Updated: December 2017
Unlocked Cell Phone Reviews and Buying Guide:Ever felt trapped in one of those service agreements with your wireless carriers and want to leave without paying a penalty fee. If you start your service with an unlocked cell phone you can come and go from carriers on your own terms. The Catch? You need to pay for the actual phone up front and that means a premium for your iPhone, Blackberry, Samsung Galaxy, or Android cell phone. When you sign those contracts for 1 or 2 years, the carrier is pretty much subsidizing the real cost of the cell phone since you will be paying them a monthly fee for their service. Still not getting the benefits of an unlocked cell phone. There are quite a few, but the biggest is that you could switch back and forth from carriers and not pay the contract ending penalties. You can also take an unlocked GSM phone to Europe and use it there on their networks. Is it legal to unlock a cell phone? Yes, no matter what you hear or don't hear about this, you can buy unlocked cell phones or have yours unlocked even after you buy it.
Choosing an Unlocked Cell Phone - The biggest shock to those shopping for unlocked mobile phones is the price tag. We are so used to hearing that you get a smartphone for free if you just sign up for a service contract with a wireless network. When you hear that the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is over $600 (unlocked version), many consumers say that is crazy. What about an HTC Inspire Android phone for $300? Factory unlocked Apple iPhone 4S - it goes for about $800. This tells you what the carriers are getting from you in the long run. You might get the iPhone 4 for $200 and take on the contract, but the carrier makes up for that cost over the long haul of you paying them a monthly fee. Manufacturers still get their money no matter what, but owning an unlocked iPhone gives you more freedom as to which carrier you choose and for how long. Is that extra freedom worth the up front bill? As of right now there are few people that pay to have unlocked cell phones. I asked about 20 of my "techie" friends and not one owned a cell phone that was unlocked. If you are searching for a top rated unlocked cell phone, we suggest going to Amazon.com where you will find top brands like HTC, Apple, Blackberry, Samsung, LG, Motorola, and Nokia. You can view the best selling unlocked cell phones online here. The reviews for each phone are worth the read as they give you an idea of what to expect. Some people found that eventhough they had an unlocked cell phone and switched carriers, not all the features worked from carrier to carrier. It's important to find out if there are any limitations with a specific phone as you make that switch or you might be disappointed.