Depending on the unlocked phone you’re trying to purchase, third-party online retailers may or may not be a good place to get a more affordable deal. A lot of it has to do with supply and demand; for example, Google’s Nexus 4 costs close to twice as much unlocked on some online retail stores as it would on the Google Play Store. Pop Herald, a site with connections to online stores based in the United States, Europe and Southeast Asia, has regularly been providing updates on unlocked devices’ price tags, and as of New Year’s Day, the Samsung Galaxy S3 seems to be one of the more reasonably priced phones out there.
According to Pop Herald, the 16 GB unlocked Samsung Galaxy S3 costs $520 on eBay; said phone now ships with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with free accessories bundled in, such as chargers and cases. Amazon, on the other hand, has the Galaxy S3 selling for $550 unlocked, but buyers from outside the U.S. may have to pay $580 to $650 with shipping figured in. The retail giant does, however, offer the Galaxy S3 for just one penny on a two-year Sprint contract, and the Verizon edition for $100, also on a two-year agreement. The most affordable Galaxy S3 sold through third-party U.K. retailers (through Negri, to be specific) costs about $520 in U.S. currency.
The iPhone 5, unfortunately, is considerably more expensive on third-party sites than it is through Apple. The 16 GB iPhone 5, which would normally cost $649 unlocked if bought through Apple, costs $730 if purchased through Amazon Wireless. Other third-party sites sell the 16 GB version for $700 to $720 – cheaper than Amazon’s price point but still more expensive than if purchased at the online Apple Store. The 32 GB and 64 GB iPhone 5 variants cost $749 and $849 respectively on the Apple Store.