Holiday gift guide to smartphones
Smartphones are among the hottest gifts to purchase during the holidays. If you’re in the market to grab a new phone – whether for yourself or someone you love – you’re going to need to be prepared to pay.
Devices in Apple’s iPhone lineup, as well as those running Google’s Android operating system or geared with Microsoft’s Windows platform aren’t cheap. Thankfully, there are some tricks you can utilize to reduce the costs. If you want the latest and greatest thing, you might be stuck paying full price. If you’re willing to go with something a bit older, however, you could very well be in luck this holiday season.
Get the second-latest iPhone
If you’re going for an iPhone 5 for the holidays, I have bad news for you: It’s going to cost at least $200. That’s pretty much the way of things, and it doesn’t take into account the other costs you’re going to incur, because that price is contingent on getting a new two-year contract with AT&T, Sprint, Verizon or one of the other networks that carries the device. The good news is, if that’s what you’re looking for, you can at least get some cash back and deals such as free shipping through AT&T. Checking around for coupons is a great idea to reduce your iPhone 5 cost. Just don’t expect much of a reduction.
A better idea is to opt for a refurbished model of the newest iPhone, or go for an older model. Apple sells older iPhones at a discounted rate, along with free shipping and 1 percent cash back. Snag a refurbished iPhone 4 from Best Buy, and you can have it for free with a two-year contract; get an iPhone 4S from Sprint and you’ll have it for $100 with a new contract, plus as much as $30 cash back.
Grab what’s less popular
Though Apple’s smartphones are pretty set when it comes to price, Android and Windows devices tend to be a little more flexible. Devices using Microsoft’s platform seem especially likely to come with lower price tags given that they’re competing with the much larger penetration of the iPhone and Android devices. Pop over to Wirefly and you can snag a Windows 8X phone for as little as $129. More of an Android person? The HTC Droid Incredible 2 is available with $20 cash back and the possibility of free shipping.
Check for extras
It is the holidays. While retailers can’t always knock down the prices of smartphones because of manufacturing costs and other considerations, they’re often willing to throw in other things to sweeten the deal. Take Walmart, for example, which offers the LG Optimus Zip with a “starter kit” of accessories for $179. Throw in Walmart’s 6 percent cash back on top of that, too.
It’s also worth hitting up the carriers, especially if you have a favorite. T-Mobile, for example, offers up to $50 cash back on 4G smartphones, along with free shipping.
If you want a cheap smartphone, opting for older models is key to saving money. But a smart eye and a willingness to shop around and find the phone that’s right for you – or your gift-receiving loved one – can definitely make these hot devices cheaper in the long run.