Here's When To Buy A New Android Phone If You Want The Best Price

For some consumers, having the latest and greatest new smartphone is almost an obsession. Other folks are happy with their older phones, but perhaps the dated devices have started to run slow, get overly hot, or often crash. Or maybe the screen is damaged and it's not worth the cost of repairing it. Whatever the reason and assuming your purchase can wait until the optimal moment, when exactly would be the best time to snag a shiny new Android phone?

A Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP), as the name implies, is indeed just a suggestion. Smartphone prices can fluctuate greatly based on seasonality and promotions, as well as the newness of the device. Although it's not an exact science, there are suggested times of the year to shop for a new phone that take all of those factors into consideration.

Traditionally, holiday sales, such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday during Thanksgiving weekend, are ideal times to seek out bargains. Ditto for Amazon Prime Day, a special sales event for the online retail giant's Prime members. In 2023, Prime Day was held twice, in July and October. Even if you're not a Prime member, other retailers like Best Buy and Target tend to hold their own competing sales at the same time as Prime Day, so it's definitely worth shopping multiple stores to find the best deal on a new Android device.

Wait until a new model comes out

The approximate month-long period before a new Android model comes out can be a great time to buy from a couple perspectives. Early adopters who want the latest technology can frequently earn discounts or bonus items for purchasing a new phone during the pre-order period, before the devices are ready for shipping. To stimulate early sales, those free bonus accessories can include gift cards, subscriptions to streaming services, or even earbuds.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, consumers who don't mind owning a slightly older model of phone may be able to score a bargain once the latest version becomes available. Smart shoppers can sometimes save hundreds of dollars on the last-generation model of popular phones, which are likely more than suitable for the needs of the average user. Take the Google Pixel 3, which retailed for a hefty $800 in 2018, only to drop to $399.99 one year later, as reported by CNET at the time, when Pixel 4 was released. This cycle of new phones triggering sales for older models holds true today.

Although Apple typically releases its latest iPhone models in September, what about Android phones? Historically, Samsung has unveiled its new Galaxy smartphones in February, while Google debuts its latest Pixel phones at the "Made by Google" event each October.

Investigate deals from carriers

If you're careful about reading the fine print and don't mind being locked into a contract for a few years, it can also be worth investigating the deals on Android smartphones offered by cellular service providers, also called carriers. Like retail stores, carriers typically have sales at all major holidays. The cost of obtaining a phone from a carrier can sometimes be lower than its retail price — though with a few caveats.

Depending on the phone, a customer's upfront cost can range from zero on up to several hundred dollars. Likewise, you may also be expected to make payments toward the cost of the phone, which is bundled together with the price of your monthly cellular service. In any case, the total cost of the device — which will be locked to the carrier — is sometimes lower (or at least broken into smaller payments) than what you would pay for an "unlocked" phone from a non-carrier store, but do the math just to be sure.