For the longest time, it didn't make sense to buy a cheap phone on a plan. If you were going to commit to a 24-month contract, the common advice was to get the latest and greatest device.
But phones have gotten A LOT more expensive and telcos have started separating the cost of your plan from the cost of your phone in a much more transparent way. Vodafone was the first to do this a couple of years ago, and last month Telstra followed suit.
The good news here is that if would prefer to get a cheaper smart phone on a plan, it now makes a lot more sense to.
Here's a look at three of the cheapest you can get from Telstra.
If you want access to the Telstra network, Telstra isn't your only choice. There are plenty of other smaller telcos powered by the Telstra network; some who you'll be familiar with, some who you won't. These providers tend to offer the same basic service as Telstra, but often at a cheaper price. And given Telstra's new plan range, they could be more compelling than ever.
But first, here's an example of how big a difference the handset cost now makes on the new plan system.
If you're looking at picking up a 64GB iPhone XS on Telstra, it will add $68 per month to your bill over a 24-month repayment term. For comparison, an iPhone 7 will add just $25. That’s a difference of $43, or more than 60 McNuggets per month.
If you extrapolate, you end up saving $1,032 over the course of two years. That's a lot of nugs.
It's also worth noting that Telstra's new plans are technically contract free, on the basis that if you want to leave early, you can just pay out the remainder of your handset fees. The cheaper phone, the lower your "exit fee".
Now, onto the cheap phones!
Motorola Moto G7 Power
For years Motorola has had a stranglehold on the budget phone market, especially in the U.S where phone buyers don’t have quite the same access to all the low-cost handsets available overseas. It’s gotten to the point where it’s as if you could just change the headline on previous reviews, update a few numbers and specs and call it a day.
If you're after a phone with a battery measured in days rather than hours, Motorola has you covered. Rocking a massive 5,000mAh cell, the Moto G7 Power can give you as much as three days of juice per charge. It's a veritable Energizer bunny.
Battery life is the clear drawcard, but the Moto G7 Power has some decent hardware under the hood, considering it's the cheapest phone in Telstra's family. Key specs include a 6.2-inch 720p+ display, a mid-tier Snapdragon 632 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of expandable storage. Not bad for $336 outright.
That works out to be a $14 per month repayment on your chosen Telstra plan, if you're after a 24-month term.
Here are Telstra's Moto G7 Power plans:
At a glance, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus might both be confused for their predecessors, the 6s and 6s Plus. It's deceptive. The iPhone 7 is perhaps the most drastic revision of the phone since it was first released nearly a decade ago. It's not just the missing headphone jack. There are several other big ideas, including a new dual camera system (on the 7 Plus), a new touch sensor home button, and mercifully, newly added water resistance. These are substantial changes, and they hint at what we can expect from the future of Apple phones.
Old tech always has a bit of stigma to it. After all, it's easy to worry about buying a device that's not the "latest and greatest". While this a fair concern, there are older phones around that are still worth buying. Such as the iPhone 7.
The iPhone 7 might be more than two years old, but it's still a good phone. It's still fast, it's still water-resistant, and it's still getting software and security updates. Based on previous iPhone lifecycles, the iPhone 7 should still get the update to iOS 14 next year.
There's also a couple of older features worth pointing out. The display is 4.7-inches, which makes the iPhone 7 ideal if you'd prefer a smaller phone.
The back is aluminium rather than glass, which could be a plus if you're a bit of klutz. And it still has a physical home button, which is great if you're not down with facial recognition.
Best of all, the iPhone 7 is $600 outright through Telstra. That's a $149 saving based on what you'd pay direct through Apple. This works out to be a $25 per month repayment on your chosen Telstra plan on a 24-month term.
Here are Telstra's iPhone 7 plans:
Telstra Tough Max 2
Durable smartphones like the Telstra Tough Max 2 bring out my inner sadist. As soon as you put "Tough" in your product's name, I take it as a challenge. Put "Max" in there too, and you're going to awaken some kind of sick smartphone torture fetish. Somehow, one that the Tough Max 2 survived.
It survived multiple impacts onto carpet and concrete. It survived extended drops down a stairwell. It even survived being run over with a pushbike. It didn't fare quite as well when we ran it over with a car, but it still worked. The screen was just a little cracked. Every trial added a scar, but the it just wouldn't die.
Tough smartphones are obviously a tad niche, with obvious pitch being towards tradies, construction workers, and farmers. And if you can handle the chonkier than normal design, it's not a bad option if you’re just a bit clumsy, or even for as a smartphone for kids.
While the Tough Max 2 isn't the most powerful device on the market in terms of pure specs, it's more than adequate for day-to-day usage, even if the camera is a bit of a letdown. But that might not be too much of an issue given the outright price of $432. That's equivalent to an $18 per month repayment on your chosen Telstra plan if you're after a 24-month term.
Here are Telstra's Tough Max 2 plans:
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia's phone and internet comparison website.
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