Guidelines for Buying a New Phone

Want to buy a new mobile phone but not sure where to start? We’re here to help. Getting a new mobile can be tricky. There are just so many different models on the market that knowing which one to go for can be a nightmare. Today we’re addressing all the issues about getting a new mobile, from getting the cheapest phone deals, which specs you should be looking for, and whether or not you should sign an incentive contract to get your new phone. So if you’re confused by the phone buying process, read on to get the info you need to make a good decision.

Which Model is Right for Me?

There are three basic classes of mobile phone, top end- which run at over five hundred pounds, mid-range- which go for two to three hundred pounds, and budget- which retail for under a hundred and fifty pounds. To some extent which phone you go for is going to be determined by your budget. But the trick is to find the best phone for your price range.

o that end, there are certain specs that you should be looking for in each of these categories that will ensure that you’re getting a good device in your price range. High end users should look for 1.5 GHz processors, around five inch screens, 16 GB or more of internal memory, at least 1 GB of RAM, and 4G capability. Mid-range specs are a little lower, 1.2 GHz processors, four and a half inch screens, 8 GB to 16 GB of internal memory, and around 1 GB of RAM. Budget phone specs are lower still, 1 GHz processors (or maybe 800 MHz), screens of about four inches, 8 GB of internal memory and between 512 Mb and 1 GB of RAM. If you find a phone in your price range that meets the appropriate specs, you’ll be getting a decent mobile.

Where to Find the Cheapest Phone Deals?

Without a doubt you’re going to find the cheapest phone deals online. This is for a couple of reasons. Firstly, online shopping makes comparison shopping far easier. You can simply use a price comparison web site to do the work for you, and you’ll be sure that you’re getting the best price on a new mobile that you can get. Secondly, buying online very often gets you discounts that physical shoppers don’t get. Because the overhead costs of online selling are so much lower than those of physical retail, sellers pass some of their savings on to you to encourage you to buy online. You may occasionally find a better deal in a physical retail store, generally during a post-Christmas sale, for example, but the majority of the time the best prices are going to be online.

Are Incentive Contracts a Good Idea?

Mobile service operators offer two kinds of contracts to customers, incentive and SIM only. Both of these contracts give you a calling plan for service, but an incentive contract also gives you a free or low cost mobile phone. For this reason, many people choose to sign incentive contracts to get the phone that they want whilst paying little up front. Whether or not this is a good idea really depends.

You will have to pay for your phone, the monthly cost of an incentive plan is higher than the monthly cost of a SIM only contract even when both contracts have the same calling plan. This is how the operator covers the cost of your phone. Over the course of your contract you will end up paying more than retail price for your phone. This is the price you pay for the convenience of what is basically an instalment plan to buy your mobile. Whether or not you get a good deal really depends on how much above retail price you’re going to pay. This is easy to figure out. Subtract the monthly cost of the SIM only contract from the monthly cost of the incentive contract and multiply the result by the number of months in the incentives contract. Add any down payment that you have to pay for the phone. Now compare the number you have to the actual cost of the phone.

If you’re within around fifty pounds of retail cost, it’s a pretty good deal. If it’s more, you should look at either another phone or another operator. If you can afford it you will save money in the long term by buying your phone up front. However, if you don’t have the cash and you need a new phone then signing an incentive contract will get you your phone for little money. It’s also important to remember that should you want to leave your mobile contract before it has ended for any reason you will have to pay the remaining balance on the phone before you can cancel your service.

What about Other Ways to Save Money on a Mobile?

There are other ways that you can save some cash on your purchase, some better than others. Some operators and most manufacturers will sell refurbished phones which can be excellent deals. In look and functionality you are not going to be able to tell the difference between a refurbished model and a brand new one, so they’re worth checking out since you’ll get substantial savings. Less reliable are third party deals. Particularly on the internet you’ll find plenty of third party web sites that offer special deals on mobiles. Sometimes these are cash rebate deals. These sites rely on the fact that the conditions for claiming a rebate are so stringent that many people will fail to qualify and will forfeit some or all of their rebate. Rebates offered by manufacturers or operators tend to be smaller, but are much more reliable. Another common tactic is for these sites to offer you a free gift when you buy a mobile at full price. Generally these gifts are out dated or low end electronics, and are generally not worth signing up for.

Sam Jones‘s neighbour was helping him to buy mobile phones for all the family.  They checked out all the top providers online through sites like uSwitch and got the best value for money deals.

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