best way to buy off contract iphone?
November 20, 2018 9:03 AM   Subscribe

I would like to buy a new iphone 8 or maybe XR or pixel 3, but I am not on a major carrier and do not wish to be on one. All the black Friday specials appear to be for new or renewed activation on one of the four major carriers (in the U.S.). Am I missing anything?

I know the discounts are generally only offered as a way to link you to the carrier for 2 or more years, but my (possibly faulty) memory is that you used to be able to get at least some discounts without locking yourself into a two-year contract, especially if you are looking at last year's models. Are there any tricks I am missing? Am willing to try any devious tricks, as long as its legal.

The best "deal" I can find is not even a black Friday thing, it's just a refurbished iphone 8 for $500 at the apple website. I'll probably go with that if I can't find anything else. I can get the pixel 3 for $150 off but that seems like a not great deal to me. I am not interested in used or 3rd party refurbs.
posted by skewed to Shopping (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think the search you want is iPhone Black Friday unlocked.

Here's an iPhone X on Amazon for $245 off list.
posted by zippy at 9:30 AM on November 20, 2018

I almost always buy my off-contract iPhones through the 0% APR financing option with Barclay (purchases over $1k financed for 18months). It does not require you to be on-contract with anyone, nor does it give you any kind of discount (unless you have a good phone to trade in), but it does require you to have decent credit and the willingness to open a credit card with Barclay. You can find this option on the checkout page of the Apple Store, I believe.
posted by ancient star at 9:33 AM on November 20, 2018

Look on the carriers under their "prepaid phones" section. Those are, by definition, sold without service contracts. The selection can be a little idiosyncratic but that's how I got my last phone, on sale.

The other option is to specify unlocked when buying direct from Apple, but no idea if they'll be offering any discounts that way.
posted by praemunire at 9:46 AM on November 20, 2018

Here's an iPhone X on Amazon for $245 off list.

That's not a good deal. Personally, I wouldn't buy an iPhone X, as it's been discontinued by Apple. If you won't be using it heavily for its camera, the XR (at $749) is totally fine. But you can get the XS for $999. Those prices are for the 64GB model.
posted by ancient star at 9:50 AM on November 20, 2018 [2 favorites]

I almost always buy my off-contract iPhones through the 0% APR financing option with Barclay (purchases over $1k financed for 18months).

I did this the last time I bought phones (we use Cricket) and I was extremely disappointed that despite being told it was 0% I was charged interest and could never get that removed.
posted by terrapin at 10:23 AM on November 20, 2018

The Google Store will be offering the following deals on new, unlocked Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL phones:

November 22 - 25: $150 discount on the Pixel 3, $200 discount on the Pixel 3 XL.
Cyber Monday: Buy a Pixel 3/3 XL and get a Home Hub ($149 regular price) for free, plus a $50 Google Store credit. (Note: the Home Hubs will be on sale practically everywhere on Black Friday for $99, so this isn't as good a deal as the Nov. 22-25th offer.)

This is probably going to be the best Pixel deal you'll find that isn't tied to a carrier.
posted by Lunaloon at 10:27 AM on November 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'll just add another option to consider - Amazon is currently selling the unlocked Galaxy S9 for $520.
posted by kickingtheground at 12:41 PM on November 20, 2018

Hubs bought an iPhone6s 2 days ago from Cricket for $250. No contract and low cost fees.
Easy peasy.
posted by SLC Mom at 10:53 AM on November 22, 2018

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