Best mobile phone deals
Deals updated: 2 November 2020
Savvy shoppers know that buying a Sim-free phone outright will often save you money in the long term, compared with a mobile phone contract.
With new smartphones launching every week, and stiff competition between the biggest manufacturers, there are often great deals to be had on the most expensive handsets.
Flash sales may look like they're worth spending your money on, but with a few tricks such as choosing the right time of year and the right place to buy, you can save hundreds of pounds on your next phone.
We've done the heavy lifting for you – read on to see our expert picks, and tips on finding your own.
Best mobile phone deals this month
This month's bargain hunt has turned up a range of options, from flagship devices that have dropped in price, to lower-priced models that we think are a bit of a bargain. Read on for our pick of the best.
1. Samsung S10 5G
- Super-large 6.7-inch AMOLED display
- 5G ready with four rear and two selfie cameras
- Nearly £500 off its launch price
Though it's now been superceded, the S10 5G was the jewel in Samsung's crown not so long ago, as a price tag of over £1,000 at launch might suggest. It's still a feature-packed phone even today, and at around half the original price, you might be seriously tempted. Read our to see if it's worth the investment.
2. Oppo Find X2 Lite
- Large 6.4-inch HD+ display
- 5G ready and 4 rear cameras three rear cameras
- Price drop of 26% since June 2020
This mid-price Oppo was already a steal for the specs, with enough added extras to rival a top-of-the-range phone. It doesn't quite have the processing power of the Find X2 Pro, but you do get four rear cameras, 5G and 128GB of storage. Before you buy, see how it fared in our tests by reading the
3. Google Pixel 4XL
- Large 6.3-inch OLED display
- IP68 waterproofing and two rear cameras
- More than £200 off the launch price
With the Google Pixel 5 just launched, now is a great time to buy one of Google's two smartphone launches from 2019. The bigger of the two offers two rear cameras, an advanced OLED display and waterproofing up to 1.5 metres for 30 minutes. If this sounds appealing, read our to see how well it performs.
4. Apple iPhone 11 Pro
- 5.2-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display - slightly smaller than the iPhone 11.
- Three rear cameras
- Price drop of 16% since its late 2019 launch
Apple is notorious for rarely discounting its top-of-the-range phones, but in the wake of the 12 range launching, deals can be found on the 11 Pro if you know where to look. It's not set up for 5G, though it more than makes up for it with a triple rear camera set up, powerful processor and IP68 waterproofing. Battery life is always a concern with iPhones though, so make sure to read our review to see if Apple cracked it with this model.
Best Sim-only mobile phone deals
We regularly scour the market for the best Sim-only deals available. In the table below you'll find a range of deals based on how much data you expect to use.
What are Sim-only deals?
With a Sim-only deal, you'll still get an allowance of calls, texts and data, but the monthly cost will be lower than it would be with a regular pay-monthly mobile contract. This is because you're paying just for a new Sim-card, rather than paying off the cost of a new phone.
What are the advantages of Sim-only deals?
- Network operators or retailers don't subsidise the cost of a handset
- Many Sim-only deals have added benefits such as data rollover where any unused data from the previous month is rolled over onto the next month
- Most Sim-only deals tie you in for either 30-days or 12 months, so are great for those who are looking for a short-term commitment
What are the disadvantages of Sim-only deals?
- The most obvious drawback to buying a Sim-only deal is that you'll have to provide your own phone.
- Even if you already own a phone, you may have to pay to get it unlocked if you want to switch your network operator.
Where are the best sales on mobile phones?
Generally, you'll find the best deals on mobile phones at retailers such as Amazon, Currys PC World and John Lewis, rather than on the manufacturer's website.
When manufacturers do have offers on their devices, the discounts are usually reflected on retailer sites anyway. So you'll either get the same discount or better by shopping around rather than going direct.
Amazon mobile phone deals
Amazon has quickly become a great place to find mobile phone deals, and the Amazon Prime service means you can get faster delivery than you would with other retailers (available with a paid Amazon Prime subscription).
Be careful when shopping around, though. The Amazon marketplace often includes models from third-party sellers that may not come with the same after-sales support you might expect from Amazon. Check carefully to make sure the phone is brand new (unless you're open to refurbished or second-hand devices) and that it's a UK model – international variations of phones often make their way on to marketplaces, which could mean you'll have issues with support from the manufacturer in the UK.
Best practice is to buy mobile phones that are sold and dispatched by Amazon, as you benefit from Amazon's guarantee.
Argos mobile phone deals
As with most tech items, Argos is a good place to look for deals. Watch out for items marked as 'WOW' or 'Our lowest price ever' – these may sound promising, but aren't always the best price you can find.
Deals on Argos' website are available while stocks last, so be sure to double check if the phone is in fact available for collection or delivery when you choose to buy from there.
It's also worth checking the Argos eBay store, as you might be able to find stock there that isn't available on the official website, and the deals might be the same.
John Lewis mobile phone deals
As with Argos, deals at John Lewis are available while stocks last. So while you may see a discounted price in Google's search results, the mobile phone you're after might not be available once you're on the website.
The good news is that discounted mobile phones in major retailers such as John Lewis are easy to find in other stores, so if the one you want has sold out, check similar stockists such as Argos or Currys PC World to see if it's available.
John Lewis often has deals on its clearance sale page, so a few minutes of browsing there could save you money.
Currys PC World mobile phone deals
Currys PC World usually has mobile phones on sale, and is another important site to check if you're looking for the best deal. As well as checking its clearance sales, also browse through the full mobile phone listings, as we've seen good deals that don't appear in its curated round-up.
The website has a handy sort option where you can order the listing by the percentage discount, too.
Although retailers typically have the best deals on offer, there are exceptions to the rule.
Some brands will shave pounds off their devices exclusively on their sites, or offer bundles with free gifts (eg phone cases or smart watches) for direct purchase, so it doesn't hurt to check on the manufacturer site before hitting 'buy'.
The best time to find mobile phone deals
Although deals and discounts can vary year-round, generally you'll find the best time to buy a handset at a great price is a month or so after its successor has been released. The model you're after will almost always come down in price, despite being scarcely a year old.
Release dates are, of course, subject to change, and you should always do your research before buying, but you can expect new flagship handsets to be released at the following times of year:
- Apple iPhone September
- Google Pixel October
- OnePlus June
- Samsung Galaxy S April
Other popular handsets are less predictable than the ones listed above, so may need a little extra vigilance. If you're interested in further savings, you could consider avoiding new phones altogether and look at refurbished models instead. Buying refurbished can save you money on a phone that's in great condition, but always ensure the use mobile phone you're buying is still receiving security updates.
How to choose the best mobile phone deal
While Sim-free phones can often save you money in the long run, there's no getting away from the fact that they can be an expensive purchase, especially if you want a flagship model from one of the big brands.
If you're looking for an affordable option, it's worth considering a mid-range model. These phones have come on leaps and bounds over the past few years as technology has advanced, and many are more than capable of handling just about any task you throw at them.
Spending around £300-400 on a new phone, or less if you can find a good deal, can get you a slim, stylish and powerful model that may not look too different from a high-end cousin, especially if you're using a case to protect your phone.
We put every phone, budget or premium, through our rigorous tests to make sure you're getting the best for your money. We test everything from camera and battery performance to call quality.