cheapest online shopping sites for mobile phones

At these online stores you’ll find a huge selection of smartphones and mobiles across popular models like iPhone, Samsung, HTC, Nokia, Blackberry and more. Whether you’re beginning a new plan, after a pre-paid phone or wanting to buy a device outright, these online stores have got you covered. Browse an unrivalled selection of mobile phones right at your fingertips and find the cheapest best device and deal for you. So what are the Cheapest Online Shopping Sites For Mobile Phones? find out below…

cheapest online shopping sites for mobile phones

Amazon

Buy on Amazon

Interestingly, Amazon doesn’t have an exhaustive collection of any smartphone under the sun. Granted, the site does allow for you to find a slew of phones from companies like LG, Asus, and even several Chinese vendors, but if you’re on the lookout for a brand-new iPhone or Samsung Galaxy device, Amazon is sometimes a little late to the game.

Instead, Amazon focuses its efforts on cheaper handsets that appeal to a mass audience of people that are on a budget and don’t like the idea of spending $1,000 on a new smartphone. And since most devices come with free shipping, you can quickly get your hands on a new phone from the company when you order online.

But if you’re looking for nice and affordable smartphones, Amazon is well worth a look.

Best Buy

Buy on Best Buy

Best Buy is a great option if you want to either buy a new smartphone online or in stores. You can even request a new smartphone from the online store, have it set aside in your local Best Buy brick-and-mortar and pick it up the same day.

Best Buy has an outstanding selection of smartphones and cell phones, including both budget phones and today’s highest-end handsets. Better yet, it’s an authorized reseller for major US carriers, so if you want to sign up for a new Verizon or AT&T account, for instance, you can do it at Best Buy without ever needing to go head to a carrier location.

Best Buy’s on-site staff is knowledgeable, the company gets new smartphones on the days they launch, and it often offers sales.

Walmart

Buy on Walmart

Walmart bridges the gap between Best Buy and Amazon.

Similar to Amazon, Walmart is a go-to spot to find affordable and budget-friendly smartphones and basic cell phones. But it also sells devices that are brand new and at the higher end of the spectrum, like Apple’s iPhones and Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones. And since Walmart has some leverage in its negotiations with smartphone makers, you’ll often find that its devices are available at a slight discount compared to some of the competition.

Aside from that, Walmart is a top choice for convenience, since the company has both an online presence and the ability to buy its phones at brick-and-mortar locations. And since its stores are in so many locations, it shouldn’t be difficult to find what you want, when you want.

Target

Buy on Target

Target is another popular retailer when it comes to buying phones. The company has a slew of stores across the US to find phones and it sells a variety of higher-end options that people are most likely to want. That said, Target doesn’t necessarily have the same selection as you’d find on Amazon or at Walmart. It does, however, have the phones you’ll be most interested in.

You can go to Target and buy new phones that would work on a variety of major US carriers. There are also some options for prepaid carriers. Generally speaking, Target offers all the prices you’d expect on smartphones. It does, however, run some weekly deals and Black Friday specials that bring prices down considerably and make for a far more appealing buying experience.

Apple

Buy on Apple

To be clear, Apple’s online and brick-and-mortar stores aren’t right for everyone. If you’re someone who wants to buy an Android phone, for instance, going to the Apple Store will prove to be an entire waste of time. But if you’re an iPhone fan, it’s the place to be.

Apple has one of the best retail experiences in this roundup. Its stores are well-designed, its staff is extremely knowledgeable, and if you want to get your iPhone fixed, going to the Apple Store is your best bet.

If you decide to buy a new iPhone on launch day, Apple’s stores have the most inventory and are the most likely to have the unit you want. Add that to an outstanding online store that ships quickly and cheaply, and Apple is to choose if you’re team iPhone.

Gazelle

Buy on Gazelle.com

If you really don’t want to spend much on a new smartphone but realize that it’s time to get something new, take a look at Gazelle.

Gazelle is an online marketplace that resells used devices. So, let’s say you want to buy a new iPhone. Instead of buying it new at full price, you can go to Gazelle and get a smartphone that was turned in by someone else. Gazelle ensures that the smartphone is working well and assigns a price to it based on its condition and overall value. Best of all, you can use Gazelle to get the latest and greatest smartphones, including iPhones and Android devices, without ever needing to wait weeks or months for new launches to come down in price.

Gazelle is one of many similar used phone sales companies. But it’s a worthwhile option for anyone seeking a good deal on ever-expensive smartphones.

Any Major Wireless Carrier Store

Buy on Att.comBuy on T-mobile.comBuy on Verizonwireless.com

Although not all major wireless carriers — AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint — offer the same slate of devices or have the same plans, they generally deliver a standard shopping experience.

When you walk into a carrier store, you can, in most cases, toss out any chance of getting a great deal on a new smartphone. But you can expect the carriers to offer you a variety of ways to buy the handset, including full price or via monthly installments. And if you’re a new customer, you can ask the salespeople if there’s an opportunity for you to take advantage of cheaper pricing by signing up for a new line.

Carriers are increasingly expanding their product lines, so you could also go to the location to buy accessories. And just in case you don’t want to go to a store, all four of the major carriers offer outstanding online marketplaces that help you quickly buy your latest and greatest smartphone.

Any Prepaid Wireless Carrier Store

Buy on Boostmobile.comBuy on Cricketwireless.com

In an interesting twist, each year, J.D. Power ranks shopping experiences among both major carriers and smaller, prepaid wireless carriers. And each year, at least some of those carriers, like Boost Mobile, Cricket Wireless, and others, outrank their larger counterparts.

Considering that, going to a prepaid wireless carrier to buy a new phone might be the way to go.

Prepaid carriers generally offer solid prices on their plans and offer far more flexibility in how you want to structure your deals than major carriers. And although prepaid carriers generally have a larger stock of cheap smartphones, if you want a new iPhone or top-notch Android device, you can go to a prepaid carrier and get what you want.

Be aware, however, that prepaid carriers rely on major carrier networks to deliver their service. So be sure to check which major carriers prepaid companies are relying on to see if you have good coverage in your area.

How to choose a smartphone by brand, carrier, or features

Choosing a smartphone for yourself or a loved one is no easy task. Smartphones are generally high-ticket but critically needed items, and there are ways to narrow down your choices so that you spend your money wisely for the most important features for you. Hundreds of available options can make your selection process overwhelming, especially if you’re not clear on your priorities. We can help you narrow down your choices by analyzing all considerations you need to confidently choose the best phone. Below are the major questions you need to answer.

For an in-depth look at what the current smartphone market has to offer, see our guides to the best smartphonesbest Android phones, and best cheap smartphones.

What’s your price range?

First, determine how much you’re willing to spend and how you want to spend it. If you’re an Apple customer, you already know that iPhones tend to be more costly than Android phones. However, a cheaper iPhone SE (2020) for around $400 may be the ideal budget phone for the iOS platform. Samsung is another relatively high-priced brand with models across the price range. On the lower end of the price scale, you’ll find brands like Nokia, Honor, and Motorola. You can save upfront costs with phones that are subsidized via a carrier that you can pay for in monthly installments over a year or two. While these financial arrangements won’t save money in the long run, they will make a more expensive phone with more features more affordable. Have a look at our roundup of the best cheap phones to get an idea of what’s out there. If you’re really on a tight budget, you can still buy a smartphone for $100 or less.

What features do you need?

Various new smartphones
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Start by drafting a list of the most critical features you need your smartphone to have. Use the list to compare devices. Ask yourself: Do you need a phone with a large screen? Do you prefer one that you can use one-handed? Are you looking for extended battery life or the best camera phone available? Do you need a lot of storage for your music or photo collection? Maybe you’re a frequent traveler and need a dual-SIM phone. Is 5G going to be part of the landscape in your area?

Which operating system do you prefer?

iPhone 11 Pro
Corey Gaskin / Digital Trends

There are only two smartphone operating systems worth considering: Android and iOS. Both are easy to use and support a wide variety of apps and games. While you can change from Android to iOS, or from iPhone to Android, there are learning curves in both directions. For familiarity, try to stick to whatever platform you’re used to — unless you really don’t like it and want to switch.

Android offers a wider choice of devices at different prices, more customization options, and Google’s excellent suite of services and apps built-in. If you already use Google Maps, Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Assistant, then Android may be the better choice for you, though you can download iOS versions of all of those tools from the App Store.

Apple’s iOS offers a more uniform, accessible experience, and operations are more secure alongside proprietary features like Siri, fingerprint scanning, FaceTime, and iCloud. The App Store and app quality are slightly better than Android due to Apple’s oversight of the app process. If you already have a MacBook or an iPad, an iPhone is probably going to make the most sense for you. You’ll also find an enormous choice of accessories for iPhones, something that can be limited for lesser-known Android devices.

For a more in-depth breakdown of the top two smartphone platforms, check out our guide to Android vs. iOS, where we compare them in various categories.

What are the most important specs?

Google Pixel 4
Corey Gaskin/Digital Trends

Listen critically to the salesperson at the store and then shop around to get hands-on experiences with different smartphones before buying one. If you don’t know much about specs, bring along a knowledgeable friend or family member. With more people shopping at home, you can still use chat apps and check forums and reviews for advice. Here are a few things to think about:

  • Design: If you want something you can use one-handed, try to pick it up and try it out. A lot of phones these days have glass on the front and back, which makes them fragile and prone to smudges. Check that the fingerprint sensor position suits you as well — on many phones, the sensor is on the back rather than the front. The right design for you should look and feel good.
  • Screen: You’re going to spend many hours gazing at the screen, so make sure it’s a good size for you and that it has a high resolution. We recommend a minimum of full HD, which is 1920 x 1080 pixels, or perhaps 2160 x 1080 pixels if the phone has a modern 18:9 aspect ratio. Anything that’s 1080p or higher will be sharp enough. In terms of the underlying technology, OLED screens have better contrast, with deeper blacks than LCD screens, and we prefer them overall. Some of Samsung’s Galaxy range and Apple’s iPhones feature AMOLED screens, but they can be pricey.
  • Performance: This will be determined by two main things: The processor and the RAM. The processor is the more important consideration, and newer is generally better in terms of both speed and power efficiency. Apple’s A-series chipset tends to outperform the competition. For an Android phone, Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus is the current cream of the crop. It’s debatable how much RAM you need in a smartphone, but we recommend looking for at least 4GB, at least for Android models. This doesn’t apply to iPhones, however, because they handle memory management differently and don’t require as much RAM. If in doubt, read reviews or play with your prospective smartphone in a store to test it.
  • Operating system: If you buy a new iPhone, then you’ll get the latest version of iOS, but this isn’t always the case with Android phones. Because the manufacturers often apply their own user interfaces on top of Android, it can take a while to get the latest updates. You may not get future versions of Android upon their releases, or even at all if the manufacturer decides not to update. Only stock Android phones from Google, such as the Pixel 5, are guaranteed to get immediate and consistent Android updates. The current version to look for is Android 11. Always try to get the latest version you can.
  • Camera: Smartphone cameras have greatly improved over the last few years. The choice can be bewildering, but note that good camera performance is about a lot more than just a high megapixel count. If you’re able to test the phone out for yourself, you certainly should, but you’ll also find useful information in reviews. We do numerous camera shootouts here at Digital Trends.
  • Bloatware: Be aware of bloatware or hobbled features, especially with Android. Sometimes carriers block specific features or change defaults. Carriers and manufacturers often add a lot of superfluous apps, and you may not be able to uninstall them.
  • Battery life: Removable batteries are rare these days, so you want a phone that can keep up with you. Check the consensus on battery life in reviews. The mAh rating will give you some indication, but the capacity is also impacted by the screen size, resolution, and software, so you need to look beyond the number.
  • Storage: The latest smartphones generally come with enough storage built-in. When 16GB phones were common, which already had used up 10GB out of the box, you could run out of space alarmingly fast. A minimum of 32GB is good, but 64GB is better. Much depends on how you use your phone. You’ll obviously need more space if you like to load your music or photo collection. Having a MicroSD card slot allows you to expand your storage space relatively cheaply. However, Apple never includes MicroSD card slots, so this is something you’ll find only in some Android devices.
  • Durability: If you buy a predominantly glass phone, and you’ve got butterfingers, make sure to buy a protective case. You should also get a phone with some water-resistance. The top flagships tend to have IP67 or IP68 ratings nowadays, which means they can be submerged in water without damage. Many budget phones also come with some water-resistance.

Choose a wireless carrier

AT&T Store

It’s important to choose a carrier that offers good coverage in your area so you’ll have a strong signal. We recommend doing a little research at Open Signal, where you’ll find comprehensive coverage maps for different areas and carriers. Simply enter your location and pick a carrier to see what the coverage is like where you live and work. If you want to be able to do data-intensive things without Wi-Fi — like stream video or play multiplayer games — make sure that 4G coverage is good in your area. Newer phones, like the iPhone 12 range, are now also incorporating 5G, but that protocol is still in the early stages in most places, so it’s likely not a huge priority as yet. If you intend to hold on to your phone for several years, however, 5G will become a factor in your buying decision.

The main network choices are Verizon, AT&T, and the recently merged T-Mobile/Sprint, but there are other carriers, too, such as MetroPCS, Boost, Cricket, and Virgin, that may be worth considering. If you plan to buy your smartphone from your carrier along with your service, make sure that they offer the phone you want. We recommend buying an unlocked phone when possible because it will work out to be cheaper in the long run and give you the freedom to change carriers in the future.

Pick a service plan

There are hundreds of different cell phone service plans on the market today, and market competition can mean lower prices for consumers. However, you’ll need to shop around a bit to find the best deal. These days, choosing the best and cheapest plan is easier than ever. We’ve done some of the legwork for you already by looking for the best family plansbest unlimited data plans, and best cheap phone plans.

If you aren’t ready to jump plans right now but still want to save some cash on your monthly bill, you can always try to negotiate a better deal with your carrier. Check out offers from competing providers. If you find one with a lower price, it could be worth the call to your current provider. Ask to speak with the customer retention department because they have the authority and time to work with you, apply discounts, and share incentives to keep you with the company. 

Service providers will try to sell you the most expensive plan they can manage most of the time. Do your due diligence and consider the features you actually need before talking to your carrier. If you have a reliable Wi-Fi setup at home and work, you may not need unlimited data plans. Data is where you’ll be able to negotiate the bulk of your savings because domestic texts and calls are pretty cheap

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