Black Friday is on the horizon and the biggest shopping day of the year can be an incredible time to bag yourself a shiny new smartphone.
However, with so many deals likely to hit all at the same time, Black Friday can be a little overwhelming for even the most ardent bargain hunters.
Here we’ll try and give you a number of tips on what to look for when buying a new phone to hopefully guide you in the right direction based on our expert knowledge of what’s on the market and experience covering past Black Fridays.
Familiarise yourself with the best phones
If you’ve decided that you want to buy a recent phone then a good place to start is by working out what the best ones are, and for which budgets. We’ve got guides for the best phones, best Android phones, best iPhones, best mid-range phones, best camera phones and the best cheap phones.
These cover all the big devices we’ve thoroughly reviewed throughout 2021 (and previous years) at varying price points. Not all phones make these lists though, so it’s worth looking through our archive of mobile reviews too.
These are all good starting places to familiarise yourself with what’s on the market, especially if you haven’t upgraded for a while.
You don’t always look for the newest phones
However, don’t feel you need to buy the latest smartphone. In fact, often some of the best deals we see for phones on Black Friday are for slightly older models that shops still have surplus stock for.
For instance, it’s worth looking to see the prices that 2020 flagships – like the Galaxy S20 – drop to. Samsung’s 2020 effort was, in some ways, better than the Galaxy S21 thanks to a sharper display and flashier design.
Older iPhones too can often harbour great deals and they’ll usually be eligible for the latest iOS software.
Check how long is left on your contract
There are two main ways to buy a phone – SIM-free or on a contract. The latter is still the more popular choice, especially for pricier devices, as you can spread the cost over 24 months (on average). SIM-free phones don’t tie you into such a contract but have much higher upfront costs.
If you’re looking for a phone this Black Friday and you’re currently on a contract then it’s best to check how long you’ve got left on the agreement. If you’re happy to stay on a pay monthly type deal then there can often be excellent savings from networks (EE, Vodafone, Three, O2, etc.) and resellers like Carphone Warehouse and Mobiles.co.uk.
Would you prefer the phone to be SIM free?
If you have an existing SIM-only deal that you’re happy to stick with for your next handset, then SIM-free phones are a great choice.
Keep an eye on prices and start looking now
If there’s a particular phone you’ve got your eye on, like the Samsung Galaxy S21 or the OnePlus 9, then keep an eye on the prices now and in the run-up to Black Friday to see if they go up or down.
Handy tools, like Amazon plug-in Keepa, are good ways of seeing general price rises and falls.