5 phones you absolutely shouldn’t buy on Black Friday

Black Friday is one of the best times of year to stock up on new tech — smartphones included. Whether you’re in the market for a flagship do-it-all phone or something that won’t break the bank, Black Friday is the time to make that smartphone upgrade you keep pushing off.

But buying a phone during Black Friday isn’t as easy as opening your favorite website and buying the first or cheapest phone you see. While there are a lot of great smartphone deals for Black Friday 2022, there are also a lot of stinkers. Before you head out and spend your hard-earned dollars, here are five smartphones you really shouldn’t buy during Black Friday.

Moto G Fast

The Moto G Fast laying on a table.
Digital Trends

It’s not every day you can buy a smartphone for under $100, which makes the Moto G Fast on sale for $99 so tempting — especially when it usually retails for $199. There’s no doubt the flashy price is impressive, but when it comes to the phone itself, the Moto G Fast leaves a great deal to be desired.

Why? It starts with the display. The 6.4-inch screen size is plenty of room for apps and games, but with a cheap LCD panel and a measly 720p resolution, it’s not one you’ll want to look at for any extended period of time. And given the phone’s age, you’ll likely find yourself sitting around and waiting a lot for those apps and games to load. The Snapdragon 665 processor paired with 3GB of RAM wasn’t the best performer when the Moto G Fast launched in 2020, and in 2022, it’s only going to be slower.

There are more reasons to avoid the Moto G Fast. It has just 32GB of onboard storage for all of your digital files, the camera system will regularly leave you disappointed, and the phone is stuck running Android 11 with no hopes of ever getting Android 12 or 13.

As enticing as the $99 price is, you’re better off putting that money towards another phone you’ll actually enjoy using over the next couple of years — something the Moto G Fast simply isn’t up to.

OnePlus 10T

Back of the OnePlus 10T.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

In a bubble, the OnePlus 10T isn’t a bad smartphone. In fact, there’s a lot that it does quite well. The 120Hz AMOLED display looks fantastic, the performance from the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip is outstanding, and the 125W wired charging takes the battery from 0% to 100% in around 20 minutes. It’s all very impressive stuff.

Unfortunately, all of those high points and reduced by varying levels of mediocrity from the OnePlus 10T. The plastic design feels cheap. The cameras are fine but don’t do anything special. And big features like wireless charging and OnePlus’s iconic alert slider are nowhere to be seen.

Making things all the more challenging for the OnePlus 10T is its price — even its discounted one for Black Friday. You can get the 8GB RAM/128GB storage model for $575 right now, down from the $649 it would usually cost you. Instead, you could spend $550 for the much better OnePlus 10 Pro — delivering a nicer design, better cameras, and wireless charging plus the alert slider for $25 less.

Motorola Edge+ (2022)

Motorola Edge Plus 2022 on a background with multiple shades of blue.
Digital Trends

One of the best Black Friday tricks is seeing a discount that seems too good to be true — and that’s precisely what happens with the Motorola Edge+ (2022). The phone has an MSRP of $999, but just for Black Friday, it can be yours for $599. That’s a full $400 off!

For that $599, the Motorola Edge+ delivers a pretty solid spec sheet. There’s a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, a 6.7-inch 144Hz display, a 50MP rear camera, and a big 4,800 mAh battery. It all sounds great, right?

In practice, the Edge+ comes up short. The camera quality is middling, the IP52 dust/water resistance offers barely any protection, and it’s only promised two years of software updates. Considering you can get a Google Pixel 7 for the same price — a smartphone that’s better than the Motorola Edge+ in virtually every way — it’s nigh impossible to make a good argument for this one.

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE

The rear panel of the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE with its triple rear cameras.

Another phone with Black Friday sticker shock is the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE. Amazon shows that the S21 FE has a normal list price of $699, but for Black Friday only, you can buy it for $399. That just has to be a great deal!

However, as you’d expect at this point in the article, there’s more to unpack here than a low price. The Galaxy S21 FE was met with a fair share of criticism at launch. It delivers lackluster battery life, slow charging speeds, and was always dragged down by the $699 it typically retails for.

While the $399 price for Black Friday is significantly better, there are just better ways you can spend your dollars these days. For $50 less, you can buy the Google Pixel 6a and get a phone with excellent cameras, cleaner/smarter software features, and a more compact design that’s easier to hold. And if you can stretch your budget, the Galaxy S22 is on sale for less than $600 — delivering more capable cameras, a faster and more efficient processor, and a more premium design.

Apple iPhone X

iPhone X - How to use AirDrop
Julian Chokkattu / Digital Trends

It’s not just Android phones that see discounts during Black Friday — iPhones are also fair game for their fair share of discounts. But just like Android phones, not every iPhone Black Friday deal is a good one.

One such lackluster deal is a pre-owned iPhone X, which is discounted to $319 as part of Best Buy’s Black Friday promo. Getting a modern-looking iPhone for around $300 can be tempting, but having launched in 2017, “modern” isn’t exactly the first word we’d use to describe the iPhone X in late 2022. It has an aging processor, the camera system is pretty barebones by today’s standards, and it’s likely on its last legs for future iOS updates.

While the iPhone X may not be a great Black Friday pickup, there are plenty of other iPhone deals to consider. Walmart is selling the iPhone SE for just $99 and the iPhone 11 for only $199.

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