This time of year people are out and about shopping and looking for deals. And one key ticket item that people look to buy this time of year are smartphones. Whether it be because it’s upgrade time, or the desire for something new is drawing customers to the store. This time of year carriers and retail stores roll out the iPhones and Galaxy phones, along with accessories, and place them clear out front. But just because it is upgrade time does not mean it is time to jump back into another contract or long term agreement. Here are some other options to save you money.

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First things first, though flagship phones are appealing with all of the bells and whistles, most of those bells and whistles are hardly ever used. Whether it be the latest iPhone or Galaxy phone, many of the new features are hardly ever used by customers. An example of this is the 3D scanner on the Note 10+ that turns stuffed animals into animation. This feature may get shown off once in a while, but will likely never be used. Though features, like taking pictures in the dark and capturing high-quality videos and photos, are useful, the average customers can make do without those features. And if you fall into that average customer category check out some of these unlocked phones.

If you head into your local Best Buy and head over to the phone section there is an unlocked phone area. And some of the phones in that area are indeed solid phones. One phone, in general, is the Motorola G7. This phone has the look and feel of your flagship phones out there. And for everyday tasks such as making calls, responding to texts, checking social media, and watching a few videos, this phone does them quite well. In fact, when I was using one earlier this year I at the time could not tell the difference between this phone and my flagship $800+ phone. And unlike my Pixel phones, this phone allows for expandable storage, meaning you can pop in an SD Card and turn the 64GB version into a phone with a little more storage for music, photos, and videos. And what makes this phone even better, besides it only being currently $150 (Black Friday sale), is that you can take this phone to any US Carrier. So this places the cards back in your hands when dealing with phone carriers. 

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Another phone I would suggest would be the Pixel 3a or 3aXL. Currently, at $330 for Black Friday, this phone has many of the same features as the Pixel 3 and 3XL. Night Sight, one of the best cameras on a smartphone, even a headphone jack, these features make this phone even more appealing than the more expensive Pixel phones. Because the customer is able to save money and still be able to take great photos whether it be during the day or at night.

Though flagship phones carry all of the hype, they do not necessarily provide that much of a better experience than some of the cheaper lower-tier phones. In fact, what is continuing to be the topic of discussion is how much better budget phones are getting. To the point that it may be a better buy to go with a budget phone. The caveat to budget phones is the fact they are least likely to be supported with software and security updates. But to be fair, that is a criticism currently being made for flagship phones made by LG and Samsung. So, in reality, you likely are not missing much.

Smartphone manufacturers continue to try and find ways to get people to jump on their flagships. And though many provide features that are commercially appealing, the reality is that many of the key important features needed in a smartphone can be found in a number of these budget phones. So you do not have to spend $1000 just to have a good smartphone. If you are on a budget or just want to avoid the escalating high-end smartphone prices, head over to the unlocked section at your local Best Buy. You may find after test driving some of their phones that you may never want to pay high dollar for a smartphone again. 

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