Smartphones. Everyone has one and most people are on the lookout for a new one at some point - but no-one ever wants to pay full price.
This means it’s becoming even more important for people to find the best possible deals – whether on contract to spread the cost of the handset or SIM-free where you save on long-term costs.
But not all deals are good deals. Retailers will sometimes take advantage of sales hysteria and push discounts that aren’t any better than the rest of their year-round prices. That’s why we are collecting all the genuinely best deals and offering our expert buying advice to make sure you don’t get ripped off.
If you're studying, also see our article on the best phone contracts for students.
Best phone deals right now
Apple iPhone SE 2020 with Unlimited Data
From: Mobile Phones Direct
Now: £50 per month (Free 10.2in iPad)
What phone should I buy?
Which phone is best? The answer lies in how you use your phone, your budget and what you're looking to get out of your phone. Tech Advisor has a number of buying guides to help you decide the best way forward. We've outlined some of the key points and what to expect out of each buying guide below.
If you’re looking for deals on the best smartphone on the market there are a few things you may need to consider. First off, should you buy an iPhone or an Android? Should you buy unlocked or on a pay-monthly plan? And also, how do you choose the right SIM?
Of course, the best phones on the market will often have premium prices too. Samsung Galaxy phones and iPhones may seem like the top choice but if you’re on a budget there are tonnes of other powerful options out there for less-than-premium prices too (see the best Chinese phones guide below, as an example).
Chinese phones can be powerful, often with dual-SIM support, and at competitive prices. On the flip side, some may be difficult to return if there are any issues and you may need to pay import duty - depending on where you're getting them from.
If the Chinese manufacturer in question doesn't yet have an official presence in your local market, chances are you're buying their phones via grey-market retailers, which may need cautious navigation. You can see all the pros and cons in our 'Best Chinese phone' article.
We also have a round-up of the 'Best budget Chinese phones' to consider.
Buying a secondhand or refurbished phone is another way to score a great deal, oftentimes on premium handsets like the iPhone. Our colleagues over at Macworld UK have looked into the best way to buy a secondhand iPhone in this guide.
Our guide on the best dual-SIM phones goes through what to look for before you go ahead and buy such a device; such as what SIM sizes are supported and if both SIMs are 4G and/or 5G-compatible.
We also explain the difference between dual-standby and dual-active SIM support. This affects whether or not you can actively receive calls from both SIMs at the same time.
If you’re after a phone (or phablet) with a big screen then this guide is worth checking out. Phablets are defined by their large displays and are ideal for those who enjoy media, whether it's watching a lot of video or gaming on the go. They often have high capacity batteries to support their large screens and should ideally sport a high resolution to match.
Our article shortlists the best large-screened phones on the market right now.
If you’re looking for a phone which will let you do the basics – call, text and browse minimally – you can find several phones for less than £50 with cheap monthly rates too. Our article goes through what you can expect in terms of specifications, storage, audio and camera quality from a basic smartphone.
If you’re looking for a phone for your child, there are few other things to consider (such as waterproofing). Our guide details what sort of specs to look for (does it support casual gaming and YouTube, for instance?) and the ideal amount of storage the phone should support for your tot to be happy.
What phone deals are available?
Samsung currently offers a trade-in programme where you can get up to £400 off the company's latest and greatest smartphones (depending on the value of the device you're trading in). Get Samsung's trade-in offers here.
While Apple itself doesn’t often offer discounts, following the launch of the iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max, the price of the iPhone XS and iPhone XR have dropped significantly. If you're still not interested in dishing out everything upfront, it’s always worth checking contract prices with retailers like Carphone Warehouse and the major networks, as they often offer competitive bargains to lure in lucrative iPhone buyers.
Carphone also has significant savings on budget and mid-range handsets from the likes of Nokia, Motorola, LG and more.
If you're looking to buy a phone outright, rather than on-contract, Amazon has some of the biggest bargains, but make sure you check the specs carefully - third-party sellers sometimes use Amazon to shift international stock, which may vary slightly from what you find in UK stores.
If you find that you’re missing out on Amazon’s Lightning deals, which run for just a few hours and offer limited stock, we'd recommend signing up for Amazon's 30-day free trial of Prime, which will get you access to deals 30 minutes before everyone else. Plus, you'll get free next-day delivery with the Prime trial, as well as access to Prime Instant Video and more.
Sign up for Prime now.
When is Black Friday 2020 - should you wait for a better deal?
Black Friday will take place on Friday 27 November, immediately followed by Cyber Monday on 30 November. Traditionally the biggest sales event of the year, it may yet throw up some even greater tech deals - but with so much uncertainty around finance and retail, and no guarantees regarding what discounts we will see, we advise you not to wait: if you see a deal you like, on a product you need, and you can afford the outlay, buy it today.
1. Apple iPhone SE 2020 with Unlimited Data
From: Mobile Phones Direct
Now: £50 per month (Free 10.2in iPad)
Mobile Phones Direct's current bundle deals offers the brand new iPhone SE (2020) with unlimited data (on Vodafone, 10Mbps max speed) no upfront cost. To sweeten the deal, it's throwing in a free 10.2in iPad (32GB) worth £349. See our full coverage.
2. Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus (128GB)
Now: £819.59 (£179.41 off)
The 5G-capable Samsung Galaxy S20+ has just received its biggest discount on Amazon ever.
3. Samsung Galaxy S20 (4G-only, 128GB)
Now: £659.99 (£139.01 off)
This 4G-only variant of Galaxy S20 was already a fantastic device but now it can be enjoyed with a notable discount, courtesy of Amazon. Colourway affects price - check before purchase.
4. Oppo Find X2 Pro (12GB RAM, 512GB)
Now: £1049 (£50 off)
Oppo's superb Find X2 Pro is one of the best phones of 2020 and discounts on its high price tag have already started to emerge, including this great start from Amazon.
5. Apple iPhone 11 Pro (256GB)
Now: £1064 (£135 off)
The outstanding Apple iPhone 11 Pro is without a doubt the finest iPhone to date and this Amazon deal knocks a not-insignificant amount off its asking price.
6. Xiaomi Mi 10 (8GB RAM, 128GB)
Now: £579 (£220 off)
Xiaomi's 2020 flagship is already up for grabs with a huge discount on Amazon, making it one of the great smartphone bargains of the moment.
7. Xiaomi Mi Note 10 (6GB RAM, 128GB)
Now: £428.80 (£30.20 off)
The world's first 108Mp cameraphone, the Mi Note 10, is now available with a tidy discount, courtesy of GearBest.
8. Apple iPhone XS (64GB)
Now: £659 (£340 off)
Lop almost £350 off the price of a 64GB iPhone XS with OnBuy's discount. If you still need convincing, why not read our review of the iPhone XS?
9. Huawei P30 Pro (8GB RAM, 128GB)
Now: £554.99 (£345 off)
The P30 Pro may be an ageing flagship but it's one of the last great Huawei phones to feature Google Play Service and more importantly - the Play Store. With this in mind, paired with the fact that it boasts excellent cameras, this Amazon discount shouldn't be... discounted. Discount varies by colourway, check before purchase.
10. Samsung Galaxy S10 (128GB)
Now: £569.99 (£229.01 off)
Save more than £200 on this 128GB Galaxy S10. Discount varies by colour, check before purchase.
11. Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus (512GB)
Now: £699 (£400 off)
The higher storage capacity 512GB Galaxy S10+ can now be had with £400 off. Discount varies by colour, check before purchase.