Black Friday is just around the corner, and that can only mean one thing: it’s the perfect time to bag yourself an absolute bargain on a shiny new smartphone.
However, with so many brands getting in on the Black Friday fun a little early, there are already too many smartphone deals to choose from, whether you’re looking for SIM-free or contract deals on your next upgrade.
It’s safe to say that Black Friday, or Black November as some retailers refer to it, can be a little overwhelming for even the most ardent bargain hunters.
But that’s where we at Trusted Reviews come in; using our expert knowledge of the market and previous Black Friday experience, we’ll guide you through the smartphone sale bonanza with handy tips and tricks on what to look for when on the hunt for a smartphone bargain.
Familiarise yourself with the best phones
If you’ve got your heart set on a 2023 smartphone, the best place to start is by working out which are worth your time and, more importantly, hard-earned cash. For that, we’ve got guides for the best phones, best Android phones, best iPhones, best foldable phones, best mid-range phones, best camera phones and the best cheap phones.
These various guides cover all the big smartphones launched in 2023, as well as previous smartphones that are still well worth a mention, at varying price points, shapes and sizes. It’s worth noting that only the best smartphones make it to our charts, however, so it’s also worth taking a look at our archive of mobile phone reviews too.
These are all great resources to familiarise yourself with what’s available on the smartphone market at large, particularly if you haven’t upgraded for a while.
You don’t always look for the newest phones
The urge might be strong to splash your cash on the latest iPhone or Google Pixel device, but you really don’t need to buy the latest and greatest. In fact, some of the best deals you’ll see across the Black Friday deal season will be on slightly older models that shops have surplus stock of.
For instance, it’s worth considering 2022 flagships – like the Google Pixel 7 – which until very recently brought the fight to the best smartphones from Apple, Samsung and co. And with the Pixel 8 only adding minimal changes to the design and core function of the phone, you could save yourself a pretty penny by opting for the Pixel 7.
We’ve already seen the £599 smartphone discounted to as little as £376 in recent months, and it’s possible that it could drop even further as we get closer to the biggest sales day of the year.
Older models of iPhone can also be discounted pretty heavily during the Black Friday sales, though it’s rare to see Apple itself get in on the fun – you’ll likely have to look at third-party retailers for the best deals on Apple tech.
Check how long is left on your contract
There are two main ways to buy a smartphone in 2023 – SIM-free or on contract. For most users, it’s contract deals that provide the best way to get access to the latest smartphone tech, as you can spread the cost of the smartphone over 24 months and get bundled calls, texts and data too.
SIM-free phones, on the other hand, don’t tie you into such a contract but have much higher upfront costs. Some retailers do offer finance options to spread the cost of SIM-free smartphones, but these often come with added interest so we’d advise serious consideration before going down that route.
If you’re looking for a new phone this Black Friday and you’re currently on a contract, it’s best to check how long you’ve got left on the agreement. If you’re out of contract and you’re happy to continue with a pay monthly contract, there can often be excellent savings from networks (EE, Vodafone, Three, O2, etc.) and resellers like Carphone Warehouse and Mobiles.co.uk around the Black Friday shopping season.
Would you prefer the phone to be SIM-free?
If you have an existing SIM-only contract that you’re happy to stick with for the foreseeable future, then SIM-free phones are the best choice.
Keep an eye on prices and start looking now
If there’s a particular phone you’ve got your eye on, like the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra or the OnePlus 11, then keep an eye on the prices now and in the run-up to Black Friday to see if they go up or down.
Handy tools, like Amazon tracker Keepa, are good ways of keeping track of Amazon product price rises and falls.