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We asked, you told us: Buying smartphones with cash is still king

Annual upgrade programs are surprisingly unpopular.

Published onJanuary 24, 2022

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE rear panel over tracks
Eric Zeman / Android Authority
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE

There are plenty of ways to buy a new smartphone whether it’s through cash, a contract, or a trade-in scheme. But how do our readers get their hands on new devices?

Well, we posed this question in a recent poll, and the results suggest there’s one method that outweighs all the others.

How did you buy your current smartphone?


The poll garnered over 3,700 responses since it went live on January 19. However, one option claimed more than half of the vote. More than 63% of readers purchased their current smartphone prepaid, or a once-off payment. Just under a quarter (24.7%) claimed their devices through a retailer or carrier contract. Just 3.1% of respondents use an annual upgrade program, while 8.4% received a hand-me-down.

See also: Do’s and dont’s of buying a used phone

Many readers also purchase their devices second-hand, import them from overseas, or trade in their older devices. Have a gander through the various alternative methods in the comments below.

Your comments

  • oqu: Traded in my old car for a brand new 13 Pro Max.
  • Concerned-Citizen: I buy mine used from Swappa.
  • walid fhaily: Second hand.
  • Shizuma: Bought my Surface Duo outright from Microsoft, been buying phones straight from the manufacturer like that for a while now, not because of being tied to a network cause I don’t jump around networks, but because carriers muck around with the phone too much and add a bunch of junk you can’t remove.
  • CR45H 0V3RR1D3: It doesn’t really matter, as long as it’s an unlocked variant. I have bought from Swappa, as well as, directly from OEM’s.

That’s it for this poll. Thanks for your votes and comments. Have anything else to share? Be sure to drop a comment below.