Black Friday 2019 Smart Phone Buying Guide


There are few remaining tech wars these days that are fought with as much fervor as the battle for the best smart phone. As an extension of that, both smart phone manufacturers and retailers across the country have let the fight spill over into Black Friday! While companies like Apple used to be the proverbial Scrooge come Thanksgiving, smart phones from Apple along with Samsung and now Google have become a genuine Black Friday staple.

Here, we've covered the best deals out there this Black Friday from the 3 most prolific flagship phone makers: Apple, Samsung, and Google, and we've even got a few deals for shoppers who like to buy off-contract phones. It's all here in our 2019 smart phone buying guide!

Apple iPhone

It was a big year in the world of iPhones, with the re-unification of iPhone model numbers that gave us the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max. Naming conventions aside, this year, Apple included their first ever ultrawide camera on all iPhone 11 models, and added night shooting that rivaled and even surpassed the renowned Google Pixel cameras. Despite being on the market for only a short time, retailers have wasted no time discounting the newest iPhones on Black Friday, mostly in the form of gift cards with qualified activation. Best Buy is the only nationwide retailer offering a cash discount of "Up to $500 off", although it is somewhat ambiguous and requires both an activation and trade in of a qualifying phone, making the price all but a mystery.


Assorted iPhone Deals – Up to $450 eGift Card w/ Activation + Up to $250 eGift Card w/ Trade in at Walmart

Walmart has outclassed everyone this Black Friday with some massive discounts by way of eGift card bonuses depending on which model of iPhone you're purchasing. In addition, rather than require a trade in, they are offering an additional bonus if you trade in a qualifying phone. First, let's take a look at the bonuses you'll get for purchasing a new iPhone and activating on AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon:

iPhone 11, 11 Pro, or 11 Pro Max - $300 eGift card
iPhone Xs Max, or Xr - $400 eGift card
iPhone Xs - $450 eGift card

Those are some pretty hefty deals and beat out any competing stores on any of the given models. On top of this, there is an additional opportunity to score up to $250 when you trade in your old phone. The only detail given in the fine print, however, is that to qualify for the full $250 bonus, you must trade in a Samsung Galaxy Note 9 512GB AT&T/Verizon or newer, or an iPhone 8 256GB AT&T/Verizon or newer. But since their primary eGift Card bonuses eclipse that of other retailers already, there is no harm in heading to Walmart on Black Friday to see what kind of trade-in bonus you'll receive for your current smart phone.

Runner Up

iPhone Deals - $200 Gift Card w/ Activation at Target

Target has a more straightforward bonus than Walmart and offers a flat $200 bonus with purchase and qualified activation on AT&T or Verizon. This offer is good for the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone Xs, or iPhone Xs Max. Another benefit of choosing Target is that their core Black Friday sale happens on Thanksgiving at 5pm, but iPhone deals don't begin until 7am on Black Friday and are good throughout the weekend.

Google Pixel 4 and 4XL

Unveiled just this past fall, the Google Pixel 4 and 4XL brought some interesting features to the Google Pixel family, including a 90hz screen, dual cameras, and the first ever radar built into the phone, enabling gesture control and speeding up face unlock. Like the latest iPhones, despite being new to market, there are still deals to be found on Black Friday.


Google Pixel 4 or Pixel 4 XL $400 Off w/ Activation at Best Buy

Best Buy tops Target's gift card promotion by offering a simple cash discount on a new Pixel 4 or Pixel 4 XL. With qualified activation on AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon networks, shoppers can save $400 off of the retail price, no trade-in required.

Runner Up

Google Pixel 4 or Pixel 4 XL - $300 Gift Card w/ Activation at Target

Although not as good as a cash discount, Target still has a great deal if you're looking for a new Pixel. The $300 Gift Card offering is a great alternative should you miss out on the Best Buy deal or you have no way of making it over to Best Buy. No trade-ins needed here, all this requires is a qualified activation of either a Pixel 4 or 4 XL on AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon.

Samsung Galaxy Smartphones

The second biggest name in smart phones continued their tradition this year of splitting off features and specs to Galaxy phones at various price points. Although this does afford the shopper many options, it can also be a bit confusing. The good news is that no matter which of which 2019 flagship from Samsung you're after, you'll find a deal since they are all discounted this Black Friday.


Samsung Galaxy Phones $400 - $500 Off w/ Activation at Best Buy

Best Buy takes this category again with their cash discounts on new Galaxy phones. Although they aren't specific on the exact dollar amount for each model, we do know the minimum discount on a new Galaxy S10, S10+, Note10, Note10+, and Note10+ 5G will be $400 and may be as high as $500 with qualified activation on AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon networks.

Runner Up

Samsung Galaxy Phones – Up to $450 eGift Card w/ Activation + Up to $250 eGift Card w/ Trade at Walmart

Walmart is back again with their massive eGift Card bonuses on new smart phone activations. As they did with iPhones, there are multiple tiers of bonuses but each requires activation on AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon.

Samsung Galaxy S10 or S10+ - $450 eGift Card
Samsung Galaxy Note10+ - $450 eGift Card
Samsung Galaxy S10e - $300 eGift Card
Samsung Galaxy Note9 - $300 eGift card

Walmart is also offering an additional bonus of up to $250 with qualified trade in. Again, as with iPhone, the details here are scant, and but what we do know from the fine print is that the additional eGift Card requires a trade in of a Samsung Galaxy Note 9 512GB AT&T/Verizon or newer, or an iPhone 8 256GB AT&T/Verizon or newer to receive the full bonus.

Off-Contract Smart Phones

Activation bonuses are great but many shoppers prefer not to be tied into a long-term contract or being bogged down with a monthly payment for hardware, or want to take advantage of discounted service from MVNOs. For that, unlocked or off-contract smart phones are the way to go, so we've made a short list of some of the best deals out this Black Friday.

Samsung Galaxy Pick

$200 Off Unlocked Galaxy Smart Phones at Best Buy

Best Buy is your unlocked Samsung Galaxy destination thanks to their sweeping discount on many of the 2019 flagships. Choose from an unlocked Galaxy Note10+, Galaxy S10, S10+, and even the budget Galaxy S10e, and receive a $200 cash discount at check out.

Google Pixel Pick

$200 Off Unlocked Pixel 4 or 4XL or $100 Off Unlocked Pixel 3a or 3a XL at Best Buy

Best Buy is back with their cash discounts on 2019 flagships, this time with a new Pixel 4 or 4 XL from Google. Purchase either phone and receive a cool $200 cash discount. If you're not impressed with the new Pixel or want a budget option, they are also offering a cash discount of $100 off with purchase of a new Pixel 3a or 3a XL.

Budget iPhone Pick

iPhone 6s 32GB $99 or iPhone 6s Plus $149 on Straight Talk at Walmart

Walmart takes the title here for the second year running, this time with two budget iPhone deals that lets shoppers choose between an iPhone with a 4.7" or 5.6" screen. Just $99 gets you the iPhone 6s, and for $50 more, you can enjoy more screen real estate on the iPhone 6s Plus, priced at just $149.

Bargain Basement Smartphone Pick

TCL A1 – Simple Mobile $14.99 at Best Buy

Best Buy is the low-price leader again this year on a no-frills smart phone on the cheap. Beating last year's price by $10, the TCL A1 on Simple Mobile is the least expensive smart phone out there this Black Friday. You're not going to exactly be setting the world on fire with this phone, but you do at least get 4G LTE speed and microSD expandable storage.

Final Thoughts

While there are many deals to be had on smart phones on Black Friday, smart phone accessories rank right up there with 4K UHDTV accessories as some of the worst deals found in stores, even during the busiest shopping day of the year. Phone cases, screen protectors, charging cables, even when on sale cannot match bargains found from online retailers like If you've got your sights set on a phone and want to accessorize and protect your new device, you can save a bundle by planning ahead and having those accessories ready when Black Friday rolls around.

If you're out there shopping for a new smart phone this year because your current smart phone has seen better days, give that old dog one last hurrah by using it to stay up to date on everything happening here at If you can see through that cracked screen, and if that swollen battery will hold a charge long enough, make sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check out the BFAds apps available on both iOS and Android, and of course, visit throughout Black Friday and beyond where we deliver to you everything from hot deals, ad leaks, buying guides, giveaways, and more!

November 21, 2019
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