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Unlocked vs Contract Phones

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According to a poll made last year, 54% respondents change their phone only when it’s stop working, while 44% of them are changing it when the carrier allows it. Usually providers ask for a 2 year contract or installments plan, so if you are under contract and want to get a new phone you will have to pay the difference. Most contract smartphones are purchased with no up-front cost so this will make the decision easier.

So, which is better ? Paying upfront the full price and doing whatever you like, or sign a contract that will tie you with the carrier for 2 years ? Each way has pros and cons and it really depends on many factors.

Unlocked phones

On the unlocked phones side, there is an obvious disadvantage: you have to pay the money upfront, and you still have to pay monthly fees for carrier services. On the other hand, you are free to do anything you like. You can sell your smartphone after 1 year and buy another, either used or new. You can get a new smartphone every year and you won’t end up with a 2-year contract that might end you up paying much more in the long run.

If you have the money, then you should buy an unlocked phone, but if you don’t your choices will be limited by your budget. For some people, buying an unlocked phone might not be an option because they lack the funds to buy it.

Contract phones

Since there might be no upfront costs, this option will make you rush and buy an expensive phone, one that you might not be able to afford. You don’t feel it at the start but the monthly costs might be a pain in the ass. And more, you can’t denounce the contract unless you pay for what you got.

This might be a good choice if you really want a phone but you don’t have the money to buy it. If you buy a good phone you might resell it later for a good price. Another problem is that contract phones come carrier locked, so you can’t use it in another network. However, there are a lot of ways to unlock your smartphone, The most efficient way of doing it is by using a website like SafeUnlockCode where you can unlock your phone online, from home.


If you don’t want to ditch your phone every year, carriers might give good discounts for contract phones with plans. The bigger the plan the bigger the discount, but the contract price might be inflated with the price of the phone. You will still save some bucks if don’t want to get out before the contract ends. If this is the case for you, you should get a contract phone.

If you want more flexibility and ability to change phones faster and don’t get locked to a carrier, you should go for unlocked phones.

About Lucian Apostol

He is a web and mobile developer, owner of Androidized.com. A technology enthusiast who want to share his knowledge to the world.

One comment

  1. Good points. I bought a Nexus 4 (3rd wave of sales) for around $440 shipped. Doing so allowed me to get a cheaper plan with a monthly contract saving me $25+ a month and I’ve had the phone over 3 years now. I probably could have gotten a similar phone free with a carrier but would have had to sign a 2 year contract with a data plan. Either way buy a decent case or you’ll be buying a phone flat out anyway.

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