Update: Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2021 are done and dusted, so the deals below are no longer valid. Check out our ZDNet Recommends hub for a better look at the latest deals available or ZDNet's 2021 Holiday Gift Guide hub for recommendations on gifts for all.
The very best deals on smartphones happen during the pre-order phase with incentives for trade-ins, free accessories, and reduced prices to get the new phones in the hands of buyers. If you waited until after the reviews were posted, check out ZDNet for all of your smartphone reviews, then the next best time to pick up a new phone is during Black Friday, or...today!
We've been sent smartphone deal alerts from various sources, scoured the internet for deals, and have experience buying phones during the holiday sales period. Check out the current deals we found below, and stay tuned as we update this post when new deals are revealed.
Google Pixel 5a with 5G
I wasn't satisfied with my Google Pixel 6 Pro so I returned it this past week. However, thanks to Google's new Black Friday offers, I quickly placed an order for a Pixel 5a with 5G for just $399.
With the Pixel 5a with 5G, you get most of the fabulous camera experiences found on the much more expensive Google Pixel 6 while also having the fan-favorite reliable rear fingerprint sensor, high level of water resistance, and stock Android experience.
The Pixel 5a with 5G also has solid battery life, 5G connectivity, and more for less than $400.
Google Pixel 6 128GB for $499
Up to $100 off
Google just launched the Pixel 6 lineup, and we had a lot to say about it. Most of it, though, was good. With its foray into the premium market again, Google made some notable hardware improvements to the Pixel 6 lineup, including a polarizing camera module, a glass build, and higher refresh rates (120Hz on the Pro model). Still, the company managed to nerf the pricing of the phone, starting at just $599.
If that price tag wasn't compelling enough for you, Best Buy currently has the Pixel 6 selling for $499 (if you activate a line at the store or online), or $549 off-contract.
OnePlus 9 Pro for $799.99
The OnePlus 9 Pro is one of the best smartphones available today and it keeps getting better with age as OnePlus rolls out updates such as its cool Hasselblad XPan mode. You can pick up either the Morning Mist or cool Pine Green one for just $799.99.
We gave it a spectacular rating in our full review thanks in large part to its outstanding specifications, lack of ads or bloatware, fast wireless charging, and more. It's a solid option to the newest Google Pixel 6 Pro.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 128GB for $899.99
Launched in January, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra remains a front-runner for the best smartphone of the year. The phone improved on almost every aspect of last year's S20 Ultra, including camera performance, display technology, battery life, and processing power, while cutting the price by $200. And this Black Friday, you can buy the S21 Ultra for an additional $300 off, putting it at a very competitive price tag of $899.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G for $849.99
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G is a mouthful to say, and there are just as many features to back it up. ZDNet's Matthew Miller reviewed the foldable a couple of months ago and praised Samsung for refining most, if not all, the issues that plagued these fragile form factors in the past. With a new and improved hinge, a more durable glass screen, and a front display that is actually viable, the phone makes for an outstanding bargain at its Black Friday price of $849.99 ($150 off).
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 256GB starting at $649.99
Up to $1,300 off + free Galaxy Buds 2
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is arguably the best foldable smartphone available today, but it's not for everyone -- especially if you have smaller hands. This year, Samsung refined its flagship foldable by improving the Z Fold 3's durability, from the hinge to the inner display. The phone-tablet handset also sports an official IP water and dust resistance rating, though I still wouldn't recommend going swimming with one.
While foldable smartphones are still not priced in the same tier as regular, bar-shaped devices, Samsung has an enticing Black Friday offer that may sway any consumer. Currently, you can buy the Galaxy Z Fold 3 for as low as $649.99 ($1,300 off) if you trade in an eligible device. If you're buying the phone as is, Samsung still bundles a free pair of Galaxy Buds 2 and a $400 discount, pricing the foldable at just $1549.99.
OnePlus 9 5G for $599.99
The OnePlus 9 5G is an excellent Android smartphone and a solid competitor to the Google Pixel 6. It supports creative photography with features such as Hasselblad XPan mode and black & white photography. You can pick up either the Winter Mist or Astral Black one for just $599.99.
We gave it a spectacular rating in our full review due to its fast charging, 5G support, no bloatware or ads, three-way ringer switch, and flat display.
Nokia 8.3 5G for $399.99
Many years ago Nokia smartphones with Carl Zeiss optics were the leaders in camera innovation. While things have changed over the past decade, Nokia branded phones are available today and Zeiss optics are still part of the experience. One of the best current Nokia phones, the Nokia 8.3 5G, is available now with an impressive $200 discount for Black Friday.
The lovely Polar Night color phone comes with 8GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage with microSD card slot, 3.5mm audio port, and is powered by a capable Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor. Four rear cameras are present with 64MP, 2MP depth, 12MP ultra-wide, and 2MP macro lenses. A 24MP front-facing camera rounds out the imaging capabilities of the phone.
A very large 4,500 mAh battery powers the experience for days. If you are interested in Nokia phones, this $200 savings is a great motivator.
Google Pixel 4a 128GB for $299.99
Google's Pixel 4a made waves last year by offering the familiar stock Android experience in a compact and affordable package. Today at Best Buy, you can pick up the phone for just $299.99 when you activate it on a Best Buy-supported carrier. At less than $300, you're getting serious value for the money here, including Google's reliable software support and Pixel-grade camera performance.
Motorola Edge for $599.99
Motorola's smartphones offer a fairly stock Android experience with some additional features that optimize the phone for your essential needs. The 2021 model Motorola Edge is available now for a very reasonable $599.99, which includes 256GB of internal storage and in the cool Nebula Blue color. Three rear cameras, including a stunning 108MP shooter, are provided on the back so you can be confident in capturing the holidays.
The 144 Hz refresh rate on the display is one of the highest available so you are sure to enjoy movies and games without pause on the big 6.8-inch display.
As always, we will be monitoring all the deals available on smartphones this week. OnePlus has a special Black Friday 2021 page up with specials coming throughout November. Be sure to follow this page for the most up-to-date promotions available.