- Nov 30, 2015
The Note 8 will be available unlocked on day one. But should you get it from Samsung directly, or go with a carrier option?
For the first time ever, Samsung will be offering its latest flagship, the
Let's break it down.
The unlocked Note 8 is available directly from Samsung for $930, and right now
The unlocked model has a couple other advantages: it doesn't come with any carrier bloatware, even when a SIM card is installed; and it is updated directly from Samsung. While that hasn't proved to be an advantage in the past, with the S8 Samsung has proven to be
Samsung also offers a pretty great insurance policy where, for $11.99 per month, you get in-person support, a $99 deductible on all major repairs, and free phone troubleshooting for the life of your device. The first two months are free, too.
Finally, the unlocked Note 8 is available with very attractive financing rates: $38.75 per month for 24 months through Samsung's own financing partner, TD Bank, and there's no interest if the phone is paid off within two years. Samsung, at least for the foreseeable future, is also offering trade-in values of up to $300 depending on the phone, which can bring down the price of the Note 8 by a considerable margin.
Reasons not to buy unlocked
There are two (and a half) reasons you'd want to hold off buying an unlocked Note 8:
- You want
- You want to avail yourself of the many carrier deals that are being offered, or will be offered in the future.
- (You want to take advantage of carrier-related optimizations such as
Every U.S. carrier has a different way of selling their flagship phones, and the Note 8, being one of the most expensive devices around, is being used as a test bed for a variety of deals.
As expected, T-Mobile and Sprint are great options for leasing the phone with the goal of paying less in the long run — T-Mobile, for instance, offers a BOGO deal when signing up for a second line; Sprint is offering new customers the phone for half off when signing up for an unlimited plan.
The carriers are also offering the same great accessory bundle as Samsung itself, which isn't surprising, but some, like Verizon, are going even further, incentivizing users to buy a Gear S3 for $200 off.
The carriers, surprisingly, have been better at rolling out updates to the Galaxy S7 and S8 than Samsung itself over the past couple of years, with regular security updates and relatively fast platform updates once they're available. Though the carriers come with baggage of their own in the form of bloatware, they're (mostly) easy to disable or uninstall, and much of it doesn't affect the performance of the phone.
Most carriers offer their own trade-in and insurance plans, mainly through the same vendors, but they're not quite as generous as Samsung's.
Finally, the carriers are the only ones offering the Orchid Gray version of the Note 8 in the U.S., which isn't necessarily the nicest color, but it's a fine alternative to Midnight Black.
Reasons not to buy from a carrier
There are three reasons not to buy a Note 8 from a carrier:
- You don't want to deal with bloatware.
- You travel a lot and need an unlocked phone for overseas networks.
- You want Samsung's Premium Care support.
If you're buying a Galaxy Note 8, where would you get one? You can, of course, buy a carrier model from Best Buy or an unlocked version from Amazon, but I've tried to keep things simple with this guide.