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Friday, October 19, 2018

PSA: Don’t Buy a Pixel 3 from Best Buy Unless You’re on Verizon

For the third year in a row, Verizon is the “exclusive” launch partner for the Pixel 3 and XL. But this year, they’re handling things differently—out of the box, the Verizon Pixel 3 is SIM-locked to Verizon.

The “Only on Verizon” ad campaign that has backed Google’s Pixel phones since the original has always caused confusion but with the Pixel 3, things are even more convoluted. In the past, you could walk into Best Buy—which has always only sold the Verizon variant of the phone—and walk out with what was essentially an unlocked model (after paying in full).

That means you were able to pop in any SIM you wanted, be it AT&T, Sprint, Cricket, T-Mobile…whatever. It worked like this for the Pixel 1 and 2, so there was no reason to think things would be different for the Pixel 3.

But it is.

For the first time in years, the Pixel 3 is SIM-locked to Verizon, regardless of whether you pay for the phone in full or not. That means out of the box, despite having the ability to support all carriers across the U.S., any Pixel 3 bought from Best Buy or Verizon can only be used on Verizon.

Since the phone is paid in full, you can take it into a Verizon Store and request that they unlock the device. They may or may not do this willingly since you’re not a Verizon customer, so be prepared to potentially get some backlash. Maybe.

There’s a Better Way: Just Buy from the Google Store

If you’re a fan of taking the path of least resistance (which, let’s be real here—when it comes to buying a phone, you should be) then there’s a better option than dealing with Best Buy and Verizon: buy directly from Google. It won’t cost you any more than the Verizon variant, and it’s unlocked out of the box. You can even finance it if you want to.

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