This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

Get It for Less: Smartphones

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- Most high-quality smartphones cost at least $200 when they first come out (and when paired with a new two-year service contract), but with a few notable exceptions, there's no reason to ever pay that much.

Louis Ramirez is a senior features writer for DealNews, a money-saving Web site that frequently gathers deals on new phones, and he shared his expertise with us to pass along the best strategies for finding a good deal.

You once needed to wait at least a few months before you saw any kind of deal on a new smartphone, but the time frame for price reductions is much shorter than it used to be.

Wait a few weeks
It used to be that you needed to wait at least a few months before you saw any kind of deal on a new smartphone. But with the market flooded by so many new Android phones on a weekly basis, the time frame for price reductions is much shorter than it used to be.

"The best way to save on a smartphone is not to buy it the day it's released," Ramirez says. "Now there's so many smartphones out there that the market is saturated, and you begin to see deals a week to two weeks out."

>>More Help for Homeowners: HARP 2.0

As an example, he points to the Motorola (MMI) Droid Razr, which came out of the gate in November for $300 but dropped to $111 on Amazon (AMZN) after less than a week. An updated version of the phone, the Droid Razr Maxx, went on sale just a couple of weeks ago, and Verizon (VZ) will offer a buy-one, get-one-free deal on the new model starting Friday.

If you're in the market for a new Android phone, don't pre-order it and don't buy it during the first couple of weeks it's on sale. Chances are, your patience will be rewarded very quickly.

Buy refurbished
Waiting a few weeks may work for Android phones, but Apple (AAPL) iPhones are a different beast. New iPhones come out generally only once a year, and the price on the newest models stay fixed until the next one comes out.

There's one very good way to bypass this, though: Buy a refurbished phone. Ramirez says that he's had good luck with a refurbished iPhone, calling it "just like new." And it will certainly save you a bit of money: AT&T (T) sells a refurbished 32 GB iPhone 4S for $249.99 with a new contract -- a $50 discount on the price for a brand-new one. Discounts for refurbished phones apply to other smartphone brands as well, Ramirez says.

Buy online
Ramirez says he generally recommends checking online retailers before bricks-and-mortar stores to get the best price on a new phone. He points to Wirefly.com and Amazon.com as two that consistently offer great deals on phones -- indeed, the latter made waves in November when it offered several phones for just a penny each. He says that if you do feel the need to shop in a physical store, carrier stores (for instance, a Verizon store) tend to offer better deals. (Once again, Apple is an exception to that rule: While you won't find refurbished iPhones at carrier stores, the prices on new iPhones are identical to those on the online Apple store.)

As a final tip, Ramirez recommends checking out Research In Motion's (RIMM) BlackBerry to take advantage of the floundering company's desperation.

"If you're not biased on operating system , consider BlackBerry," he says. "Everyone knows that BlackBerry is hurting, so you're going to see some aggressive deals there."

>To submit a news tip, email: tips@thestreet.com.

Follow TheStreet on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,042.90 -28.32 -0.17%
S&P 500 1,972.29 -5.51 -0.28%
NASDAQ 4,493.39 -12.4620 -0.28%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs