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Samsung Galaxy S3 best prices compared

Samsung's Galaxy S3 super-phone is tearing up the charts -- but where can you buy it the cheapest? Andy gets his calculator out.

Samsung's Galaxy S3 super-phone is tearing up the smart phone charts, promising bumper sales for its Korean crafter. Packing an enormous 4.8-inch screen and quad-core processor, it's easily one of the best phones of 2012. But where can you buy it the cheapest and what minutes, texts and data can you get with it?

SIM-free Galaxy S3 deal: £740 for 24 months, £680 for 18 months

Buying the phone outright for £500 might seem extravagant, but it can be cheaper in the long-run and allows you to sell your handset -- unlocked -- to upgrade to a new one at any point. The 16GB S3 costs around £500. Add a £10-per-month rolling SIM card from GiffGaff -- which includes 250 minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited data -- and you'll pay £740 over 24 months.

That's much less than most of the 24-month contracts on offer. You can shop around for a new deal any time you want because you're not tied in, and your phone is unlocked, which is better if you ever want to sell it. If you don't have half a grand lying dormant, check out our favourite deals below.

Cheapest 12-month Galaxy S3 deal: £651

Only Vodafone is offering 12-month contracts for the S3, so there's no competition for this deal. The cheapest one for the 16GB model will set you back £36 per month and demands £219 up front, costing you £651 over the whole 12 months.

You'll get 300 minutes and unlimited texts but only 500MB of data. So you might want to look at better data deals if you're a serial downloader.

Cheapest 18-month Galaxy S3 deal: £707

If you want to keep the contract to 18 months, Vodafone's tariff is the cheapest. It's £31 per month and you'll need to stump up £149 for the phone up front. The total cost over a year and a half is £707.

For your money, you'll get 100 minutes, 500 texts and a frankly measly 250MB of data, so you'll want to look to add some extra if you plan on doing a lot of mobile surfing. Vodafone offers a 500MB bundle for £5, which brings the total to £797 over the 18 months. That's still fairly reasonable.

Cheapest 24-month Galaxy S3 deal: £693

O2 comes in as the cheapest option for the 24-month deal, with an £18.50 per month contract, requiring you to pay £249.99 up front for the handset.

It might be a lot up front, but that brings the total cost to £693 over the course of two years.

For that, you'll get 200 minutes, unlimited texts and a pitiful 100MB of data, so you'll need to think carefully about your Internet habits. For £36 per month with an initial outlay of £99.99, you can get the phone with O2 together with unlimited calls and texts and a much more robust 2GB of data.

O2's plans also come with its Priority Moments service that shows you shopping, restaurant and entertainment deals nearby. If you make a habit of dining out, you could save yourself a small packet over the course of your contract by finding the best offers for your meals.

Best free Galaxy S3 deal: £744 for 24 months

Tesco initially offered the phone for free on the best deal, but it seems to have pulled this contract, making Orange the best bet if you don't want to shell out any money for the phone.

It offers the phone for free (via Phones 4 U) on a £31-per-month contract, bringing the total to £744 per month over the two-year period. For that money, you'll get 3,000 texts, 400 minutes and 750MB of data.

It's not quite free, but Three offers the phone for a measly £29 upfront on a £33 per month contract (£821 over two years), but with that you also get unlimited data, 2,000 minutes and 5,000 texts so it might be a better option if you're a real phone addict.

Priciest Galaxy S3 deal: £1,868.39 for 24 months

If you've got more money than sense and just fancy throwing it around for a bit of a laugh, then grab the S3 on Vodafone on a £62-per-month tariff. 

That will get you the phone for free as well as 3,000 minutes, unlimited texts and 2GB of data. It's for the 32GB model, so it might not be a terrible option if you really want the extra storage. Okay, no, it is a terrible option.

Update 9 July: Updated with the latest deals.