Would you buy a flagship full-price, without carrier subsidies?

Would you buy a flagship full-price, without carrier subsidies?
North America and parts of Europe are quite spoiled when it comes to buying expensive mobile phones, as 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 European carriers balked at Apple's conditions, and many of them are selling iPhones at full price, which made Apple's market share in those countries take a nosedive, showing how important the subsidy model is, and a similar trend is undergoing in the US

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 wanted to ask 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. Check your preference in the poll below, and sound off in the comments.

Would you buy a flagship full price, without carrier subsidies?

Yes
76.14%
No
23.86%

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84 Comments

1. Antimio

Posts: 313; Member since: Nov 11, 2013

Nexus, Baby!

27. Johnnokia

Posts: 1158; Member since: May 27, 2012

I was always buying unlocked smart phones, and I had the best experience with my Nexus5. Best phone in my life ...Ever. Any news for Nexus 5 successor?

49. HildyJ

Posts: 338; Member since: Aug 11, 2012

Ditto. I'd go for non-Nexus phones if they'd just make all the cruft (launchers, keyboards, dialers, clocks, etc.) phone exclusive apps and run stock Android underneath.

68. sgtdisturbed47

Posts: 966; Member since: Feb 02, 2012

I've always bought my phones outright at retail price.

2. tigermcm

Posts: 861; Member since: Sep 02, 2009

Explain first why i can get a laptop for the same price or less or even a tablet. Phone prices out right dont make sense to me

8. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

Exactly, I don't get why i.e. iPad Air 16gb cost on launch 400-500$ while iP5s 16gb cost 600-700$ (in my country at least). iPad has bigger body, bigger screen with more pixels and still costs less, I understand that iPhone has better camera and GSM funcionality but 200$ more?

32. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

That is actually $250 more and it because Apple can force carriers to pay more for the phones because of the subsidy structure they have set up. Subsidies aren't really available for tablets in the same way and therefore, they have to be priced cheaper. Do note that the mobile data based tablets Apple sells are around $600-700 so they are about the same there. It costs about $200 to make an iPhone and about $375 I think it was for the iPads so it still isn't justified, but that is why Apple's entire company profits literally runs off the iPhone right now.

36. jshan

Posts: 200; Member since: Dec 25, 2011

Not only the apple ! Samsung also the same. ! S5 cost is around 250 to 300 $ ..

43. tigermcm

Posts: 861; Member since: Sep 02, 2009

That's that bs that pisses me off. where did the rest of the price of the phone come from if it only cost that much to make. i would slap a CEO if they have the nerve to say its labor costs

33. pradeepreddy

Posts: 65; Member since: Apr 01, 2013

i think, it's not about the components that made the products. it's about their size. smaller electronics cost more.

41. tigermcm

Posts: 861; Member since: Sep 02, 2009

i have to strongly disagree. feature phones...explain that? before smartphones became popular i was with Sprint and they would get new phones literally every few months and the most expensive phone out right i bought was $330 that was the touch pro 2. i would be able to buy and sell on ebay with no prob but now its not that easy and not even that easy buying phones out right.

70. microsoftnokiawin

Posts: 1268; Member since: Mar 30, 2012

research and development + build of phone + some profit = price feature phones have a screen with 150 pixels 50mb of ram or so most likely not camera and require almost no research and development since they're really old phone keep in mind is that if you're ahead of the market and your phones are selling you amp the price up a bit and phone do cost alost because small components with 20 censors small powerfull processors etc... are imporant

76. Mrmark

Posts: 383; Member since: Jan 26, 2013

Why are people complaining about smart watch prices?

52. SemperFiV12

Posts: 949; Member since: Nov 09, 2010

awesome photo... I used to listen to Limp Bizkit all the time.

77. Mrmark

Posts: 383; Member since: Jan 26, 2013

My point also ... Yet everyone complains about smart watch price ... To me it seems the trend is the smaller the device and compact components the more it cost!

80. tigermcm

Posts: 861; Member since: Sep 02, 2009

uh where did smart watches come into this?

23. uchihakurtz

Posts: 427; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

Well you can get a decent laptop for a flagship price but not a high end laptop.

25. josephnero

Posts: 778; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

Because i already have a laptop or a phone suits me better?

39. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

I would like you to put all the ammenities of my M3 2002 model, into a zx2 size, better yet, into a fiat 500/mini size. Tell me that engineering doesnt come into play more so than when you have all the space in a 11.6in tablet. My tablet is far more powerful than my phone, but it cost under 300.

44. tigermcm

Posts: 861; Member since: Sep 02, 2009

my point exactly thank you. these phone prices are ridiculous and im not vouching only for the US, everywhere it just doesnt make sense to me

48. josephnero

Posts: 778; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

Tablets have much more space and are manufactured more easily

54. TruPatriot

Posts: 110; Member since: May 27, 2013

Exactly phone prices are a rip off, until there is competition in the price I wouldn't pay for one.

3. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

Yes, and that's why I'm glad that I live in Asia.

10. justsayit

Posts: 256; Member since: May 09, 2013

same here! x) in my country, buy a phone with contact from carriers are more expensive than just buy a phone lol

12. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

All my phones since 2011 have been bought out right... Where you live has nothing to do with you being able to afford phones without subsidies.

21. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

In some Asian countries, we don't have phones with carrier subsidies. We can buy phones on contract but the phone itself is unlocked, but most of us buy phones off contract because buying phones on contract isn't worth it. I'm glad that my country doesn't have this kind of "buying phones on contract from carriers" trend. That was my point.

40. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

But a trend vs freedom are two different things. Carriers have for as long as i remembered, offered phones off contract. Point is though what do people want to pay? 200 or 100 or free vs 500+ right now. In the land of, let me have it right now, it is the later. Also credit goes into major play here. When you are used to good credit, things are different. I have the cash to splurge on a 1020 unlocked from MS, i dont cause i rather buy it over time, personal preference is all.

45. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

Yeah in Finland too you have to pay the same amount of money whether you buy it from a carrier or a retailer. And it's always unlocked. I guess a few years ago iPhone's were locked, but not anymore.

66. marcski07

Posts: 600; Member since: Apr 25, 2014

How is it cheap on having a contract? coz I do believe, when you sum the total amount you've paid for 6months, 1 year, 2 years, it is much expensive than buying it out right...

4. michaelmicro unregistered

I always buy my devices sans any sort of subsidy. It is typically far cheaper to buy the device upfront and then get a sim only contract. Even if it's not always massively cheaper, it is a lot more flexible because I can then chop and change my network and phone to my heart's content.

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