Is the $999 iPhone X a Good or Bad Value?

The iPhone X starts at $999, making it the most expensive flagship phone you can buy these days. Rival devices from Samsung, Google and LG cost anywhere from $50 to $199 less, and you can even grab a new iPhone 8 or 8 Plus for substantially less than what an iPhone X will run you.

But does that heftier price tag really leave your wallet that much lighter when you spread out the cost of your phone via monthly payments? To find out, we compared what you’d pay for an iPhone X at each of the Big Four carriers versus what comparable flagship smartphones would cost. For iPhone fans, we’ve also included both the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, just so you can see how much more you’d shell out each month should you opt for an iPhone X.

MORE: The Best iPhone X and iPhone 8 Carrier Deals

Before we dive into the numbers, a few notes about each carrier’s installment plans. The prices for T-Mobile and Verizon below spread the payments for each phone out over 24 months. AT&T’s monthly payment plans stretch to 30 months, which is why the monthly figure is typically lower than at other carriers. Sprint’s monthly pricing is based on an 18-month lease; you can upgrade to a new phone after 12 payments, and when your lease is done, you can pay off the remaining balance on your phone to own it outright.

iPhone X vs. iPhone 8 Plus

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Payment OptioniPhone XiPhone 8 PlusPrice Difference
Full Price$ $999$ $799$200
AT&T (Monthly)$ $33.34$ $26.67$6.67 per month
Sprint (Monthly)$41.67 $33.34 $8.33 per month
T-Mobile (Monthly)$30 ($279.99 down) $30 ($30 down) $249 upfront
Verizon (Monthly)$ $41.66$ $33.33$8.33 per month

There’s a $200 price difference between Apple’s 5.5-inch iPhone 8 Plus and the 5.8-inch iPhone X. Break that down into monthly payments, though, and the it’s only $6.67 to $8.33 a month more for the iPhone X, depending on which carrier you opt for. T-Mobile actually charges the same $30-a-month rate for both iPhones, though you’ll have to pay substantially upfront for the iPhone X ($279.99 versus $30 for the 8 Plus.)

Credit: Apple

(Image credit: Apple)

Note that under a current Sprint promotion, you can lower your monthly iPhone X payment to $22.22 on an 18-month lease with the trade-in of an eligible phone. However, that same promotion applies to the iPhone 8 Plus, where the monthly payment drops to $13.89. That’s the same $8.33 difference if you had no trade-in at all.

iPhone X vs. iPhone 8

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Payment OptioniPhone XiPhone 8 Price Difference
Full Price$ $999$ $699$10 per month
AT&T (Monthly)$ $33.34$ $23.34$12.50 per month
Sprint (Monthly)$41.67 $29.17 $12.50 per month
T-Mobile (Monthly)$30 ($279.99 down) $29.17 $279.99 down plus 83 cents per month
Verizon (Monthly)$ $41.66$ $29.16$12.50 per month

The gap between iPhone X and iPhone 8 monthly payments widens, though not as much as you might have expected. You’ll pay anywhere from $10 to $12.50 per month more for an iPhone X compared to Apple’s 5-inch phone. Still, that's enough to cover a monthly subscription at Netflix or Spotify, so it's not an insignificant gap.

MORE: 6 Reasons You Should Skip iPhone X and Just Get iPhone 8

The starkest difference is at T-Mobile, where you don’t have to put up any money when buying the iPhone 8, and your monthly payment is 83 cents cheaper.

iPhone X vs. Galaxy Note 8

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Payment OptioniPhone XGalaxy Note 8Price Difference
Full Price$ $999$ $950$49
AT&T (Monthly)$ $33.34$ $31.67$1.67 per month
Sprint (Monthly)$41.67 $40 $1.67 per month
T-Mobile (Monthly)$30 ($279.99 down) $30 ($230 down) $49.99 down
Verizon (Monthly)$ $41.66$ $40$1.66 per month

There’s just a $49 difference in the price tags of the top-of-the-line phones from Apple and Samsung, and that modest gap is reflected in monthly pricing differences. Your monthly bill will be $1.67 cents larger at AT&T and Sprint; at Verizon, it’s a $1.66 differential. All T-Mobile wants is that extra $49.99 for the iPhone X upfront; otherwise you’ll pay $30 a month for either the iPhone X and Note 8 over the next two years.

iPhone X vs. Galaxy S8+

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Payment OptioniPhone XGalaxy S8+Price Difference
Full Price$ $999$ $824.99$174.01
AT&T (Monthly)$ $33.34$ $28.34$5 per month
Sprint (Monthly)$41.67 $19.80 $21.87 per month
T-Mobile (Monthly)$30 ($279.99 down) $30 ($130 down) $149.99 down
Verizon (Monthly)$ $41.66$ $35$6.66 per month

The widest variance in monthly payments appears when you stack up the iPhone X with the 6.2-inch Galaxy S8+, perhaps a reflection of the fact that Samsung’s phone has been out since the spring. Sprint has the widest gap, where you’ll pay $21.87 more each month for the iPhone X (though that trade-in deal lowers the difference to $2.42 each month). AT&T’s monthly pricing has the smallest difference, as the iPhone X costs only $5 more each month over 30 months. Monthly payments are the same at T-Mobile, though you’ll have to put up $149.99 more for the iPhone X at the start.

iPhone X vs. Pixel 2 XL

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Payment OptioniPhone XPixel 2 XLPrice Difference
Full Price$ $999$849.00 Google$150
Verizon (Monthly)$ $41.66$ $35.41$6.25 per month
Manufacturer's Store (Monthly)$49.91 per month$35.38 per month$14.53 per month

The comparison between the iPhone X and Google’s 6-inch Pixel 2 XL is a little tougher to make since Verizon is the only carrier to directly offer the latest Pixels. At Big Red, the iPhone X costs $6.25 more each month on a 24-month installment plan.

MORE: 9 Reasons iPhone X Beats the Pixel 2 XL

You can also buy the Pixel 2 XL directly from Google, where you can get an unlocked version of the phone that works with any carrier. Apple doesn’t sell an unlocked iPhone X at this time, though that’s likely to change after the phone starts shipping November 3.

Buy the Pixel 2 XL in installments from Google and you’ll pay $35.38. That’s $14.53 more than what Apple charges in its monthly installment plan, but keep in mind that fee means you’re part of Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program, which includes AppleCare+ coverage along with the option to upgrade to next year’s iPhone.

iPhone X Vs. LG V30

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Payment OptioniPhone XLG V30Price Difference
Full Price$ $999$ $800$199
AT&T (Monthly)$ $33.34$ $33.34$6.34 per month
Sprint (Monthly)$41.67 $38 $3.67 per month
T-Mobile (Monthly)$30 ($279.99 down) $30 ($80 down) $199.99 down
Verizon (Monthly)$ $41.66$ $35$6.66 per month

One final comparison between the iPhone X and another high-profile flagship — this time with LG’s new V30. Neither phone is available unlocked at the moment, but with the V30 costing around $800 if you buy it outright, you’re looking at a $199 or more price difference with the iPhone X.

Monthly payments shrink that gap, though. The LG V30 costs only $6.34 to $6.66 more at AT&T and Verizon. The difference is smaller at Sprint, though that carrier only offers the larger capacity (and more expensive) LG V30+. In the land of $30 monthly payments that is T-Mobile, the only difference is the $199.99 you’ll have to pay at the outset for the iPhone X.

Bottom Line

There's no getting around the fact that if you buy an iPhone X, you pay more than you would for other comparable phones. However, the difference isn't too much of a monthly hit on your wallet if you pay off Apple's new phone over time.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.