With the iPhone 5 just around the corner we explore the best way to get a good deal on Apple’s flagship phone.
We all know Apple is a synonym of expensive. Hell will serve ice cream and British Airway’s will employ pigs before an Apple product is described as a bargain.
Here are some helpful hints to keep the cost of owning the fashion accessory come mobile phone down.
Unless you get a stonking contract deal (see below) chances are the cheapest way to acquire an iPhone is to buy one direct from Apple, SIM-free. The downside is that there are often ludicrous queues at the time of an iPhone release, but this should only bother your for a small part of the year. The more pressing issue is what do you do with your SIM-free iPhone – see the SIM-only section below.
If you’re missing the cash to buy a SIM-free iPhone directly from Apple than purchasing one on a contract with a mobile network is the next best thing. When choosing a contract always consider the following:
- Latest Greatest: Do you need the most recent iPhone? It might well be that an iPhone 3GS or 4 is more than sufficient for your daily needs. Siri might seem like a cool feature now but will you really use it? A substantial amount can be saved by opting for an older model. The iPhone 4 and 4S even look the same so tell a white lie, claim its the latest and greatest and save face.
- Short and sweat: This might seem obvious but a surprising number of people are fooled by networks offering lower monthly payments over a longer period of time. Always calculate the total cost of the contract over the length of time you’re locked into it.
- Overcompensating: Everyone likes to claim theirs is bigger, faster or stronger. But leave the ego at home when considering tariff choices. Do you really need 10,000 texts messages a month? Will you seriously spend 8 hours talking on the phone? Pick a tariff that suits your usage. Most network providers allow you to check your monthly usage so see what it really is before you take out a new contract.
- Cashback: With sites like Quidco cashback deals are becoming more popular. Check and see if your network will give you money back if you sign up.
Its no surprise that buying second hand is cheaper than purchasing new. Here are some things to be aware of and look out for:
- Condition: Make sure you’re buying something thats been well looked after. Request high resolution photographs to check for any damage. Always beware a seller who uses stock photos.
- Ebay: I say avoid it if you can. The popularity of the site and fees involved mean you’ll more often than not end up paying over the odds. I’d recommend sticking to gumtree or local classifieds.
- Scams: Mobile phones and scams go hand in hand. Be sure to be on the look out for anything unusual. Shipping to or selling from Nigeria never bodes well…
If you’ve picked up a SIM-free or second hand iPhone then you’ll probably need a tariff to go with it. For the best bang for your buck consider SIM-only deals. They range from 30-day rolling contracts to 12 and 24 month affairs.
The longer the contract the cheaper the deal but don’t forget that you’re contractual obliged to pay for the entire duration. Choose a tariff with a suitable number of minutes and texts and don’t forget a healthy data allowance – you are using a smart phone after all. There’s a handy SIM only comparison website that’s worth checking out.
Remember that from the iPhone 4 onwards your’ll need a microSIM rather than a standard SIM for your mobile.