Planhacker: Outright Android Purchase Deals

There's more choice of Android models in the Australian market than ever before, and many of them can be purchased outright rather than tying you to a contract. Here's our roundup of all the local deals.

Many people like to have their mobile phone purchase subsidised by a carrier, and if that's your inclination head straight for our Planhacker guide to Android contract phones. However, there's several obvious reasons why Android lovers might favour an outright purchase:

  • The Android market is evolving rapidly, and buyers don't necessarily want to feel tied to a handset for 24 months.
  • Owning the phone outright makes it seem less risky to upgrade the phone software yourself by "rooting" the OS if your feel the urge.
  • Owning your own phone makes it easier to switch carriers, which can be handy if you move house and discover you have different reception needs.
  • If you're a student without a credit history, an outright buy and a prepaid plan might be your only option.

In the table below, we've listed the Android phones currently officially on sale in the Australian market (and a couple due to go on sale shortly), together with their price and which version of Android they run. While Android should in theory allow over-the-air upgrades to newer versions, this is very much in the hands of the manufacturers and carriers, and buying a phone on the presumption there'll be an upgrade to 2.2 any time soon is a risky strategy. You can of course update the phone yourself, but that will likely make it difficult to lodge warranty claims if there's any problems with the handset.

Of course, if you want to purchase a phone from an overseas provider (and don't mind potentially having to root the phone to remove any carrier lock), you'll have a wider choice than we've listed below. We've stuck with locally supplied phones here because you'll have less stuffing around if there's warranty problems and you can check out the phone in person before purchase.

Here's the table; click on the image for a larger version.

Price is not necessarily an indicator of quality. At $1080 for an outright buy, the ageing X10 is ridiculously overpriced. Conversely, while the Galaxy Tab is expensive, it's a tablet device, not just a phone (and also the only option running Android 2.2 as we speak).

If you want to check out the in-depth details of a particular phone -- after all, the specs are an important part of the decision -- we've linked to the reviews on our sibling site Gizmodo for each of the phones on sale in Australia:

Know a good Australian Android standalone deal that we've missed? Spotted a mistake? (It undoubtedly happens, though we generally take the view that a company which won't list an outright price on its site isn't that interested in an outright deal.) Whatever the issue, tell us in the comments.

Lifehacker's weekly Planhacker column rounds up the best communication deals.

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Comments

    I generally get my android phones from mobicity.com.au. They get them before the carriers, are unlocked and and generally cheaper. Not that I would get an X10 but they have it for $639, a saving of over $400. I'm running a HTC Desire (A8183) that I got for $699, about $70 cheaper than Telstra.

      Me too, thanks to a recommendation from Ausdroid. Happy with the Desire, and no Telstra bloatware. Life is good!

    Optus have the Galaxy S for free on the $49 plan with a $560 termination fee. That means that it costs $560 from them, doesn't it?

      Probably other costs too, like paying out the remaining term of the contract - but Im just guessing based on past experience

        I actually took advantage of this and bought two Galaxy Ss the other day. Total cost: $1123. The extra $3 was for one day on the contract between signing up and cancelling.

        The plan is not advertised and most stores don't offer it. The only place me and my friends could find was Telechoice and you have to ask specifically for the Social Cap, instead of the advertised (and otherwise better) Extreme Plan.

        It's a good option, but it's a little dodgy and I'm fairly sure that most people will struggle to find an Optus outlet that will let them sign up to that plan because of it.

        I did the same.

        Signed up for the $49 Plan with $0 repayments. I picked it up from the Optus Store and cancelled the next day after purchase - the final bill was $561.58.

        $560 for the termination, and $1.58 for 1 day of access on the $49 plan.

        Btw, the phone came unlocked from Optus.

    I bought my HTC Desire from Topbuy.com.au for $639.29 outright. I'm using it with an Optus Sim and it works great!

    Presumably 'rooting' these phones has a technical meaning different from the colloquial Australian meaning? 'Cos I can't imagine wanting to do that...

      Some people love their Android phones a lot, but there are limits. The term refers to gaining 'root access', and it's only us Aussies who appreciate the secondary meaning.

    ahh, go to clove.co.uk - the Aussie dollar is at an all time high right now, and the pound is crashing becuase of the poor economic conditions there - which means HEALVILY DISCOUNTED PHONES B/C OF EXCHANGE RATES!

    At current rates, an unlocked Desire HD is priced at about $690AUD on pre-order, vs $829 from Mobicity.com.au

      The advantage of buying local is the local support network (of which Mobicity's is superb) and coverage of the all-seeing eye of the ACCC.

    Telstra now sell the Samsung Galaxy S (as of Monday) for $960 outright.
    Clicky [Telstra]

    I just bought my wife a Samsung Galaxy S from an Allphones store for $800 outright. It's even listed in their catalogue at that price

      Dean is referring to using a sort of trick to get the SGS for cheaper than the outright price (you sign up on a plan to get the phone, cancel it and keep the phone yet pay less ($560) than buying it directly).

      Have done it myself, works great :) but I think the Social Cap plan won't be offered after September anymore. WP thread: http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=1499579

    Where can I get the Telstra HTC Wildfire for $349?
    Telstra says $469 outright. The Wildfire would be a great buy at $349. Please let me know.

    I think if you want me to READ the articles, you should include less attractive runners on treadmills*.

    That's as far as I got before realising what was important...

    I have nothing to say about the phones though... sorry.

    *Don't follow this suggestion.

    get some decent prices....

    http://www.mobicity.com.au/phone-categories/smartphones/android.html

    Vodafone also have the 1.6 Optimus one on $229 prepaid.

    FYI the Wildfire is technically not Outright from Telstra - its prepaid and locked the their network.

    Vodafone also have the X10 Mini Pro from $429 outright.

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