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The Galaxy Note 20 is here, but the smart money's on last year's Note 10

Before you spend $1,000 or more on the new flagship, look for discounts on the old one.

The Galaxy Note 10 has a cool glass back. The Galaxy Note 20? Plastic! Another point in favor of the former.

Coronavirus notwithstanding, Samsung just took the wraps off its new flagship phones, the Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. Like their predecessors, they have starting prices of $1,000 and $1,300, respectively. If you can afford to spend that kind of money on a phone, have at it -- even though there are lots of extremely good options priced considerably less.

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If nothing else, consider shifting your focus to the Galaxy Note 10, which still ranks at CNET as "The best Galaxy phone to buy right now." (See Jessica Dolcourt's Galaxy Note 10 review to learn why.) Last year's flagship might turn out to be this year's bargain.

Just don't look to Samsung for a deal. At time of writing, the Note 10 starts only $50 below the Note 20. That's kind of ludicrous, and hopefully temporary: When Samsung rolled out the Galaxy S20 lineup earlier this year, it came with a $150 discount on the S10 lineup.

Thankfully, you can indeed find the Galaxy Note 10 for less. (I'm specifically focusing on that model, but you can also find proportionate savings on the Note 10 Plus.) For example, B&H Photo currently offers the unlocked Galaxy Note 10 (256GB) for $850 -- not a fantastic bargain, but still better than Samsung's price.

For an even better deal, look to refurbished phones. Right now at Back Market, for example, you can get a Galaxy Note 10 in "mint" condition for just $539. It's locked to Verizon; if you want one that's unlocked, they currently start at $639 (in "very good" condition).

What's nice about Back Market's refurbs is that they're backed by a 12-month warranty and promise a battery that still has at least 80% maximum load available. (Given that the Note 10 is only a year old, chances are good the battery will be in much better shape than that.)

Meanwhile, don't overlook the Galaxy Note 10 Lite, by all accounts a great phone. It debuted earlier this year at $650 and currently runs $639 at Amazon, but there are better deals elsewhere. For example, B&H sells the Galaxy Note 10 Lite for $450, though take note that it's compatible only with AT&T and T-Mobile.

Once the Galaxy Note 20 starts shipping (you can preorder the phone starting tomorrow, Aug. 6), that will lead to an increase in discounted or refurbished Galaxy Note 10 models, which will in turn produce lower prices. So my advice is to skip the Note 20 altogether, wait a few weeks, then look for Note 10 deals.

Your thoughts?

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