How Prime Day became Amazon’s biggest day of all time

Amazon Prime Day 2018 will likely fall on July 10th this year – the second Tuesday in July. If you weren’t aware, Prime Day is Amazon’s summertime version of Black Friday. It’s when thousands of products are sold at a discount, and in 2017 it was the biggest day in Amazon’s history: busier than Black Friday, busier than Cyber Monday, and busier than Prime Day 2016.

It’s no wonder that in July 2017 Amazon Boss Jeff Bezos briefly became the world’s richest man – he’s got all our money.

Prime Day this year fell on July 12th and on the day 2.6 million people visited TechRadar as we ran deals pages and buying guides pointing readers to the best deals and the best products! Prime day has always taken place on the second Tuesday in July, so that’s why we’ve got our money on Amazon Prime Day 2018 taking place on July 10th.

  • Amazon Prime Day sales last year:
  • 3.5 million toys
  • 50,000 TP-Link smart plugs
  • 200,000 dresses
  • 300,000 lightbulbs
  • 100,000 Amazon Launchpad items
  • 45,000 pairs of headphones
  • 32,000 electric toothbrushes
  • 52,000 kitchen items
  • 37,000 power tools

The figures for headphones, toothbrushes, kitchen items and power tools are for Amazon UK alone. It’s safe to say Prime Day 2017 was a success. 

What were the best Prime Day deals this year?
As ever, you can count on us to find the very best Amazon Prime Day deals. In 2017 the best Prime Day deals included the PlayStation 4, high quality headphones, Oral-B Bluetooth toothbrushes. Other top deals included:

Amazon Devices: Echo speakers, Kindles, Fire TV Stick
Pressure cooker: the Instant Pot Duo80 cooker was $40 off
Philips Hue: smart bulbs were 50% off in US and UK
LG OLED TV: $700 savings on 65-inch LG OLED TVs in the US
Microsoft Surface Pro 4: Prices down to £479.99 in the UK
Philips Fidelio L1: £180 off these headphones
PlayStation Plus: 15 months for £29.99 in the UK

So are Prime Day deals really real?

As with any sale some products are end of line stock or things that just aren’t selling, but many deals are genuine. Let’s take a look at the US bestseller, the Instant Pot DUO80 pressure cooker. On Prime Day it was $90, and if you check its price history on CamelCamelCamel.com you’ll see that it’s been tracking at $129 for most of 2017.

There’s one big blip in the graph, though: on the 2nd of July it went up to $209.10, dropping back to $129 the following day. If you’re comparing the Prime Day price to the 2nd of July price then the saving is clearly illusory – but compare it to the normal selling price and it’s clearly still a good deal. Reader, we bought it.

Checking other devices can be illuminating, though. Amazon’s Echo Dot is usually $49.99, but it dropped to $39.99 in June, in May, in December and on Black Friday. The Kindle Paperwhite price goes up and down more often than a kangaroo on a bouncy castle, moving from $119.99 to $99.99 every fortnight or so.

The lesson here, other than “don’t buy Amazon devices at full price”, is that you really need to know the value of what you’re looking at. Some deals, such as our pressure cooker, are genuine (and no doubt arranged with the supplier way in advance to trade margin for volume). Others aren’t necessarily deals you need to race to get, because the devices will be discounted again soon. And as with any sale, forget the RRP/MSRP when you’re looking at the sale price – especially on big ticket items such as televisions. The RRP on those only exists to give retailers a laugh.

What were the weirdest deals this year?

Where do we start? There was 40% off cream made from sheep placentas, 27% off Yeti Garden Statues, 40% off a Viking-style drinking horn and 20% off a hot dog toaster. We didn’t even know hot dog toasters existed. You could get 14 dollars off a 12-pack of Perky Jerky Turkey, 20% off a Beard Bib and 56% off glasses that apparently make your eyes think you’re on magic mushrooms.  

Prime Day on Twitter:

As you can probably imagine, the reaction to Amazon Prime Day on Twitter featured snark and moaning in roughly equal measures. JeffGrub encouraged everyone to consider the true meaning of Prime Day, Marky Bummers mourned what we’ve lost, and Mila expressed herself through the medium of Muppets. Reverend Scott marvelled at Amazon’s marketing, Christine Hennessey spotted the significance of it all and Jacqueline Herrera stressed the importance of reading the reviews.

The Echo Dot was the most-bought item on Prime Day in the UK this year

So what is Amazon Prime Day anyway?

Like any sale, the main reason for Amazon Prime Day is to get people spending money they wouldn’t otherwise spend. Get them through the virtual doors with great offers and hope they’ll spend cash on other things too. In Amazon’s case there’s also the Prime membership that the day promotes: no Prime, no Prime Day. While Amazon offers a free trial of Prime and some shoppers will cancel the subscription before any payment comes due, many won’t.

More people signed up for Prime on Prime Day 2017 than on any other day in Amazon’s history. According to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, some 80 million people were already Prime members before Prime Day 2017; in 2016 it was 58 million. Amazon also reports that sales via the Amazon app more than doubled and “tens of millions of people” used the app to buy stuff on Prime Day this year.

So is Amazon Prime Day just another Black Friday?  Actually, no. As Amazon puts it, Black Friday is largely about gifts for other people – it takes place just at the start of the Christmas shopping season – but Prime Day is all about Amazon. Sorry, you! It’s all about you! Ahem.

The overwhelming majority of decent deals on Prime Day were on things you might buy for yourself or for your home. As you’ll see from the best sellers there were lots of smart home devices sold to Prime customers as well as quite a lot of kitchen gear. There were good deals on laptops and consoles too, of course, but they were alongside deals on hammocks, juicers, robot vacuum cleaners and pressure cookers.

Amazon Prime Day 2018: how long will it last?

We know what you’re thinking: Amazon turned Black Friday into Black Friday Deals Week, so there’s no way it would limit Prime Day to just 24 hours. And you’re right. Prime Day 2017 was 30 hours long. No doubt Prime Day 2018 will be longer still. Prime Day 2022 may well start before Prime Day 2021 finishes. 

Things to watch out for on Prime Day 2018

As you’d expect from an event this big, not everything went according to plan on Amazon Prime Day this year. Twitter featured many irate users who found that deals didn’t appear at the specified times, while others suggested that Amazon had a “bot problem” with some deals being oversubscribed instantly. Still others had problems with the app, where deals weren’t sold out but the App’s Add To Cart button didn’t work. There were concerns over some of the deals too. Some deals were more expensive on Prime Day than they were normally, while other deals simply reproduced deals that had been available the day before. And still others were laughable: would an incredible four cents off the $1,799.99 price of a soundbar tempt you to buy? Problems didn’t end at the ordering stage either. While Amazon boasts about the fastest-ever UK Prime Day delivery of just 14 minutes between ordering and delivery, many of us saw our next-day or two-day deliveries become even longer.

Prime Day: do Amazon’s rivals respond?

They did. It was Free Slurpee Day at 7-Eleven and Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-A, which offered free food to anybody in an animal costume. Meanwhile eBay threw some shade, with a front page claiming that “Their Prime Deal Is Our Everyday Deal”.

According to research firm Bazaarvoice, 76% of US Prime Day shoppers visited rival retailers to check whether they were getting the best deals. And as PwC Consumer Markets analyst Steve Barr told CNBC, “We are seeing other big box retailers use Prime Day as an opportunity to capture shoppers’ appetite for deals and as way to compete against Amazon for share of wallet and mindset.” 

Bazaarvoice found that Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Target, Home Depot and Lowe’s proved most popular among Prime Day shoppers in the US, with Target offering a week of bargains to annoy Amazon. Dell ran ‘Black Friday In July’ on Prime Day this year, Toys R Us offered 20% off everything, Best Buy took $200 off Dysons and $70 off the Apple Watch Series 2 and JC Penney ran its Penney Palooza sale. Wal-Mart decided not to take part in the frenzy, preferring to offer extra discounts on in-store collections instead.

The Fire TV Stick was down to $34.99 / £34.99

Could Amazon do better?

We think so. One of the biggest problem with Prime Day was actually finding the deals, which involved wading through lots of irrelevant products: Amazon ordered its deals by categories, so for example you could choose Computers & Accessories but you couldn’t narrow the selection further to specific kinds of computers or accessories.

Finding interesting deals meant looking at an awful lot of Lightning cables. We did our very best to help by providing a guide to the very best Amazon Prime Day deals, but it was a right pain if you wanted to browse Amazon’s own site? And it was disappointing to see deals we did want, such as Philips Hue bulbs, limited to single orders per customer. Presumably it’s to stop them ending up on eBay at a higher price, but Hue’s a system for smart homes, not a single smart lampshade.

The biggest problems were with availability and delivery, though. Amazon or its logistics partners appeared to underestimate demand, and while part of us thinks “fair enough” the whole point of Prime is its fast delivery. And seeing Lightning Deals disappear before you had time to read them was particularly frustrating. Not everybody is accessing Amazon on a super-speedy broadband network, and logging into the mobile app at the right time to see the deal had already sold out was a particular torture for phone users.

What can we learn about Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

The short answer: not much. Prime Day may have been a big deal, but it’s still small potatoes compared to the annual holiday extravaganza – and you can be sure that while many people still won’t have heard of Prime Day, they’re very familiar with Black Friday and maybe Cyber Monday too. Amazon isn’t going to let the Black Friday / Cyber Monday opportunity pass it by: Black Friday 2016 was the first billion-dollar shopping day for mobile payments, with a total of $3.34 billion sold in the US alone. Expect Amazon to be just as enthusiastic about Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2017 as it was about Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2016.

Tens of millions of Prime members made a purchase on Prime Day 2017, more than 50 percent higher than the prior year

Prime Day 2018: any other days we should be paying attention to?

Have you heard of Singles’ Day? If you aren’t Chinese, you may not have: Singles’ Day, aka Guanggun Jie and recently rebranded 11/11, is the world’s largest online sale. Singles’ Day 2016, which fell on 11 November, saw sales of $17.8 billion for Tmall, operated by ecommerce giant Alibaba. That’s more than the entire annual ecommerce revenues of Brazil. Not bad for an event that only debuted in 2009.

There are lots of interesting things about Singles’ Day, not least the fact that in 2016 some 82.2% of sales were via mobile devices. Even more significantly, 75% of customers were under 35 – and that means we should be looking at how they’re deciding to buy, because it might just be the future of retail. As Deborah Weinswig of Fung Global Retail noted, in the West shopping is a chore. In China it’s a sport. 

If you thought Amazon made a fuss about Prime Day, Alibaba’s efforts will amaze you. It live-streamed an eight hour fashion show featuring the world’s biggest brands and encouraging viewers to pre-order what they saw on the catwalk; Alibaba executive vice-chairman Joe Tsai says that “live streaming is the biggest internet trend in China today”, and most brands do some form of live streaming involving celebrities or stories.

There was an augmented reality game where players could earn prizes and discounts; and most significantly of all, there was a Superbowl-scale countdown featuring Katy Perry, Kobe Bryant and One Republic, live streamed to China as well as Taiwan and Hong Kong, two important new markets. The next step is to take 11/11 truly global.

Come back to TechRadar on Amazon Prime Day 2018 where we’ll once again be listing the best deals so you don’t have to suffer the pain of navigating the Amazon website!

Best phones under Rs 12,000 in India for May 2018

A good phone under Rs 15,000 isn’t the most difficult to find nowadays, but the options under Rs 12,000 are very limited. When you look for some good options, there are phones that were first launched at a higher price in early 2017, but are available at a cheaper price today. A good example is the Moto G5 Plus or Honor 6X.

To help you find the right phone for your budget, we have selected the best phones under Rs 12,000. The list contains phones that are old but still lead the segment and some of them have recently been launched at a lower price.

  • Don’t need to worry about cost? Check out our best phone list

Asus has made a comeback in the Indian market with a new approach in the shape of Zenfone Max Pro M1. The phone, unlike the previous models is void of the cluttered ZenUI and instead runs stock Android. 

There are more than just one highlight of the phone. There’s a 5000mAh battery that’s even larger than the benchmark Redmi Note 5 Pro’s 4000mAh cell. On top of that, there’s Snapdragon 636, making it the cheapest phone with the chipset. The Rs 10,999 has a 3GB RAM and 32GB storage, that can sail through all the basic tasks without a stutter.

Read the full review: Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1 

The Honor 9 Lite has everything going for itself in the design department with the shiny 2.5D glass on front and back. It looks just too premium for its price, especially in the Sapphire Blue colour variant. 

The 18:9 aspect ratio display is vibrant and is reason enough to buy this phone. It also has a quad-camera setup. The front-facing cameras capture some good pictures while the rear one leaves much to be desired. There’s no fast charge support which might be a deal breaker for some. 

Do note that only the 3GB RAM variant will fall under Rs 12K.

Read the full review: Honor 9 Lite review

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 continues to recreate the value for money proposition it has been known for. It packs a solid set of specification, a new 18:9 display, hefty battery and a decent display. The only issue with the phone is its old software and design language, which isn’t bad, but it is boring. 

Still, for its price, the phone offers the best value under Rs 12,000 when compared to its competitors. 

Read the full review: Redmi Note 5 review

The Redmi 5 succeeds the Redmi 4 from Xiaomi, and it’s a huge upgrade over its predecessor in terms of display and internals. But the design still remains identical to the older Xiaomi phones. 

It runs Snapdragon 450, which is the latest chipset for budget phones and works pretty well in day-to-day usage. There are three RAM variants of the phone but the 3GB variant at Rs 8,999 offers the best value for money proposition. Despite a cut in the battery, it can easily sail you through a full day of usage. The build is solid and new display looks like a great alternative to consume media on the go.  

Read the full review: Xiaomi Redmi 5 review

With a Snapdragon 430 processor and 3GB of RAM, the Moto G5 does make some compromises, but provides decent day-to-day performance. Having the latest version of Android out-of-the-box makes it rare among its competitors. 

The 13MP rear shooter is quite dependable for the sub-12k mark. If you want to be able to take good photos but can’t afford to buy a high-end phone, this is a phone you should consider.

The missing fingerprint reader and a flush metal design is an incremental upgrade over its predecessor. 

Read the full review: Moto G5

The Honor 6X was the first to bring a dual camera to the mid-range segment. Not just that, the camera onboard the 6X is a pretty good snapper while the slick metal unibody makes it feel like a premium smartphone.

The hardware is not as good as the Redmi Note 4, but still the closest to it than the other competition in this range. For those who want a good camera phone with premium build quality and decent performance, the Honor 6X is pretty good.

Read the full review: Honor 6X

  • Best phones under Rs 25,000 in India

SIM only deals: the best plans in May 2018

So you’ve come to the end of your phone contract? You basically have two options – grab a brand new mobile phone deal on one of the latest and greatest smartphones on the market. Or keep your beloved phone of the last two years and sign up for one of the cheap SIM only deals on this page.

A SIM only deal is a mobile phone plan that offers calls, texts and data in return for a monthly fee, but does not come bundled with a phone. Leaving the phone out of the equation gives you more flexibility (especially if you go for a 30-day rolling contract) or is ideal if you’re eyeing up a new SIM-free phone.

If you take a sift through our handy price comparison tool above you’ll see that 12-month prices start from a mere £3.99 per month for a basic plan, while you can also still bag Three’s Mobile Choice Award winning 30GB deal. Whatever your needs, going SIM only is just the ticket if you’re thinking to team one up with a brilliant budget handset purchase.

And if you’re still unsure whether SIM-only is the route for you, our expert advice will help you decide – our all knowing FAQ includes tips on switching your number, the networks that offer free gifts and answers to a host of other questions.

Top 10 best SIM only deals of the week are:

We’ve run the figures and plucked out the very best sim only deals available this month.  Whether you’re after the cheapest plan possible, want to dig out the best value big data SIM plan or just want an all-round great deal but don’t know how much to spend, you’ll find a recommendation just for you.

1. The absolute cheapest SIM only deal out there

2. The best 1GB+ SIM only deal

3. The best 3GB-4GB SIM only deal

4. The best 5GB-10GB SIM only deal

5. The best 10GB+ SIM only deal

6. The best SIM only deal for unlimited data

  • Check out today’s best unlimited data SIM only deals

7. Best EE SIM only deal

8. Best Three SIM only deal

9. Best O2 SIM only deal

10. Best data only SIM deal

Should I go SIM only?

If you a) want to save some money; b) don’t want to be tied into a lengthy contract; or c) both of the above, then SIM only is well worth considering. In fact, you’re probably one of two people if your thoughts are indeed turning to SIM only:

  1. You’re coming to the end of your contract and your network is calling you a million times a day to get you to upgrade. Well if your phone is dying a death or you just fancy a change, head to our best mobile phones deal page to see what bargains are lurking, but otherwise going SIM only on your current phone is a no-brainer. You’ll wind up paying much less than you are under contract, and you can stick to a rolling 30 day contract so that if your circumstances change, you can get out of the arrangement tout suite.
  2. It’s time for a shiny new smartphone and you want to get the best value humanly possible. You’ll have to find a few hundred quid up front for the handset (be sure to check our SIM free comparison chart) but box clever and you’ll end up paying less over the next 24 months (see below). Plus, if you’re a commitment-phobe, most SIM-only plans don’t require you to sign up for two years like you would with a normal contract.

sim only deals

Is SIM only cheaper than contract?

It can be. Teaming a SIM only plan with a standalone SIM-free handset could save you a few quid. It’s usually the case when a flagship phone hits the market and contracts are made deliberately expensive. Take the Samsung Galaxy S8 as a prime example, where you could have saved over £100 over two years by splashing the £800-odd for the handset and slipping in a cheap SIM card.

Not all the savings you can make are as extravagant, and on big data it’s frequently more cost effective to dive into a contract instead. But if you can afford to splash a few hundred pounds up front then the savings over the next couple of years could well be worth it.

sim only deals

sim only deals

Is my phone unlocked – can I use a new SIM in it?

The times have passed since most phones were locked to a network and you had to pay a dodgy backstreet ‘engineer’ to unlock it. Nowadays, it’s standard practice for networks to let you use whatever SIM you want in the phone as soon as you’ve paid up the original contract (or earlier if you pay them a fee) – and Three ships all its handsets unlocked from the outset.

The exception, alas, is Apple iPhones. They’re generally sold locked to the original network that you purchase them with for the life of the handset. Very frustrating if you’re looking for a tasty SIM only deal once your 24 month sentence is up.

The good news is that your iPhone (or any other mobile before the end of your contract) can be unlocked – the bad news is that most networks make you pay for the privilege. Insert a friend or family member’s SIM into your phone to see whether it’s already unlocked and, if it isn’t, look for your network below to see how to cut ties with them:

  • EE Once six months have gone by on your contract, you can call EE on 0800 956 6000 and pay them £8.99 to unlock your phone. It says it will take around 10 days to complete. PAYG phones can be unlocked for free.
  • O2 As long as you don’t own an iPhone X, 8, 8 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8 Plus (they can’t be unlocked until you’ve paid off your contract), you can unlock any O2 phone – including iPhones – for free if you’re on a pay monthly contract. PAYG customers have to pay £15.
  • Three Fear not, all phones on Three are unlocked as standard. Shove whatever SIM you like in there, it will work a treat.
  • Vodafone The red network doesn’t quite get the same marks as Three, as your phone will be locked to them on arrival. But they have made unlocking handsets absolutely free within 10 days of your request.

sim only deals

What SIM card size do I need?

There are three sizes of SIM card that you can get for your phone, and the one you need will depend on your handset. It’s been a while since the traditional, so-called standard SIM (15x25mm) has genuinely been the staple in new phones. Instead, any phone you’ve bought within the last five or so years is much more likely to require a micro (12x15mm) or nano (8.8×12.3mm) SIM – the iPhone 5 was Apple’s first mobile with a nano SIM, while Samsung began using the smallest size in its Galaxy S6.

Before you purchase your new SIM, double-check the manufacturer’s website to see what size you require. And if you’re simply not sure, most networks now simply send out a triple SIM, so you’ll get one of each size.

sim only deals

How do I keep my old number?

Ever heard of PAC codes and wondered what a classic 80s arcade game had to do with telephone numbers? It actually stands for Porting Authorisation Code, and it’s the set of digits that you need to grab from your old network to let you transfer over your existing mobile number. If you’re on one of the major networks, you can see what phone number you can contact them on here:

  • EE 07953 966 250
  • O2 0344 8090202
  • Vodafone 03333 040 191
  • Three 0333 300 3333
  • ID 0333 003 7777
  • GiffGaff 43431 from your handset
  • Virgin 0345 6000 789
  • BT 0800 800 150
  • Tesco 0345 301 4455
  • Sky 03300 412 524
  • Asda 0800 079 2732

If you want to grab a bargain SIM only plan above, but it’s on your existing network then your network won’t release a PAC code and you’ll be forced to take a new phone number.

At least you would have, if it wasn’t for this clever (if convoluted) work-around. You have to order a free pay-as-you-go SIM from another network. Once you have it, you can tell your old network that you’re moving and they’ll give you that precious PAC code. Then, once your number is registered to the substitute network, simply get another PAC code from them. Take that to your old network, and they’ll move your number to your new contract. Simple – kind of!

sim only deals

What contract length should I get?

Unlike with a contract, there’s a lot more flexibility available when it comes to how long your SIM only plan will last. Two year commitments are virtually unheard of, with the norm being either one year or rolling one month contracts for ultimate flexibility. You can often get better prices if you tie yourself in for 12 months, especially on larger data tariffs. But sticking to one month at a time means that you can effectively hand pick a new plan to suit you every 30 days or so.

sim only deals

How much data do I need?

Because you can change your plan up more regularly than a normal, lengthier contract, it’s less crucial to get this nailed from the start. But if you’re thinking of grabbing a 12-monther or just put a personal pride on getting things right first time, then we’ll help you pick out the sweet spot of data for you.

Firstly, check your phone to see how much data you’ve been using to date, and whether you have the tendency to use more than your current allowance every month. Then, if you’re still unsure, check out our guidance: 

  • 0-1GB Tiny amounts of data on SIM only deals could be a blessing or a curse. If you’re putting it in a rarely used phone that will scarcely be away from wi-fi then you’re quids in. But if you end up with one because your head’s turned by the incredible price, then you could end up paying more if you continually go over your allowance.
  • 2-3GB For anybody who needs data for little more than the occasional Google Maps route planning, 2GB and 3GB plans come cheap and give you much more freedom to check the football scores and scroll Facebook away from the wi-fi without danger.
  • 4-8GB If you can’t leave the house without having a music streaming service like Spotify pouring into your ears, then it might be worth paying for some extra GBs of data.
  • 10-16GB This is a significant amount of data and some networks offer it for a very appetising price. Whether streaming music, downloading podcasts, watching social media videos, or all three is your thing – you should be covered.
  • 20-30GB Only smartphone junkies that need regular (and hefty) data fixes need bother with this avalanche of GBs. You’ll be able to rinse Netflix, Spotify and online games without too much fear of topping out.
  • Unlimited Maybe it’s because you use remarkable amounts of data. Maybe it’s because you simply don’t want to keep checking how much data you’ve used every month. Whatever your reason to go unlimited, you have only two choices when it comes to network: Three or GiffGaff.

sim only deals

Do I need unlimited calls and texts?

Call it practicality, call it greediness, call it what you want – it’s human nature to want ‘unlimited’ anything if offered. But you should think genuinely about whether you really need it in a world where the likes of WhatsApp and Skype let you call and text for free over wi-fi or 4G. If you decide that a few thousand monthly minutes and texts should do you, then you could shave off some cash from your bill.

sim only deals

What’s the best mobile network for SIM only?

While EE, O2, Vodafone and Three are generally considered the major four networks for contract plans, when it comes to SIM only there are some other key players are well worth a look. See what we think of them below, and whether you’ll get any free perks to help persuade you to sign up. Plus, we’ll tell you about a couple of other SIM sellers that might be able to wrangle you an even better deal.

EE SIM only deals

If you want fast and furious 4G, then your choice has to be an EE SIM only deal. Its speeds are around 50% faster than the other major networks, which is really noticeable if you like watching films or football on the move. And EE gives you three free months of BT Sport, as well as six months of Apple Music.

View all: EE SIM only deals 

o2

O2 SIM only deals

O2’s best claim for your contract is with its Priority rewards – from cheap lunch deals and pre-order privileges on gig tickets, to ad-hoc discounts and competitions. Plus, they have 1000s of Wi-Fi hotspots in shops and cafes that you can connect to for free and save your precious data.

View all O2 SIM only deals 

Vodafone SIM only deals

Vodafone seems to have been around since mobile phones were cumbersome bricks, but they remain a major player. Look out for a Red Entertainment tariff, which gives you your choice of a NOW TV Entertainment Pass, Spotify Premium or Sky Sports Mobile subscription.

View all Vodafone SIM only deals 

three deals

Three SIM only deals

Three is still the only network to offer unlimited data and it often features unbeatable deals on other big data plans – that makes them a natural choice of many a data hungry smartphone addict. And it has has just started getting generous with perks – you can get cheap dinners and free coffees through its Wuntu app.

View all 3 mobile SIM only deals 

sim only deals

bt mobile deals

BT SIM only deals

That familiar old stalwart of telecommunications BT is so-so when it comes to SIM only tariff prices. That’s unless you’re already a BT broadband customer, in which case you get some really favourable prices – a fiver less than the rest of the hoi polloi. Plus, you usually get a BT Reward Card with the majority of plans that can be spent anywhere that accepts Mastercard, the value of which depends on how much data you’re in for.

Check below to see the current prices plans and what value Reward Card you can claim when you sign up.

For existing BT Broadband customers
(click the customer option at the top if the prices are more expensive)

12 months | 500MB data | Unlimited calls and texts – £7.50 per month at BT

12 months | 3GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £50 BT Reward Card – £12 per month at BT

12 months | 6GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £60 BT Reward Card – £13 per month at BT

12 months | 10GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £50 BT Reward Card – £17 per month at BT

12 months | 15GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £70 BT Reward Card – £22 per month at BT

12 months | 20GB data | Unlimited calls and texts – £20 per month at BT

12 months | 25GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £70 BT Reward Card – £25 per month at BT

For non-BT Broadband customers:

12 months | 500MB data | Unlimited calls and texts – £12.50 per month at BT

12 months | 3GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £50 BT Reward Card  – £17 per month at BT

12 months | 6GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £60 BT Reward Card  – £18 per month at BT

12 months | 10GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £50 BT Reward Card – £22 per month at BT

12 months | 15GB data | Unlimited calls and texts  | £70 BT Reward Card  – £27 per month at BT 

12 months | 20GB data | Unlimited calls and texts – £25 per month at BT 

12 months | 25GB data | Unlimited calls and texts  | £70 BT Reward Card  – £30 per month at BT

ID sim only deals

iD SIM only deals

iD is a good option if bargain basement prices are what you covet most. This is a network run and owned by Carphone Warehouse – it piggybacks on the Three network. It’s an excellent option if you want great value on a rolling monthly contract.

View all iD SIM only deals

giffgaff deals

giffgaff SIM only deals

GiffGaff regularly offers some of the cheapest SIMO deals out there. They don’t give you much of a data allowance to play with, but if you just want to keep your phone going and available to use for calls and texts with the occasional bit of internet use outside of your home Wi-Fi, GiffGaff is a strong offering. Look out for the T&Cs though as some of the big data deals throttle the speed after a few gig.

View all giffgaff SIM only deals

Virgin Mobile SIM only deals

Virgin Mobile has been going for a long time, and some of its SIM only deals are particularly attractive. They’re all one-month rolling contracts, so you can stop paying at any time if you so wish, giving you flexibility if you want to change your plan or go for a phone-inclusive deal down the line.

View all Virgin Mobile SIM only deals

Tesco Mobile SIM only deals

The UK’s biggest supermarket has been known to offer competitive – if not stellar – SIM only deals, with low data prices starting at not much more than a fiver a month. Where it get’s really interesting is if you download the Xtras app to an Android phone: you’ll save £3 on your monthly bill, but you will have to see adverts every time you unlock your handset.

View all Tesco Mobile SIM only deals

Plusnet SIM only deals

Plusnet might be more well known for its broadband deals these days. but it’s also keen to push some very cheap 30-day SIM only deals. You don’t have to worry about signal either as Plusnet uses EE’s network that covers 99% of the UK. Plusnet’s latest cheap SIM only deals start at around £5 a month, check them out via the link below.

View all Plusnet SIM only deals

cheap sim only deals freedom pop

Freedom Pop SIM only deals

Freedom Pop is trying something new – offering contracts for FREE. The catch being that you only pay if you do over the allowances of your bundle or opt for a larger deal. The prices for doing so vary, so be sure to take a look at the small print. It seems that they feature a different offer each week, but seeing as you can cancel at any time, they may be worth a look.

View all Freedom Pop SIM only deals

mobiles.co.uk

Mobiles.co.uk SIM only deals

It’s always worth checking out Mobiles.co.uk before settling on your SIM – its aggressive price cuts are often unmatched by anyone else. While the online retailer is known more for its handset contracts, it also offers a wide range of SIM only deals from all your favourite networks.

View: SIM only deals at Mobiles.co.uk

sim only deals

Carphone Warehouse SIM only deals

Carphone Warehouse doesn’t just sell handset contracts. It also has a wide range of SIM only deals for Vodafone, O2, EE and ID. The online store is also known to include additional incentives such as half price fees for six months, free Beats by Dre headphones or Currys vouchers – so check out what’s available right now.

View all Carphone Warehouse SIM only deals

sim only deals

Which networks have coverage in my area?

It’s one of life’s (many) little frustrations – you sign up with a network, get your SIM up and running and then discover that you get no coverage at all in your house. Well this little pain in the neck can be avoided by using the dedicated coverage checker that most networks provide. Enter your postcode and you’ll see whether your address has 2G (calls, texts and email), 3G (the basics plus picture messaging and faster web browsing) and 4G (all the powers of 3G, plus faster downloads, online gaming and media streaming) coverage.

We’ve provided links below to all the available coverage checkers on multiple networks. We’d advise not only checking coverage in your home, but also work, school, uni, favourite pubs and so on. Anywhere where you spend time on a regular basis really.

  • EE coverage checker
  • O2 coverage checker
  • Vodafone coverage checker
  • 3 mobile coverage checker
  • BT mobile coverage checker
  • iD coverage checker
  • GiffGaff coverage checker
  • Virgin mobile coverage checker
  • Tesco mobile coverage checker
  • Plusnet coverage checker
  • Freedom Pop coverage checker

sim only deals

How does TechRadar make money from SIM only deals?

If you buy a phone after visiting this page, TechRadar will be paid a small commission by the network or reseller you buy from. This money is paid by the site you buy from and thus does not affect the amount you pay for your phone contract. If you go direct to the site you buy from, you would pay the same amount.

While some sites out there will be paid larger fees for pushing people to specific deals that aren’t necessarily the cheapest, TechRadar will always find you the absolute best value. Trust and integrity is important to us, so if you ever think we’re not displaying the very best deals let us know.  

sim only deals

The SIM only deals on this page are checked every day to make sure they’re still available and up to date! If you’re ready to go SIM only, then head back to the top of this page and use our tool to find the perfect plan…

iOS 12 release date, news and rumors

The iOS 12 release date is next month, at least in beta form, giving developers and early testers the first crack at Apple’s next big update for your iPhone and iPad.

We expect iOS 12 to debut on June 4 at WWDC 2018. And, by now, that shouldn’t surprise you – Apple launches its new iOS update at the same time every year. 

Its new software features, however, are always filled with some unexpected and exciting news. We anticipate groundbreaking ideas, but also a healthy dose fixes given our many, many ongoing iOS 11 problems.

With the launch of iPhone X last year, the theoretical iPhone X2 and iPhone 9 release date happening later in 2018 and, in between, the Pencil-compatible new iPad 2018 launching into more hands, Apple seems poised to make more big changes.

Here’s our list of what we expect from iOS 12 beta, given leaks and rumors about the next big mobile operating system update for the iPhone and iPad.

Cut to the chase

  • What is iOS 12? Apple’s next big iPhone and iPad software update 
  • When is the iOS 12 release date? Announcement on June 4 with a subsequent beta,  September launch 
  • How much will iOS 12 cost? Nothing. iOS 12 will remain free.

iOS 12 release date

The iOS 12 release date is June 4, 2018. At least, that’s when we expect to see the changes Apple is making to its mobile software during its WWDC 2018 keynote.

That’s next month. Apple typically announces its new iOS update during its WorldWide Developers Conference and issues the first developer beta within the next week. It also issues a public beta, previously also launched in June, for every non-developer willing to test it out.

Apple needs these betas more than ever for iOS 12, as it’s been plagued with so many iOS 11 problems. The company is likely to continue with the same beta rollout schedule since it values this feedback and diagnostic analysis from so many users.

The actual final iOS 12 release date is September for everyone else, if we’re going by Apple’s release date history. And it may be right alongside an iPhone X2 and an iPhone 9 that’s supposed to be a cheaper take on the iPhone X with an LCD screen.

iOS 12 to focus on reliability over big changes

“iOS 12 just works,” may be Apple’s big message about its next iPhone update, as it’s reportedly focusing on reliability and shelving many exciting features.

This is both good and bad news if you were looking forward to iOS 12 with a brand new look and feel. There may be fewer front-facing features, but your iPhone may reset less. It’s hard to argue with that.

That planned home screen redesign and refreshes to the Camera, Mail and Photos app may have to wait until iOS 13, if you are to believe the rumors about the Apple teams new mission. It’s all in an effort to make iOS 12 stabilization impeccable.

Will iOS 12 and macOS cross-platform apps happen?

Apple was thought to be bringing first and third-party iOS apps to your Mac, making one of the biggest iOS 12 features for your computer instead of your phone.

It’s a long-overdue upgrade. We’ve always asked: Why can’t you control your smart home with the Home app via that all-powerful iMac Pro? It’s a ridiculous notion.

Apple is rumored to be allowing developers to expand their app ecosystem to the forthcoming macOS 10.14 update. Apple’s own apps, like Home, are also said to be finally making the jump, according to recent reports.

Don’t get too excited. This feature may also be saved for iOS 13 and macOS 11.5 in 2019, says a new report. It’s supposedly being worked on, but how quickly it comes to the table may leaving you waiting for a while.

More Animojis in more places (like iPad)

Whether you demanded it or vehemently opposed it, Apple is due to bring more Animojis to iOS 12 for use with the iPhone X Face ID camera. iOS 11.3 just gave us four new Animoji faces to play with, but why stop there?

The navigation of these animated character masks should get easier too, according to Bloomberg. That’s important, because to get better use, they need to break out of their Apple Messages confines, where Animoji are currently buried.

Apple’s Animoji character may make two jumps in 2018. First, the natural jump to FaceTime for video chats behind a virtual panda, robot, and poop mask. Second to what may be a new iPad Pro 2018 with a Face ID camera. We’ve seen some evidence of an updated iPad recently, beyond the cheap new iPad 2018.

Way better autocorrect

Maybe we could have lumped this iOS 12 change under fixes, but it deserves its own mention. Everyone wants better autocorrect from the built-in iOS keyboard.

Currently, it can be downright terrible. Why? It may be due to Apple’s commendable stance on privacy, with all of the smarts happening on the device itself or masked so that individuals aren’t identifiable. 

Apple says it’s not mining your data like you may find on some Android phones. But we also want a smarter keyboard that doesn’t autocap and autocorrect randomly. iOS 12 is Apple’s perfect opportunity to balance differential privacy with our typings needs. With the focus on reliability this should be near the very top of the list.

More iOS 12 features we want to see

While nothing is known about iOS 12 yet we have a clear idea of some of the things we want to see, such as the following.

System-wide password manager

We’d also like to see a system-wide password manager built into iOS 12, not just username and password saving in Safari. That’s not helpful if you apps on iOS.

With Face Unlock and Touch ID securing our phones, there’s little fear in relying on a password manager on mobile devices. And remembering passwords to so many different apps seems like a wasteful second layer of security.

Always-on display hints?

Look out for tiny always-on display hints in iOS 12, as Apple could easily squeeze this useful feature into the iPhone X2 OLED screen in September. The software may have hidden hooks for an always-on screen in the iOS 12 beta code. 

OLED essentially ‘turns off’ black parts of the screen in an effort not display the bare minimum without eating up battery life. Phones like the Samsung Galaxy S9, the Google Pixel 2 and even the rumored LG G7 have shown off this idea to great effect.

Apple does have a raise-to-wake feature that’s been a big hit among new iPhones. But a true always-on display would help differentiate the iPhone X2 OLED from the rumored iPhone 9 LCD.

New iOS 12 wallpaper

Every new version of iOS seems to get new wallpaper, and we expect iOS 12 to be no different in 2018. It should allow Apple to further exhibit its iPhone X OLED screen.

Specifically, we could see more dynamic wallpapers from Apple. iOS 12 needs more moving backgrounds besides a bunch of moving bubbles in various colors. 

New iOS 12 concept videos show the iconic Earth wallpaper spinning, for example. Right now, that’s a flat image, and that doesn’t put OLEDs to full use at all.

Grouped notifications

iOS 12 may finally bring a fix to having so many notifications in chronological order. Every morning, our iPhone is littered with so many ungrouped alerts.

Grouping notifications together would make life easier, as long as it’s not differently than what we had in iOS 9 with lots of spacing between important alerts. Android Oreo does this nicely, and iOS 12 could easily lift this feature.

We’ve seen iOS 12 concepts include grouped notifications and also small notification icons on the lockscreen for things like weather and activity ring progress. That would take up less space and provide data at a glance right under the time and date.

Group FaceTime

Speaking of grouped things, we’re keen on opening up the FaceTime party to more than just 1:1 chats. iOS 12 should welcome group FaceTime to iPhones and iPads.

We’ve had 1:1 video chats long enough 

Conference call software, from Hangouts to Skype, can already do this, so it’s natural to expect Apple to open up FaceTime to groups eventually. iOS 12 may be it. 

Sound familiar? This was supposed to already be a feature in the current version of iOS, but it didn’t actually happen last year. Either that rumor was wrong or was shelved until iOS 12. We’ll find out more in June.

Camera controls in the camera app

File this under: Why is this still a problem? Apple’s camera app is very barebones compared to its competitions, to the point that you can’t change video resolutions within the camera app. It has to be done through Settings > Photo & Camera > Record Video. All of this requires exiting the camera app. That’s very unhelpful.

We’d also like to see other settings become easier to use. Android phones do a good job at letting you switch between the rear- and front-facing camera with a swipe up or down on the screen, and the white Timer numbers (3s, 10s) can be hard to see in landscape mode when you’re focusing on a subject that’s white.

While some app redesigned have been shelved for iOS 13, we’re hoping these small tweaks make it into the iOS 12 beta in a few weeks.

  • Having iOS 11 problems? Here’s how to fix them

7 most important things Facebook announced at F8 2018

Facebook’s ongoing Cambridge Analytica data scandal may have delayed its smart home speaker’s release date, but the social network’s annual developer conference went on as planned. 

CEO Mark Zuckerberg started off the F8 2018 conference with a protracted apology for Facebook’s role in Russian election-meddling and third-party acquisitions of personal data, explaining Facebook’s new privacy security settings along the way.

Having addressed the elephant in the room, Zuckerberg jumped into Facebook’s newest products, services and features. 

Lucky for you, we’ve rounded up the seven most important announcements from the F8 2018 Day 1 keynote right here.

1. Oculus Go release date is today

In a not-so-surprise announcement, Zuckerberg informed the San Jose, California conference crowd and those watching via livestream that Oculus Go is on sale today on Oculus.com

People in 23 countries, including the US, UK, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, can go on the site and purchase the standalone headset right now.

Shoppers in the US can also find Oculus Go on sale at Amazon, Best Buy and NewEgg as well as at Best Buy retail stores today.

On stage, Zuckerberg called the Oculus Go the “first really affordable” VR headset on the market, and claimed it has the “highest quality lenses and optics that we have ever built into a VR device”, including the latest Oculus Rift

  • Here’s our in-depth Oculus Go review

The base 32GB model costs $199 / £199 / AU$299, while the 64GB version sells for $249 / £249 / AU$369. And over 1,000 Oculus Go games and apps are available to play right now.

2. Dating profiles are coming to Facebook

Facebook doesn’t just want to be the place to chat with family members and old school friends anymore. 

Soon, you’l’ be able to build a Facebook dating profile and connect with other singles in your area—in a part of the app that your regular Facebook friends can’t see. 

If you opt into the feature, you’ll be able to set up a dating profile, then search your area for Events and Groups where you’re likely to meet potential daters. 

Select a group, and you’ll be able to click on members’ profiles and see their photos and stated interests. You can then click on one of their photos as a “conversation starter” and initiate individual chat chains with other users, which will be text-only (no chance for unsolicited photos). 

Facebook will also recommend potential matches “based on dating preferences, things in common, and mutual friends”, but Zuckerberg emphasized that it won’t pair you up with any actual Facebook friends. 

“This is going to be for building real, long-term relationships, okay? Not just hookups!” Zuckerberg said, to laughs from the crowd. 

Zuckerberg implied that this will be available through the Facebook app, but Facebook Chief Product Officer Chris Cox mentioned that dating profiles could be available as a separate app, because focus groups wanted to keep their dating profiles separate from their regular profiles. 

Beta testing of the dating features will begin “later this year”.

3. Facebook Messenger is getting a redesign

Sneak peek of the new Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger may be getting new features like 4K photos, AR effects and AI translation tech, but the platform’s upcoming interface revamp will clear away a lot of the clutter. 

VP of Messaging David Marcus showed off a quick glance at the new look on stage some time after Zuckerberg also said Messenger was due to get a simpler, cleaner look. 

Facebook plans to remove the games and camera tabs on the bottom, shrinking the friend bubbles a bit, and even adding what looks like a night mode option. 

Marcus hinted that this simpler, cleaner new interface will be coming out “very soon”. 

4. Clear History will wipe what you’ve been browsing 

Thinking about deleting Facebook to protect your data privacy? Facebook wants to give you a less drastic option to keep your business: clearing cookies and deleting browser history. 

In a few months, Facebook will roll out a “Clear History” option, which will let you turn off Facebook’s ability to store data on you. 

Normally, Facebook Analytics collects data on your browsing history and “Likes”, and uses this information to curate suggestions and ads for your feed. 

With Clear History, you’ll be able to wipe all of Facebook Analytics’ collected information about you.

Zuckerberg made it a point on stage to emphasize that the Facebook experience will be degraded if users opt to Clear History. Deleting cookies from a browser, he said, “can make parts of your experience worse. Your Facebook won’t be quite as good while it relearns your preferences”. 

In other words, Zuckerberg believes that Facebook needs data on your interests to properly function, and that after users delete their “Off-Facebook History”, they’ll realize they should trust Facebook with data again. 

In a separate statement, Erin Egan, Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer, revealed that clearing your history won’t technically “delete” your data. If you do use this setting, she said, “We’ll still provide apps and websites with aggregated analytics… We can do this without storing the information in a way that’s associated with your account, and as always, we don’t tell advertisers who you are.”

So, by using Facebook, you’ll still be giving the company a means to monetize your data for advertisers. Facebook will just be making that data more generalized, so no one can easily obtain individual ad profiles on users. 

Zuckerberg also announced that it plans to hire 20,000 security and content reviewers by October 2018 to fight against fake news during election seasons. 

5. New social-focused VR apps

Oculus Rooms

Oculus is pulling out all of the stops to ensure that Oculus Go owners have plenty of new, exclusive VR content to try out within their first month of purchase. Facebook, which owns Oculus, outlined the new and significantly updated apps coming to the platform. 

The first app, Oculus Rooms, has been around for awhile, but now it’s redesigned and all about making it easier than ever to hang out with friends in a virtual space to play games, watch movies, or otherwise catch up. It’ll be available for Oculus Go and Samsung Gear VR for now.

Oculus TV, an Oculus Go-exclusive app, puts you inside of a virtual theater, where you can start a virtual “Watch Party” with up to four friends, and check out both 2D and 3D content, either live or on-demand. 

When it launches in May, you’ll be able to watch Netflix, Hulu, Showtime and Facebook Video, and other apps like ESPN+ will be added later this year. Facebook’s VP of VR, Hugo Barra, claimed that the TV screen inside the app can be set as large as 180 inches wide. 

You’ll also have access to live events through Oculus Venues, an app for virtually attending ticketed events like concerts, sporting events and theater shows. When it releases later this month for Go and Gear VR, Oculus Venues will debut live concerts, MLB and NBA games, and standup comedy shows. 

Finally, Oculus Gallery will let users easily share and view their own photos, video and other media inside virtual reality. 

  • The best Oculus Go games and apps

6. Instagram and Messenger add AR Camera Effects

At last year’s F8, Facebook showed off its new augmented reality (AR) technology, which lets you insert 3D animated creations into your photos and videos. 

Now, the company has brought its AR Camera Effects suite directly into Instagram and Facebook Messenger, so you can add things like face filters, “world effects” or 3D objects into your feed. 

Asus is an early AR Camera Effects on Messenger partner

Facebook has also given these AR tools to businesses that use chatbots as part of a closed beta. Early partners like Nike, Asus, Sephora and Kia, will use 3D visualizations of objects to their products so you can see what they’ll look like from the comfort of your home. 

You’ll be able to put a makeup filter over your face to see what a certain shade looks like on you, for example, or check out how a Kia Stinger or pair of Nikes look in different colors. 

7. Big updates to Instagram chat and WhatsApp calling

Confirming rumors from earlier this year, Zuckerberg announced that Instagram users can now use video chat to connect with people through the app. 

Up to four people can join the chat at once, and you’ll be able to browse around inside the app while your friends sit in a thumbnail in the corner. 

Part of that browsing will be in their revamped Explore mode, which places photo category buttons on the top of the window in a carousel, so you can quickly swipe through different options like “Animals” or “Architecture” and select one that strikes your fancy. 

Zuckerberg claimed that people has been using the live video feature to “just hang out” with friends, and that video chat was a logical addition to the platform.

Facebook has also added a similar option to WhatsApp called Group Calling, which also allows up to four people onto one call. 

Zuckerberg said that people already make “2 billion minutes of voice and video calls on WhatsApp” every day, and this new addition could add to that number. 

  • Oculus Go vs Oculus Rift: should you switch to standalone VR?

Fedora 28 is unleashed with boosted performance and a smart new desktop

Fedora 28 has been released, with three fresh variants of the Linux distro – Workstation, Server and Atomic Host – having emerged.

Fedora is the free community-supported version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and as you’d expect, Fedora 28 brings a raft of bug fixes across the board, not to mention a boost on the performance front.

Fedora 28 Workstation, the desktop-targeted spin of the distro, is graced with a number of new tools for the average user and developers alike, with Gnome 3.28 now incorporated, giving improved organizational abilities in terms of marking favorite files, folders or contacts.

And Usage is a fresh app which is included in order to better diagnose and solve performance issues. Gnome Photos is also now on board as the default photo management app, for a more streamlined image organization workflow.

Thunderbolt 3 connectors are now supported, and the new power saving features should provide extended longevity for your notebook’s battery. There’s also more wide-ranging emoji support to boot.

Servers you right

As for major new features with Fedora 28 Server, the main move is a new modular repository, designed to deliver software and updates with alternative versions other than those provided with the default release of the OS.

Basically this means users can pick and choose what they want, and update specific elements at the speed they require. Fedora 28 Server has also gained support for 64-bit ARM as a primary architecture, expanding options on the hardware front.

Finally, when it comes to Fedora 28 Atomic Host, the big introduction is the incorporation of Kubernetes 1.9, delivering fresh features for managing container-native workloads.

You can grab all these flavors of Fedora 28 from the official website here.

  • Run Linux on one of our best laptops