Black Friday is almost here -- it's time to get shopping. If you're smart, you won't head out to the stores blindly. With all the technology at our disposal, there's never been a better time to use your current smartphone to shop for its replacement. Here are a few tips to help you score the best deal possible on a shiny new device.
1. Do some research. Don't plan to simply walk into a store and stumble upon a sale. Many retailers -- including Best Buy, Target, and Walmart -- are highlighting their Black Friday deals online. In fact, many of these same stores are already offering flash deals on their websites. If you have your eye on a particular smartphone, check in advance to see if it is going to be discounted. And don't forget that stores are savvy to shoppers -- some sales are timed for early in the morning, while others are timed for the afternoon or evening hours. Find out exactly when and where the device you want is going to be on sale.
2. Back up your phone. There's never a bad time to protect and save the information on your phone. Whether you have photos, music, videos, or documents crammed in there, be sure to offload them before you leave the house. Do a full system backup (settings, etc.) as well. The reason? Read on:
3. Be ready to trade in your old phone. Some retailers offer cash when you trade in an old device for a new phone. For instance, BlackBerry is willing to give iPhone owners $450 if they hand over their Apple phone for a new BlackBerry Passport. BlackBerry's deal is better than most, but as long as your old/current phone is in good condition, you can expect to get $100 to $200 for it. If you've backed up your content, it should be no problem to hand over an old handset for a new one.
[For more holiday tech shopping tips, see 10 Windows Tablets, Laptops Under $200: Holiday Steals.]
4. Skip the Apple Store. You won't get a discount on an iPhone from Apple. Apple has done away with offering product discounts on Black Friday. Instead, it is packaging iTunes gift cards with iPhones, iPads, laptops, and desktops. Some of the gift cards are generous, but I suspect most shoppers would prefer to pay less for the iPhone. So look for sales at big-box retailers and even carrier stores, which are more likely to offer price breaks on Apple products. Case in point: Best Buy is advertising a $75 price drop on the new iPads.
5. Install retail store apps. The best way to know what's on sale, where it's on sale, and when it's on sale is to have that information in your pocket. Use retailers' mobile apps to help. Many offer the details on Black Friday sales, and some might even offer exclusive sales of their own.
6. Don't be afraid to haggle. I know haggling is not widely practiced in the US, but I use this tactic all the time. If the particular phone you're interested in isn't on sale, just ask if the salesperson can knock off a few bucks. At worst, they'll simply say no; at best, you'll save some money. In general, the more expensive the item, the more wiggle room salespeople have on the final sale price. But be realistic, and don't be a jerk.
7. Wait until Monday. Getting a good deal on a smartphone isn't the most important thing in the world. Personally, I'll be enjoying some extra time with out-of-town family members. Further, shopping on Black Friday can be stressful and in some cases, downright dangerous. Fortunately, there will be plenty of good deals on Monday. For example, Motorola is advertising a $140 price cut on the Moto X when purchased on Cyber Monday. You can be sure similar deals will be available online throughout the month of December.
But if you do head out for a new smartphone on Black Friday, good luck!
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