What's the Deal: Saving on smartphones

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- With the latest flagship phones from Apple and Samsung priced at a thousand dollars and up, consumers are looking for ways to save on their smartphones.

The bad news is the price of smartphones really seem to be skyrocketing, requiring many consumers to take out loans and get on payment plans for them. The good news is Consumer Reports has some ideas you may not have considered before.

Anyone who's shopped for a new smartphone recently knows they're not cheap.

Consumer Reports top-rated phones are Samsung's Galaxy Note9 for a thousand dollars. Apple's iPhone XS Max for $1100 and XS for a thousand.

You can also compare the U.S. dollar and Canadian dollar exchange rates.

But the experts at Consumer Reports know not everyone's running out to buy the latest and greatest.

Consumer Reports Tech Editor Bree Fowler said, "There's nothing cheaper than keeping the phone you already have."

Start off by giving your phone a tune-up. First, make sure the operating system is updated. That can help speed up a sluggish phone. You can also swap the battery if it's not holding a charge. A new one can cost you less than $100. Also, if your screen has seen better days, you can replace one on many older phones for about $150 or less.

But, if your old phone is beyond saving, there are ways to pay less when buying a new one.

"You should think about phones as you think about cars. If you wait a year and you buy last year's model, then you're going to save a lot of money," said Fowler.

Consumer Reports says since smartphones are evolving more slowly than they used to with each new generation, you can get an even better deal by buying one that's two years old.

Another thing to consider said Fowler, "Samsung and Apple do sell the vast majority of phones out there, but they're not the only players in the game."

LG, Sony, Google and OnePlus all have recommended models in Consumer Reports' ratings.

Another way to save? "Our readers really like refurbished smartphones," added Fowler.

In fact, 67% of people in Consumer Reports' survey with refurbished phones had no problems. That's roughly the same as people who bought new models.

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