Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 is now available in retail stores and online, which means you can get your hands on Samung's latest smartphone in just minutes. However, there are still two questions you need to resolve before picking up a Note 8.
First, are the dual cameras, extra-wide 6.3-inch Infinity Display and improved S Pen enough to convince you that the Note 8 is the phone for you? And if they are, which wireless carrier is right one for your new phone?
Credit: Tom's GuideSeveral factors go into picking out a carrier, from who has the best coverage to which one provides the most attractive cellphone plan. But one of the first things you'll need to consider is which of the Big Four carriers offers the most compelling deal for the Note 8, especially with pricing and options varying from carrier to carrier.
If you prefer to purchase your phone direct through Samsung, the manufacturer is offering a trade-in credit through its own website of up $300. Otherwise, an unlocked version of the Note 8 costs $960 at Samsung, which also offers a monthly installment plan of $40 per month for 24 months. Samsung sells carrier-tied versions of the phone, too.
If you don't have a phone to trade-in, Best Buy takes $150 off the Note 8 for Verizon and AT&T if you opt to pay over 24 monthly installments. It's one of the best Note 8 deals we've seen to date.
Whatever you decide, there are plenty of deals ranging from dollar-off discounts to freebies that lessen the phone's sticker shock price tag. If you want a Note 8 tied to a specific wireless carrier, here are the best deals we've found so far.
Buying the Phone Outright? Pick T-Mobile
While most carriers are selling the Note 8 for $950 to $960, T-Mobile offers the lowest price if you buy the phone in one fell swoop. You can pay $930 and walk away with a new Note 8. T-Mobile is also offering a buy-one-get-one-free promotion for the Note 8, although there's some caveats.
That's not your only option at T-Mobile. Put $210 down and you can pay off the phone in $30 installments over the next 24 months. If a down payment puts you off, you can pay $39 a month for $18 months to lease the phone through T-Mobile's Jump On Demand program. If you're able to absorb the cost of the Note 8 all at once, though, T-Mobile's price is hard to beat.
T-Mobile's buy-one Galaxy Note 8 and get one free deal is attractive over the long haul, but you'll still need to pay a lot up front. You'll need to preorder two Galaxy Note 8 devices from the carrier, which is $420 up front. You also need to sign up for a new line of service on the second handset, which means this deal is best for those who are switching to T-Mobile. You'll get the rebate for the cost of the second phone later.
One additional note about T-Mobile: It only seems to be offering the free Gear 360 camera as tie-in with the Note 8, rather than giving you a choice of freebies.
Got a Phone to Trade-In? Pick Verizon
Verizon has one of the highest costs for the Note 8, at $960 to buy the phone outright. Its monthly payments — $40 a month over the next two years — are pretty steep, too. But you can take a big chunk out of that cost by trading in an eligible phone and getting up to $480 in credits over the next 24 months.
To get that $480 credit, though, you're going to need a very new phone. Verizon offers its biggest rebate when you trade in an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus; Pixel XL; LG G6; Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, S8, S8+ or Note 5; or Moto Z Force. Don't despair, if you don't have one of those models, as Verizon also offers 33 percent and 25 percent discounts. Phones eligible for the $336 rebate include any iPhone 6 model, Google's Pixel, any Galaxy S6, and LG's V20 or G5. The $240 rebate applies to the iPhone SE, Moto Z Play and Galaxy S5, among other older phones.
The catch is you won't get your credit all at once. Verizon spreads it out over 24 months, and the promo credit ends when your balance gets paid off or you drop your service. Still, saving between $240 and $480 on your new phone is nothing to sneeze at.
In addition to the Gear 360 or microSD/wireless charger giveaway, Verizon is also offering a $100 discount on the Gear S3 smartwatch should you buy that device along with your Note 8. Just be aware that you'll need to sign a two-year agreement on the watch and that AT&T offers a more substantial discount.
Want to Buy Your Phone in Installments via Verizon or AT&T? Pick Best Buy
Best Buy's not a carrier, but it is selling carrier-locked versions of the Note 8 for AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. For Verizon and AT&T, the monthly payments are slightly lower through Best Buy than what you'd pay directly through the carriers. You can save $150 on the Note 8 when you purchase via Best Buy. So instead of paying $39/month, via Best Buy you'll pay $32.75/month over 24 months.
Credit: SamsungBuy a Verizon Note 8 at Best Buy, and you'll pay $39 a month for the next 24 months. That's $24 less than what Verizon's installment plan will run you during those same two years. Otherwise, if you opt for an AT&T or Sprint-locked Note 8 through Best Buy, you'll pay the same price that the carriers are charging.
Best Buy also offers an unlocked version of the Note 8 that costs the same $930 T-Mobile is charging. You can only buy that phone in 24-month installments if you've got a Best Buy credit card.
Want to Switch Carriers? Pick Sprint
Sprint has the most aggressive pricing on the Note 8, though it comes with some conditions. First, you'll have to switch from another carrier. Second, you'll have to agree to lease the phone through the carrier's Sprint Flex program. Meet those conditions, though, and you'll save big — Sprint will lease you the Note 8 for $20 a month over 18 months. Otherwise, you'd pay $40 a month to lease the phone, so that's a substantial discount, even if you won't own your Note 8 after 18 months.
Other Options: AT&T, Cricket, Straight Talk and Xfinity Mobile
As noted above, AT&T lets you pay for the Note 8 in installments of $31.67, which is the lowest monthly payment among the four major carriers (though Best Buy charges the same). Of course, AT&T stretches out those payments over 30 months instead of the standard 24. AT&T charges $950 to buy Samsung's phone outright.
AT&T's promotions largely involve its DirecTV service, offering $750 in credit toward a second Galaxy phone if you also sign up for DirecTV when you buy the Note 8.
Samsung says prepaid carriers Cricket and Straight Talk will offer the Galaxy Note 8. However, Cricket has yet to update its site with Note 8 pricing, whereas StraightTalk is offering it for $899. Xfinity Mobile will sell the Note 8, too, though you have to be a customer of Comcast's internet service to also sign up for wireless with Xfinity. C Spire and US Cellular are the other carriers offering the Note 8, but you'll need to live in their service areas to take advantage of their offers. The former has the phone for $879.99 after a $50 online discount, whereas US Cellular charges $899.99.