There are plenty of Prime Day phone deals live right now, including exciting discounts on the Galaxy S21 series, Note 20 Ultra, and more. With so many phones to choose from, it can get overwhelming if you’re looking to upgrade.
So in this post, I’ll try to clear up confusion around popular phone deals and offer suggestions on how to spend your money to maximize value. So if you’re looking to buy a value flagship, budget-focused option, or a gaming phone that has the latest hardware innovations, these are the best phones you should actually buy for Prime Day.
Don’t buy the OnePlus 8 — get the Galaxy A71 5G instead
The OnePlus 8 is down to just $350 right now, and that is a stellar deal when you look at the hardware you’re getting. However, it isn’t the best option in this category right now. The Galaxy A71 gets that distinction — I called it the best Samsung mid-ranger last year — and it continues to be a great overall option in 2021.
That’s particularly true for the 5G version that’s on sale for just $375 right now. This model is powered by the Snapdragon 765G, and includes Sub-6 5G connectivity for T-Mobile and AT&T. Sure, the hardware isn’t on the same level as the OnePlus 8; you get a regular 60Hz AMOLED screen, and the Snapdragon 765G isn’t quite as fast as the Snapdragon 865 in terms of gaming.
But where the Galaxy A71 5G shines is the software. Both the OnePlus 8 and Galaxy A71 5G are a year old at this point, but because Samsung guarantees three years of platform updates, the A71 will be updated to Android 13. The OnePlus 8, meanwhile, will not be updated past Android 12. Another point in the A71’s favor is security updates; with four years of security updates, the phone will stay relevant for a lot longer than the OnePlus 8. So if you need a mid-range phone for under $400, get your hands on the Galaxy A71 5G.
Samsung Galaxy A71 5G | $225 off at Amazon
The Galaxy A71 5G combines a robust hardware package with long-term software updates that give it a clear edge in the mid-range segment. If you want a phone that will be updated to Android 13 and receive four years of security patches, this is the one to get.
Don’t buy the Nokia 8.3 — pick up the Galaxy S20 FE instead
The Nokia 8.3 5G debuted for $700 at the end of last year, and right now it’s on sale for $468. While that may seem like a decent deal, you should not buy this phone. HMD Global had the right idea by siding with Google’s Android One initiative, but its execution has been far from perfect.
Nokia phones have struggled to receive Android updates on time, and that has been the case for the Nokia 8.3 as well. That’s why you should buy the Galaxy S20 FE instead. We called it the best Android phone of 2020, and for good reason: the phone offers the best features from the Galaxy S20 at a much more affordable price point, and for Prime Day, you can get your hands on the S20 FE 5G for just $480, $220 off its launch price.
The Galaxy S20 FE 5G has standout hardware; you get a 120Hz AMOLED panel, Snapdragon 865 chipset, 5G connectivity, the same 12MP main camera as the regular S20, and a 4500mAh battery with 25W fast charging. The fact that you can get the phone for $480 makes this one of the best Prime Day tech deals, and like other Samsung mid-range phones, the S20 FE will get three Android updates and four years of security patches.
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G | $220 off at Amazon
The Galaxy S20 FE 5G continues to be a brilliant value flagship in 2021. This is still one of the best hardware packages you’ll find for under $500, and with three guaranteed updates, the phone will make the switch to Android 13 once it rolls out next year.
Don’t buy the Moto G Power 2021 — buy the 2020 version instead
Now, I don’t normally recommend buying an older phone, but that’s the case when it comes to the Moto G Power 2021. The Moto G Power 2020 was one of our favorite budget phones, and as for the 2021 model … not so much.
Motorola intentionally downgraded the hardware of the 2021 model, making it a poor recommendation. The Moto G Power 2020 has a 6.4-inch Full HD (2300 x 1080) screen with stereo sound, Snapdragon 665 chipset, 16MP camera, and a 5000mAh battery with 10W fast charging. The 2021 model, meanwhile, has a larger 6.6-inch screen but at a lower 720p resolution (1600 x 720), Snapdragon 662, 48MP camera, and a 5000mAh battery with 15W fast charging.
The 48MP camera may look like an upgrade, but there isn’t too big a difference between the two phones in this area, and the fact that the 2021 version has a low-res screen makes it a non-starter. The Moto G Power 2020 is now on sale for $210, while the 2021 version is $200. Although you’re paying $10 more for an older phone, the Moto G Power 2020 is still the better choice just for the Full HD screen and stereo speakers.
Don’t buy the TCL 10 Pro — get the Galaxy A42 5G
The TCL 10 Pro is an interesting choice in the mid-range segment, and right now, it’s available for $295, a discount of $105 from its $400 retail price. The device gets a lot right; you get an AMOLED screen with HDR10, Snapdragon 674 chipset, decent 64MP camera at the back, and a 4500mAh battery.
But if you’re going to spend $300 on a phone for Prime Day, you should buy the Galaxy A42 5G. The phone was unveiled two months ago for $400, and it is on sale now for $300 — a full $100 off. The A42 5G launched with Android 11 out of the box, and because Samsung rolls out three platform updates, it will receive the Android 14 update once that becomes available two years down the line. That immediately makes the A42 5G an enticing option in this category.
The Galaxy A42 5G has a Snapdragon 750G chipset, a 48MP camera at the back that takes decent photos in all lighting conditions, 5000mAh battery with 15W fast charging, and a 3.5mm jack. It isn’t all smooth sailing, however, as the phone has a 720p AMOLED screen. Barring that, this is a standout package, and you also get 5G connectivity for the U.S.
Don’t buy the OnePlus 9 — get the Red Magic 6 instead
The OnePlus 9 is one of the best value flagships you can buy right now, but it is costly. The phone debuted at $730, and it is down to $700, a paltry $30 savings. So if you’re looking to buy a gaming phone for Prime Day, you should consider the Red Magic 6.
The Red Magic 6 debuted in May for $650, but the phone is on sale for $528, a full 20% off its retail price. The phone goes toe-to-toe with the latest flagships in terms of the hardware: you get a 6.8-inch AMOLED screen with an insane 165Hz refresh, the latest Snapdragon 888 chipset, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage as standard, 64MP camera at the back, and a 5050mAh battery with 66W fast charging.
Sure, the design may not be to everyone’s tastes, but if you want the best hardware at the lowest price, the Red Magic 6 is the clear favorite.
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