Phones are hard.
It feels like there is never really a right time to buy a new one. Every week you wait means that your coveted model is closer to being replaced. Gotta love that relentless yearly upgrade cycle.
Even if you’re buying close to the release date, there’s always questions around whether you’re buying too soon. Should you hold off on upgrading for another year? What if the device question goes on sale?
But don’t worry, there are still good times to invest in certain models – and times where you should absolutely wait.
So, in light of all the Christmas deals going around, we’re taking a look at whether now’s a good time to buy a new smartphone.
Is Now A Good Time To Buy An iPhone?
Being on the market for around three months now, the iPhone XS and XS Max are still very new. As for the XR, it’s been available for less than two.
If you’re looking for a new iPhone, it’s still a very safe point in the upgrade cycle – we’re not expecting to see any new Apple phones announced until September 2019. And outside of seasonal discounts, there’s unlikely to be permanent price-cuts on any current or past generation iPhone models. That’s just not how Apple rolls.
In short, now is a pretty good time to buy an iPhone, especially when you factor in some of the Christmas offers.
The iPhone XR is the standout as far as deals go. You can currently get a 64GB iPhone XR with 100GB of data for $84 per month on Optus. This promo runs until January 13.
Alternatively, if you don’t need quite as much data, Vodafone will sell you a 64GB iPhone XR with 15GB of data for $71 per month on a 24-month repayment. Better yet, you’ll get your first two months free if you sign-up before December 20.
It’s worth noting that the below widget doesn’t reflect the Vodafone loyalty discount, which saves you $15 per month off the standard price.
If you’re after something a little different, here’s a small selection of iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max plans:
If you’re looking for an older iPhone, Optus is offering up the trio of 2017 iPhone models on its $69 promo plan with 100GB of data. You’ll still pay a small handset repayment on top of the $69 for each phone, but they’re pretty solid deals. Read more about these by following the link below.
Is Now A Good Time To Buy A Google Pixel?
Yes. Yes it is.
The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL only hit shelves at the start of the November, but the festive season means we’ve already seen a couple of great deals that are far more generous than they should be for a product this young.
The best offers you’ll get are currently on the 64GB Pixel 3. Vodafone will do 50GB for $81 per month, with two months of free service if you sign up before December 20.
Optus will do 100GB for $84 per month up until January 13. And Telstra will do 20GB for $89 per month, which is worse data-for-dollar, but good value if you want that primo coverage. You’ll also get a bonus Google Home Mini if you jump on the Telstra deal before December 24.
Pixel 3 XL deals aren’t quite as compelling, but here’s a small selection:
Is Now A Good Time To Buy Samsung?
If you’re after a Samsung flagship, this question becomes a little bit harder. Samsung is expected to take the wraps off the Galaxy S10 in about two months. If you’re looking at buying outright, you should probably just wait and see. The Galaxy S10 might take your fancy, and if it doesn’t, precedent suggests the Galaxy S9 will get a permanent price cut.
Your decision is a bit easier if you’re buying on a plan – there are a couple of excellent offers going around right now.
Surprisingly, the best is from Telstra. $69 per month will get you a 64GB Galaxy S9 with 30GB and a bonus Google Home Mini. This deal runs until December 24.
If you want a new phone before Christmas or if you were just waiting for a great S9 deal, this is your time to pull the trigger. It’s unlikely we’ll see deals that are much better when the S10 comes around – you’ll just have the option to pay twice as much for the newer model.
Alternatively, Optus is offering 12 months of free Netflix to anyone who buys a Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+, or Galaxy Note 9 on a 24-month contract before January 13. The 12-month Netflix subscription is the $13.99 tier, which lets you watch on two screens at once and in high definition. You might not save quite as much on your phone plan, but at least you’ll save on your Netflix bill.
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website. He’s now had far too many phone plan related dreams.