If you’re looking to buy an unlocked SIM-free phone you’ve come to the right place! On this page we’re listing the best SIM-free mobile phone deals on 15 of our favourite handsets. As well as telling you the most affordable way to get the likes of the iPhone X and Galaxy Note 8, we’ve also got the best prices for some of the budget favourites like the cheap Moto G5 and nostalgic Nokia 3310.
SIM-free phones have become increasingly popular in the last few years. When flagship phones go on sale, it’s usually very expensive to get them on contract. Take the iPhone X as a case in point – it cost more than £1,300 over the two year term when pre-orders opened! It can be cheaper to buy the phones SIM-free and unlocked and pair them with a bargain SIM only deal.
But the RRPs of phones direct from the manufacturer are very rarely the cheapest way to get hold of your shiny new smartphone. And that’s where TechRadar comes in…
We get started by giving you the skinny on the top 15 SIM-free handsets, with an excerpt from our full reviews in case you’re still umm-ing anad ah-ing. If the phone you were hoping for doesn’t feature, you can scroll to the bottom of this page and use our bespoke price comparison chart – the tool checks the prices for pretty much every single phone on the market and lists them all cheapest-first so you can be sure we’re always linking you to the best prices!
1. iPhone X
Screen size: 5.8-inches | Resolution: 1125 x 2436 | Rear camera: 12MP | Weight: 174g | OS: iOS 11 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 64GB/256GB | External storage: No | Battery: 2716mAh
Simply stunning screen
iOS 11 is looking good
To state the obvious – the price!
We’re kicking off with the big kahuna! We think that the iPhone X is the most important iPhone ever launched. After years of incremental upgrades, Apple has pulled out all the stops for its 10th anniversary smartphone. Face ID lets you unlock your phone just by looking at it, the stunning 5.8-inch Super Retina HD display does away with the bezel almost entirely, there’s wireless charging, and that’s before we even get to Animojis!
2. Samsung Galaxy S8
Among the finest Androids on the market
Weight: 155g | Dimensions: 148.9 x 68.1 x 8mm | OS: Android 7 Nougat | Screen size: 5.8-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 2960 | CPU: Exynos 8895 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB | Battery: 3000mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 8MP
Slick new UI
The Samsung Galaxy S8 is a superb phone and it’s currently available to pre-order from various places. If you want it SIM-free you’re going to have to pay around £689 which is a lot of money. Don’t worry though, if that’s way too much there are some great cheaper options further down the page. We’ll be publishing our full Samsung Galaxy S8 review soon so keep checking in for our full verdict.
3. iPhone SE
The ‘cheap iPhone’ option is a good bet if you want Apple on a budget
Weight: 143g | Dimensions: 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm | OS: iOS 10 | Screen size: 4-inch | Resolution: 640 x 1136 | CPU: Apple A9 | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16/64GB | Battery: 1624mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 1.2MP
Cheap for an iPhone
Simple to use
Just like the iPhone 5S but better
Lacks top features
If you want a cheap iPhone then the iPhone SE is the best SIM-free phone to go for at the moment. It is not as powerful compared to the iPhone 7 or iPhone 8 but it is a step up from the iPhone 5S and crucially retains the 5S’ size and shape which is ideal for anyone who wants an iPhone but doesn’t want a phone with a massive screen.
4. Moto G5
Brand new for 2017, this is the best ‘cheap Android phone’
Weight: 145g | Dimensions: 144.3 x 73 x 9.5mm | OS: Android 7 Nougat | Screen size: 5.0-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 1920 | CPU: Octa-core 1.4 GHz Cortex-A53 | RAM: 2/3GB | Storage: 16GB/32GB | Battery: 2800mAh | Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 5MP
Slimmer and lighter than Moto G4
Excellent HD screen
A bit sluggish
The Moto G series has been the leader in the budget Android smartphone market for years now. The latest phone – the Moto G5 – is always a lot better than similarly priced phones and almost as good as phones that cost more than twice the price. If you’re after a really good phone but don’t want to spend too much money it’s always a great option. The 2017 model we have here is a tad smaller than last year’s G4 (5.0-inch versus 5.5-inch) but if you want a slightly bigger screen you could always go for the Moto G5 Plus.
5. Samsung Galaxy Note 8
Massive in dimensions and quality
Screen size: 6.3-inches | Resolution: 2960 x 1440 Quad HD+ | Rear camera: 12MP dual lens | Weight: 195g | OS: Android 7.1.1 | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 64/128/256GB | External storage: microSD up to 256GB | Battery: 3300mAh
Incredible Infinity display
Best Samsung camera on a phone
Battery life could be better
The Galaxy Note 8 has garnered a lot of hype for good reason. The huge 6.3-inch ‘Infinity Display,’ is gorgeous to look at, the 6GB RAM innards go like a train and there are two best-in-class rear cameras. It’s expensive, but we think the Note 8 is worth it.
6. OnePlus 5T
A mighty fine mobile – a genuine alternative to Samsung’s smartphones
Release date: November 2017 | Weight: 162g | Dimensions: 156.1 x 75 x 7.3 mm | OS: Android 8 | Screen size: 6-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2160 | CPU: Snapdragon 835 | RAM: 6/8GB | Storage: 64GB/128GB | Battery: 3,300mAh | Rear camera: 20MP + 16MP | Front camera: 16MP
Premium design and feel
Only Full HD display
There’s no doubt about it, the OnePlus 5T is one of the very best Android phones on the market. If you choose your mobiles based on the quality of the camera, then the incredible dual-lens snapper will float your boat. The design and performance is in the same echelons as iPhone 8 and Samsung Galaxy S9, and yet the price is far lower.
7. iPhone 8
The iPhone to go for if the X is out of your price range
Screen size: 4.7-inches | Resolution: 750 x 1334 | Rear camera: 12MP | Weight: 148g | OS: iOS 11 | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 64GB/256GB | External storage: No | Battery: 1821mAh
Better screen than iPhone 7
New gold colour is handsome
Don’t expect a revolution with the iPhone 8. It’s essentially a tweaked iPhone 7 with a few enhancements and one or two upgrades. For that reason we wouldn’t particularly recommend this phone to anyone with an iPhone 7 – but for those with older phones this could make a timely upgrade if the price of the iPhone X makes you want to weep.
8. Nokia 3310
A throwback to phones of yore…when batteries lasted more than a day
Weight: 79.6g | Dimensions: 115.6 x 51 x 12.8 mm **Screen size:** 2.4-inch | Resolution: 320 x 240 **RAM:** 16MB | Storage: 16MB | Battery: 1200mAh | Rear camera: 2MP
Only 2.5G coverage
Welcome back, old friend! Pure nostalgia may be the primary jet-fuel that makes this revamped classic fly off the shelves, but for such a low price the Nokia 3310 may genuinely suit you as a second device to take to festivals or keep in your bag for emergencies. It’s some way off the capabilities of actual smartphones, but…well, did we mention Snake?
9. LG G6
LG’s underrated contender to the Galaxy S8
Screen size: 5.7-inches | Resolution: 1440 x 2880 | Rear camera: 13MP | Weight: 163g | OS: Android 7 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32/64/128GB | External storage: microSD up to 256GB | Battery: 3300mAh
Truly premium design
Chipset and camera could be better
Make no mistake, the G6 is a great phone from LG. Its recent predecessors haven’t really taken the fight to Samsung and Apple, but the LG G6 is a flagship phone to be proud of. The dazzling 1440 x 2880 screen is a particular strength and you immediately feel on first use that your handling an Android device no less premium than the Samsung Galaxy S8.
10. Honor 9
A great buy for buyers on a budget
Weight: 155g | Dimensions: 147.3 x 70.9 x 7.5mm | OS: Android 7 Nougat | Screen size: 5.15-inch | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | CPU: HiSilicon Kirin 960 | RAM: 4GB or 6GB | Storage: 64/128GB | Battery: 3,200mAh | Rear camera: 20MP + 20MP dual lens | Front camera: 8MP
Good value price point
It didn’t take us long playing with the Honor 9 to come to the conclusion that this is a well-built Android smartphone. It doesn’t boast much in the way of headline-grabbing features, but it does have a great design and lots of nice touches to make the Honor 9 an impressive all-rounder. Ok, so it’s never going to outperform the Samsung Galaxy S8 or LG G6, but the 20MP main camera and splendid design mean that it isn’t far off and for a much lower price.
11. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
A five-star phone from 2016 – we still love the Edge
Weight: 157g | Dimensions: 150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7mm | OS: Android 7 Nougat | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 2560 resolution | CPU: Snapdragon 820 / Exynos 8890 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32GB (64GB with micro SD) | Battery: 3600mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 5MP
Battery could be better
The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge went straight to the top of the class when it was released in 2016 – we gave it 5 stars out of 5! It somehow managed to better the accomplished Galaxy S6 Edge, by adding a brilliant camera and gorgeous design tweaks. And the price just keeps falling, making it a genuine bargain these days.
12. Apple iPhone 7
One generation older, one generation cheaper
Weight: 138g | Dimensions: 138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1mm | OS: iOS 10 | Screen size: 4.7-inch | Resolution: 750 x 1334 | CPU: Apple A10 Fusion | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 32/128/256GB | Battery: 1960mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 7MP
Good low light camera
Battery life better but unimpressive
Lacks clear upgrades
The iPhone 7 is still one of the most popular SIM-free phones out there, so it was always going to make our list of the best SIM-free phone deals. Is it the best SIM-free iPhone to buy though? Only you can decide that – there are better and worse iPhones on the market. But we like the balance here between quality and affordability
13. Google Pixel 2
Amazing Android, especially for photo lovers
Screen size: 5-inches | Resolution: 1080 x 1920 | Rear camera: 12MP | Weight: 143g | OS: Android 8 Oreo | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB/128GB | External storage: No | Battery: 2700mAh
Market leasing cameras
Clean Android interface
Lots of bezel
There’s no doubt that the Pixel 2 is one of the very finest Android phones out there, but the Pixel’s successor is a familiar story of incremental improvements rather than whole-scale change. The feature that might just get you buying are the top-of the-line cameras for photos and video. While the delightful screen, great-sounding speakers and slick Android operating system will all appeal to a range of smartphone users.
14. Nokia 6
Premium – yet affordable – Android phone from Nokia
Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | Rear camera: 16MP | Weight: 169g | OS: Android 7 Nougat | RAM: 3/4GB | Storage: 32/64GB | External storage: microSD up to 256GB | Battery: 3000mAh
Beautiful metallic build
Full HD display
Attractive price point
Performance doesn’t impress
Solid specs. Full HD display. Premium metal casing. And all for a very affordable price. There isn’t much not to like about the Nokia 6. And possibly its best feature is the way it runs from the stock Android 7 interface, making it an absolute doddle to use. It’s never going to match the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S8 for pure processing power, but you can always pay a little more for the Arte version if you think you’ll need more RAM.
15. BlackBerry KEYone
The return of the physical keyboard
Weight: 180g | Dimensions: 149.1 x 72.4 x 9.4mm | OS: Android 7.1 Nougat | Screen size: 4.5-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 1620 | CPU: Snapdragon 625 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32GB | Battery: 3505mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 8MP
Not ideal for entertainment
The KEYone is a sophisticated smartphone made for business – sound familiar?
Yep, this is classic BlackBerry territory and it resurrects a physical keyboard for a modern Android audience. The QWERTY keyboard offers more than just nostalgia, while the smart and secure software will give businesses some peace of mind. Just know that the mid-range specs will only get you so far, as will the so-so entertainment capabilities