Smartphones. Everyone has one, and most people are on the lookout for a new one at some point – but no-one ever wants to pay full price. For instance, the latest iPhone XS costs a cool £999 for the cheapest model.
This means it’s becoming even more important for people to find the best possible deals – whether on contract to spread the cost of the handset, or SIM-free where you save on long term costs.
But not all deals are good deals. With Black Friday set for 23 November and Boxing Day not too far off, retailers will sometimes take advantage of sales hysteria and push discounts that aren’t any better than the rest of the year round. That’s why we are collecting all the genuinely best deals and offering our expert buying advice to make sure you don’t get ripped off.
If you’re studying, also see our article on the best phone contracts for students.
Best phone deals right now
What phone should I buy?
Which phone is best? The answer lies in how you use your phone, your budget and what you’re looking to get out of your phone. Tech Advisor has a number of buying guides to help you decide the best way forward. We’ve outlined some of the key points and what to expect out of each buying guide below.
If you’re looking for deals on the best smartphone on the market, there are a few things you may need to consider. First off, should you buy an iPhone or an Android? Should you buy unlocked or on a pay-monthly plan? And also, how do you choose the right SIM?
Of course, the best phones on the market will often have premium prices too. Samsung Galaxy and iPhones may seem like the top choice, but if you’re on a budget there are tonnes of other powerful phones out there for less than premium prices too (see the best Chinese phones guide below).
Some of the most impressive phones on the market right now, like the OnePlus 6, Xiaomi Mi8, Huawei P20, Honor 9, all come from Chinese brands.
Chinese phones can be powerful, often with dual-SIM support, and at competitive prices. On the flip side, these phones may be difficult to return if there are any issues and you may need to pay an import duty. A lot of the times, Chinese phones are sold in the UK via grey-market retailers, which you may need cautious navigation. You can see all the pros and cons in our best Chinese phones for 2018 article.
We also have a round up of the best budget Chinese phones of 2018
Buying a secondhand or refurbished phone is another way to score a great deal, oftentimes on premium handsets like the iPhone. Our colleagues over at Macworld UK have looked into the best way to buy a secondhand iPhone in this guide.
For instance, you can find refurbished phones at great discounts from Envirophone. The iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus both have up to £120 off. See all Envirophone Apple deals here.
Amazon has its own certified refurbished store where you can find the iPhone X, 8, 6, 6s and also Samsung Galaxy S9, S8 and S7 phones. See all Amazon certified refurbished phone deals here.
The latest iPhone now touts dual-SIM compatibility, but there are plenty of other phones that offer this feature for much less. Our guide on the best dual-SIM phones goes through what to look for before you go ahead and buy such a phone – such as what SIM sizes are supported and if both SIMs are 4G compatible.
Our guide also looks into the difference between a dual-standby and dual-active SIM support. This affects whether or not you can actively receive calls both SIMs at the same time.
If you’re after a phone with a big screen (or phablet) then this guide is worth checking out. Phablets feature large displays and are ideal for those who watch a lot of video and are avid gamers. They often have high capacity batteries to support the large screens and should ideally offer a Quad-HD screen.
Our article shortlists the best large screen phones on the market right now.
If you’re looking for a phone which will let you do the basics – call, text and browse minimally – you can find several phones for less than £50 with cheap monthly rates too. Our article goes through what you can expect in terms of specifications, storage, audio and camera quality from a basic smartphone.
If you’re looking for a phone for your child instead, there are few other things to consider (such as waterproofing!). Our guide details what sort of specs to look for (does it support casual gaming and YouTube, for instance?) and the ideal amount of storage the phone should support for your tot to be happy.
What phone deals are available?
This year we are seeing great deals for the Galaxy S8. It is a remarkable phone alongside the larger S8 Plus. Retailers such as Carphone Warehouse often have deals on the handsets, so keep your eyes peeled, and Amazon sells it SIM-free at a very attractive price.
Samsung currently has a trade-in programme where you can get up to £200 off when you buy a S8/S8+. Get Samsung’s trade-in offer here.
While Apple itself doesn’t often offer discounts, following the launch of the iPhone XS, XS Max and iPhone XR, the price of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 has dropped by £100. If you’re not interesting in dishing out at least £449, it’s always worth checking contract prices with retailers like Carphone Warehouse and the major networks, who often offer competitive bargains to lure in lucrative iPhone buyers.
Carphone also has significant savings on budget and mid-range handsets from the likes of Nokia, Motorola, LG and more. Motorola’s excellent Moto G5 has had money off a few times this year, as have other mid-rangers, getting you the Android experience at a heavily discounted rate.
If you’re looking to buy a phone outright, rather than on contract, Amazon will have some of the biggest bargains, but make sure you check the specs carefully – third-party sellers sometimes use Amazon to shift international stock, which may vary slightly from what you find in UK stores.
If you find that you’re missing out on Amazon’s Lightning deals, which run for just a few hours and offer limited stock, we’d recommend signing up for Amazon’s 30 day free trial of Prime, which will get you access to deals 30 minutes before everyone else. Plus, you’ll get free next-day delivery with the Prime trial, as well as access to Prime Instant Video and more.
Sign up for Prime now.
Best phone deals of Black Friday 2018
1. Google Pixel 3 XL with 26GB of data
Now: £49 upfront, £58 per month (includes free Google Home Hub)
2. Samsung S8, S9, S8/S9 Plus Models and Note9
Now: From £27 per month (Claim a free Samsung Gear 360 action cam worth £219)
When you buy select Samsung Galaxy phones from Tesco Mobile you can either claim an AKG Y50BT On-ear Bluetooth headphones (worth £99), a Samsung Gear 360 action cam (worth £219) or a Samsung wireless charger (worth £49.99).
3. Samsung Galaxy Note 9 with 100GB of data
Now: £49 per month
Get 100GB of data every month for the price of 50GB with this deal.
4. Apple iPhone XS with Unlimited Data
Now: £99 upfront, £61 per month
5. Samsung Galaxy S9 with 10GB data and free Samsung Tab A 10.1in tablet
Now: £0 upfront, £35 per month
This rate usually applies to 5GB of data. Virgin has a number of bundle deals with Samsung phones and tablets on now. See them all here.
6. Honor 9 Lite SIM-Free 32GB Dual SIM
Now: £148.50 (£21 off)
We gave this phone 4.5 stars our of 5 and a “Tech Advisor Recommended” title. Here’s why.
7. Apple iPhone 8 64GB SIM-free
From: Currys PC World
Now: £599.99 (£40 off)
Use code PHONE50WBWMAC to get another £50 off this deal when you buy an iMac or MacBook from Currys.
8. Samsung Galaxy S8
Now: £379 (£230off)
A good price for the Samsung Galaxy S8 SIM-free from Amazon.
9. Apple iPhone X, 7 and more (Refurbished)
Now: Up to £100 off
You can now get up to £100 off a refurbished iPhone X, iPhone 8, or iPhone 7 from Envirofone. Click the link above to view all deals.
10. Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
Now: £406 (48% off)
A great price for the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus SIM-free from Amazon.
11. Apple iPhone SE 32GB
From: Carphone Warehouse
Now: £239 (£40 off)
A brilliant price on Apple’s now discontinued iPhone SE, loved for its 4in display.