If you’re shopping for a new phone or you’re looking to upgrade, you probably have a wide selection of smartphones to choose from. There are many things to consider when choosing the right smartphone, from design to running system. However, you may want to start by first deciding between a locked or unlocked phone. There are many different features that you’ll get with either a locked or unlocked phone. However, unlocked phones offer many benefits that locked phones do not. If you’re not sure which to choose, here is an overview of the differences between locked and unlocked phones.

Locked Phones

Locked phones are usually sold by a specific wireless carrier. Wherever you live, there are usually a few different providers to choose from. A locked phone means it’s locked to one provider, so you can only keep service with the provider you bought your smartphone from. This limits your options for phone plans, upgrades, travel, and much more.

Unlocked Phones

A phone that’s unlocked means that you are not locked in with a specific provider. This also means that you can connect and switch between service providers as you please. This is especially good for those who travel and want to avoid roaming charges. Unlocked phones present many more benefits as well, including eliminating many limitations.

Downsides of Choosing a Locked Phone

  • Contracts: When you buy a locked phone, you may not face many or sometimes any upfront costs, but you will be locked into a contract for anywhere from one to five years, depending on the phone and the carrier. This means that you won’t be able to switch providers and sometimes even plans unless you pay a fee to break the contract.
  • Bloatware: With most cell phones sold from a specific provider, you can expect to have some bloatware. Bloatware is software that pertains to a specific company that may not be needed or wanted by the user. However, this software, usually in the form of apps, cannot be removed.
  • No Choice of Carrier: When you choose a locked phone, you are usually limited to the one carrier from which you buy the phone. Your contract will be linked to one carrier and limit your options for phone plans, features, and more.

Benefits of Choosing an Unlocked Phone

  • Carrier Choices: You can choose any carrier you want and switch whenever you want without being tied down by a contract.
  • Travelling: If you travel often, especially abroad, you’ll want to consider an unlocked phone. To continue using your phone abroad, all you’ll need to do is swap out your SIM card for one that is specific to your location.
  • Price: You may pay more upfront for unlocked smartphones, but you can also look forward to lower monthly charges for services as well as a higher resale value over a locked phone. This is because locked phones are not as flexible, while unlocked phones are more versatile.