Skip to main content

Android phone deals August 2021: free Galaxy S21, $99 Pixel 2 XL & more

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Review
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Review (Image credit: Daniel Bader / Android Central)

Getting a new phone in your hands doesn't have to be as expensive as you might think. There are always deals out there on Android phones but they tend to come and go rather quickly with other discounts appearing in their place. However, if you're hoping to buy one of the latest devices on the market, finding a proper deal is easier than ever these days.

When it comes to buying a new smartphone, there are two main types of deals to consider. You could buy your new phone unlocked so that you own it and can bring it to any carrier where it's compatible, or you can purchase devices through carrier deals at a retailer such as Verizon or T-Mobile.

Carrier deals generally make you pay for the device in monthly installments and require that you add a line of service, which means you'll be locked into paying for the device (and your service contract) for a few years. Deals like these can be excellent if you're willing or need to switch carriers, but if you don't want to switch your service, you probably want to stick to deals on unlocked devices.

Best unlocked Android phone deals

Back to top

How much should you spend on a phone?

The weird thing about shopping for a phone is that there are two ways to do it: outright, or through your carrier. (Actually, there a few more ways to do it — financing it through the manufacturer itself, or buying it used, but we'll focus on the first two now.)

Buying a phone unlocked means you're spending more for the phone upfront in exchange for spending less on your monthly phone bill. That's because when you buy a phone through your carrier, its cost is amortized over the length of your contract, usually around 18 to 24 months.

Things get a bit more complicated on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, because companies are playing with their prices in ways they don't usually during other times of the year. Yes, phones do go on sale in March and August, but November is really when things start getting competitive.

The other thing to keep in mind is that the more expensive phones — the Galaxy Note 20 Ultras of the world, for example — will usually have the largest percentage drop in terms of discounts, but overall, they're still going to be far more expensive than the mid-range options that, honestly, offer almost as good an experience for less than half the price.

If you're set on getting a phone through your carrier, Black Friday and Cyber Monday really are the best times to get them, since they're more willing to negotiate or make exceptions on your monthly plan pricing in exchange for picking up a new phone. Most carriers are looking for new signups, so if you're willing to switch providers entirely you can likely get at least one, if not two, free smartphones for your trouble.

Either way, do a bunch of research before you buy. We have a list of the best Android phones and the best cheap Android phones to help you make your decision. I recommend you give those a look before pressing buy on anything above.