Unlocked versions of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are available today from Best Buy and Samsung.
The unlocked version of the S8 will be compatible with all four major U.S. carriers. In terms of price, the S8 will cost $724.99 and the S8 Plus is one hundred dollars more expensive at $824.99. While certainly costly, the S8 comes with a lot of features that help justify that high price tag.
In addition to the S8, there's another Android phone that got an unlocked version today, the BlackBerry KeyOne. While not as popular as the S8, the BlackBerry does have some neat features that might appeal to some users. One of the more interesting things about it is the fact that it is one of the few smartphones to feature a physical keyboard. While that is a nice touch, it does mean that the screen will be smaller than the one found on other smartphones.
There are currently two versions of the unlocked BlackBerry available. The one from Best Buy is compatible with GSM networks such as AT&T and T-Mobile. However, the Verizon "optimized" version is currently only available through Amazon.
The BlackBerry costs $549.99.
Pros And Cons Of Unlocked Phones
While buying an unlocked phone may cost a bit more upfront, unlocked models do have some benefits that make them worthwhile to some users. For starters, they don't come loaded with the various bloatware that the carrier models will have which saves on precious storage space.
In terms of costs, they might be a bit cheaper in the long run since users won't be locked into a specific carrier which gives greater flexibility when searching for plans.
Those benefits aside, unlocked phones do have some issues that shoppers should be aware of. Software updates can be hit-or-miss. In some cases, unlocked phones will get major updates before carrier models since the carriers can delay the process, but that is not always the case. For example, customers who used carrier versions of the Galaxy S7 got Android Nougat several months before it was rolled out to unlocked phones.
Those on unlocked devices may also find that they have a more limited selection of apps than those who use carrier versions. For example, Netflix recently announced that it would no longer be supporting unlocked versions of Android phones due to concerns over piracy.
In some instances, workarounds, such as mirrors, are available, but they are a bit more trouble than the standard apps.