The cost of the device is only a small
part of what you'll pay to be a smartphone owner. The
true cost of any smartphone is considerably more than the amount you shell out
for the actual device. Free or deeply discounted smartphones won’t necessarily
translate to savings in the long run.
making a purchasing decision, it is essential to evaluate the carrier
commitment, contract length, monthly subscription fee (including the data plan)
and an assortment of other costs. And if you are loyal to a particular carrier
or are willing to pay more for added coverage and reliability, it’s important
to understand which devices are the best out of the dozens they are trying to
give away in exchange for your long-term commitment.
all in, which smartphones offer the best bang for your buck? Here are some
options currently available from the four major cellular carriers, as well as
the best deals that don’t involve a long-term contract.
While Verizon and AT&T are the most popular and
reliable cellular networks in the United States, they are also the most
expensive. Depending on your calling plan, text messaging frequency and data
usage, your monthly bill will likely range between $80 and $100 for the
duration of your required two-year contract.
If you are looking to subsidize this higher monthly
cost with a free or highly discounted device worth owning, Verizon has
compelling options for work, play and daily use. The best deal for busy
professionals is a free, certified and pre-owned BlackBerry Curve 3G 9330. With
a usual retail price of $299.99, the Curve 9330 offers enterprise-level
messaging and productivity features cherished by new and long-term BlackBerry
owners. The pre-installed Skype Mobile service could help heavy talkers shave a
few minutes from their voice plans and enable them to go with a cheaper option.
For gamers, the PlayStation-branded Xperia PLAY gives the iPhone 4 a run for
its money. The device, which also has access to hundreds of thousands of
Android apps, can be purchased for $99.99 with a two-year contract. While some
users complain about its limited battery life, the Motorola Citrus is currently
free for newly contracted Verizon subscribers. The all-purpose phone, which
ordinarily retails for $249.99, is a great multi-use device that runs on the
Android operating system.
While AT&T is no longer the exclusive carrier of
iPhones, the network offers the best deals for older and refurbished models of
Apple’s iconic smartphone. The iPhone 3GS may not be a cutting edge device,
particularly with the likely debut of the iPhone 5 later this year. But for
$49.99, the 3GS is still a great deal. Even older model iPhones have access to
hundreds of thousands of great apps and games that Androids and the others
don't. A fifty dollar price tag is a great reason for those on the fence to buy
one. What AT&T and Verizon subscribers should note is that Apple
is rumored to be releasing a lower-cost iPhone later this year that could
ultimately be a better deal. Also available on AT&T for $9.99 is the
refurbished Samsung Captivate with its 4-inch AMOLED-display. It might run
an older version of Android, but it offers great bang for the buck with little
The third and fourth most popular carriers in the
United States, Sprint and T-Mobile, both offer better pricing than their larger
competitors, and can be great alternatives for people seeking to save on their
monthly cell phone costs. A savings of $10 to $20 per month will keep hundreds
of dollars in your pocket over the course of a two-year contract.