Best Buy Upgrade Plus financing lets you pay for that new MacBook over three years
But watch out for the fine print and double-check your offer — not everyone can qualify for the zero-percent interest offer
By Emma Roth, a news writer who covers the streaming wars, consumer tech, crypto, social media, and much more. Previously, she was a writer and editor at MUO.
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Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge
Best Buy’s new MacBook upgrade program locks you into three years of monthly payments before giving you the option to upgrade to the latest and greatest machine (via Apple Insider). Called Upgrade Plus, it lets people with approved credit finance either a MacBook or MacBook Air via Citizens Bank.
As an example, Best Buy says you can purchase the $999 M1-powered MacBook Air for as low as $19. 99 for 36 months and then pay out the remaining $280.35 in month 37 to keep the device. That is, assuming you qualify for a zero-percent APR offer — the program’s FAQ indicates offers may carry interest of up to 29.99 percent, depending on creditworthiness.
But if you don’t want to pay the higher amount on that last payment, Best Buy says you will have two options: return the device and leave the program completely or return the device and upgrade to the newest model. In other words, Best Buy will foot the remaining balance if you choose to upgrade, but you’ll have to commit to another three years of payments before you can either upgrade again, keep the device, or leave the program.
Best Buy’s Upgrade Plus lets you choose from five MacBooks.
According to Best Buy’s Upgrade Plus page, more expensive devices, like the $2,499 16-inch M1 MacBook Pro, will run you about $51.17 / month with a final payment of $550. The M2 MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and 14-inch MacBook Pro are also available through the program.
Best Buy says you can tack on any accessories or an AppleCare Plus subscription to your monthly bill (but your payments will go up, of course). And if you’re a Best Buy TotalTech member, a two-year AppleCare Plus subscription is already included with your purchase of select Apple products.
Upgrade Plus is similar to Apple’s own iPhone program, which binds you to 24 months of payments, but gives you the option to trade in your device and upgrade once you complete 12 months of payments. Apple’s also rumored to be looking into selling an iPhone subscription service that’s rumored to launch late this year or next year. Unlike Apple’s existing upgrade program, though, it could come with a base monthly cost that wouldn’t depend on the price of the device itself, making it more like an iPhone lending service.
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Should You Buy an iPhone From Apple or Your Carrier?
When it comes to getting an iPhone, it’s a buyer’s market. Every major cell phone carrier has them, and they all compete against each other to bring you the best deal.
While Apple has always sold iPhones in its own stores, recent initiatives such as the iPhone Upgrade Program and Apple Trade-In have made the company a serious contender for your phone-buying business.
Let’s discover whether you should buy an iPhone from your carrier or directly from Apple.
iPhone Prices Are Basically the Same
Previously, cell phone carriers would let you pay off your phone in monthly installments. What they didn’t tell you is that they charged you a bit more than the total price of your phone over the course of 24 months for the privilege of being able to spread it out.
Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program offered the same 24-month installment plan, with the option of upgrading to a new phone every year for free and trading in your old phone. However, if you paid the whole phone off, it didn’t cost you any more than if you had paid upfront.
Carriers followed suit, and now, for the most part, all carriers and Apple offer monthly, no-money-down installment plans through which you purchase the phone from them over the course of 24 months. The monthly cost depends on the iPhone model you want, but across the different sellers, they’re all the same.
There are a few exceptions to this. AT&T and Verizon offer special plans at a lower monthly rate for a total of 36 months. Apple also offers a higher monthly rate as part of its iPhone Upgrade Program, which includes the AppleCare+ warranty that costs between $3.99 and $9.99 per month if purchased separately.
Additionally, you can pay $4.16 more per month for AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss, which typically costs between $7.49 and $13.49 per month, depending on the iPhone model.
Winner: Essentially a tie.
Carriers Have the Best iPhone Deals
Apple is infamous for seldom offering deals. Unlike many other smartphone makers, Apple has avoided sales so as not to devalue the exclusivity of its product. Everyone who owns an iPhone is also displaying a status symbol.
Carriers, however, frequently feature deals to compete with each other. Examples of past iPhone promotions have included pre-paid payments, free products, and free services. Carriers also frequently offer trade-in deals that can help take hundreds off the initial iPhone purchase price.
Locked vs. Unlocked iPhone
While you can unlock a contract-locked phone, it’s a hassle, and you might have to wait for your contract to run out first. When it comes to unlocked versus locked phones, the better move is to buy your phone unlocked in the first place.
An unlocked iPhone allows you to use that phone with any carrier, even if you’re not under contract with them. This can save money in the long term as you won’t be locked into an expensive contract. If you purchase your phone through your carrier under a two-year service contract, the iPhone you buy might be locked to that carrier until that contract is up.
Even after two years, if you want to unlock it, you’ll need to contact them to do so. Although the pricing might seem good at the time of purchase, imagine still paying that price in two years when the iPhone is out of date.
When you buy a phone from Apple under the iPhone Upgrade Program, it comes as a certified unlocked device. You can pair it with an existing plan and retain your unlocked status. Besides, you can switch carriers at will before you complete paying off your device. This is one of the biggest advantages of buying your iPhone directly from Apple.
Although all iPhones purchased from Apple are unlocked, if you choose the buy it with an AT&T Installment Plan, it will be locked to AT&T until the end of the agreement. If you need your iPhone unlocked, avoid AT&T’s Installment Plan like the plague.
Insurance vs. AppleCare+
Both cell carriers and Apple offer all sorts of ways to protect your iPhone.
AppleCare+ comes in two different tiers: AppleCare+ and AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss. The pricing is different depending on your iPhone model, but typically the Theft and Loss version costs about $100 more than the regular version. However, it includes two opportunities to replace your iPhone every 12 months if it gets lost or stolen.
Regular AppleCare+ covers repairs caused by accidental damage, but you must still physically have the device.
Carrier cell phone insurance plans like Verizon Total Mobile Protection, AT&T Device Protection, or T-Mobile Premium Protection 360 have many different tiers and price plans. However, they roughly break down along the same lines that AppleCare does. On the whole, perhaps, cellular company insurance plans are slightly cheaper than AppleCare+.
There are two major differences between AppleCare+ and a carrier’s insurance: the level of customer service and the quality of your replacement device.
Apple commits to providing you with a “new or equivalent to new” product when it replaces your iPhone. Its customer service is set up so that all you have to do is walk into an Apple Store and get a same-day replacement. Apple Stores are stocked with almost every model of replacement iPhone available for quick service.
Carriers, on the other hand, don’t have access to the same level of quality assurance for Apple’s products. Often, your replacement phone will not be at the same level of quality that Apple promises. Instead, it will probably be a refurbished phone.
Additionally, carrier insurance typically requires verification, and devices are often shipped through the mail.
You were once able to find some real savings by shopping around the various mobile carriers. Nowadays, most carriers, including Apple, offer roughly the same price for a more-or-less equivalent service.
However, Apple is a bit better in terms of convenience, customer service, and repair quality. The Apple Store will probably provide a better experience, but if you time it right, your carrier might offer you a better price.
The Apple Store has another advantage: these locations are licensed to sell you an iPhone under a carrier’s plan. As a result, if you buy your phone at an Apple Store, you can actually see how much each phone will cost you under each plan.
At each carrier’s stores, they will only show you how much it will cost under their own plan. By presenting all the options to you, Apple offers a level of transparency that the other stores can’t match.
Try a Refurbished iPhone for Even More Discounts
Whether you buy your next iPhone straight from Apple or from your carrier, you should consider how long iPhones last on average. Buying directly from Apple or your carrier is typically the best way to buy an iPhone, but have you ever considered purchasing a refurbished model?
If saving money is your main priority, you can buy a refurbished or used iPhone at Best Buy, Apple, Walmart, and even online from Amazon or eBay. The quality can be questionable outside an Apple Certified Refurbished product, but that might not matter to you, depending on how much you save.
Navigating all the terminology can be a little confusing, so before you get started, ensure you understand the pros and cons of refurbished, used, and certified pre-owned electronics.
Be Careful Where You Buy Your iPhone From
In terms of price, you’ll pay the same cost whether you get your iPhone from your carrier or Apple. Advantages of buying your iPhone from Apple include complete ownership, freedom to switch carriers at will, cheaper device insurance with AppleCare+ protection, and you can upgrade after 12 months with Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program.
On the other hand, buying via carriers has one upside; frequent deals and promotions for upgrading. On the downside, you’ll be locked to that carrier’s network for at least until the end of your agreement.
Whether you decide to purchase from Apple, your carrier, or a third-party website, be sure to pick the deal that works best for you. Consider both your long-term and short-term needs, and you’ll quickly find your best option in terms of price and services.
Global Version, EU, Rostest and for the Chinese market. What is their difference?
There are 3 main versions of smartphones on sale:
1 Chinese domestic market version. (From the factory it has a Chinese language, in Russia a global firmware with Russian is installed). May not have some features, such as NFC.
2 European version (Suitable for Russia and has Russian language from the factory, no manufacturer’s warranty).
3 We sell Russian version (Suitable for Russia and has Russian language from the factory, manufacturer’s warranty applies).
As you know, Xiaomi and other Chinese companies produce their products not only for the international market, but also for the domestic consumer. In this regard, there are modifications of smartphones both for the Chinese themselves and for everyone else. What is the difference between the Asian version (for the Chinese market) and the international (European) version of the smartphone?
Packaging and firmware
Smartphones intended for the international market are labeled in English on the packaging. This implies that they already have a global version of the firmware preinstalled at the factory. In the version for the Asian market, the inscriptions on the box are in Chinese, the firmware does not have Russian from the factory. Therefore, our engineers install global firmware in such phones, the same as in European versions.
Together with the global version of the smartphone, a charger with the usual “European” plug is included. At the same time, Chinese modifications, which are sold much cheaper in other stores, come with a charger of their sample and are equipped with an adapter for “our” sockets.
Support for LTE (4G)
Smartphones for the Asian market support LTE frequencies Band 1, 3, 5 and 7, and for the European market – Band 1, 3, 5 and 7, as well as B4 and B20.
At the same time, Band 4 (AWS) is practically not used in Russia and is actively used only in some countries of the world (for example, Colombia, Chile, Uruguay, Mexico), and Band 20 due to the low frequency (800 MHz), which is not capable of providing high capacity and speed, used only as an additional frequency in cities and also in extremely sparsely populated areas.
Even with the additional B20 frequency, the difference in speed between the European and Asian versions will not be noticeable in practice, because Russian (as well as foreign) operators use B3 (1800), B7 (2600 FDD) and B38 (2600 FDD) frequencies to transmit data at high speeds. TDD).
Now let’s see what Rostest and Eurotest are. Eurotest is a certification that all gadgets receive. It works all over the world, including in Russia.
In Russia, another one is superimposed on the Eurotest certification – the Russian one. Thus, Rostest is a certification of a product already certified in Europe. Of course, this additional certification is included in the cost of the gadget and for this you have to pay approximately 20% of the cost of the goods. In return, you get the right to repair the gadget during the warranty period at official service centers throughout the country. A phone with a certificate from Eurotest is quoted all over the world. Nowhere in the world do they overpay 20% of the price for an additional guarantee.
In general, buying a Eurotest is like going to another country and buying a phone there at a lower price. Only in this situation, due to a warranty case, you would have to return to this country or repair for money.
EUROTEST (Global Version)
Throughout the Russian Federation
Suitable for Russian networks
Suitable for Russian networks
Yes, after firmware
Factory software (firmware)
Global with Russian
Global with Russian
Below Rostest, but above Chinese version
The lowest price!
We improve the performance of your smartphone.
All the pros and cons / Sudo Null IT News
Discharges quickly, often freezes, lacks the necessary functions … Who among you has not come across these “stories”?
So I had a moment “x”, when I decided on a procedure that was not known to me until now. Firmware. It would seem that it can be difficult? Download the firmware, download the utility, connect the phone and flash it!
Do you believe in fairy tales? Me not. And so, starting this procedure, I was ready for a “fabulous” adventure.
Having broken a bunch of sticks, firewood, coal deposits and other wooden resources, I still flashed the phone, and not just flashed it, but with a non-original core! And still, 3 months later, I’m delighted! Why didn’t I do this before?
In a nutshell – the phone just “came to life”!
Next – what did I get at the output? Attention, a lot of letters.
2. Increase duration of work by 2 times. From one day of active use to two days.
3. Received a record of telephone conversations from line . This was the most important criterion. Do you know what it is, entry from line ?
This is a way of recording telephone conversations “as if you are talking in the same room and both of you are being recorded on a voice recorder. You can hear both interlocutors perfectly. ATTENTION, this function is not entirely legal in the territory of the Russian Federation.
4. New, improved design, optional.
5. Unlimited freedom in choosing further “improvements”.
So, you definitely decided that your smartphone, having outlived its warranty life, is ready for reincarnation, since the standard “soul” has exhausted its resources and capabilities. Well. If so, then I suggest that you first of all familiarize yourself with the rules, or rather with exceptions to the rules:
1) Not all firmware are equally useful. Or “firmware is not only 200mb of useful software. ..”. ONLY the creator of a particular firmware/kernel knows what is “inside”. In other words – if you have secrets – custom ROMs are NOT for you. What if a script for remembering passwords from Yandex.Money is hidden deep in the firmware? EXCEPT for the author of the firmware – no one knows this …
2) Some firmwares are completely dangerous due to the fact that they can work with a custom kernel, increasing and decreasing the voltage on the processor, thereby “playing” with its frequency …
And the fool understands that there will be enthusiasts who are ready to test extremely dangerous parameters on our devices with you in order to find out “whether the bunny will die if it is slightly inflated …” often these experiments lead to an eternal reboot with which not every ordinary user can handle. And what else these experiments will lead to – no one knows. So download only those firmwares, which are discussed positively, which are very popular, which are made by a fairly famous team of enthusiasts (for example, the w3bsit3-dns. com development team).
3) If, after installing the firmware, the initial startup takes more than 10 minutes (it hangs on the initial entry, for example, “SONY” or “android”, just do it all over again and more carefully. Right from the very beginning. Do all kinds of resets, wipes , cleaning and refill, there is a chance that the second time everything will go “with a bang. It happened to me. Experience …
4) Not all firmware fit all cores. You can go “All-in”, take a chance and try to flash with your core (as in my, prosperous, case). And, it is quite possible that the firmware will work perfectly and stably despite the assurances of the author. Or maybe not – in the process of “unknown to God himself” combinations, the famous “brick”, “eternal reboot” and so on can be formed. In any case, you don’t really lose anything – change the core or take other flashes, unless, of course, the qualifications are enough +)))
5) Not all firmware fit the kernel laid out next to the firmware. In the sense of the core, which the author himself indicates. Yes, and it happens. Maybe the author in such a configuration “plows” everything well, but that you personally will have a bunch of glitches in the form of a lack of Wi-Fi, an operator network, etc. – There are no guarantees. That’s why it is a “custom” firmware, so that “at your own peril and risk.” So learn to “mat.chat”, which is what you are doing now;)
6) It’s not a fact that, in the presence of absolutely identical devices, if a neighbor managed to flash on X-firmware, then you will be lucky. It is quite possible that you will get a “brick” that has already bothered everyone. Although, if you have reached this point in a practical sense, then the “brick” is not so terrible for you.
7) It’s not a fact that if the neighbor did NOT manage to flash at all, then you will not succeed either, it is quite possible that the neighbor is doing something wrong.
AND GENERALLY (allegedly highlighted in DOUBLE bold), EVERY COPY OF EVERY MODEL OF THE DEVICE IS UNIQUE IN ITS OWN. This initially happens for a million reasons. The conveyor at the factory is “failed”, the filling of the device is defective or “almost” defective but allowed for sale, physical damage to the device during transportation, illiterate handling in the sales salon (which happens often) and so on. This just means that if you take 10 identical devices, then there is no guarantee that one or another firmware with a kernel will be installed on all 10.
Go ahead, only by experience you will check the firmware on your “body”. All assurances of the authors like “100% verified” are self-flattery. 100% does not happen. Don’t believe in miracles. WHEN FIRMWARE, be ready to go tomorrow to buy a new phone.
8) Well, almost finally, if you follow some specific goal – except for you and your specific experiments, NOBODY will tell you which core you need for which model and which firmware gives you a greater increase in performance, battery “survivability” and so on. Please (Again double FAT) do not torture yourself, admins and people like you, trying to find the necessary information in the infinity of the pages of this or that forum, creating stupid topics a la “What core is needed for “SONY arc Ice 2 R2”. Most likely they will not answer you, or, with enviable disgust, they will send to ALREADY “one hundred years” a topic created SPECIALLY for you. Use SEARCH. Fortunately, he is everywhere.
9) Remember that, as a rule, the higher the performance becomes, the less the device will hold the battery, and vice versa. Don’t believe in miracles. Cannot be obtained from the initially “average” GAME monster processor. This is fantasy and delusional dreams of the author of the firmware / kernel.
10) There are firmware/kernels that can adapt to the needs of the user, that is, change the processor frequency on the fly. But there is a minus here too – in order to force the core to increase the frequency, you need to “load” it, that is, when you open, for example, Opera or a game, the phone for a couple of seconds. slow down, then everything will be like clockwork, quickly and smoothly, but the brakes at first will still be. And so every time after idle time, when the screen is turned off (optional). Since at this moment the frequency of the processor is reduced to a minimum. And if you want high performance all the time, then see point 9).
But, if you are still not afraid, then we ask you to proceed further.
All firmware will be done on the example of Sony Ericsson Ark S phone.
So, let’s start. I will try to write everything in an “average” language for understanding.
A method suitable for standard firmware, if you want to officially upgrade your smartphone
1. Download and install on your computer: “FlashTool”. There are different versions. It is better to download several at once. Not all versions and not always work.
2. download the firmware you like 4.x.x. This is where the entire internet is yours. Look for the firmware for your particular model. Do not think that since the models are outwardly similar, then the firmware will be interchangeable;). This is wrong. Look only for your model.
3. We throw it (without unpacking it in the format: . ftf) into the “FlashTool” folder: c / flashtool / firmwares. The directory may be different. But these are details…
4. Run “FlashTool”, press the “lightning icon” – select “flashmode”. Or something similar. Depending on the version of the program, the inscription may vary slightly.
5. select the firmware in the “review” and, it is necessary to check the “No Final Verification” box, OTHERWISE, NOTHING WILL WORK!!!
6. Press “ok” and after the window appears asking you to connect the body (a couple of seconds) –
(preferably without a sim and a memory card, it seems that they wrote that this will save you from subsequent lags “ICS”)
Who does not know what “ICS” is – be sure to google it. Suddenly you are looking for something completely different from what you want to find?;)
7. connect the switched off body (your phone) with the left key “back” pressed (for ARC S !!!) to the computer,
on the “body” the green diode will light up and the firmware process will begin!
The “back” key can then be released.
8. We are waiting for the end, in one of the last lines the flashtool program will write: “Flashed finished”
9. Disconnect the “body” from USB, load the device (patiently wait –
the first boot can take up to 10 minutes depending on the firmware)
10. We rejoice at the new “ICS” firmware!!! (We use Google, if you suddenly flashed, and you don’t know what exactly you flashed).
If an error occurs like “flashtool cannot access the phone” – you need to change the firewood in the device manager to “01004”. I would describe in more detail, but everyone has different phones with stuffings known only to God.
It also helps to change the USB port on the computer, for example, I refused to flash through USB 3.0 ports, and REBOOT after each change in parameters (firewood, programs, utilities) also helps.
For non-standard firmware, you will need an unlocked bootloader.
How to do this using the example of the same Ark S
Necessary tools and components:
1. PC with Internet connection.
2. ADB RUN application (which can be downloaded and installed very easily by googling only the name of the program).
3. Sony/Sony Ericsson smartphone with at least 50% charged battery
4. USB cable
Bootloader unlocking instructions:
1. Go to the site Unlocking the boot loader
2. Click on the bottom “Start unlocking the boot loader”
3. In the window you see the Name, IMEI of the smartphone (to do this, type *#06# in it) and your email.
4. The email you receive will contain the unlock code, save it.
5. Turn off your smartphone.
6. Run the program Adb Run, previously installed.
7. With the smartphone turned off, hold down the search button (usually the “HOME” button, the center button) and connect it to the PC using a USB cable.
8. After installing the USB driver in the ADB Run program, go to the Manual menu item Unlock Sony / Sony Ericsson (control ONLY using numbers and the Enter button).
9. Select the item “Attached” if you received a response of 0.3, then the smartphone is connected correctly.
10. Return to “Unlock Sony/Sony Ericsson”
10 Select “Unlock Bootloader” and enter the unlock code received in the mail and press Enter.
11. Reboot your smartphone.
12. Bootloader Unlocked Now you can get Root rights or whatever else you can think of with a defenseless smartphone.
Next, we need to flash the kernel. After all, just custom firmware did not suit us.
0. Find, select, read reviews , download the kernel for your smartphone.
1. Throw the boot.img file itself into the folder with the installed USB flash drive.
2. Connect the switched off bodies to the computer while holding down the menu key (far right)
3. Install standard firewood, turn off the phone.
4. Open flashTool.exe with as administrator.
5. Connect the switched off phone to the computer while holding down the menu key (far right)
6. Click on the “lightning” in the flash drive menu.
7. Select “Fastboot mode” (in the window that appears, select Seleck Kernel to Flash)
8. Select our boot.img and click Open (if your file is not displayed, select * .img in the file type)
9. That’s all, if everything is done correctly, you will see at the end of the program log “OKAY [ 2.220s] finished. total time: 2.498s”
10. Disconnect the bodies from the computer, turn on, rejoice.
Well, the climax! Installing custom firmware!
The main requirement of for installing custom firmware is UNLOCKED BOOTLOADER! Which is what we did in the previous paragraph.
Without an unlocked bootloader, installing custom firmware is IMPOSSIBLE!
1. CHARGE YOUR PHONE AT LEAST 70%
2. Before flashing, copy the archive with firmware in .zip format to a memory card (usually micro SD). Maybe at the root. It’s even easier that way.
3. Turn on the phone and often press the “volume down button” to enter the recovery – ClockworkMod Recovery (CWM) on a new kernel (!!!) Remember, yes, that we installed a custom kernel;)
4. Move through the menu with the volume rocker, look for and select the “Factory reset” item, confirm the selection with the HOME (center) button. The phone will be reset to factory settings.
5. We move through the menu and select the item “Wipe data” or “Wipe cache partition” (depending on the kernel), confirm the choice. ALL data on the phone is cleared.
6. We move through the menu and select the item “Install zip from sdcard”.
7. Next item “choose zip from sdcard”
8. Select “******.zip” file with firmware
9. Confirm the selected action. The firmware will not last very long.
10. After the completion of the filling process, we return to the main CWM menu and select reboot system now (reboot the phone). Reboot.
Congratulations, you have installed Custom firmware! It remains to understand – why the hell do you need it;)
What I got from custom firmware with the kernel:
1. The phone works quickly if you give it 5 seconds. for “spreading”.
2. The battery is MUCH less discharged due to the fact that the processor frequency in standby becomes only 233 Hz. And in the load it rises to 1600 Hz. With a nominal frequency of only 1000 Hz. In other words, when you start using the phone actively, it starts to increase the frequency according to the needs, well, it starts to “eat” the battery.
3. More advanced controls, menus, etc. You can choose what and where to “place”.
4. And in general, you can further choose what, where and when to put.
5. I record all telephone conversations in excellent quality directly from the line. At any time I can listen to the conversation with the subscriber “N” for the last year, if I have a 16GB flash drive. Isn’t that lovely? I would only flash the phone for this.
5. You can not use the official technical support of Sony Ericsson. Such a loss… Sadness and melancholy… I’m going to download the official firmware…
But in general, all “iPhones” taste and color are different.