February 25, 2021
Galaxy S21 Plus specs vs. S21 Ultra vs. S20 Plus vs. S20 Ultra: Samsung S phones compared

Samsung Galaxy S21, S21 Plus and S21 Ultra: The best deals right now

The all-new Samsung Galaxy S21 lineup has arrived, with prices starting at $800 and rising sharply from there. Granted, that’s $200 below the S20’s starting price of last year, but still a pretty penny.

Read more: Samsung’s Galaxy S21 upgrades likely won’t spell an end to Galaxy FE or Note lines. Yet

As usual, the big carriers have rolled out their various free-with-trade-in and buy-one-get-one offers, and at least one smaller carrier is sweetening the deal with discounts and freebies. Below I’ve rounded up what I consider to be the best Galaxy S21 preorder deals available right now. (For a more complete list of options, see CNET’s roundup of where, when and how to preorder the Galaxy S21.)


Drew Evans/CNET

First, however, two buying tips to consider:

  • Forget the S21; get an S20 instead. Instead of marking down the price, Samsung is discontinuing the S20 lineup — despite it being a terrific, top-rated phone (with a microSD card slot, something the S21 lacks). That means closeout discounts are imminent, and deals on refurbs will be even better. At Back Market, for example, the unlocked Galaxy S20 starts at $585, a price that’s nearly $100 below where it was just yesterday (!) and that includes a full 12-month warranty. You might also want to consider the Galaxy S20 FE, currently $599 unlocked and a CNET Editors’ Choice.
  • Wait. Last year, it was literally a matter of weeks after launch when bigger, better S20 deals started rolling out. Although the S21’s lower starting price might result in smaller discounts, I’ve never seen a Galaxy phone release that wasn’t followed by better prices in the weeks and months following. If you’re not in a big hurry, it pays to be patient.

For sake of simplicity, all the deals below are focused on the Galaxy S21 with 128GB, but they apply to the S21 Plus and S21 Ultra as well (unless otherwise noted). In most cases you’ll just add $200 and $400, respectively.

If you don’t want to get in bed with one of the Big Three carriers but do want to finance your phone, Samsung offers free financing — for 36 months. That means you can pay as little as $22.23 per month for the Galaxy S21, but you’ll be doing that for three years.

The good news is that you’re not locked into an expensive Big Three plan. You can take the Galaxy to just about any carrier you want, even one that charges just $15 to $20 a month for service. Here are eight affordable alternatives to the Big Three.

You can also get a pretty decent credit for your trade-in if you have one. (No hoop-jumping required, just click the trade-in pull down to instantly see what your phone is worth.) And when you buy an S21 from Samsung, you get a $100 credit you can use immediately — or save for later — on accessories. The S21 Plus nets you a $150 credit; the S21 Ultra, $200. You also get one of the new Samsung SmartTags, a $30 value.

T-Mobile is offering an $800 bill credit, paid out over the course of 24 months, when you trade in an eligible phone. That credit would effectively cover the entire cost of the an S21, or heavily defray the cost of an S21 Plus or S21 Ultra.

What phones qualify as “eligible”? Surprisingly, it’s not just last year’s models. You can get that full $800 credit for an iPhone X, a Google Pixel 4a or a OnePlus 7T, for example. You can also score a $400 credit on even older phones, like the iPhone 8, Google Pixel 3a and LG V50.

This can get a little confusing at checkout, though: You’ll receive a one-time bill credit for the “fair market value” of the phone (which might be just a couple hundred dollars), then the balance across that 24-month period.

During that time you’ll also need a T-Mobile Unlimited plan, starting at $60 a month. It’s worth noting that AT&T offers a similar trade-in structure, but locks you into 30 months instead of 24.

Although Visible isn’t currently accepting preorders (you’ll have to wait for launch day, Jan. 29), the promo page shows the carrier’s ever-so-slightly discounted pricing — literally a few dollars — on the S21 and S21 Plus. (The S21 Ultra isn’t on the menu right now.)

What’s not noted there, but a company representative confirmed, is that after 32 days of active service with Visible, you’ll receive a $200 gift credit to Samsung.com. And if you also port your number from an eligible carrier, you’ll receive a free pair of Samsung Galaxy Buds Live. That’s a $170 value, and a decidedly better perk than the free SmartTag that’s offered elsewhere.

For those unfamiliar with it, Visible runs on Verizon’s network and offers an unlimited, no-contract plan for $40 a month. Sign up for Party Pay and you can get that payment down as low as $25.

We’ll add more standout Galaxy S21 deals as we find them, so check back soon!

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Our first look at the new Galaxy S21 and S21 Plus


CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow him on Facebook and Twitter. You can also sign up for deal texts delivered right to your phone. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and check out our CNET Coupons page for the latest Walmart discount codeseBay couponsSamsung promo codes and even more from hundreds of other online stores. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Answers live on our FAQ page.

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