It’s not the screen on your next smartphone that you need to worry about breaking. It’s the bank when you come to buy it outright. So what’s the cheapest way of enjoying the latest handheld tech?
Last week, the CEO of Dixons Carphone, Sebastian James, warned that it would see a sales slump this year, citing more expensive smartphones as a cause. It seems that people are holding onto their smartphones for longer, extending the two-year upgrade cycle we’ve all grown accustomed to.
Even as someone whose job involves writing about smartphones every day, I’m still in a state of permanent shock about just how expensive some mobiles are.
Last week, Samsung announced the launch of the Galaxy Note 8 to the world. The new model will cost a jaw-dropping £869 to buy outright. Sure, it comes with a suite of impressive-sounding features, but is it really worth that much money?
Like most people, I love to go on holiday. For my fairly humble tastes, £869 could more than easily cover a week-long jaunt abroad. However, I’m in my mid-twenties, which means I can spend many happy (if unsociable) hours of an evening on my smartphone, and I like to have the latest tech where possible. These two truths make it tricky for me to answer my own question.
Is it cheaper to go down the contract road?
A lot of people take out contracts with their smartphone, myself included. This means you don’t have to pay for the phone outright – rather you pay for the handset and a package of allowances for texts, minutes and data use over 24 months.
By opting for a contract, you avoid the initial heavy hit to your bank balance that buying outright incurs. For me, smaller monthly payments seem much more manageable than forking out hundreds of pounds.
But if I had my sensible hat on, I’d buy a phone outright and take out a Sim-only deal. It often works out cheaper over time. That said, some contracts do offer good value for money – so it’s worth getting out your calculator and working out the best option for you, to make sure you’re not paying much more than you need to.
Do you need to spend loads on a smartphone?
The simple answer is: no. You can spend less than £50 on a smartphone, if budget is your only consideration.
But you don’t want to be lumbered with a phone that makes you feel frustrated every time you use it. Fortunately, there are some brilliant cheap mobile phones out there with brilliant battery life and good cameras.
However, if you want all the latest features and the fastest processors, you might need to spend a little more. But it’s really worth thinking about whether you need those extras.
One of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8’s key selling points is its S-Pen. This is a stylus that you use directly on the screen, for quickly jotting down notes or a phone number, for drawing something and more. Undoubtedly cool, but there’s not much point in paying extra for it if you’re not going to use it.
What do you think? Do you think it’s worth spending lots of money on a smartphone? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.