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How to get an iPhone 11 for $399 (or less)

Apple's trade-in program makes it particularly easy to get a better deal on the new model.

Your old iPhone could net you anywhere from $45 to $600 toward the price of an iPhone 11.
Apple/Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

The big surprise out of Cupertino earlier this week: Apple's new flagship phone, the iPhone 11 ($500 at Best Buy), would not have a starting price of $1,000, or $900 or even $800. Nope, it starts at $699 -- and thanks to Apple's aggressive new trade-in program, you might be able to snag it for less. Possibly a lot less.

Read more: When and how to preorder the iPhone 11  

Indeed, if you've checked out Apple's iPhone 11 order page, you'll see that the very first question is, "Do you have an iPhone to trade in?" Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page.

As noted on that page, your cost might be as low as $399 with trade-in -- but it might actually be lower still. That number is based on a $300 credit for a good-condition iPhone 8 Plus, but you can trade anything from an iPhone SE on up to an iPhone XS Max -- the latter good for as much as $600 toward your iPhone 11.

Me, for example, I'm chugging along on a two-year-old iPhone X. I like it, have almost zero complaints, but the battery is definitely providing less life than it used to, and who doesn't like better cameras? With Apple's $400 trade-in credit for that model, I'd be getting the new flagship for $299 -- not a bad deal.

Now playing: Watch this: Hands-on with the iPhone 11's ultra-wide-angle camera

Something else to consider: Apple is offering these same trade-in options on the iPhone XR, which starts at $599, and the iPhone 8, which starts at $449.

The main benefit here, of course, is convenience: Apple makes it super easy to trade in your old phone and apply the credit value to a new one. You might be able to get more, however, if you sell your old iPhone yourself

For example, I used -- which compares prices from dozens of buyback services -- to estimate what I could get for my aforementioned iPhone X. Best bet: $490 from Buybacktronics, and when I clicked through to get an "official" quote from the site, the phone was actually worth $492.

Your mileage may vary, of course, but before you trade your old iPhone to Apple, it's worth shopping it around a bit.

What do you think? Are you planning to upgrade to the iPhone 11? If so, what's the plan for your old model?

CNET's Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page, and find more great buys on the CNET Deals page.

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