Black Friday 2018 Smart Phone Buying Guide

Black Friday 2018 Smart Phone Buying Guide

Smartphones are an invaluable tool for the modern Black Friday shopper. Aside from the BFAds app for Android and iOS, they can be used to instantly look up store opening times and doorbuster maps and even to make online purchases while you’re waiting in line for in-store only deals.

So when the time comes that your phone just isn’t cutting it, where does one turn to find a discounted smart phone? With retailers across the country offering doorbuster deals on both new activations and off-contract smartphones, there is no better time of year to replace that old clunker than Black Friday.

Apple iPhones

Although 2018 was an “s” year in the world of iPhones, where Apple provided modest, under the hood upgrades to the iPhone rather than a radical redesign, they did surprise Apple fans with the unveiling of the new iPhone Xr. Of course, the only thing better than a new iPhone is a discount on a new iPhone, and Black Friday has come through once again to deliver some great deals on even the newest iPhones.


Apple iPhone Xs, Xs Max, Xr $300 Gift Card with Activation at Walmart

For the second year running, Walmart has mysteriously downplayed the top overall Black Friday deal on the newest models of Apple iPhones. Although not pictured anywhere, page 10 of the Walmart Black Friday ad not only has the best all-around deal on a new iPhone Xs and Xs Max, but one of the only deals anywhere on the all-new iPhone Xr. Receive a $300 Walmart Gift Card when you purchase and activate your new iPhone on a payment plan with AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint.

Runner Up

iPhone Xs, Xs Max $250 Gift Card w/ Activation at Target

Target takes the runner up here with their offer on iPhone Xs and Xs Max. With qualified activation on AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon, shoppers can score a $250 Target gift card, and the great part about this deal is that it’s a Friday only deal and doesn’t go live until Black Friday at 7am, allowing you to spend more time at home or shop other deals before heading to Target to pick up your new iPhone. Shoppers should note that while the iPhone Xr is pictured, none of the deals specify that the Xr will receive the gift card bonus.

Samsung Galaxy Phones

Samsung is still somewhat playing the game of keeping some of the most desirable features for their more expensive phones. If you’re thinking about picking up a new Galaxy S phone this year, make sure and check out our guides that a look at both the S9 and S9+ as well as the Note9. The great news is that no matter which Galaxy phone you ultimately decide to go with, there are doorbusters to be found this Black Friday.


Samsung Galaxy S9, S9+, Note9 $300 off w/ Activation at Best Buy

Best Buy has a doorbuster deal so hot that they featured it twice in their Black Friday ad! Displayed prominently on the front page and again on page 30 is the best overall deal on a Samsung Galaxy S9, S9+, or Note9, where you’ll receive a $300 discount with activation on Sprint, Verizon, or AT&T. This is a steal of a deal since other retailers are only offering gift cards rather than cash discounts.

Runner Up

Samsung Galaxy S9, S9+, Note9 $300 Gift Card w/ Activation at Target

Although Walmart has gone pound for pound here with Target by also offering a $300 gift card with activation of a new Galaxy S9, S9+, or Note9 on AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon, Target takes top prize here because of their store opening time. If you miss out on our top pick this year, you’ll have a second chance at a doorbuster by heading down to Target at 7am on Black Friday when their doorbusters begin on all smartphones.

Google Pixel 3 and 3XL

With the Pixel 3 and 3 XL, Google took the world’s best smart phone camera and improved the phone it was attached to, flexing their software muscle by using machine learning and the Google Assistant to improve the user experience, and add new and interesting features like automated call screening. If you ask us, the biggest improvement is that Pixel 3 and 3XL at last has found doorbuster deals on Black Friday!


Google Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL $200 Off w/ Activation at Best Buy

Best Buy steals the show once again by being the only nationwide retailer offering a cash discount on the Google Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL. This is one of the best smart phone deals of the season, but shoppers should note that because of a retail partnership between Google and Verizon, this discount is only with activation on the Verizon network.

Runner Up

Google Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL $200 Gift Card w/ Activation at Target

Target comes through once again with their gift card deals and takes the runner up prize in this category, and just as with the Samsung deal, this doorbuster is a Friday only! When Target’s smart phone deals kick off at 7am on Black Friday, shoppers can grab a $200 gift card bonus for activation of a new Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL on the Verizon network.

Off Contract Smart Phones

Although new activations grab most of the headlines, Black Friday shoppers who are after a doorbuster deal on a new smart phone but don’t want to be tied down to a long term contract or enter into a payment agreement with any of the major carriers can still find great deals. In fact, the best part of off-contract deals is they are mostly all cash discounts and not gift cards, and as we all know, on Black Friday cash is king. There’s a bit of everything in off-contract phones this year, from flagships to bargain basement phones, so no matter what your budget, you’re sure to find a smart phone that fits your needs.

Samsung Galaxy Pick

Samsung Galaxy S9, S9+, Note9 Unlocked $200 Off at Best Buy

Just because you don’t want to get tied down to a contract doesn’t mean you can’t find a hot deal on a 2018 Samsung Galaxy smart phone. At Best Buy, you can choose from an unlocked Galaxy S9, S9+, or Note9 and enjoy a $200 discount.

Budget iPhone Pick

iPhone 6 or iPhone SE $79.99 to $99.99 at Walmart

This one is a bit of a toss-up. The iPhone SE for $99 on Straight Talk is newer and has a faster CPU, better camera, and more RAM than the $99 iPhone 6 on Wal-Mart Family Mobile or Total Wireless. The iPhone 6, however, has a bigger screen and a larger battery capacity than the iPhone SE. For under $100 for a new iPhone, either one is a great deal, so this decision comes down to what you as a shopper prefer in a budget iPhone. Shoppers should also note that the iPhone SE deal on Simple Mobile is available at Best Buy (p22) as well.

Bargain Basement Smartphone Pick

LG Phoenix 3 on AT&T Prepaid $24.99 at Best Buy

Best Buy again has the lowest overall price on a new smartphone. Although not quite as inexpensive as last year, getting a new smartphone for $25 is nothing to sneeze at. While you won’t exactly be setting the world on fire with the LG Phoenix 3 on AT&T Prepaid, for under $25, you’re still getting a smartphone that is perfectly capable of browsing, emailing, messaging, and snapping an occasional photo.

Final Thoughts

Shoppers who are looking for a deal on an off-contract or prepaid phone that want to explore options not featured in our buying guide should check out pages 8 and 9 of the Walmart ad and pages 23 and 24 of the Best Buy ad where there are lots of great options for deals on phones without a commitment to a carrier.

If you’re replacing your smart phone this Black Friday, you can send your old device out with one last hurrah by using it to follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and by installing our BFAds app for Android and iOS, giving your phone one last chance to help you keep up with the latest hot deals, ad leaks, buying guides, giveaways, and everything else will be bringing to you this holiday.

November 11, 2018
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