Things move crazy fast in the world of smartphones, and as such sticking with the same handset for 24 months is a really big ask. Sure, that iPhone 5 is the Best Thing Ever right now, but next year we’ll have an iPhone 5S with, uhm, a slightly faster processor.
Enter: Vodafone Red Hot, a spanking new scheme from Big Red that lets you rent a phone and swap it for the latest model after 12 months – avoiding the dreaded Early Upgrade Fee.
Sounds good in theory, but I’m not convinced Vodafone Red Hot is necessarily the most cost effective way to go about things. Let’s plug some figures into ye olde calculatrix, shall we?
The example given by Vodafone is a free Samsung Galaxy S III, at £47PM on a 12-month contract. It includes unlimited calls and texts, a meaty 2GB of data, and insurance. That’s £564 over the year.
Meanwhile, Vodafone’s bog standard Samsung Galaxy S III contract options include this: 1,200 minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of data. At £51PM over 12 months, and with an up-front cost of £99, that’s £711 total.
So, a higher cost for a more modest allowance (and no insurance), but crucially you get to keep – and sell/recycle – the phone. And that's just looking at Vodafone, never mind the plethora of other options out there.
Another downside of Vodafone Red Hot is the potential for charges when you return the handset. Grade B damage including “deep scratches, chips or dents” will set you back £75, while a "non-approved operating system" demands between £300 an £425. Yikes.
Not that impressive after all, but if any particularly sweet offers pop up, we’re sure the good people on HotUKDeals will send out the Bat-Signal.