How To Buy A Smartphone: How Much Should You Pay? | Bedford Hills NY Real Estate

So, you want a new smartphone but do not want to sell of your firstborn to afford it. Well, you are in luck. The latest models come in a variety of sizes and prices. Depending on what you are looking for, likely there is a price that suits you. Yet it is not always simple to figure out. Here’s everything you need to know to find a smartphone that fits your budget.

Know Your Device, Know Your Price

Price is usually near the top of the list of considerations for smartphone buyers. The question is, what’s the right price for you?

People who want the latest and greatest tend to pre-order the hottest device on the day it becomes available, never mind the cost. More people are likely to want a proven device and are willing to wait a bit, even if that still means to paying top price. Many more are content with the mid-market: a new smartphone that is not so sophisticated or last year’s once-hot model. Some just want cheap and functional. 

See Also: The Myth Of The Perfect Device

A new iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S costs $199 or more with a two-year contract. That is a fantastic price point, but not everybody is can shell out that much every time they buy a smartphone. If you want the latest and greatest, that is the starting price point. 

At the top of the range, price is tied to certain features. For instance, Apple sells the iPhone 5 at three price points, depending on storage capacity. A 16GB iPhone runs $199, 32GB $299, 64GB $399. Samsung has similar price points for storage options on its Galaxy S III. Features like 4G LTE, more battery life or Near Field Communications may raise the price. Some consumers will find these features well worth the extra expense.

If you do not care to hit the top of the market and want to pay less, last year’s models are often the best way to go. Every time Apple comes out with a new iPhone, the two previous versions go on sale. With the introduction of the iPhone 5, the iPhone 4S now starts at $99 and the iPhone 4 is free with a two-year contract. Samsung, HTC, Motorola, Nokia and others do the same thing to their older devices when the newest iterations land on shelves. There are also new mid-level devices around the $99 price point, like the Droid Razr M and the Nokia Lumia 900 on AT&T. 

If you are looking for a low-cost device, the bottom of the smartphone market is filled with appealing Android devices. Most U.S. carriers offer basic Android phones for free if you sign up for a two-year contract. 

You can also go the prepaid route, but that costs a little more upfront. Companies like Cricket and U.S. Cellular offer iPhones at full price. With these plans, you pay more for the phone – Cricket sells the iPhone 4S for $499 – but you save money on your data plan and avoid being locked into a contract.

Galaxy S III Example of market pricing tiers

Prices with two-year contracts (as of Sept. 17, 2012)


Top of the market

  • Apple iPhone 5: $199.99+
  • Samsung Galaxy S III: $199.99+

Mid market

  • HTC One X: $99.99
  • Nokia Lumia 900: $49.99
  • Apple iPhone 4S: $99.99+

Low end

  • BlackBerry Bold 9700: $0.01
  • LG Nitro: $0.01
  • Apple iPhone 4: $0.99

Nokia Lumia 920 Verizon

Top of the market

  • Apple iPhone 5: $199.99+
  • Samsung Galaxy S III: $199.99+

Mid market

  • Motorola Droid Razr M: $99.99
  • Samsung Galaxy Nexus: $99.99
  • HTC Rezound: $79.99

Low end

  • BackBerry Curve 3G 9310: $49.99
  • Pantech Marauder: Free
  • LG Enlighten: Free


Top of the market

  • Apple iPhone 5: $199.99+
  • Samsung Galaxy S III: $199.99+
  • HTC EVO 4G LTE: $199.99

Mid market

  • Samsung Galaxy S II: $99.99
  • Apple iPhone 4S: $149.99+

Low end

  • Kyrocera Rise: Free
  • ZTE Fury: Free
  • Apple iPhone 4: $49.99

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