Unlocked Smartphones: Smart Decision for Travelers

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As someone who has traveled abroad, I’ve experienced first hand the logistics of traveling overseas with a carrier locked smartphone. If you happen to be on a great network, it can be easy to activate your travel plan – although, it’s still going to cost you more than if you were at home. If you aren’t as fortunate to be on a travel-friendly service provider, than chances are you’re about to be slapped with confusing (and expensive!) roaming agreements, conflicting advice on the best way to save money and even gear that doesn’t work. What’s more, trying to sort it out can cost you in roaming and usage fees if you aren’t prepared ahead of time. Unlocked smartphones make traveling abroad a breeze in comparison.


But first, what is an unlocked smartphone? An unlocked smartphone is a phone that isn’t tied to a specific carrier or locked into a contract. At home, this means you can shop for the latest phones as often as you want. It also means you have the flexibility to switch between carriers and save yourself some money. Abroad, these phones give you the flexibility to travel without worrying about your service provider’s expensive roaming rates. 

sim card

To use an unlocked phone abroad, you simply replace your SIM card tied to your home carrier, with a new one purchased from a local carrier of your choice once you arrive in your destination country. With your unlocked phone and new local SIM card, you’ll pay the same lower rate as the locals do for calls in that country. These rates vary anywhere from $10-$50 for a month of service including an agreeable amount of data, text and calls – way less than what you would spend on roaming charges.

What’s a SIM Card? SIM cards are small cards that house carrier and user data within your smartphone. 

Unlocked smartphones come from a variety of brands. The Huawei Honor 8 unlocked smartphone is Huawei’s newest addition to the Honor smartphone line. It’s a super sleek 4G LTE smartphone with a 5.2in touchscreen and a 12MP rear facing camera running on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. It’s got a camera that just might have been designed with the traveler in mind. Including professional mode that lets you open the aperture wide to get that dreamy bokeh effect. As well as super night mode and a wide angle 8mp front facing camera so you can fit gorgeous landscapes into your selfies. You can program the camera as one of the smart key apps that allow you quick access to your favorite apps and day-to-day tasks. 

The Honor 8 is also safety-centric, a concern many travelers face at one time or another. It features 3D fingerprint sensor on the back of the device with level 4 security detection. It also has incredible battery life, so you won’t be lost in a foreign city without a means of communication (and let’s be honest, directions). The 3000mAh battery gets you a 50% charge in just 30 minutes and gives you 12 Hours of HD video, 4 hours of 4g browsing, 20 hours of 3g calling or 56 hours of music. Best of all, the device is SIM lock free. So you can switch between carrier networks at home or abroad. 

Get a free $50 Best Buy Gift Card when you purchase the Huawei Honor 8 unlocked smartphone at Best Buy.

Want to learn more? Checkout Best Buy’s quick educational video on unlocked phones.

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free

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