The Note 8 will be available unlocked on day one. But should you get it from Samsung directly, or go with a carrier option?
For the first time ever, Samsung will be offering its latest flagship, the Note 8, in unlocked and carrier versions from day one. That’s the good news. The bad news is that it’s still really difficult to decide whether to buy the phone directly from Samsung or to take advantage of the myriad deals from one of the many carriers selling the phone starting September 15.
Let’s break it down.
The unlocked Note 8 is available directly from Samsung for $930, and right now only in Midnight Black. The unlocked model is compatible with all four major U.S. carriers, including the notoriously device-fickle Verizon and Sprint, and (for a limited time) it comes with a bunch of great accessories, including a Gear 360 headset and controller (the new Note 8-compatible version) and a bundle of a 256GB microSD card and convertible wireless charger. The phone itself is expensive, yes, but it comes with $400+ worth of add-ons, which is nice.
The unlocked model has a couple other advantages: it doesn’t come with any carrier bloatware, even when a SIM card is installed; and it is updated directly from Samsung. While that hasn’t proved to be an advantage in the past, with the S8 Samsung has proven to be much more consistent with its updates than its unlocked S7 line, which took months longer to be updated to Nougat than its carrier equivalents.
Samsung also offers a pretty great insurance policy where, for $11.99 per month, you get in-person support, a $99 deductible on all major repairs, and free phone troubleshooting for the life of your device. The first two months are free, too.
Finally, the unlocked Note 8 is available with