The best smartphone deals we expect on Amazon Prime Day 2020, and how to shop for unlocked phones

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a screenshot of a cell phone: Alyssa Powell/Business Insider


© Alyssa Powell/Business Insider
Alyssa Powell/Business Insider

You’re not the only one to notice that high-end smartphones have been getting incredibly pricey over the last couple years. Luckily, Amazon Prime Day 2020 is just two days away, and we usually see excellent discounts on great smartphones during the deal event.

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Indeed, no one should be paying full price for a smartphone these days when opportunities like Prime Day can shave off some of the price tag. And if Prime Day 2020 doesn’t offer a deal on a phone you like, rest assured that you can probably find a deal somewhere else throughout the year.

If you’re not an Amazon Prime member yet and you’re interested in checking it out, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial with full benefits before committing.

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When is Prime Day?

Amazon Prime Day 2020 kicks off on Tuesday, October 13 and runs through to Wednesday, October 14. That’s about a three-month delay compared to typical Prime Days that usually take place in July of most years. The delay is due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The delay shouldn’t affect the value and interest level of most smartphone shoppers — what’s another three months in a phone’s lifecycle? With that said, some new models have already been announced, like Google’s Pixel 5, so that may add another layer of complexity if you were eyeing a Google phone. As for Samsung, we don’t expect another phone launch until February, so there’s little reason to hold off.

Smartphone deals we expect on Prime Day 2020

This year, we’re expecting Prime Day deals on some current and recent phones like the Galaxy S20 and Note 20 series, Google’s Pixel 4 series, and Motorola’s Edge series.

How do we know that these phones will get deals on Prime Day? No one but Amazon knows for sure, but we can go back and see what kind of deals previous phone generations got during last year’s Prime Day 2019. If older generations got a deal, it’s more than likely that the current generation will get one on Prime Day 2020, too.

Unfortunately, Apple’s iPhones don’t get the best Prime Day treatment. Amazon only sells iPhones that are locked to Cricket Wireless, and those that are unlocked are renewed models that we can’t verify and don’t feel comfortable recommending.

Gallery: Apple Is No Longer Selling This Beloved Product (Best Life)

a group of people in a room: Apple creates some of the most popular products on the market and has been doing so for years. So maybe it's not entirely shocking that in 2014—the year Apple released the MacBook Air, iPod Touch, and the iPhone 6 (among other innovations)—the company had more than twice as much money as the U.S. government. According to Forbes, Apple was sitting on $160 billion while "the Treasury only had $49 billion on hand to keep the government working."

Consider, too, that Amazon may offer deals on phones we weren’t expecting. OnePlus phones, for example, didn’t get the Prime Day treatment last year, but this year might be different. We’ll be updating this frequently, including on Prime Day 2020 itself.

Google Pixel phone deals we saw last year

Last year, the Pixel 3 series was the top phone from Google that got a discount. Amazon shaved $260 off both the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, and only offered a $100 gift card for the Pixel 3a phones. 

Those were decent deals for the Pixel 3 series, and we can expect similar deals for the Pixel 4 series during Prime Day 2020. But you should know that Google has already announced the Pixel 4’s successor, called the Pixel 5. It also announced the Pixel 4a 5G — a pared-down version of the Pixel 5. The Pixel 5 will be released on October 29 and can already be preordered, and the Pixel 4a 5G on November 19.

Whether you want to wait for the Pixel 5 or Pixel 4a 5G depends on a couple things. First of all, you may be spending a little more with the new Pixels than you would with Pixel 4 series during Prime Day. Secondly, the Pixel 5 and 4a 5G both come with new features that you won’t find on the Pixel 4, including 5G support and, finally, an ultrawide camera lens. 

Samsung phone deals we saw last year

On Prime Day 2019, Samsung’s Galaxy S10 series were among the top choice for Android phones. The Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus got $150 off retail for Prime Day 2019, which wasn’t especially scintillating, but the Galaxy S10 phones weren’t outrageously expensive to start with. 

The Galaxy S20 series are more expensive and harder to recommend at full price than the Galaxy S10 series, so we might see bigger deals that bring them down to something closer to the $700 to $900 range.

If the Galaxy S20 series don’t go below $700, I’d strongly consider the recently launched Galaxy S20 “FE” instead, which starts at $700 and comes with most of the important parts, like a high 120Hz refresh rate screen, the Snapdragon 865, and a triple-lens camera system.

Motorola smartphone deals we saw last year

Motorola’s offering is typically in the mid-range and low-end of the phone spectrum, and they’re among our favorite in those categories. 

The Moto G7 is already well priced, and it got around $50 off all-around during Prime Day 2019. We’re anticipating that 2020’s Moto G Power will have similar deals on Prime Day 2020. 

How to shop for a smartphone

The primary way that Americans buy their phones is from their carrier, which is fine, but you might get better deals from other stores. That’s when Amazon’s Prime Day 2020 comes in, where you might see a deal for a phone you’ve been considering.

The phones you’re buying from Amazon will most often be “unlocked” and should be clearly labeled as such. “Unlocked” means it’s not tied to any carrier, and means it can work with any carrier. You should be able to remove the SIM card from your old phone and pop it right into the new phone without much complication.

If you’re not too well versed in your smartphone knowledge, the best way to research phones is to read reviews that tell you where each phone sits compared to other similar models, and whether they have the performance and features you’re after. We’ve personally used and reviewed many of the smartphones, and we’ve included our reviews accordingly. Alternatively, we also have roundups of the best smartphones that basically does all the hard work for you!

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