Verizon's Free Galaxy S8 and Pixel 2 Deal: Worth It?

You can now pick up two leading Android phones for the price of one from Verizon, though not without having to first jump through a couple of different hoops to take advantage of this deal.

Credit: Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Starting today (Jan. 23), Verizon is offering buy-one-get-one deals for four top Android models — Samsung's Galaxy S8, the Google Pixel 2, the LG V30 and the Moto Z2 Force. Of those four phones, the S8 and Pixel 2 look like the most appealing choices. Even though Samsung's S8 has been out for nearly a year, we still rank it as the top Android phone (though the S9 is expected to make its debut at next month's Mobile World Congress). The Pixel 2 is also highly rated, particularly for its AI-powered camera, which holds its own against the top-performing camera phones.

As for the other phones eligible in Verizon's BOGO deal, the LG V30 has strong camera capabilities of its own, particularly for shooting video, while the Z2 Force supports customizable Moto Mod add-ons.

Both existing Verizon customers who upgrade as well as new subscribers switching over from other carriers are eligible for this Android flagship BOGO deal, though the fine print has some notable caveats.

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You can't mix and match the phones, for starters. Verizon says your free phone has to come from the same maker of the other phone you buy.

You're actually paying for both phones at once, spreading out those payments over 24 months. You'll receive credit for the free phone in the form of monthly bill credits spread out over that 24-month period. That's a fairly standard practice for BOGO deals, as it binds you to carrier for two years. (You're on the hook for paying off both phones if you bolt early.)

Verizon says you'll need to trade-in your current phone to snag this deal, with a wide variety of phones eligible for trade-in. Eligible devices include the iPhone 5s and later; the Galaxy S4 and later; Samsung's Note 4 and later including the Note Edge; any Google Pixel, LG's G4 and later or its V10 and later; any Moto Z phone or Moto Droid Turbo 2; and the HTC One M9, One M9+ or HTC 10. Verizon has said that you'll get a trade-in value for your phone on top of the bill credits, though you'll need to trade in that phone within 30 days of buying your new devices.

Finally, Verizon requires you to activate a new line for that free phone, and it has to be on one of the carrier's unlimited plans. We've found the more expensive Go Unlimited option to offer more bang for the buck as you get HD video streaming and unlimited mobile hotspot data. The less expensive Go Unlimited plan streams video at 480p resolution, slows hotspot data to 600 kbps and gives Verizon the right to slow down data speeds if its network is congested.

Starting January 25, both unlimited plans will let you use your talk, text and data in Canada and Mexico — at the moment that's only available to Beyond Unlimited subscribers.

Two lines of Beyond Unlimited cost $160 a month. That's $30 more than the $130 a month Go Unlimited customers would pay for two lines.

All told, that's an awful lot of conditions just to get a second free phone. Still, if you've been eyeing one of these particular models and need to pick up two phones, Verizon's BOGO offer may have some appeal.

Verizon hasn't said when this offer will disappear, though it's billed as a limited-time deal.

Editors' Note: Originally published on Jan. 22 and updated at 3:16 p.m. ET on Jan. 23 with eligible trade-in devices.

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.