The Samsung S5 smartphone may be more evolution than revolution compared to previous models, but for many it's the must-have mobile right now. Our comparison tool helps you track down the right Samsung model and tariff for your budget.
Finding the right deal depends on usage, contract length, if you pay upfront and your network. We've highlighted our top picks below, but use the tool to 'compare by tariffs', where you punch in minutes, text and data, or click ‘show me what I can afford’, where you search by max monthly cost.
Warning! This table is automatically generated. Please double check prices before signing up – email us with any problems, suggestions or missing tariffs.
Warning! The results table is automatically generated. Please double check prices before signing up – email us with any problems, suggestions or missing tariffs.
Our Samsung comparison tool pinpoints your cheapest tariff, but these extra tips could slice £100s more off your mobile bill. Starting with choosing the right phone, our guide takes you through cheap Sim-only and pay-as-you-go options, plus it'll dial down your mobile insurance costs.
If you're not bothered about having the latest smartphone, and you want a MoneySaving mobile, read the Cheap Mobiles guide for tips on how to minimise your bills.
Ask yourself what you really want from your phone, and what features are important to you. Below, we've compared the features for each model.
Samsung's latest Android phone, the S5, may not herald a new era of smartphones, but its new gadgets have impressed reviewers. In a nutshell, it's faster and more fluid to use than the S4, with extra functions and a bigger, better camera that works under water.
As tech bible Wired magazine says: "The S5 is an iteration on the S4, rather than a complete overhaul. But they're all iterations in strong areas."
It's dustproof, waterproof and features a fingerprint scanner to unlock it. If you're a fitness fanatic, its heart rate sensor may come in handy too. You can also switch all functions to solely making calls and texting - nothing else. This'll stop you draining the battery juice quickly.
For snap-happy smartphone nerds, the S5's 16-megapixel (MP) camera sets it apart. It has a slightly bigger screen (5.1in) than the S4 and its image clarity is more pristine.
The S5 runs on the Android Kitkat operating system, so its performance should be silky smooth, with no lag as you launch between functions. It should in fact rival Apple's iOS 7 operating system.
Who would this phone suit? Demand for the S5 has been huge, breaking Samsung's own records for sales of the S4. If you're a smartphone enthusiast, it'll quench your thirst for a pristine camera and clever new functions.Galaxy S5 top picks Compare all Galaxy S5 deals
The Samsung Galaxy S4 is still loved by techie review sites such as Tech Radar and GSM Arena, with many comparing it to the best Apple iPhones. It comes with the Android Jelly Bean operating system, and a 5in screen - an inch bigger than the screen of its rival, the iPhone 5S.
It was an improvement to its predecessor (the S3) in a few aspects (bigger screen, better camera), but the plastic body and many of the S3 features remained.
Who would this phone suit? Prices have fallen a little for the S4, and you won't have to cough up as much for the handset. Better deals on the S4 tend to be where you can get medium allowances, eg, 500 MB, 500 minutes etc.Galaxy S4 top picks Compare all Galaxy S4 deals
The Galaxy S4 Mini is a scaled down version of Samsung's most popular smartphone, the S4.
It's the baby of the S4 range, weighing just 107g - though it still has a decent sized touchscreen that's bigger than that of rival Apple's iPhone 5, measuring a mighty 4.3in.
Reviews have suggested because of it's slightly smaller size, it's a lot easier to use one-handed compared to the S4. There's a full review on Tech Radar.
Who would this phone suit? It's reasonably priced, so therefore a good option for those who want a top spec smartphone without the heavy price tag. And if you don't need oodles of data, contracts start from as little as £15.50/mth.Galaxy S4 Mini top picks Compare all Galaxy S4 Mini deals
According to BillMonitor, 76% of people are on the wrong contract. Use too few minutes, data or texts and you'll overpay for the contract each month. Yet go over your allowance and the extra charges are costly.
Analyse how many minutes, texts and how much data you're likely to use to get the right tariff. If you're new to smartphones, expect to use much more data than before. Here's a rough guide, based on figures from BillMonitor, to help you determine which type of user you are:
- Low user. Uses about 250 mins, 500 texts and 200MB of data per month
- Average user. Uses about 500 mins, 100 texts and 1GB of data per month
- High user. Uses about 1,000 mins, 1,000 texts and 3GB of data per month
For info on how to calculate your exact usage, read the Cheap Mobiles guide.
Unless you're a heavy user, a standalone handset with a Sim-only deal can often be the cheapest option. There are many one-month rolling contract Sim-only deals available, so you're not tied in - you only pay for what you use. See Sim-only deals for the best.
Already have a Sim-only deal from an old phone? Unless you buy a handset for that network, to put it in a new handset you'll need to "unlock" it from its pre-set network provider. For some phones this can be free, or it could cost up to £30 - for more info, see Mobile Unlocking.
You can get cheap handsets from retailers such as Argos or Play.com. Use the MegaShopBot to quickly compare prices.
4G, also known as LTE or Long Term Evolution, is a lightning-quick internet connection for mobile devices, which will allow you to browse the net on your phone up to five times faster than with 3G.
Check with your chosen provider whether you can actually get 4G where you live before signing up. To get 4G, as well as being in an area that can receive a 4G signal, you’ll also need a 4G tariff and a 4G-compatible handset.
Important. Because of the way retailers give us data for the Samsung tool, we’re unable to specify whether a tariff is 4G or 3G. If you’re looking for a 4G tariff, click through and check first.
All Samsung Galaxy phones bar the S5, S4, S3 and the Note 2 take a normal size Sim card. The S5, S4, S3 and Note 2 take a micro-Sim (like Apple iPhones).
If you've already got your perfect Sim-only deal and want to put your Sim card into a phone that takes a micro-Sim, speak to your network provider. It should give you a new micro-Sim for free.
12-month contracts usually work out cheapest overall, even though they often come with bigger upfront and monthly costs. These contracts also give you the flexibility to switch sooner, so if you want to upgrade your phone, you won't have to wait so long.
If you haven't got the cash to pay upfront for the phone, consider taking a longer contract with a "free" phone. See the spread the handset cost section below for more info.
What about high users? Unfortunately the majority of cheap contracts with a higher allowance have a longer contract attached, usually 24 months. 18-month contracts barely exist now for the latest Samsung phones.
Paying more upfront for your new phone usually means a cheaper Sim-only monthly contract. If you haven't got the ready cash though, a longer, 24-month contract may mean no initial outlay.
But look at overall value. Contracts with no upfront cost often mean paying more overall.
The big plus is Sim-only contracts are usually cheaper, and shorter. Also, you won't pay a hidden extra monthly cost for the handset, so your tariff price and overall costs drop significantly. It does mean a large initial outlay though.
Below are the networks' best Sim-only offerings. Remember, if you're getting a Samsung Galaxy S5, S4 or S3, you'll need a micro-Sim.
Our top pick Sim-only deal, Giffgaff*, offers a range of deals suitable for low users up to smartphone addicts who eat through hefty allowances. Tethering is not allowed, however.
The company offers deals via a range of 'goody bags'. For example one goody bag gets you unlimited texts, 1GB data and 500 minutes for £10/mth. For high users, it has another goody bag at £18/month for unlimited texts, unlimited data and 2,000 minutes. The phone itself is (gulp) £465. If you can't afford this, Giffgaff offers various financing deals such as £50 upfront, then £29/mth for 24 months. Sadly Giffgaff's not available yet on 4G.
It uses O2's network, so is available in most of the UK, but Sims will only work in phones that are unlocked or on O2. So if your phone is locked to Vodafone for example, you will need to get it unlocked to get Giffgaff to work in it.
Giffgaff Sim cards now come as "snappable" dual Sims, so they will work in phones which require a micro-Sim, as well as mobiles which just require a standard Sim.
If you're practically glued to your phone, Virgin Mobile's* £15/mth Unlimited VIP Sim-only tariff gives you unlimited minutes, texts and 2GB data/mth. Plus it's on a 30-day rolling contract, handy if you'd rather not be locked in for a year.
Few people need unlimited minutes and text, so consider if it's really worth paying for. It's available on standard, micro and nano Sims - there's a 99p delivery charge for the Sim, though this is free if you've got Virgin Media cable. If you want monthly bills by post, it's an extra £1.50/mth.
To see this deal, click the link above, then click 'No I don't', when asked if you've got Virgin broadband, TV or home phone.
You can use your existing handset, but only if it's already on Virgin's network, or unlocked. Read the Mobile Unlocking guide for full help if your phone needs unlocking.
Smartphones are fast becoming the norm. If you use your phone to constantly search the web, you need to watch the amount of data you use. As more data-hungry apps are released, it's fair to question whether you'll chomp through your data allowance quickly each month and wind up paying a wedge for more.
For checking emails, looking at Facebook and watching the odd YouTube video, 500MB should be more than enough.
To give you a rough idea, MSE's Eesha says: "I have 500MB a month. I tend to use close to this limit but never go over. I generally just use Whatsapp, Facebook, emails, and check deals apps like Groupon, Wowcher, Quidco and the Paypal app."
Downloading videos, TV shows or other web-heavy apps may take you over your limit and incur heavy charges.
If you're worried about data use, try using the free Onavo app mentioned below.
Though there's an increasing number of tariffs offering 1GB+ and "unlimited" data, if you're an average user it's unlikely you'll really get through this much. Especially as free wi-fi hotspots are now just about everywhere.
Vodafone suggests a data allowance of 500MB will let you read and reply to approximately 100 emails, view 92 BBC News stories, AND browse around 44 mobile web pages every day.
However, heavy downloaders could end up paying out BIG if you exceed your download allowance. Some providers charge as much as 60p/MB if you go over your inclusive data limit.
Try the free app Onavo, which says it compresses data when web-browsing and using other apps such as Facebook and Twitter. This means the same amount of surfing will only use a fraction of your data allowance, avoiding any hefty fees.
More info about Onavo
Onavo says it can reduce data usage by 80% (we've not been able to verify this yet, but please leave your feedback in the Onavo forum discussion) and is secure as it doesn't store any of your info. It works in 90 countries, so can help minimise expensive roaming rates too.
What does it do? It can compress data for the following, meaning you should use less MB:
What does it not do? There are a number of things Onavo cannot compress, crucially:
How much does it cost? It's available free for Android, but Onavo says it will eventually start charging a fee for new and existing users. It will notify you before it decides to do this though.
Selling your old mobile could help you recoup some of the cost of your new one. There are two ways you can do this:
Flog your mobile for more
There's huge demand for second-hand mobiles, so it's very much a seller's market. Therefore, perhaps unsurprisingly, eBay* should be your first port of call if you're willing to put in a bit of (virtual) legwork. At the time of writing, an unlocked Samsung Galaxy S4 in decent nick could fetch around £148.
Flog your mobile in a hurry
If you want a guaranteed amount of cash to put towards your next handset (or something else entirely), mobile recycling sites are an easy option.
To save you the hassle of going door-to-door, our MobileValuer tool compares how much each of the big players will offer for your old phone, whether it's working or broken. Usually you'll get a bit less than what you'd get if you listed the phone on eBay. For example, the most you'd get for recycling a Galaxy S3 is £100.
Here are links to some of the most popular phones recycled for cash using the MobileValuer:
Accidents can and do happen. Because mobiles are worth so much more to us these days (and they cost a lot more), if you lose 'em, break 'em or have 'em nicked, it can be costly to replace them.
Insurers play on this fear with hefty prices and unnecessary cover. Yet you can get cheap insurance for your Samsung phone from £57/year.
Read the full Mobile Insurance guide for full info and best buys.
It's often possible to grab extra cashback on top when you sign up for a mobile phone contract. To get it, you need to sign up via a specialist cashback website rather than directly with the network provider. Cashback websites use affiliate links to generate revenue, so if they get paid when you sign up, you'll get paid.
Unfortunately this cash is never guaranteed, as sometimes cashback sites don't track deals in progress, so it's generally best to pick the right tariff first and view any cashback as an added extra. To find out more about how these sites can pay you, and how you can make the most of them, read the full Cashback Sites guide.
Retailer redemption cashback. Don't confuse cashback sites with cashback you can get directly through a retailer, through redemption. This kind of cashback isn't straightforward, and can often require you to send several copies of your monthly bills on certain days.
We rarely include these kinds of deals, unless they're super-cheap. If we do include them, they'll be mentioned in the free MoneySavingExpert.com weekly email.
Don't forget to check out second-hand models on eBay* and refurbished ones directly from your network. Make sure it's unlocked (see Mobile Unlocking for full info) though, so you can take advantage of super-cheap Sim-only tariffs.
Be warned though, you'll miss out on manufacturer warranties.
Some retailers, including Buy Mobile Phones and One Stop Phone Shop, automatically add insurance to a mobile phone contract when you sign up online, regardless of whether you want it or not.
This has stung quite a few MSE users, so be sure to read all the small print, thoroughly, before clicking the 'buy' button.
These insurance policies are normally more expensive than standard insurance, and as there's not usually an 'opt out' option, you must remember to cancel it as soon as you get your phone.
If you cancel over the phone, ask the company to email you with confirmation of the cancellation, so you have it in writing too. Read the full Mobile Insurance guide for how to get the cheapest standalone mobile cover.
Losing your mobile phone can be a night
mare of lost data, photos and contacts. Yet there are a number of easy ways to protect your mobile and data, many of which are free.
Regardless of how expensive your phone is, the info you've got stored on can also be mega-valuable, and it's a nightmare (and probably a lost cause) to retrieve contacts, photos, apps, games, messages and more back after losing a handset.
To beat this, free services can back up this crucial info before you lose it.
This type of back-up is becoming increasingly common. Plug in your phone to your computer and data is synced with a server, effectively saving it to be retrieved at a button push. Always check you know exactly which info is being stored, and if anything important is missed use a different route to save that.
Take a look at this step-by-step guide on Samsung's site for how to back up data.
Most modern phones will be supplied with a cable and some software to connect them to your computer. This software is usually designed to sync calendars and address books, but you can use it to store numbers too.
All smartphones now have a dedicated back up service, but these usually store stuff on the PC, not online, which could be a worry if your system crashes.
Samsung phones use KIES.
Orange also offers a backup service, called Memory Mate, but it charges you a one-off fee of £2.99 for the privilege (unless you are upgrading in store). Three Mobile and T-Mobile users should check the web-based options above.
Rather than using up your monthly download allowance, when you're out and about, find a free wi-fi hotspot to use instead.
McDonald's, Starbucks and Wetherspoon pubs all offer free wi-fi access, plus check My Hotspots, Free Hotspot, and Hotspot Locations for more. There are thousands of free, legal wireless hotspots around the UK. See the Cheap Mobile Broadband guide for more info.
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