With new and better technology being created every day, new smartphones seem to be coming every few months.
The Samsung Galaxy phones are no exception with new generations hitting the market one right after the other. But is the upgrade worth the price?
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Do You Really Need a Brand New Smartphone?
The first thing to always consider is if you really need that new smartphone. Is there anything significantly different about the new generation? Let's look at the Samsung Galaxy S9 vs. Samsung Galaxy S8.
- Size - The Galaxy S9 is just slightly bigger than the S8, offering greater drop protection and thicker glass display.
- Headphone Jack - Samsung remains one of the few phones who continues to put a headphone jack on the phone. The S8 and the S9 both have one.
- Memory - Both phones also expandable storage with a microSD card; the S9 is compatible with a 400GB card.
- Fingerprint Sensor - While the S8 had its fingerprint sensor placed on the back of the phone, the S9 has moved it to the front,
- Display - The changes to the display are minimal - the biggest difference is the 20% increase in brightness.
- Camera - One of the most important things on every phone. The Samsung S9 takes one huge step backward with its camera. While it offers the ability to shift easily between well-lit photos and low light photos, the portrait mode (a popular feature on all modern phones) has been lost.
- Security - In an attempt to compete with the iPhone X Facial ID, the S9 introduces 'Intelligent Scan', which works by combining facial recognition and iris scanning.
- Battery - The battery between the S8 and S9 is virtually unchanged - they both offer fast charging, both wired and wireless, and there's no change in capacity or battery life.
- Software - The S9 started at a disadvantage, coming out with the Android 8.0 (while the 8.1 had already been out for a couple months). The S8 is still compatible with all current Android software updates, so the S9 doesn't offer much more.
Overall, the differences are limited, and in some cases a step back from the S8.
Consider a Used/Refurbished Phone
While the idea of buying something "used" can be seen as frightening, or even taboo, but it's something to consider if you're looking to save money. To start, what's the difference between refurbished and used?
- Refurbished: A phone that was previously owned, then sold to a buyback site. After being sold, it was inspected and tested, faulty parts replaced, data wiped, and then repackaged to be sold.
- Used: A phone that may have some wear and tear, and is generally sold on a website such as eBay or Craig's List, by the original owner of the phone. They're still operational and functioning.
In short, you could get a phone that's just as good as new, for as little as half the price of the new generation.
Key Benefits Of Buying A Refurbished Samsung Galaxy Over A New Samsung Galaxy
While that new S9 look pretty and attractive, the price tag can certainly be off-putting, especially when there are older Samsung models, such as the galaxy note, which offer the same functionality, albeit without the bells and whistles. So why you should look into purchasing a refurbished Samsung phone over a new one?
- Price is the biggest factor. Used/Refurbished phones sell for much less than a brand new phone.
- Most refurbished phones come with warranties and return policies that can go up to ninety days.
- You can still get insurance on used devices, although this is an optional, additional charge.
- Can come locked to one carrier, or unlocked (more on that below).
- If you're partial to your current phone and don't want to upgrade, you can get the exact same model for cheap.
Why dish out the money when you can buy cheap Samsung phones and save the money for something else?
Why You May Want an Unlocked Phone
Phones are generally locked to four main carriers - T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T. Cheap unlocked smartphones offer you a bit more freedom. Instead of being locked into one carrier, you have a choice. The phone still works on any carrier, but still work best with the carrier they were made for.
The big four are on two different networks - GSM (T-Mobile and AT&T) and CDMA (Verizon and Sprint). While a GSM unlocked phone will work on a CDMA phone (and vice versa) thanks to 4G, the phone will lose functionality if you lose 4G. It's best to keep your GSM unlocked phone on a GSM network.
Check out our guides to find out how to unlock your own phone.
How To Get The Best Price On an Unlocked Phone
Check out our review of the best places to buy a used phone. These are sites that will buy your old phones and sells refurbished phones they've previously bought.
Shopping around can be overwhelming. So let us do the work for you! Check out our comparison tool to ensure you get the best price on a used phone!
Consider Switching to an MVNO
Smaller carriers, such as Text Now or Tello, piggyback off the cell towers of the "big four" and offer services at a cheaper price. They are also month-to-month payments, which can be canceled at any time, meaning you can get cheap Samsung phones no contract.
These carriers are called Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs). Most MVNOs work entirely online, rather than operating out of a store, which means you can get a new phone plan without having to leave the comfort of your home. If you like the network you're on, but don't want to pay the prices, you have options.
- If you're partial to the Samsung variety, there are plenty of cheap Samsung phones for sale - you just have to know where to look.
- Consider switching to an MVNO if you're trying to save money.
- Unlocked phones offer for more freedom in carriers.