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3 December 2021

Best mobile phone and Sim-only deals in the sales

See our pick of the best mobile phone deals on contract and Sim-only to find out how to bag a bargain on an Android phone or an iPhone in the sales.
Which?Editorial team
Mobile phone deals and sales

We've rounded up the latest mobile phone deals in the sales to help you find and compare the best prices right now.

With new smartphones launching every week, and stiff competition between the biggest manufacturers and contract providers, there are often great mobile phone deals to be had on the most expensive handsets (including Samsung and iPhone). Whether you choose a pay-as-you-go, a Sim-free deal, or just want a cheap contract or to buy a handset now, we'll show you some of the best deals around.

Already got a handset in mind? Use our mobile phone reviews to see how it scores in our tough tests. 

Best mobile phone and contract deals in the sales

When looking for the best mobile phone deal, you need to decide whether to buy a new phone on contract, or pay for the phone outright and buy a Sim separately (and then you'll need to navigate the various deals from Sky, Tesco, Vodafone and more). Our mobile phone deals service does all the heavy lifting for you. 

Find out more and head to Which? Mobile Switch to compare mobile phones and Sim-only contracts.

Best iPhone deals

Today's bargain hunt reveals that you can get an iPhone 12 at a decent discount. Now the iPhone 13s have arrived, it's definitely a series worth keeping an eye on.

Apple iPhone 12 64GB – £679

Apple iPhone 12
  • 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display
  • 5G compatibility
  • IP68 waterproofing

We like: Lovely display

We don’t like: Short-charge battery life isn't the best

It's rare to find a discount on an iPhone, especially this latest 5G version, but you can get a great deal on this model now since the iPhone 13 series has come out. It has some fancy features including waterproofing and wireless charging, plus it's the first iPhone range to come 5G ready. See if it matches up to its impressive specs by reading our Apple iPhone 12 review.

The current cheapest deal for a Sim-free version of the iPhone 12 with 64GB of storage is £679.

Buy now for £679 at John Lewis or Currys

Or browse for the best contract deals on the Apple iPhone 12

Apple iPhone 12 Pro 256GB – £899

  • 5G compatibility
  • 6.1 inch Super Retina XDR OLED display
  • IP68 waterproofing

We like: Stunning display

We didn't like: Short-charge battery life isn't the best

While it's not much off the full price, if you want more space for an iPhone purchase, it's worth jumping on this deal currently running where you can get an Apple iPhone 12 Pro with 256GB for the price of 128GB. The Apple iPhone 12 Pro has really good cameras as well as waterproofing. To tally it up with its specs check out our Apple iPhone 12 Pro review.

Or buy it in now for £899 at Carphone Warehouse in Graphite or from Currys in Black – down from the original launch price of £999.

Best Android phone deals

Android phones have a number of attractive discounts on handsets now – proving you don't need to spend a fortune on a big brand.

Samsung Galaxy S20+ 5G – £639

  • 128GB of storage
  • 5G compatibility
  • 6.7-inch display

We like: Easy to use

We didn’t like: Slow fingerprint scanner

The Samsung Galaxy S20+ 5G has a pretty huge 6.7-inch Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED display (3200 x 1440). It comes with 12GB of Ram and 128GB of storage, but if you need more space, this can be expanded by up to 1TB with a micro-SD card. Check our Samsung Galaxy S20+ 5G review for the full test results.

You can currently buy it for £639 instead of £999.

Buy the Cloud White version now at ChitterChatter for £639.

Or browse for the best contract deals on the Samsung Galaxy S20+ 5G.

Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G – £309

  • 128GB of storage
  • 5G compatibility
  • Large OLED 6.6 inches display

We like: Easy to use

We didn't like: Not waterproof

The cheapest 5G phone in Xiaomi’s Mi 11 range. This version has 128GB of internal storage (106GB after the bloatware) and a micro-SD card slot for adding on more. It’s powered by a hefty processor – the Qualcomm Snapdragon 780G with 8GB of Ram, and a 4,520mAh battery. Like other phones in the range, it has a large OLED screen (this one measures 6.6-inches). 

The Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G also has a triple camera; 64Mp wide, 8Mp ultrawide and 5Mp Macro tele-macro lens plus a bonus 20Mp wide lens on the front. Check out our Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G review for the full test results.

You can currently buy this phone for £309 instead of £399. Buy it from Very.co.uk in a Citrus Yellow colour or from Argos in a Mint Green or Midnight Grey colour.

Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G – £341

  • 5G compatibility
  • 128GB of storage
  • 6.5 inch display

We like: Fast charging, easy to use

We didn't like: Battery could be better

Unlike the A52 5G model, the Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G has a quicker Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G processor. You can buy it with 128GB or 256 GB of storage, but there is a Micro-SD card slot if you want to increase this later. The OLED screen is bright and easy to read in all light conditions, including bright sunshine. Available in four colours, the Samsung A52s 5G also has an easy to use camera system that comes with settings such as pro video, portrait mode and in-built image stabilisation for taking photos in low-lit situations.

Check out our Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G review for the full test results.

Or buy it now from £341 at Amazon.co.uk - reduced from £409. 

Xiaomi Poco X3 Pro – £169

  • 128GB of storage
  • 6.7 inch LCD screen
  • Tri-camera combination

We like: Budget and user friendly

We didn't like: Not waterproof

As the cheapest best buy of 2021, it packs a punch. Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 860 processor with 6GB of RAM. You get 105GB to use out of the 128GB of internal storage and there’s a slot for a micro-SD card if you want to add on more. It’s rare to find a display with a 120Hz refresh rate in a premium phone, let alone one this cheap. Combined with the high resolution and brightness, it shows off videos beautifully. 

Read our Xiaomi Poco X3 Pro review for the full test results.

Or buy it now on the Xiaomi store for £169 instead of £229.

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G - £649

  • 128GB of storage
  • 5G compatibility
  • IP68 waterproofing

We like: A feature packed flagship from Samsung

We didn't like: Slow charging

Equipped with a more powerful processor, the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G has 128GB of internal storage, but this can’t be extended, as Samsung has done away with the micro-SD card slot. It’s also missing a headphone jack, so you’ll need to use an adaptor with wired earphones. Additionally, being IP68 certified, it’s dustproof and waterproof (up to six metres deep for up to 30 minutes).

Read our Samsung Galaxy S21 5G review for the full test results.

Or buy it now for £649 from Argos in either Phantom Grey, Phantom White or Phantom Violet - reduced from £769.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G - £799

  • 128GB of storage
  • 5G compatibility
  • 6.7 inch screen display

We like: Sturdy foldable design

We didn't like: Cameras could be better

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 is an improvement over its predecessor, and certainly feels like it's sturdy enough to avoid the issues that have plagued foldable devices in the past. Though it's still somewhat of a novelty,  if the design appeals you could be pleased with your investment – though there are sacrifices to be made elsewhere for this sort of innovation.

Read our Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 review for the full test results.

Or buy it now from Samsung for £799, reduced from £949.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G - £969

  • 128GB of storage
  • 5G compatibility
  • Large 6.8-inch OLED display

We like: Looks and feels utterly premium

We didn't like: Slow to charge

Like the S21 and S21+, the S21 Ultra has Samsung’s ultra-fast Exynos 2100 processor. It also has a bigger 5,000mAh battery. It's featured-packed as you'd expect from a flagship phone, with a large 6.8-inch OLED screen and plenty of cameras. Still pricey, but being such a new phone, a £250 saving is not to be sniffed at.

Read our Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G review for the full test results.

Or buy it now on Very.co.uk for £969 in Phantom silver, instead of the full price at £1,199.

OnePlus 9 - £579

  • 128GB of storage
  • IP68 Waterproofing
  • 6.6-inch OLED display

We like: Large., attractive display

We didn't like: Low sound quality in busy environments

OnePlus’s flagship 5G phone of 2021, runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor with 8GB of RAM and is packed with a versatile array of cameras. It is also waterproof due to its IP68 certification. Read our OnePlus 9 review for the full test results. 

Or buy it now for £579 at John Lewis instead of its original retail price of £729.

Oppo Find X3 Lite 5G - £299

  • 5G compatibility
  • 128GB of storage
  • 6.4-inch screen display

We like: High spec for the price

We didn't like: Poor speaker quality

Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor with 8GB of RAM and has 128GB of internal storage (or 109GB after the bloatware), the Oppo Find X3 Lite 5G is an entry-level phone with 5G connectivity. It offers a headphone jack, so no need for an adapter and its easy to navigate.

Read our Oppo Find X3 Lite 5G review for the full test results.

Or buy the Oppo Find X3 Lite 5G at Amazon.co.uk for £299 - reduced from £379.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE - £459

  • 128GB of storage
  • 6.5-inch display screen
  • IP68 Waterproofing

We like: A tidy mid-range performer

We didn't like: No 5G connectivity

This is the 4G version of the Samsung Galaxy's S20 FE mobile phone, powered by Samsung's Exynos 990 processor with 6GB of RAM. You get 128GB of storage, and 103GB usable space upon purchase. Equipped with a tri-camera combination, and certified IP68 waterproofing, it's not as premium as Samsung's flagship S-range, but is a versatile enough phone that'll make you a tidy saving. 

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S20 FE review to see how it did in our tests. 

Buy it now for £459 from Very.co.uk in a Cloud Navy colour, or £459 from Amazon.co.uk in red.

Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G - £799

  • 128GB of storage
  • 6.7-inch OLED display
  • IP68 Waterproofing

We like: A versatile powerhouse

We didn't like: Quick-charging could be better

The Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G is one of this year's flagship models and it shows, with a vibrant 6.7-inch display and sleek, premium design. It's powerful as well, with Samsung's Exynos 2100 processor and 8GB of Ram - so should be able to handle just about anything you throw at it. To find out how it scored in our tough tests, read our Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G review.

Or purchase it now on sale at Carphone Warehouse for £799 in Black or Violet - reduced from £949.

Mobile phone providers

Best Sim-only deals

If you're buying a phone outright, you'll need a Sim card to go with it. Here's our pick of some of the best low, medium and high data deals doing the rounds in the sales.

Best low data Sim-only deals 

You shouldn't pay for data you don't need, so if you're a particularly light user, opt for a cheap monthly contract that gives you the ability to switch around as circumstances change. Here are some highlights:

ASDA Mobile 6GB of 4G data for £5 per month. ASDA offers double data for 3 months at 6GB with unlimited data and minutes. Though, after 3 months, it drops down to 3GB. This is not ideal, but you can cancel at any time so that you can get three months of cheap data then shop around for a new deal. ASDA's customers weren't entirely satisfied with all aspects of its service in our regular survey. Read our ASDA Mobile review for more.

O2 Mobile 6GB of 5G data for £6 per month. This sim contract provides 6GB of 5G data, and unlimited minutes is a great deal. What's even better is you get 1-month free Disney+ and special offers from O2 Priority. Read our O2 Mobile review to see how customers rate it.

Plusnet - 8GB of 4G data for £7 per month. This Sim includes unlimited minutes and texts over 4G data. Plus, existing Plusnet broadband customers can claim an extra 2GB of data, bumping up your monthly allowance to 10GB.

Three 8GB of 5G data for £7 per month. Though you have to sign up for a 12-month contract with Three to get this deal, it's still worth considering. This contract comes with unlimited minutes and 5G speeds. Read our Three review to see how it fared in our survey.

Best medium data Sim-only deals

If you use your mobile data fairly frequently but don't require large amounts of data for data-intense activities such as HD downloading or streaming, then these deals could be suitable. Here are some highlights:

Lebara Mobile - 10GB of 5G data for £7.99 per month. Lebara is offering unlimited texts and minutes. If 10GB isn't enough, Lebara also offers 15GB of data and unlimited minutes for £9.99 per month. Plus,both contracts come with 100 international minutes to over 40 countries. However, price isn’t everything when it comes to the right mobile provider. Lebara’s customers weren’t entirely satisfied with all aspects of its service in our regular survey. Read our Lebara Mobile review for more.

iD Mobile - 15GB of 5G data for £8 per month. If you're looking at the higher data range of medium data deals, this offering from iD Mobile could suit. The deal includes unlimited minutes and data rollover, which reduces wasted data. This is the better option for iD's low and medium data deals, as the other is £7 per month for 10GB. Read our ID Mobile review to see if it's worth considering.

O2 Mobile - 15GB of 5G data for £8 per month. This great deal comes with 5G data, unlimited minutes and texts as a 12 month fixed contract. Plus, you'll receive 3 months of free access to Disney+ and special offers with O2 Priority. If 15GB isn't enough, you can pay £20 a month for a 20GB contract. Read our O2 Mobile review to see how customers rate it.

Best high data Sim-only deals

High data deals are ideal for ravenous data users who need lots of data for continuous connectivity, downloading, streaming and hotspot usage. The larger data deals are likely to require a 12-month contract, so consider how committed you want to be and how much data you are actually likely to use. These are some highlights:

Smarty Mobile - 30GB of 4G data for £10 per month. This deal includes unlimited minutes and texts with no speed caps and unrestricted tethering. The only downside is it's not 5G data. Read our Smarty review for more. 

Three - 100GB of 5G data for £15 per month. This deal offers a huge amount of data, unlimited minutes and is only available as a 12-month contract. If 100GB still isn't enough, you can pay £16 per month and get unlimited data. Read our Three review to see how customers rate it.

iD Mobile - Unlimited 5G data for £18 per month. A deal that is perfect for streaming your favourite series on the go or mobile gamers. This contract includes unlimited data, calls and minutes and a £50 Currys e-gift card. Alternatively, you can get Unlimited 5G data without the gift card for £16 per month. Read our ID Mobile review to see if it's worth considering.

Not found a Sim deal that's quite right for you? Browse all the best Sim-only deals on Which? Mobile Switch.

Best mobile phone contract calculator

A key question will be whether you buy outright or on contract. How much each will cost overall can be difficult to work out – use our calculator below to discover the best deal for you.

Pros and cons of pay-monthly contract mobile phones

With a traditional pay-monthly contract, you pay a fixed minimum monthly fee by direct debit, which is made up of paying for the phone (usually through a credit agreement, meaning you get credit checked) and the Sim itself, with an allowance of calls, texts and data. You'll have to commit to a period of time, typically two years. Depending on your plan, there may also be an upfront fee, which is something worth considering if you are set on a contract. 

What are the advantages of monthly contracts? 

  • Free/cheap phones – with a monthly contract, you'll get a wide choice of free or subsidised mobile phone handsets, ideal if you fancy an upgrade. 
  • Good value – paying in advance for a fixed amount of minutes, texts and data can be much cheaper than topping up a pay-as-you-go phone. 
  • Hassle free – you’ll never get cut off because you’ve forgotten to top up your credit. 
  • Can build your credit score – paying off a mobile phone contract monthly can be a good way to build your credit score. Bear in mind that missed payments or defaulting can make your credit score drop. 

Are there any drawbacks with pay-monthly contracts?

There are a few. As mentioned, you may end up paying more overall – you'll need to weigh this up against the appeal of a lower upfront cost.  

Pay careful attention to the length of the contract. Most last two years, but some can last three, in order to keep the monthly cost looking attractive. You should also make a note of when your contract ends. Some providers continue to charge you the full monthly cost, even after your contract has been paid off. 

If you exceed the minutes, messages or data in your bundle, additional charges can be significant. It's especially important to be aware of this while roaming. Most providers now set a default 'cap' to prevent this, but if you remove it in order to continue using your phone, costs can quickly spiral out of control. For more, read our guide on how to keep track of your minutes and data, and our guide on EU roaming and international calls. 

Consider network reception with a great mobile phone deal

Signal is another consideration. If you know that a particular network is good for your area, you may want to stick with it, but move to a different provider. Or if it isn't, it could be time to move. 

Here are the core networks the virtual providers use:

  • O2 - Giffgaff, Sky Mobile, Tesco Mobile
  • Vodafone - Asda Mobile, Lebara, TalkTalk, VOXI
  • EE - BT, Plusnet, Utility Warehouse, Virgin Mobile
  • Three - ID Mobile, SMARTY

When it's time to switch mobile phone provider

If all else fails, it might be time to switch. Outside the big four – O2, Vodafone, EE and Three – a wide range of operators are now competing for your business, and some of them offer great value for money on Sim-only deals. Switching is easy, and you should be able to keep your old number.

Arming yourself with a price you could get elsewhere is an important haggling tactic. Compare mobile phone contracts and Sim-only deals to find out how much you could be paying.

Smaller mobile networks consistently do better than the big four (EE, O2,Three and Vodafone) in our mobile networks survey. Read our guide to the best and worst UK mobile networks to find out more.

Best mobiles

How to get the best mobile phone deal on popular brands

Generally, you'll find the best deals on mobile phones at retailers such as Amazon, Currys and John Lewis, rather than on the manufacturer's website. However, knowing when the best sales are for specific mobile phone brands can be useful if you are trying to find the best deal on a specific model you want. 

iPhone deals

It's notoriously tricky to bag an iPhone on a budget – even older iPhones don't tend to see too many discounts. They hold their value better than older Androids, so you often see them on the second-hand market.

However, if you look in the right place at the right time you can get some money off. Retailers such as Amazon and Argos occasionally bring their prices down, although you should make sure you're buying a new rather than refurbished phone.

New iPhones usually drop in September, so the end of the year is a good time to look for the previous models, particularly as seasonal Black Friday and Christmas sales roll in.

Apple also offers a trade-in scheme, so you can knock down the price of a new handset slightly if you're upgrading from an older iPhone.

Browse all our iPhone reviews to see how all of Apple's handsets scored in our lab tests.

Google mobile phone deals

Google launches its flagship phones in October, so it's worth putting a Pixel on your shortlist late in the year.

You'll see the biggest bargains on older handsets, but even more recent phones can get some early discounts at major retailers such as Laptops Direct and Carphone Warehouse.

See if it's worth investing in a Pixel by reading our Google Pixel reviews.

Samsung mobile phone deals

If you're after a Samsung Galaxy on a budget, you might be tempted by some of its reasonably priced handsets from its A, J and M ranges. Mid-range models have come on leaps and bounds over the past few years, and spending £300-£400 can get you a slim, stylish and powerful model that may not look too different from a high-end cousin.

If you have your eyes on the premium prize though, it could be worth holding out for a top-of-the-range Galaxy S or Note series. Samsung's S series usually launch in the first quarter of the year, with the first discounts on the latest handsets beginning in the summer. It's worth keeping an eye out on Amazon Prime Day in July.

Phones in the Note range tend to launch in August, so new models are ripe for a decent discount when Black Friday rolls around. If you miss out, the Boxing Day sales are a good time to buy too.

We've reviewed more than 40 Galaxy phones. Pick your perfect model in all our Samsung phone reviews.

Mobile phones and security updates

Deals on phones are more common when they've been out for a little while, but depending on the brand and handset, this could mean they won't be receiving security updates for much longer. Check our security update calculator for models you're interested in buying in our guide to mobile phone security