The unlocked versions of Samsung phones have been released close to those of the locked versions in recent years, with the company doing well at promoting them over the years. The Samsung website proudly displays the Galaxy S8 and S8+ versions and we have all heard of the oft-repeated advice to buy the unlocked versions. However, the specific reasons why the unlocked versions should be preferred are somewhat remote, and we aim to highlight these in our article.
Carriers that provide locked phones add a number of apps and software trials to maintain their hold over the market, but this bloatware is both annoying and takes up precious space and other resources. The only way to avoid them is to buy an unlocked phone, and this may be important – some carriers add as much as a dozen apps to their phones.
Unwed To Carrier
An unlocked phone is not committed to a particular carrier, and this helps if you are not happy with their services, or in case you are travelling and want to use a local SIM card instead of paying roaming charges on your US carrier. The obligation to use the carrier that you bought the phone from is especially stringent if you have purchased the phone on a financing plan.
All Big Networks Are Supported
Even though the unlocked phone will be free of carrier software and apps, Samsung has ensured that all the big mobile networks are supported – Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. There is no issue there with compatibility when you are popping your SIM, and switching between carriers. Because the low-cost prepaid carriers also operate on AT&T and T-Mobile’s networks, there will be no problems using them on your unlocked phones.
Samsung and Best Buy Can Finance Too
If you are buying a locked phone just because you are wary of shelling out the full amount upfront, Samsung can finance your Galaxy S8 or S8+ at zero interest rate with instalments spread over 24 months. This is not the only way to finance an unlocked phone – you can use the BestBuy credit card issued to your My BestBuy account to finance the phone on the same terms. This incentivisation keeps you from paying up $725 or $825 in a single payment for your S8, which you are bound to avoid.
While these four reasons seem good enough to perhaps go for an unlocked phone, especially if you are tired of the constant stream of carrier apps or you are a globe trotter who stays out of the US for long durations, there are certain things to be cautious about when you are buying an unlocked phone.
Late Software Updates
Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge receieved software updates on the unlocked versions months after the carrier models, and this has remained a trend. For all the complaints about the carriers, the Android Nougat was introduced on schedule on some of the carrier models. While Samsung has promised to turn this around and put out updates for the unlocked phones before the locked ones, this is one thing that we will have to wait and see, and history is not on their side.
Limited Color Options
The unlocked phones do not have a lot of variety when it comes to colors and this may be a turnoff for some. This is perhaps because Samsung wishes to limit its inventory of devices that are not likely to sell much. If we are lucky, Samsung may introduce more colors but it is not the case now.
No Carrier Incentives
You may not like what carriers do to phones but there is no denying the fact that they offer a lot of other incentives that you may not get on unlocked phone. Incentives such as discounts on service, buy-one-get-one and gift card rebate are things that you can expect only your carrier to provide. The fight is between the money you have to churn out to keep your phone and the carrier services, and if you want a leaner phone that does not have bloatware that carrier phones have.