Android Enthusiast
Jan 30, 2011
San Diego, CA
I know that getting an unlocked phone means no bloatware but having never gotten one before I don't know what other pros and cons there are going that route. I would very much like to get the 1TB version that is apparently only available directly from Samsung as far as I can tell but I can't afford to pay the whole cost of the phone out of pocket and I don't know that my credit would allow me to qualify for any kind of Samsung financing if they even have that. I've been having an increasing number of issues\frustrations with my Note 10 + and I am going to be on my second replacement phone in the next couple of days and think it's time to move on.

Can I get some feedback from any of you who have gone that route before?

Thanks in advance.
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i have an unlocked z fold 3. i have a sim card that is on verizon......and yes there is no verizon bloatware on it. i did buy it outright. the pros is that you insert other sims from other carriers and still have a working phone. not sure if there is any cons. i have not come across any yet. but this is my first unlocked phone i have purchased.

i was at a Samsung Experience store and they were advertising the you can finance the phone thru https://www.affirm.com/. there is no credit check and you have to agree to pay a certain amount each month. you might want to check that option out. it might even work on samsung's website as well. i have used affirm in the past to purchase other things. it works great and makes it easy to buy things. just be careful though. it is very easy to go out of control.

here is some onfo on them:
Samsung financing is super easy to get and apply for on their site. Plus, I'm not sure there is really any difference between unlocked and 'carrier' version. Even if a phone had bloat, these days you should be able to remove all of that anyway. I've found the deals on Samsung's site to be better, with better terms, so I'd only buy from them (unless maybe bestbuy had a better deal). But even if you go unlocked (i did) they still made me pick the 'Verizon unlocked version' (whatever that means.)
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am currently owner of a S10Plus bought directly from Samsung almost 4 years ago, it was my first time buying unlocked from the manufacturer instead of from VZ and I found it to be a great thing with little downside. I took the sim from my existing VZ Motorola Droid Turbo and slipped it into the S10+, getting it on the network immediately.

I can't remember precisely how I was notified, perhaps a popup message on the phone, but it seemed the sim card was an older one I'd been using for several years prior, so I chatted with VZ support online, and they told me to go to a local shop to pick up a current version sim card for free. Once inserted, VZ updated my new card over the air and it's been chugging along ever since.

At any rate, I had bought an unlocked phone so that I could comfortably travel with it, and it came in handy when I took a tour of Israel and Jordan, for that trip I ordered a pair of local sim cards to slip into my and my wife's phones. There was no problem with establishing connection to the local radio frequencies, and we had connectivity all during our vacation.

I recall that my previous Verizon branded phones would not support all of the radio frequency spectrum, favoring the VZ frequencies and that is how the phone is locked to their network. Nice to be free to choose because I had once tried using a local sim on a trip to Asia and the Moto phone couldn't connect so I had to rely on wifi at tea shops.
The differences between a carrier unlocked and manufacturer unlocked device are:

A device bought from a carrier is generally had at a discount, and then unlocking is free or cheap enough after about a year of use.
This device will have carrier bloatware on it, and possibly other differences .
It will most likely only be able to use the same cellular system as the original carrier used, ie. if it is a Verizon device, it may not work on AT&T systems.
This is because it is likely to only have one set of cellular receiver, because it was only made to work gor that carrier.

A manufacturer unlocked device?

Manufacturer unlocked devices have no carrier bloatware, and will work with multiple different carrier systems.
Mine can work on almost any American cellular system.
That is because it has multiple cellular receivers.

This drastically increases the cost of the device.

Another difference that I have seen for myself?

My ol'lady has a carrier locked version, and I have the manufacturer unlocked version of the same device, the Moto e (2020).

Hers has a replaceable battery, while mine does not.