When deciding on a new mobile phone, it’s important to remember that the newest models aren’t necessarily the best choice for everyone in every circumstance. A lot of us automatically want whatever model just came out, assuming it’s the obvious choice. But sometimes, it isn’t. We’ll show you some deals on older phones that are absolutely still worth owning.
When phone manufacturers release a new model, they usually call it their flagship phone, meaning it best represents the what they’re currently capable of. That may be true, but does that mean you should always only consider flagship models when it’s time for your upgrade?
Not always. The newest phones may dominate TV commercials and online advertisements, but you and I both know how expensive they are when they first come out. The average price for new smartphone models upon release is around $1,100. You don’t need to spend that much every time you’re in the market for a new phone.
Here’s the thing. Apple, Google, and Samsung are constantly providing firmware updates. These updates are perfectly applicable to the majority of previous models a handful of years back; phones that at one point were considered flagship themselves. Though the marketing efforts of these companies push you to think that you HAVE to get the new model, the truth is that you really don’t. The differences between neighboring models – with very few exceptions – are close to negligible.
Smartphones today (assuming they’ve been cared for) are capable of receiving at least a few years’ worth of software updates before their age starts to show. They’re built with high-performance cameras, durable features, and quality components that last a long time. Before you run out and finance the newest, most expensive phone available, consider other models that held that spot only a couple of years earlier. Most of them can be had for a fraction of the cost.
Here’s a list of some fantastic deals on older models that, once updated with the newest firmware, are still great phones.
The OnePlus 8T was released during Q4 of 2020. This model was a significant upgrade on the two previous T-series models, is extremely well built, contains high-end specs, and we’ve seen it for $499 online. It’s powerful, colorful, affordable, and charges fast. It doesn’t have a headphone jack and cannot be charged wirelessly. Keep your eye out for deals on older phones that involve the OnePlus 8T. They’re very affordable.
- Two available colors: Lunar Silver and Aquamarine
- 256GB of internal storage
- 12GB of RAM
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor
- 65W Warp Charge system
- 120Hz display refresh rate
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
This is the last true Note phone, and it’s still great. The specs on this model are very comparable to the newer Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. The only major thing the Note 20 Ultra doesn’t have that the S22 Ultra does is the newest Qualcomm processor.
It’s large, yes, but if you loved the Note line, don’t hesitate to grab one of these. The main downside is that of all the phones on our list, this is one of the most expensive, despite it being almost two years since its release date. But they are still great. To get one, you’ll need to search places like Amazon, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace because Samsung no longer sells the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra directly.
- Fantastic rear camera setup
- S Pen support
- Large AMOLED display (120Hz adaptive refresh rate)
- 5G network support
Samsung Galaxy S21 series
This is another really good option for those who like the Note line, as these have most of the features found on the Galaxy Note, with some minor differences in battery and display size. With the S21 series, there are multiple sizes (and various pen sizes) to choose from, which was a big selling point upon original release in Jan 2021.
If we had to name a downside, it would probably be the fact that there’s no silo for the S Pen. If this is a deal-breaker for you, that’s understandable. But if you don’t mind carrying the stylus around. It’s a little pricier than most of the other suggestions on this list (we typically see them between $800-1,200), but this is a phenomenal phone that shouldn’t yet be forgotten.
- Samsung’s latest camera technology (e.g. Contour Cut array and telephoto capability)
- Three different sizes to choose from
- S Pen support
Apple iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max
Yes, we understand when people grumble about Apple rolling out a new model every year (sometimes with negligible differences). However, it’s undeniable that they are the best manufacturer at keeping their phones updated and relevant for years after initial release. Yes, the new iPhone 13 models are awesome. But you can save a ton of money by buying a 12 Pro or Pro Max and still have yourself a kick-ass smartphone with very few differences.
When comparing the 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max, battery capacity, screen size, and some internal storage options are really the only differences. To get one, you’ll need to check Amazon and other non-Apple destinations, as Apple no longer sells the 12 Pro or the 12 Pro Max directly. We’ve seen them on Amazon for around $849.
- Excellent triple rear camera
- High level of water resistance
- Apple A14 Bionic chip
- Excellent battery life
Google Pixel 5A with 5G
If a really good camera is important to you, consider getting the Google Pixel 5A. The imaging experience with this model is as good as the newest Samsung, Apple, or really any phone with a mid-level processor – and they cost half as much. And Google is doing a very good job of tweaking and updating their firmware. Google phones get more and more reliable with every update. We’ve seen these phones available for around $450, and sometimes dropping below $400.
Though you can’t charge them wirelessly nor do they have any 5G mmWave support, the Google Pixel 5A is one of the best deals on older phones given what this phone can do.
- IP67 dust/water-resistant rating
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 7655G processor
- 8 megapixel front camera
- 12.2 megapixel back camera
- 128GB of storage
- 6GB of RAM
- lightning-fast rear fingerprint sensor
Which One Of These Older Phones Should You Get?
It depends on what your priorities and preferences are. Decide what’s most important to you, whether it be price, camera, durability, manufacturer, etc., investigate each option we’ve shared with you here, and make your choice accordingly. If you love Apple, get the iPhone 12 Pro. Are size options important to you? Go with the Samsung Galaxy S21. If you want to have the best camera over all else, go with the Google Pixel 5A.
But in all honesty, all the smartphones we mention here are worth your attention. They’re wonderfully made, are more than comparable to their newer counterparts, and cost way less. We recommend always looking at deals on older phones before automatically giving your cash away for the newest model on the market. Sometimes you can even avoid contracts when you buy older phones.
We find that the three things most people are interested in knowing out of the gate are price, camera specs, and storage capacity. Here is a quick summary that includes information on each one of those categories for each model, as well as quick links for purchase.
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
Samsung Galaxy S21 Series
Apple iPhone 12 Pro/Pro Max
Camera: 12 MP Triple Camera with a wide, ultra-wide, and telephoto, Lidar sensor
Storage: 128 GB-512 GB
Google Pixel 5A with 5G
5 Older Phones That Are Still Worth Getting In 2022 – Conclusion
Are there some older smartphone models we didn’t mention here that you think we should have included? Let us know deals on older phones that you know about in the comments or send us a message. If you have any questions at all, reach out to us. We’d love to help you in any way we can.