The carrier you subscribe to often subsidizes the price for an outright purchase of a great handset, recuperating the cost afterwards by shackling you with a lengthy contract. Apple and Samsung, for instance, are notorious with their profit margins, and a big part of it comes from the fact that the latest and greatest iPhone or S5 can be had for just $199 on any major carrier in the US, while it will cost you north of $600 to buy them SIM-free. The same goes for most other flagships, which launch for a price anywhere in the $600-$700 range, if you buy outright to use with your existing SIM card, but two thirds of that price are immediately swollen by the carrier if you extend your contract, or sign up for a new one.
These days, however, the competition among mobile phone makers is fiercer than it's ever been - apart from great midrangers that now come with high-res screens, long-lasting batteries, and very good cameras, we also have the rising Chinese stars, which can sell you a great-looking device with 1080p screen and 13 MP camera for half of what a brand-name flagship costs.
That is why we asked you whether you would consider buying a flagship without any carrier subsidies, or are you this addicted to the two Benjamins or so price tag which they carry, that you can't even imagine shelling for a phone as much as a laptop or a TV cost. Well, long story short, the answer is a resounding "yes" - more than three quarters of our 2150 respondents like having the latest and greatest, and don't mind shelling out full price for it. Given that most smartphone sales are still done via the carriers, both in the US and globally, we'd wager to guess the share of the respondents that said "no" would be much higher if we had asked "Have you ever bought a flagship full price?" Naturally, it also depends on the flagship, as some offer unique features and keep their value longer than others, making them a no-brainer, even at a $600+ tag.