It can seem like there’s never a right time to buy a smartphone, whether it’s an iPhone, Samsung or Google Pixel device. Every week you wait is one week closer to that model being replaced. Don’t you just love the relentless yearly upgrade cycle?
Even if you’re buying close to a phone’s release, there’s always the question of whether you’re buying too soon. Should you hold off on upgrading for another year? Can you wait until the device in question goes on sale? Smartphones are hard.
Depending on what device you’re after, there are good times to buy the device of your dreams, and times where patience is a virtue.
With that in mind, we’re going to look at whether now is a good time to buy a new handset.
Is now a good time to buy a new iPhone?
The latest iPhone 12 models are factory fresh right now. If you’re thinking about grabbing a new iPhone, now is the safest time to buy.
iPhones rarely go on sale, and if you’re looking to grab your iPhone on a plan, the best deals tend to happen around launch. This might seem a bit weird, but telcos often want to put their best foot forward while everyone’s interest in the new models is at its peak.
For example, Vodafone has upped the allowance on its $55 plan to a massive 200GB. That means $111.20 per month gets you a 64GB iPhone 12 with more data than you can shake a stick at. And if you somehow manage to go over your allowance, you’ll be able to keep using unlimited data at speeds of 10Mbps.
If you’d prefer a Pro, you’ll pay $125.79 per month to get one on the same plan:
Telstra has a solid offer of its own, having cut the cost of its $115 per month 180GB plan down to $65 per month for your first year with the telco. You’ll also score yourself 45,000 bonus Telstra Points and a three-month free subscription to Binge. This can be extended by another three months if you sign-up to Telstra Plus, the telco’s free loyalty program.
Here’s the plan paired with an iPhone 12:
And here’s the plan with an iPhone 12 Pro:
And since Telstra’s plans are contract-free, you could always drop down to its $65 per month plan with 80GB when your discount expires to avoid a larger monthly bill. This won’t change your monthly iPhone repayments.
All in all, now is a pretty good time to buy an iPhone.
If you’re after something else, here’s a selection of iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro plans:
New iPhones also mean older models tend to get discounted, with Apple having cut the price of the iPhone 11, iPhone XR, and iPhone SE. We haven’t seen every telco apply these pricing to their plans yet, but this should happen shortly.
Is now a good time to buy a Samsung phone?
Now is a bit of a weird time to be thinking about a flagship Samsung smartphone. History suggests we’re going to see better deals on both Galaxy S20 series devices and the pair of Note 20s in the lead up to Christmas, so you can stand to save if you just wait a little longer.
This is further complicated by the fact that Samsung is expected to reveal the next Galaxy flagships – expected to be called either the Galaxy S21 or Galaxy S30 – a little earlier next year. Rumours peg the release for mid-January, as opposed to late February or early March as has been tradition lately.
If you’re looking to buy a Samsung device right now, the best telco offers we’re seeing right now are for the recently released Galaxy S20 FE 5G. For example, Woolworths Mobile is offering a $150 per month discount over the course of 24 months, bringing it down to the price of the 4G model. This means you’ll pay $73.25 per month for the phone and a 20GB plan:
Of course, Woolworths Mobile currently doesn’t offer 5G coverage.
Alternatively, Vodafone has the phone and 30GB of data for $78.37 per month:
Here’s a wider selection of Galaxy S20 FE 5G plans:
And if you’re desperate to get a Samsung flagship right now, here are some Galaxy S20+ 5G plans:
And here are some Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G plans:
Is now a good time to buy a Google Pixel?
Now is a solid time if you’re after a new Pixel. The Pixel 5 just hit shelves, the Pixel 4a has only been available for a couple of months, and the Pixel 4a 5G will be available in the middle of the next month.
Our favourite Pixel 5 plan right now comes from Vodafone. For $76.62 per month, you’ll get the phone and 30GB on data on a 24-month term.
Getting the Pixel 4a on the same plan will cut your monthly bill down to $59.95 per month:
Here are a selection of Pixel 5 plans:
And here are a few Pixel 4a plans:
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website.