The unlocked versions of Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are available starting today at Best Buy retail stores. The S8 is $724.99 and the S8 Plus is $824.99. Both are also being sold directly by Samsung, but Best Buy is probably your fastest bet if you didn’t pre-order; quite a few stores here in New York are already stocking the unlocked devices. The unlocked Galaxy S8 is compatible with all four major networks in the US, as it offers the necessary support for both GSM and CDMA bands.
Buying the unlocked Galaxy S8 makes sense if you really hate carrier bloat, but you might be waiting a long time for software updates. Last year’s unlocked Galaxy S7 was updated at a snail’s pace compared to carrier versions of the phone, which received new software features (and Android Nougat) months before the unlocked model.
Don’t expect timely software updates on the unlocked Galaxy S8
Another unlocked phone release today is the BlackBerry KeyOne, which you can purchase from either Amazon or Best Buy for $549.99. Just be careful about which model you buy, as the TCL-made BlackBerry comes in two configurations.
The one sold at Best Buy stores (and also Amazon) works on GSM networks like AT&T and T-Mobile. But if you’re on Verizon, only Amazon is carrying the model “optimized” for that network. I can’t find the Amazon listing just yet, and I’m not clear on whether that one is also compatible with GSM networks, so I’ve asked TCL for clarification. It sure would’ve made things simpler for buyers if TCL had shipped a phone that works on any network. Sprint will be adding the KeyOne to its phone portfolio at some point.
The KeyOne is a solid Android smartphone — especially if a physical keyboard appeals to you. But that keyboard leads to sacrifices elsewhere. Namely, the display is smaller than what you might be used to. But it’s a reliable smartphone with excellent battery life. And that keyboard opens up a ton of personalization options.
Planning on getting either one?