretty expensive.
Luckily for all of us, many manufacturers release more modest companions to the most popular flagship cell phones. Such phones are usually smaller and come with “Mini”, “Compact” or “Lite” moniker attached to the name; however, in most cases they are perfectly capable of satisfying the needs of an average user. Also keep in mind that today’s mid-range phones are way more advanced than the most high-end devices were a couple of years ago. There are literally dozens of brands to choose from, since smartphone makers have been paying a lot of attention to mid tier category lately.
If none of the above works for you, you may always buy a used cell phone. If you feel comfortable to drive pre-owned cars and use second hand furnitures then why not smartphones? If you go for this option, you may save quite a lot of money – sometimes you can get a premium smartphone at a price of a mid-ranger. In many cases, used phones are not really used but are sold as such only because the box was opened or it was used for just a few days and the owner realized that it’s not what they want.
Of course, there is always a bit of uncertainty involved in buying used electronics. The phone may not be in as good condition as the previous owner claims or it may not be compatible with the carrier of our choice. You may also need to do some search if you want the latest and used smartphone, though it’s not entirely impossible to find the perfect one. Just make sure you are extra careful to avoid disappointing purchase.
As everything in this world, all the above options have their pros and cons. In the end it all comes down mostly to how much money you can spend on your new phone. Hopefully, this article will help you make a wise decision. Good luck!