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The 8 best phone deals: Score a new iPhone or Android on sale

Whether you're upgrading or buying your very first smartphone, check out these back-to-school phone deals that include a Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 for only $99.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer and  Rebecca Isaacs, Staff Writer on
Reviewed by Elyse Betters Picaro

If your phone finally broke down and you need an upgrade, you're in luck. Right now, there is an abundance of high-performance options on the market, with a generous selection to choose from at every price point. And with back-to-school sales ramping up, the deals show no sign of slowing down.

In fact, we've rounded up the best smartphone promotions from Samsung, Google, Apple, and more -- all of which currently sell for significantly less than the original price. So if you have an ideal smartphone in mind, at least one of these deals should fit right into your budget.

Also: Everything announced at Samsung Galaxy Unpacked: Galaxy Z Fold 4, Z Flip 4, Watch 5 Pro, Buds 2 Pro

Following Samsung Unpacked, the tech giant is offering tempting deals on the new Galaxy Z Fold4 phone. 

If you're willing to pre-order the new device -- ranging in price from $799 to $2009 depending on your setup and storage requirements -- you can pick up an unlocked or carrier-specific Galaxy Z Fold4 handset on the Samsung website with a free cover and S Pen, and deals are available for trade-ins. 

Customers who select the 256GB version can take advantage of a free storage upgrade to 512GB, saving them $120.

If you trade in a phone, tablet, or smartwatch, either in good condition or with damage, Samsung will award you up to $1000 in credit. 

The device is available in beige, grey-green, burgundy, or black. Devices are due to ship by August 26 for US customers (burgundy devices will ship in 3 to 4 weeks).

The offer ends on August 25. If you pre-order this device, you can also enjoy 30% off Galaxy Buds2 Pro, the Watch5 or Watch5 Pro, or 25% off the Galaxy Tab S8.

At the Samsung Unpacked event, Samsung also announced another flip phone, the Galaxy Z Flip4. Offers on this handset are also live for a limited time on the Samsung website. 

Customers who pre-order the Galaxy Z Flip4 can pick a device up, either unlocked or carrier-specific, for only $99 with an eligible trade-in of a phone, tablet, or smartwatch. 

Customers who order the 128GB version of the smartphone will be upgraded to 256GB storage for free, saving a further $60. Samsung is also throwing in a free cover. 

The Galaxy Z Flip4 is available in graphite, purple, blue, or pink-gold, as well as custom colors. 

The offer ends on August 25. If you pre-order this device, you can also enjoy 30% off Galaxy Buds2 Pro, the Watch5 or Watch5 Pro, or 25% off the Galaxy Tab S8.

  • Current Price: $399 with eligible trade-in
  • Original Price: $799

The OnePlus 10 Pro is central to a series of deals from various retailers. The best deal comes from T-Mobile, with the Un-carrier offering a $400 discount (applied via credit) when you trade in an eligible device and line.

If you'd rather buy the phone without trading in, OnePlus's website will give you $50 off if you already own a OnePlus device.

  • Current Price: $799
  • Original Price: $399 with new line or eligible trade-in

With a $300 eligible trade-in for T-Mobile customers, Google's flagship Pixel 6 Pro uses Google's signature Tensor processor chip for a speedy performance. You'll get intelligent photography technology including Magic Eraser, Face Unblur, and Real Tone features, and the battery can last up to 24 hours on a single charge. It's also water resistant. 

Verizon-owned Visibile is also offering the device for $888 outright -- but has sweetened the pot with a free $150 virtual gift card. 

Verizon itself is prepared to give you the entry form of the Pixel, the Google Pixel 6a, for free if you sign up to eligible 5G Unlimited plans. 

  • Current Price: $1,399
  • Original Price: $1,799

This large and mighty folding phone can not only act like a mobile device, but it's also a multi-tasking powerhouse with an AMOLED screen that unfolds to 7.6-inches and can display multiple tabs at once. It's great for those who like to video chat with friends, take beautiful imagery thanks to the 12MP cameras on the front and back, and play mobile games on the 120Hz screen. Keep in mind you will have to buy a charger seperately.

Also: The best Samsung phones: Explore a new Galaxy

  • Current Price: down to $0 with eligible trade-in and new line
  • Original Price: $799

Right now, T-Mobile is offering up to $800 worth of credit when you trade in an eligible device and add a new line toward any iPhone 13 model. You will also need to be enrolled in the carrier's Magenta Max plan to reap the highest trade-in values and credits given. That said, with an $800 credit, you can basically get the iPhone 13 mini or iPhone 13 for free, or pay a small difference for an iPhone 13 Pro or Pro Max.

If you aren't signed up for T-Mobile's Magenta Max plan, and if you don't need to add another line, you can still get up to $400 worth of credits for trading in the same phones.

  • Current Price: $0 with eligible trade-in
  • Original Price: $799

Similar to the T-Mobile deal above, Verizon currently offers $800 off a new iPhone 13 (128GB) when you trade in your phone -- as well as $200 off if you choose to switch. The Apple iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max are eligible for the same deals. 

  • Current price: $209.99
  • Original price: $322

If you're looking for a cheap-and-cheerful handset to see you through the next year or so, you can save $112 on a Samsung Galaxy S10. 

Amazon occasionally offers bargains on smartphones that have been refurbished (also known as renewed), and at present, an unlocked Samsung Galaxy S10 is on sale. Replacements and refunds are acceptable for 90 days after purchase. 

When should I upgrade my phone?

Believe it or not, you don't have to upgrade to that new, shiny phone every year. Modern day smartphones are designed to function for years and years, especially if the manufacturer offers extensive software support.

Still, there are a couple of reasons why you may want to consider upgrading from your current phone:

  • Poor software performance: If you've had the displeasure of experiencing app crashes and delayed loading times, then you may have been told to "factory reset the phone." While that certainly helps with refreshing the internal state of your device, it is only a Band-Aid type solution and you are likely to face similar usability problems again in the long run.
  • Faulty battery: Nearly every phone in the market runs on lithium-ion batteries, which degrade over time and have the potential to swell if kept in hazardous conditions. If you're experiencing poor battery life or your phone doesn't hold its charge well, then that may be your signal to replace the battery or the phone altogether.
  • Hardware defect: Like the battery, if your device suffers from any hardware damage (i.e cracked screen, unresponsive digitizer, crackling speaker, etc.), then an upgrade may be due.

It never hurts to switch to the best, and as this deal list has shown, you don't have to pay a fortune to do so.

Should I buy from a carrier or directly from the manufacturer (unlocked)?

When deciding whether to buy from carrier stores or brand stores, the first question you should ask yourself is Locked or unlocked?

  • An unlocked phone allows you to use the device with different carrier services and without any of the third-party bloatware or contractual agreements. This is important if you plan to switch carriers or travel internationally.
  • A locked phone restricts your mobile data usage to the carrier that you purchased the device from, whether that's T-Mobile, Verizon, or AT&T. While it sounds less beneficial than buying unlocked, carrier stores are more likely to offer you deals and promotions that make upgrading cost significantly less. For example, the best iPhone deals available right now are mostly from carriers.

If you do purchase a locked phone from a carrier and end up switching to a different service, don't fret. Thanks to the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, US carriers must unlock your phone after you've fully paid it off and completed any contracts or agreements.

Which phone should I buy?

There is a plethora of phone brands on the market, so you'll definitely come to a few crossroads during your purchasing journey. To help, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. iOS or Android? These two operating systems make up more than 95% of the market, so choosing between the two is your first big choice. iOS, the Apple iPhone's operating system, is known to be user-friendly, secure, and home to a robust library of quality apps. Android, on the other hand, utilizes Google's software and AI smarts to produce a more customizable user experience.
  2. Small or large? What do you use your phone for? Browsing social media? Streaming TV shows on the go? Some users prefer smaller devices for their ergonomics and one-handed usability. Larger phones provide more screen real estate for social and multimedia consumption. You also can expect greater battery life with the latter.
  3. Budget? How much are you willing to spend on your next phone? Fortunately, there is a wide selection of capable mobile handsets on the market, so paying less doesn't always mean you're getting the worst. Today, you can buy a 5G-ready smartphone for as little as $200.

My best advice for you is to give every phone a try at a brick-and-mortar store. There's nothing more helpful than holding and interacting with the phones in person and seeing what satisfies your consumer needs.

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