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The 7 best phone deals available right now: Get an iPhone on sale

Whether you're upgrading or buying your very first smartphone, check out these deals that include a free iPhone 13 or OnePlus 10 Pro.
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Reviewed by Elyse Betters Picaro

If your phone finally broke down and you need an upgrade, you're in luck. Right now, there is an abundance of high-performance options on the market, with a generous selection to choose from at every price point. And with Father's Day around the corner and Prime Day soon to be announced, the deals show no sign of slowing down.

In fact, below we've rounded up the very best smartphone promotions from Apple, Samsung, Google, OnePlus, and more -- all of which currently sell for significantly less than the original price. So if you had an ideal smartphone in mind, at least one of these deals should fit right into your budget.

Also: Best smartphones to buy: Weighing in the top choices

OnePlus 10 Pro
June Wan/ZDNet

The OnePlus 10 Pro just launched and early bird shoppers can reap a series of deals from various retailers. The best deal comes from T-Mobile, with the Un-carrier offering an $899 discount when you trade in an eligible device (dating back to the iPhone X) and enroll in a 24-month, Magenta Max plan. That means if you play your cards right, you'll only have to pay the sales tax to get the latest OnePlus flagship.

If you'd rather buy the phone without trading in, OnePlus's website will bundle in a free OnePlus Watch Midnight Black smartwatch (worth $159).

Google Pixel 6 Pro
Image: CNET
  • Current Price: $899
  • Original Price: $999

It's a pleasure to see Google hit its stride with last year's Pixel 6 series. Notably, the Pixel 6 Pro is one of the most premium Google-made handsets to date. It sports a 6.7-inch, 120Hz display that does an excellent job portraying the simple and personable software experience you'd come to expect from Android. On the back is a newly designed camera hump that houses a 50-megapixel main camera, a 12MP ultrawide lens, and a 48MP telephoto. Powered by Google's in-house Tensor chip and a 5,003 mAh battery, the Pixel 6 Pro is dependable, efficient, and a no-fuss smartphone.

While deals on Google's latest flagship phone are notoriously less prevalent than those offered on other phones, this Best Buy deal is a great option to save on arguably one of the best phones on the market. An important tip, though: Purchase a phone case for this phone. From personal experience I know it can slip through fingers a little too easily and needs a protective case.

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Image: Samsung

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is as much of a high-end S-series device as it is a Note. With a built-in S Pen, an upgraded camera 8K array, and all the bells and whistles we've come to expect with Samsung flagships, you'll also get 256GB of storage. As a bonus, it's factory unlocked, so you can activate it at any cell service provider.

Right now, Amazon wants to save you some cash and slashed the price by $300. This is the lowest price we've seen on this phone to date that doesn't require a trade-in to get a deal.

More: Best Samsung Galaxy S22 deals available

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Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Right now T-Mobile is offering up to $800 worth of credit when you trade in an eligible device and add a new line toward an any iPhone 13 model. You will also need to be enrolled in the carrier's Magenta Max plan to reap the highest trade-in values and credits given. That said, with an $800 credit, you can basically get the iPhone 13 mini or iPhone 13 for free, or pay a small difference for an iPhone 13 Pro or Pro Max.

If you aren't signed up for T-Mobile's Magenta Max plan, and if you don't need to add another line, you can still get up to $400 worth of credits for trading in the same phones.

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Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Similar to the T-Mobile deal above, Verizon currently offers $800 off a new iPhone 13 plus an additional $200 Verizon gift card when you trade in your phone. It's a great option if you want to add a pair of Apple AirPods to your bundle package, which just so happen to be on sale at the retailer for $199 -- a savings of $50 there, too.

OnePlus-9-Pro-Silver
Image: OnePlus
  • Current Price: $799
  • Original Price: $1,069

We reviewed the OnePlus 9 Pro and OnePlus Buds Pro last year and gave both devices some of the highest ratings within their respective product categories. While not as recognizable as the iPhones and Galaxies, OnePlus has carved a niche within the mobile industry through ultra-smooth user experiences and super-fast charging.

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Image: Samsung

While it may take months before Samsung launches its next batch of foldables, last year's models are still worth buying -- especially at a discount. Among the Z Fold and Z Flip series, the latter gets my recommendation for most users. It's pocket friendly, reasonably priced for the tech, and comes in a form factor that many are familiar with.

Launched with a $999 price tag, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 can be had right now for as low as $849 at Amazon, undercutting most other flagship phones on the market today. The offer is available for the Phantom Black color only, but you get a stunning 6.7-inch, 120Hz flip phone, with 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and all the Galaxy software perks. The latest iteration of the Z Flip also sports an IPX8 rating, meaning it can take a splash of water and rain.

More: ZDNet's full review of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

When should I upgrade my phone?

Believe it or not, you don't have to upgrade to that new, shiny phone every year. Modern day smartphones are designed to function for years and years, especially if the manufacturer offers extensive software support.

Still, there are a couple of reasons why you may want to consider upgrading from your current phone:

  • Poor software performance: If you've had the displeasure of experiencing app crashes and delayed loading times, then you may have been told to "factory reset the phone." While that certainly helps with refreshing the internal state of your device, it is only a Band-Aid type solution and you are likely to face similar usability problems again in the long run.
  • Faulty battery: Nearly every phone in the market runs on lithium-ion batteries, which degrade over time and have the potential to swell if kept in hazardous conditions. If you're experiencing poor battery life or your phone doesn't hold its charge well, then that may be your signal to replace the battery or the phone altogether.
  • Hardware defect: Like the battery, if your device suffers from any hardware damage (i.e cracked screen, unresponsive digitizer, crackling speaker, etc.), then an upgrade may be due.

It never hurts to switch to the best, and as this deal list has shown, you don't have to pay a fortune to do so.

Should I buy from a carrier or directly from the manufacturer (unlocked)?

When deciding whether to buy from carrier stores or brand stores, the first question you should ask yourself is Locked or unlocked?

  • An unlocked phone allows you to use the device with different carrier services and without any of the third-party bloatware or contractual agreements. This is important if you plan to switch carriers or travel internationally.
  • A locked phone restricts your mobile data usage to the carrier that you purchased the device from, whether that's T-Mobile, Verizon, or AT&T. While it sounds less beneficial than buying unlocked, carrier stores are more likely to offer you deals and promotions that make upgrading cost significantly less. For example, the best iPhone deals available right now are mostly from carriers.

If you do purchase a locked phone from a carrier and end up switching to a different service, don't fret. Thanks to the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, US carriers must unlock your phone after you've fully paid it off and completed any contracts or agreements.

Which phone should I buy?

There is a plethora of phone brands on the market, so you'll definitely come to a few crossroads during your purchasing journey. To help, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. iOS or Android? These two operating systems make up more than 95% of the market, so choosing between the two is your first big choice. iOS, the Apple iPhone's operating system, is known to be user-friendly, secure, and home to a robust library of quality apps. Android, on the other hand, utilizes Google's software and AI smarts to produce a more customizable user experience.
  2. Small or large? What do you use your phone for? Browsing social media? Streaming TV shows on the go? Some users prefer smaller devices for their ergonomics and one-handed usability. Larger phones provide more screen real estate for social and multimedia consumption. You also can expect greater battery life with the latter.
  3. Budget? How much are you willing to spend on your next phone? Fortunately, there is a wide selection of capable mobile handsets on the market, so paying less doesn't always mean you're getting the worst. Today, you can buy a 5G-ready smartphone for as little as $200.

My best advice for you is to give every phone a try at a brick-and-mortar store. There's nothing more helpful than holding and interacting with the phones in person and seeing what satisfies your consumer needs.


Interested in more tech deals and reviews? Subscribe to the ZDNet Recommends newsletter and let our expert reviewers scour the internet for only the top products, services, and deals for you.

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