Where would be we without our phones? They’re one of modern life’s essentials, in our personal orbits at all times. We use them for just about everything but calling; streaming entertainment, using apps, maps, paying bills - even ordering Valentine’s Day flowers at the last minute.
In fact, these days the phones in our pockets are more powerful than NASA’s Apollo-era computers which sent astronauts to the Moon.
If you’re looking for a new handset or phone contract, the good news is that there’s plenty of choice around. But with so many deals and offers out there it can be easy to feel overwhelmed.
While minutes and texts were once the main priorities, now the focus is very much on data.
If you’re about to finish your contract and now on the hunt for a new handset, SIM or a contract bundle which gives you both, it’s vital to know how much data you’re typically using a month. Do this by checking your usage in your settings.
Many networks offer Unlimited Data deals which, at first glance, have the attraction of a fill-yer-boots open buffet. However, with Lockdown 3 here, and Covid restrictions likely to continue for months, more of us are staying in connected to our home networks. The need for all-you-can-eat data is dwindling by the day.
Once you’ve worked out how much data you use a month, the next step is to consider how much you’re willing to spend every month. Both figures should help narrow down the options.
To help, we’ve rounded up the best phone deals and contracts to shop this February.
We’ve listed handsets for those who are in need of a new device, as well as SIM-only offers and phone contract deals that will kit you out with a new phone and SIM deal - but it does typically mean you’ll be tied in for 24 months.
See our favourites below
New Handsets Launching in January
It’s here! The Samsung Galaxy S21 is finally available to buy, and there are deals galore to celebrate its launch. The biggest 5G launch of the year (so far) is being offered in three iterations: Galaxy S21 5G, S21+ 5G and S21 Ultra 5G.
They come in a selection of chic ‘phantom’ shades: pink, violet, grey, white, black and for the truly bold, a stop-traffic red. This, along with the gold, are exclusive hues available only at Samsung.com.
The Infinity-O display size ranges from 6.2-inches for the first S21 5G model, with bigger sisters graduating from 6.7-inches and 6.8-inches respectively. All boast impressive all-day-long batteries, fast processors and advanced front and back cameras to help you capture sharper, cleaner content.
The latest drop from the tech giants is destined to be in high demand. Whether you’re looking to snap up a new contract deal or just want to get your hands on the device, there are plenty of options available from the biggest networks in the UK
Where to buy the new Samsung S21 5G, S21+ 5G and S21 Ultra 5
Want to get your hands on Samsung’s hottest launch? These networks are offering the new phones at competitive prices and some even have a few freebies thrown in to sweeten the deal.
O2: Get the S21 5G at O2, and bag six months of airtime, free benefits such as a Disney+ subscription and free earphones too. Available with 120GB, 30GB and Unlimited Data plans.
Vodafone: Find the biggest, and arguably the best, Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G here for £64pm (£28 upfront). Buy now for a free pair of Galaxy Buds Live. Offer ends Feb 24.
Three: You’ll pay no costs upfront of the 24-month Unlimited Data plan. Just £29.50 a month.
EE: The 5G-ready S21 is available on a range of plans, some with a free gaming bundle worth £218 thrown in for free.
Giffgaff: If you’re looking to swap your existing phone for a shiny new S21, you could get money off when you trade-in at Giffgaff. Pay for the handset only in full or monthly installments.
Tesco Mobile: Get any of the new S21 series on deals that could see you paying zero upfront and £38.99 a month.
Aternatively, shop the handset at Samsung.com
Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro
Teaming up with photojournalist Steve McCurry (who took that famous Afghan Girl snap), this release is made for everyone from the budding artist, photographer, sportsman or general techie. The high-spec phone boasts a 108MP rear camera, a 20MP front camera, a selection of modes including six long exposure ones and a selection of incredible features to ensure you get the perfect shot each time.
It comes with 5G enabled, so you’ll get your pictures onto your feed even faster. Available in black, silver and blue, the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro 5G-ready device starts from £599, although there are other devices at lower price points too.
Best phone contract deals for February
Mobiles.co.uk contract deals
The online retailer has revealed an incredible deal. For a limited time, buy the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 4G & 5G, and you will get the free gift of a Samsung Galaxy Watch Active, worth £199.
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 4G, Vodafone, 54GB Data, £30 p/month, £110 Upfront
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 4G, Vodafone, 54GB Data, £34 p/month, £50 Upfront
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G, Vodafone, 54GB Data, £34 p/month, £125 Upfront
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G, Vodafone, 54GB Data, £30 p/month, £210 Upfront
Three pay monthly deals
The Three Winter Sale continues to serve up irresistable deals across the board.
There are PAYG deals as well as pay monthly contracts to choose from. Among the highlights is the new iPhone Apple 12 Pro Max which is half price for six months on selected plans. As a fairly new release, it’s still on the pricier end of the spectrum: £99 upfront, then £58 a month. That said, if you’re prepared to fork out for one of the most popular devices around this is a good offer.
Vodafone pay monthly deals
Running until Jan 28, there’s more than enough time to take advantage of the special offers in Vodafone’s seasonal sale.
The headline offera right now include the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE, £46pm (was £54pm) with just £9 upfront, down from £29. It comes with unlimited minutes and text, while data-wise, Unlimited Lite is available along with roaming in 51 destinations.
O2 pay monthly deals
Whether you’re looking for a budget buy or ready to splash out on the latest device with a generous data plan to match, O2 has you covered.
The network is offering free Disney+ on a selection of contract deals, a great incentive to take out a phone with them if you’ve been thinking about subscribing to the channel anyway.
It’s available some of the most popular phones around right now, think the iPhone 11, iPhone XR, iPhone SE 2020, Galaxy A21s, Galaxy S20 (which comes with 5G), plus many more. Check out the As New selection too if you’re watching the pennies; refurbished devices should bring down the price a bit.
EE pay monthly deals
From Google phones to Samsungs and Apple’s iPhone, there are plenty of contract offers to snap up at EE, starting at an unbelievable £14pm for a refurbished Huawei.
An ‘as new’ model is the perfect choice for a first phone for teens as well as for the more mature user who isn’t fazed by brand names. As well as competitive contracts, EE will chuck in a benefit - like Apple Music, Prime Video and Roam Further - across many plans for free too.
Best SIM-only Deals
If you're happy with the handset you’ve already got, getting a SIM-only deal can keep your monthly costs right down.
giffgaff SIM-only deals
Famed for its budget options (including a line of refurbished phones), giffgaff has a goodybag - what they call their SIM-only deals - for just £6pm. This option does only give you 500MB data so better for a second, back-up phone or someone who doesn’t need to get online much.
A more realistic option is the 15GB data SIM which is £15, which should be plenty for most people in lockdown who will likely only need data for their daily walk or outdoor fitness session. But if you’re worried, spend £5 more and jump up to a whopping 80GB data SIM for just £20.
Three SIM-only deals
If you’re looking to hook yourself up to superfast 5G, head to Three. The network has a SIM-only deal right now that offers unlimited data with 5G at no additional cost for half price for the first six months. You’ll pay £10 until month seven, after which it will increase to £20pm. It comes with Go Roam Around The World - so you can post envy-inducing snaps to your followers when travel restrictions allow. 12 or 24 month contract.
Vodafone SIM-only deals
Get double whammy data over at Vodafone, where the star offer is 40GB for £18pm on a 24 month plan.
If you’re in the market to switch your broadband provider too, you can get money off on a SIM-only plan and broadband bundle with Vodafone.
O2 SIM-only deals
Famous for dishing out of rewards, O2 is giving back to customers through its SIM-only offering. Right now, you can get things like daily offers with O2 Priority, free O2 WiFi, O2 Travel Inclusive Zone and six months of on-demand service Disney+ too - although there are other options if The Magic Kingdom gang don’t do it for you.
Currently, there is a SIM-only deal for 100GB for £20 a month on a 18-month plan. It also comes with roaming to 75 destinations including the US - good news if you’re planning a 2021 trip abroad.
As a sweetener, if you get this now, they’ll drop the price for the first six months to just £10pm.
EE SIM-only deals
The data rewards are huge at EE, where the top SIM-only deal is £20pm for a huge 120GB data. It comes with unlimited minutes and texts but you’ll be tied into a 24-month contract, twice the contract length when compared against similar deals at other networks.
If you're willing to put up with 4G, the upshot is a whopping 250MB for £13pm, undenibly much kinder to your pocket - especially if you tot up the savings across the year, compared to the first deal we mentioned.