There you are at the carrier store looking for a new phone to get, since your previous two-year contract is up and you’re ready to sign another to get your discounted phone. A lot of the new devices you see are about $200, but there are a couple that are free! They don’t look as cool as the more-expensive ones, but you want to save money. That’s a bad idea.
You can get a lot of smartphones for free after signing a new two-year contract, while other models will usually cost around $200-$250. These cheaper smartphones are still decent, but when you take advantage of a deal for a cheaper phone, you’re not really saving a whole lot of money when you factor in how much you’ll pay over the period of a two-year contract. This is why it’s optimal to buy the best phone that money can buy when you enter into a two-year contract with a carrier.
Cheaper Phones Aren’t the Best Deal
Sure, it’s easy to think that by going for the cheaper phone that costs only $100 compared to the flagship device that sells for $200, you’re saving a ton of cash. When only looking at up-front costs, this is correct; you’re saving a lot of money by going for the cheaper option.
However, when you go into a carrier store and are looking at new phones, you need to think long term. You’ll be signing a two-year contract, so you need to think about the next two years.
Your up-front cost for your phone are only a fraction of what you’ll spend on the monthly service charges over two years. For example, if you spend $70 per month for phone service, that adds up to nearly $1,700 over the course of two years. When pondering that, do you think that saving a bit of cash and going with the cheaper phone was really a smart idea? Saving $100 on a cheaper phone is pointless when you’ll spend almost $2,000 over two years.
You’ll Get Sick of Your Cheaper Phone More Quickly
Most cheaper phones that you’ll see in carrier stores are often older models and are under-powered compared to today’s standards. These phones are usually a year old, which is a long time in smartphone world. They might keep up with your needs today, but two years from now, these phones will be too old to keep up.
Plus, the features on these cheaper phones will become obsolete much quicker than the newer phones that cost just a bit more. This means that you’ll most likely get sick of that cheaper phone you bought a lot more quickly than if you spent just a bit more and got the latest handset model.
In the end, if you settle for a cheaper phone, you’ll have to deal with it for two years and most likely won’t be happy before the first year is even up.
Cheaper Phones Rarely Get Software Updates and Support
Perhaps one of the biggest downsides to buying an older phone is that they will no longer get software updates and support from the manufacturer before your two-year contract expires. Phone manufacturers and carriers alike are notorious for this; they’ll release a new device, but within a year, they’ll release a newer device, and that older model will no longer receive updates or support.
iPhones usually lose support and the ability to update after about three years, but Android phones are more of a loose cannon these days. By opting for the latest smartphone on the store shelf, you’ll pretty much be guaranteeing that you’ll get updates and support through your two-year contract.
What You Should Do
Buying the latest and greatest smartphone is your best bet, as it will last you for a long time — or at least longer than what a cheaper phone would offer.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t take advantage of deals and pay as little as possible for a new smartphone, but make sure the deals are for good phones that will last awhile. Just in last few months we’ve seen incredible deals for the iPhone 5s, with Walmart having it as low as $119 on-contract at one point, with Best Buy going as low as $125. Best Buy even had the iPhone 5s for $1 if you traded in an older iPhone, which isn’t a bad deal at all.