The 15 best unlocked SIM-free phones and deals in October 2018

best unlocked sim-free phones deals

After all the bumps, cracks and dwindling battery, has your old beloved mobile phone finally come to the end of its life? It may be hard to part ways after a few years of trusty service, but we're here to make it as easy as possible by telling you the best smartphones - and, crucially, SIM-free mobile phone deals - you can by right now.

So of course we're talking about the likes of the premium iPhone X and Galaxy Note 8 phones, we’ve also got the best prices for some of the budget favorites like the cheap Moto G6 and nostalgic Nokia 3310.

SIM-free phones have become increasingly popular in the last few years. When flagship phones go on sale, it's usually very expensive to get them on contract. Take the iPhone X as a case in point - it cost a cool $999/£999 when it was released! It can be cheaper to buy the phones SIM-free and unlocked and pair them with a bargain SIM only deal.

But the RRPs of phones direct from the manufacturer are very rarely the cheapest way to get hold of your shiny new smartphone. And that's where TechRadar comes in...

So take a look through our top 15 SIM-free handsets, with an excerpt from our full reviews in case you're still umm-ing and ah-ing. If the phone you were hoping for doesn't feature, you can scroll to the bottom of this page and use our bespoke price comparison chart - the tool checks the prices for pretty much every single phone on the market and lists them all cheapest-first so you can be sure we’re always linking you to the best prices!

1. iPhone X

An iPhone for the ages

Screen size: 5.8-inches | Resolution: 1125 x 2436 | Rear camera: 12MP | Weight: 174g | OS: iOS 11 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 64GB/256GB | External storage: No | Battery: 2716mAh

Simply stunning screen
iOS 11 is looking good
Wireless charging
To state the obvious - the price!

We're kicking off with the big kahuna! We think that the iPhone X is the most important iPhone ever launched. After years of incremental upgrades, Apple has pulled out all the stops for its 10th anniversary smartphone. Face ID lets you unlock your phone just by looking at it, the stunning 5.8-inch Super Retina HD display does away with the bezel almost entirely, there's wireless charging, and that's before we even get to Animojis!

2. Samsung Galaxy S9

Among the finest Androids on the market

Weight: 163g | Dimensions: 147.7 x 68.7 x 8.5mm | OS: Android 8 Oreo | Screen size: 5.8-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 2960 | CPU: Exynos 9810 Octa | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64/128/256GB | Battery: 3000mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 8MP

Excellent biometrics
All-round brilliant cameras
Very powerful
Not a huge improvement on S8

The Samsung Galaxy S9 is a superb phone and it's currently available to pre-order from various places. If you want it SIM-free you're going to have to pay around £689 which is a lot of money. Don't worry though, if that's way too much there are some great cheaper options further down the page - and the Galaxy S8 is still brilliant if you want to save some money.

3. iPhone SE

The 'cheap iPhone' option is a good bet if you want Apple on a budget

Weight: 143g | Dimensions: 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm | OS: iOS 10 | Screen size: 4-inch | Resolution: 640 x 1136 | CPU: Apple A9 | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16/64GB | Battery: 1624mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 1.2MP

Cheap for an iPhone
Simple to use
Just like the iPhone 5S but better
Lacks top features

If you want a cheap iPhone then the iPhone SE is the best SIM-free phone to go for at the moment. It is not as powerful compared to the iPhone 7 or iPhone 8 but it is a step up from the iPhone 5S and crucially retains the 5S' size and shape which is ideal for anyone who wants an iPhone but doesn't want a phone with a massive screen.

4. Moto G6

Brand new for 2018, this is the best cheap Android phone

Weight: 167g | Dimensions: 153.8 x 72.3 x 8.3mm | OS: Android 8 Oreo | Screen size: 5.7-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2160 | CPU: Octa-core 1.8 GHz Cortex-A53 | RAM: 3/4GB | Storage: 32GB/64GB | Battery: 3000mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 5MP

Splendidly designed
Beutiful vivid display
The price!
Camera is slow

Motorola has been making our very cheap smartphones for a few years now, and the 2018 Moto G6 doesn't disappoint. It improves on the G5 in droves, including a new full HD+ 5.7-inch LCD display. And it's not just the size of the screen that we like (the Moto G6 Plus is even bigger), it's also the colours and clarity. With its 12MP main camera, 1.8GHz Octa-Core processor and up to 4GB RAM, the Moto G6 is almost as good as phones that cost more than twice the price. If you're after a really good phone but don't want to spend too much money it's always a great option.

5. Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Massive in dimensions and quality

Screen size: 6.3-inches | Resolution: 2960 x 1440 Quad HD+ | Rear camera: 12MP dual lens | Weight: 195g | OS: Android 7.1.1 | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 64/128/256GB | External storage: microSD up to 256GB | Battery: 3300mAh

Incredible Infinity display
Best Samsung camera on a phone
So powerful
Battery life could be better

The Galaxy Note 8 has garnered a lot of hype for good reason. The huge 6.3-inch ‘Infinity Display,’ is gorgeous to look at, the 6GB RAM innards go like a train and there are two best-in-class rear cameras. It's expensive, but we think the Note 8 is worth it.

6. OnePlus 6

A mighty fine mobile - a genuine alternative to Samsung's smartphones

Weight: 177g | Dimensions: 155.7 x 75.4 x 7.8 mm | OS: Android 8.1 Oreo | Screen size: 6.28-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2280 | CPU: Snapdragon 845 | RAM: 6/8GB | Storage: 64GB/128/256GB | Battery: 3,300mAh | Rear camera: 20MP + 16MP | Front camera: 16MP

Premium design and feel
Camera is a cracker
Impressive performance
Only Full HD display

There's no doubt about it, the OnePlus 6 is one of the very best Android phones on the market. If you choose your mobiles based on the quality of the camera, then the incredible dual-lens snapper will float your boat. The design and performance is in the same echelons as iPhone 8 and Samsung Galaxy S9, and yet the price is far lower.

7. iPhone 8

The iPhone to go for if the X is out of your price range

Screen size: 4.7-inches | Resolution: 750 x 1334 | Rear camera: 12MP | Weight: 148g | OS: iOS 11 | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 64GB/256GB | External storage: No | Battery: 1821mAh

Better screen than iPhone 7
New gold colour is handsome
It's expensive
Familiar design

Don't expect a revolution with the iPhone 8. It's essentially a tweaked iPhone 7 with a few enhancements and one or two upgrades. For that reason we wouldn't particularly recommend this phone to anyone with an iPhone 7 - but for those with older phones this could make a timely upgrade if the price of the iPhone X makes you want to weep.

8. Nokia 3310

A throwback to phones of yore...when batteries lasted more than a day

Weight: 79.6g | Dimensions: 115.6 x 51 x 12.8 mm **Screen size:** 2.4-inch | Resolution: 320 x 240 **RAM:** 16MB | Storage: 16MB | Battery: 1200mAh | Rear camera: 2MP

Low price
Incredible battery
Poor camera
Only 2.5G coverage

Welcome back, old friend! Pure nostalgia may be the primary jet-fuel that makes this revamped classic fly off the shelves, but for such a low price the Nokia 3310 may genuinely suit you as a second device to take to festivals or keep in your bag for emergencies. It's some way off the capabilities of actual smartphones, but...well, did we mention Snake?

9. LG V30

Best. LG. Ever.

Screen size: 6-inches | Resolution: 1440 x 2880 | Rear camera: 16MP | Weight: 158g | OS: Android 8 Oreo | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64/128GB | External storage: microSD up to 512GB | Battery: 3300mAh

Sleek design
Feature heavy
Awesome screen
Cameras have their weaknesses

Usually we herald LG's flagship G series as the go to smartphone from the brand, but the LG V30 that it brought out in 2017 is so damn good that we have to point you in its direction instead. The dazzling 1440 x 2880 screen is a particular strength and you immediately feel on first use that your handling an Android device no less premium than something of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8's ilk. It's on the pricey side, but we're confident you'll love it.

10. Honor 10

A great buy for buyers on a budget

Weight: 153g | Dimensions: 149.6 x 71.2 x 7.7mm | OS: Android 8.1 Oreo | Screen size: 5.84-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2280 | CPU: HiSilicon Kirin 970 | RAM: 4-8GB | Storage: 64/128GB | Battery: 3,400mAh | Rear camera: 24MP + 16MP dual lens | Front camera: 24MP

Good value price point
Delightful design
Great performance and camera
Battery life could be better

It didn't take us long playing with the Honor 10 to come to the conclusion that this is a well-built Android smartphone - and its stock is growing. The Honor 10 improves once again on what's gone before, with a great design and lots of nice touches to make it an impressive all-rounder. Ok, so it's never going to outperform the Samsung Galaxy S9 or LG G7 ThinQ, but the 24MP main camera and splendid design mean that it isn't far off and for a much lower price. 

11. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

A five-star phone from 2016 - we still love the Edge

Weight: 157g | Dimensions: 150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7mm | OS: Android 7 Nougat | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 2560 resolution | CPU: Snapdragon 820 / Exynos 8890 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32GB (64GB with micro SD) | Battery: 3600mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 5MP

Beautiful screen
Great feel
Super camera
Battery could be better 

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge went straight to the top of the class when it was released in 2016 - we gave it 5 stars out of 5! It somehow managed to better the accomplished Galaxy S6 Edge, by adding a brilliant camera and gorgeous design tweaks. And the price just keeps falling, making it a genuine bargain these days.

12. Apple iPhone 7

One generation older, one generation cheaper

Weight: 138g | Dimensions: 138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1mm | OS: iOS 10 | Screen size: 4.7-inch | Resolution: 750 x 1334 | CPU: Apple A10 Fusion | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 32/128/256GB | Battery: 1960mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 7MP

Good low light camera
Water resistant
Battery life better but unimpressive
Lacks clear upgrades

The iPhone 7 is still one of the most popular SIM-free phones out there, so it was always going to make our list of the best SIM-free phone deals. Is it the best SIM-free iPhone to buy though? Only you can decide that - there are better and worse iPhones on the market. But we like the balance here between quality and affordability

13. Google Pixel 2

Amazing Android, especially for photo lovers

Screen size: 5-inches | Resolution: 1080 x 1920 | Rear camera: 12MP | Weight: 143g | OS: Android 8 Oreo | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB/128GB | External storage: No | Battery: 2700mAh

Market leasing cameras
Clean Android interface
Water resistant
Lots of bezel

There's no doubt that the Pixel 2 is one of the very finest Android phones out there, but the Pixel's successor is a familiar story of incremental improvements rather than whole-scale change. The feature that might just get you buying are the top-of the-line cameras for photos and video. While the delightful screen, great-sounding speakers and slick Android operating system will all appeal to a range of smartphone users.

14. Nokia 6

Premium - yet affordable - Android phone from Nokia

Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | Rear camera: 16MP | Weight: 169g | OS: Android 7 Nougat | RAM: 3/4GB | Storage: 32/64GB | External storage: microSD up to 256GB | Battery: 3000mAh

Beautiful metallic build
Full HD display
Attractive price point
Performance doesn't impress

Solid specs. Full HD display. Premium metal casing. And all for a very affordable price. There isn't much not to like about the Nokia 6. And possibly its best feature is the way it runs from the stock Android 7 interface, making it an absolute doddle to use. It's never going to match the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S8 for pure processing power, but you can always pay a little more for the Arte version if you think you'll need more RAM.

15. BlackBerry KEYone

The return of the physical keyboard

Weight: 180g | Dimensions: 149.1 x 72.4 x 9.4mm | OS: Android 7.1 Nougat | Screen size: 4.5-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 1620 | CPU: Snapdragon 625 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32GB | Battery: 3505mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 8MP

Physical keyboard
Secure software
Not ideal for entertainment
Mediocre chipset

The KEYone is a sophisticated smartphone made for business - sound familiar?
Yep, this is classic BlackBerry territory and it resurrects a physical keyboard for a modern Android audience. The QWERTY keyboard offers more than just nostalgia, while the smart and secure software will give businesses some peace of mind. Just know that the mid-range specs will only get you so far, as will the so-so entertainment capabilities