Welcome to another Ask an Editor column, in which our knowledgeable DealNews staffers answer your questions about shopping, saving, and making the most of your hard-earned dollars. Check out our latest inquiry, and then read the details below about how you can submit a question of your own!
Question: Subsidized phones are yesterday's news, how about quoting the price to buy phones outright as required for T-Mobile (best value) and Verizon now (largest carrier)? -biverson273
Response From Our Features Writer, Louis Ramirez:
Verizon made some pretty big waves last week when it announced it was ditching its subsidized phone model. The company's new plans are easier to understand, but they require that consumers buy their phones at full cost.
The thought of paying full price for anything makes us queasy, so upon receiving this question we immediately hit our deal database to see just how easy (or not) it is to score deals on unlocked smartphones. We looked at deals for both the entry-level Apple iPhone 6 and the Samsung Galaxy S6. The good news is that it's possible to score deals on both platforms, as long as you keep your expectations somewhat reasonable.
Let's start with the iPhone 6. The unlocked iPhone 6 16GB smartphone, which Apple sells for $649, has plateaued at $610 since late April. That's a modest savings of $39, but it's a recurring deal that you can find via the eBay storefronts of Monoprice and Roberts Digital. Your best bet would be to check those storefronts on a weekly or daily basis or setup an e-mail alert and we'll do the dirty work for you. When a deal goes live, you'll receive an e-mail from us.
If you want to wait for the new iPhone, coming in September and presumably called the 6s, don't expect to see deals on an unlocked version until November, particularly during Black Friday week. Even then, you'll see very modest discounts that take $10 off the full price of the phone or discounts that bundle a free $50 Apple Gift Card with the purchase of an unlocked iPhone 6s at full price.
As for the Samsung Galaxy S6, although deals are slightly harder to come by, the savings are greater. This summer we've seen prices range from $530 to the current price of $480. That's $100 cheaper than T-Mobile's direct price.
You can expect this price to get lower as we approach the holiday shopping season. As for the stores offering the best deals, again it's eBay leading the charge. The eBay storefronts of Techno Trading House and 232tech have been responsible for all of our unlocked Galaxy S6 deals this summer. As with the iPhone, you can setup an e-mail alert and we'll notify you when we post a deal on the unlocked Galaxy S6.
Note: This article is part of a series where we respond directly to reader questions about products and deals. Got a question about what computer you should buy, when to book a flight to Asia, or something else? Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.