4 Tips for Getting the Best Black Friday Cell Phone Deals
1. Check Out the Ads ASAP
Know what your favorite retailers will be offering by taking a peek at their ads as soon as they come out. Don't rely on just one store either — while many will have similar offers, that's not always the case. If you don't see what you want at one store, be sure to check others you wouldn't mind shopping.
2. Read the Fine Print
Before deciding what phone offer you'll be racing to add to your cart on Black Friday, be sure to read the fine print. A price that seems excellent upfront could require a 24-month contract or more, and tie you to a carrier you might not be a fan of. The good news is that the major carriers will often have similar — or the same — offers for Black Friday. So even if you don't want to sign up with Verizon, for example, you could still find great Black Friday cell phone deals through AT&T or T-Mobile.
3. Do Your Research Ahead of Time
Know what kind of phone you want to buy so that you can cut through the deal noise for Black Friday. You don't want to be distracted by the latest Samsung, for instance, if you're leaning toward a new iPhone. Go through the specs of the latest phones — or previous-generation models, if that's what you prefer — and figure out which ones best meet your needs. Then you'll know exactly what kind of phone to look for, including features, size, and storage.
4. Look Out for Gift Cards
Many special offers for Black Friday smartphones will include hefty gift cards to make the price more appealing. The caveat is that the gift card will be for whatever store you're shopping at. For instance, you might see the latest Samsung Galaxy smartphone bundled with a $400 gift card at Target, while Walmart could offer a different version of the phone with a lesser gift card. Before you buy, make sure you'll use any perks that are bundled with these offers, especially if that's what makes them so enticing.
Apple Black Friday iPhone Deals Preview
The iPhone 11 Will Be Bundled With Hefty Gift Cards
Apple hasn't released — or even announced — the iPhone 12 yet, but we're expecting the iPhone 11 to see a permanent price drop when the new handset arrives. In fact, we foresee the iPhone 11 dropping as low as $550 during the Black Friday season.
Additionally, we could see the iPhone 11 bundled with hefty gift cards. Last year, we saw the previous-generation iPhone XS line come with a $400 or $450 gift card at Walmart. And the iPhone 11, which was a new release then, came with gift cards valued at $300.
This year, we expect the iPhone 11 models to be bundled with gift cards worth between $400 and $450.
The iPhone SE Could Drop to $120
Apple released a new version of its budget iPhone SE smartphone in April, and we've already seen notable discounts. With a starting price of $399, it might not seem like there's much room for the price to drop, but earlier this year, the phone's price fell to $120 and even free with eligible offers. However, those offers included factors like trade-ins and contracts, or activating a new line. So don't expect to buy the iPhone SE this cheaply without a catch.
iPhone 12 Models Will Have Modest Discounts
We don't know much about the iPhone 12 yet, except that there's a chance the lowest-tier model could have a higher starting price than the iPhone 11 did. While it seems likely that prices will start at $649, at least one analyst thinks the iPhone 12 could start at $749. If Apple goes that route, that means the phone will be $50 more expensive than the entry-level price of the iPhone 11.
Either way, we're expecting modest discounts — if there are any — for the iPhone 12. It could be part of a "buy one, get one $1,000 off" deal, or an offer for up to $1,000 off certain models. However, expect deals like these to require monthly contracts, buying a particular plan, rebates, and the like. If that all sounds complicated, there's always gift cards. Watch for the iPhone 12 lineup to come with gift cards worth up to $300 at stores like Walmart.
Black Friday Android Cell Phone Deals Preview
The Google Pixel 4a Could Hit a Low of $250
We're expecting the newly released unlocked Google Pixel 4a to drop as low as $250 for Black Friday. Last year, the Pixel 3a hit that exact low. However, note that the Pixel 3a was released in May 2019; the Pixel 4a came out in August of this year. So it hasn't been on shelves very long. Because it's already a budget-friendly phone (relatively speaking), with a starting price of $349, it might not get much of a discount — or any — on Black Friday.
Save Up to $200 on the Google Pixel 5
Google hasn't officially released the unlocked Pixel 5 yet, but plenty of rumors are circulating about what we can expect, from colors to specs. It's rumored that the phone will be priced less than the unlocked Pixel 4, which started at $799. If that happens, we could see a smaller discount for Black Friday.
At this time, though, we're expecting the Pixel 5 to follow similar trends to the Pixel 4. The Pixel 4 was announced on October 15, 2019, and officially released on October 24. This year, we're expecting the Pixel 5 announcement at Google's big event on September 30.
What does this mean in terms of pricing? Well, we saw the Pixel 4 hit discounts of up to $200 during Black Friday last year. With the Pixel 5 possibly coming out earlier this year, there's no reason to think we won't see the same discounts for it when the next Black Friday rolls around.
Don't Expect Discounts on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2
After the troublesome release of the unlocked Samsung Galaxy Fold in 2019, the company rebranded. The unlocked Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 has a starting price of $1,199.99, assuming you have an eligible device to trade in. Without trade-ins, the starting price is $1,999.99. We didn't see any deals on the original Galaxy Fold, and we certainly don't expect to see any real savings for Black Friday on the Galaxy Z Fold2. However, if we do, odds are they'll be similar to the trade-in offers Samsung has already had.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Could Go Below $500
We've already seen the Galaxy S20 cost below $500 this year, or be eligible for BOGO free deals. And snagging it at that price seems like a no-brainer if you're interested in the phone. However, the deals have always come with a catch, such as a trade-in requirement. One offer took $200 off in credits over the course of two years, but it was for Verizon. The carrier also hosted a BOGO free promotion for the Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G, and required monthly installments and/or an Unlimited plan.
Basically, if want to save on the latest Samsung Galaxy models, you'll probably have to jump through hoops.
The Samsung Galaxy Note20 Could Come With Free Earbuds
Last year, Black Friday offers for both the Samsung Galaxy Note10 and Note10+ included a free pair of Galaxy Buds. Additionally, shoppers could score up to $550 off with an eligible trade-in. We're expecting similar deals on the Note20 and Note20+ this Black Friday.
We've already seen BOGO offers for the Note20, where users could buy one and get a second one free, along with a $100 Samsung gift card. Unfortunately, those were for preorders only, so we likely won't see that exact deal return — but a similar one could pop up.
Don't Expect Massive Savings on the Motorola Razr
The folding smartphone version of the Razr arrived recently, and it's a Verizon exclusive. You'll have to rely on the major carrier if you want a discount on this updated piece of nostalgia. With a starting price of $999.99, it's not as expensive as other folding smartphones, but it still comes at a premium.
If Black Friday brings any deals on this pricey updated classic, odds are they'll require a trade-in and a monthly contract of at least 24 months. This is the kind of promotion Verizon seems to offer on the most popular phones. If any deal pops up on the Razr for Black Friday, it's likely to be along these lines.
Spend $149 to Get a New Moto G Phone
The Motorola G lineup is extensive. We've seen a few different models released this year, and some of those models have already hit low prices. Google Fi offered Moto G phones for as little as $149 earlier this year, and we've also seen the G Power go for as little as $230 unlocked, or free through a Verizon offer.