Google is clearly keen to offload some Pixel units because its 2018 Black Friday deals are the biggest discount I’ve seen from the Search giant. Apple, meanwhile, remains true to form with few discounts coming directly from the iPhone maker, but the big retailers have a few deals up their sleeves.
Google Pixel 3 & Pixel 3XL
For those of you who prefer to buy a smartphone without a contract (which I recommend), Google is offering direct discounts on both of its latest devices: the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. Right now Google is offering up to 50% off either Pixel 3 if two are purchased.
There’s also a square £40 off on the UK Google store if either device is bought. It looks like the US store will have a similar deal that sees $150 and $200 for the smaller and larger devices respectively, although I’m waiting for confirmation from Google on that.
The Google Pixel 2 XL gets a hefty $150 discount off the unlocked device, bringing it down to $699. This is arguably better value for money than buying a Pixel 3 XL because they’re not that different, and the best of this year’s update came in software features that will eventually filter down to the Pixel 2.
Elsewhere, Target has bought back its long-running gift card deal. If you pick up a Pixel 3 with a Verizon contract, you’ll get a $200 gift card. There’s also $200 off at Best Buy if you buy the Pixel 3, again, on a Verizon contract. In all cases, you’ll be subject to starting a brand new 24 month contract with Verizon.
Verdict: The $699 unlocked Pixel 2 XL deal is best value for money. If you really have to get a Pixel 3, get it from the Google store for $150/$200 off. There’s also a fairly extensive trade-in programme (up to $400 off old phones) that buyers might be able to use in conjunction with the Black Friday discount.
Apple iPhone XS & iPhone XS Max (and others)
Apple doesn’t participate in Black Friday for its latest smartphone range, so you’ll have to look elsewhere. Unfortunately, the options from retailers aren’t great either because all of the ‘deals’ also require signing up to a new 24 month contract.
T-Mobile is offering $750 off the iPhone XR if you sign up to a second 36 month contract – on top of your existing one – plus trade in an eligible old iPhone (which will need to be a fairly recent device in good condition to get the max discount). This isn’t a good deal.
Also, expect to see multiple iPhone SE and iPhone 6 deals floating around in the next few days. The cheapest I’ve seen so far is a $79 iPhone SE (no contract) at Walmart.
Verdict: there doesn’t seem to be any significant no-contract discounts announced yet from the big retailers, so if you really want a new contract, Walmart’s $400 gift card option is probably best.
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