I came across something unexpected yesterday on Amazon’s Canadian site. They’re selling the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, in black or white, for $749.99 CAD. Unlocked.
Samsung reps have repeatedly told me that smartphones purchased in this country are only available with carrier locks—including the handsets for sale at their one and only Canadian flagship store. The company has been pretty aggressive in fighting grey market imports; every Note 3 ships with a SIM region lock, and so does the GS5.
Amazon.ca’s Note 3 looks very much like a grey market device. The exact model they’re selling is the N9005, with support for 850/1900MHz and 2600MHz LTE. I’m fairly certain that the version you’d get from Bell, Rogers or TELUS is the N900W8; with the N9005 I’d say you’re getting a better deal—the ability to access potentially faster LTE networks abroad plus more available custom ROMs from XDA.
As I said it’s certainly not the best price around—Expansys Canada also sells the N9005 unlocked, currently for $649.99 CAD. But shipping from them is an extra $25, while shipping from Amazon is free. And with Amazon you get a very generous 30-day return policy, so if there are any issues with the region lock you won’t be stuck with a device that you can’t use.
For what it’s worth, Amazon is also selling the GS5 in black or white for $799.99 CAD. The exact model is the G900HZKLTTT, versus the G900W8 for Canada. Good luck finding either of those on GSM Arena…
If you’ve found a better deal on a current Galaxy flagship feel free to post it below. I’d also be interested in hearing about any experiences with the SIM region lock on any variant of the Note 3 or GS5.