Can you get away with a SIM only contract?

Last updated: 15 March 2016


Can you get away with a SIM only contract?

We know that a savvy lot like you are always looking for ways to save money and yet keep doing the things you love. Which is why Three aims to offer the best SIM only contracts on the market.

Über flexible SIM only plans are not for everyone. Yes, they allow you to refresh your tariff so you get more for your money – but if your handset is on its last legs then it could be cheaper in the long run to upgrade your phone at the same time.

So, how do you know if you can get away with it? Will your iPhone finally give up the ghost if you commit to another 12 months? Should you trade-in your old Samsung Galaxy S5 for the swanky new S7, or can you squeeze some more life out of that bad boy handset?

Here are four rigorous tests to put your phone through and see if a SIM only contract is the right option for you…

Work out how long it takes for the battery to run out.

We don’t mean charge it and then sit staring at it for hours until it creeps down to the dreaded 0%.

No, we really want to know how practical that battery is. So, charge it and then spend the day streaming music, watching Netflix via the app and binge-texting your loved ones. Keep the brightness up, of course. And remember to have a two-hour long phone call with your Grandma. If it gets to 6pm and you still have juice, it’s a keeper.

If you’ve noticed the battery is generally OK, but only seems to drain when you’re using it pretty heavily, you could consider investing in a battery power pack or taking a look at our battery saving tips. Bear in mind that some Android phones, including the Samsung Galaxy range, have removable batteries that can be replaced, too.

Inspect your hardware.

If you’ve had a heavy duty phone case on your handset since you got it, you’ll probably be in a much better position than most.

If, however, you kept it naked and caseless, it’s worth looking a little more closely at its general condition. What are the scratch marks like on the screen, for example? Are there cracks? Have you noticed a decrease in sensitivity? If you peer into the murky depths of the headphone and battery ports, do they look clogged up?

Can you see grime and dirt around the edges of any other buttons or ridges? Is your camera lens perpetually greasy? Small things like this can work together to generally reduce the health of your phone, and another year will take its toll. Maybe stick to a rolling one-month SIM only contract just to be safe…

Ensure it can keep up with the others.

Update your phone to the latest operating system and see whether it can handle working a bit harder to accommodate all the new features.

Sometimes manufacturers will not make software updates friendly for old devices, but you’ll need the latest software in order to update your apps and enjoy the same benefits as your mates. Imagine being the only one in your friendship group who can’t use Snapchat Lenses. Disaster.

If you know your phone can’t handle it and has to use an older OS then, it might worth looking into an upgrade – or coming to terms with the fact that the latest suite of emojis might be out of your grasp.

Take a look at your storage situation.

One of the major problems with mobiles is running out of storage space.

If you’ve crawled through your photo album countless times (we agree that you absolutely cannot delete those 60 photos you took of that person who was possibly / probably David Beckham in Sainsbury’s), and deleted all your fave offline playlists (even your essential ‘Calm Commute’), then you need a new solution.

The obvious answer is just to update your handset to something nice and heavy in the storage department. These days some phones have over 100GB storage space to play around with.

However, if your handset really is in top notch condition and the only thing wrong is the fact it’s chock-a-block full of selfies then invest in some Cloud storage and get on that cheap and cheerful SIM only contract asap.