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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