For most of us, cell phones or smartphones are at the heart of our universe. The typical feature set of these palm-sized wonders is amazing. Your phone, messaging device, web browser, camera, music player, GPS, and more.
We are a country dominated by smartphones, where 4G LTE networks outset their many home internet connection in terms of speed and 5G is now spreading across the country. Although we currently have three major wireless operators, virtual operators like Google Fi (what is Google Fi?), Ting, and US Mobile keep the competition alive and keep prices down. But some of our options have narrowed a bit: The smartphone operating system market is basically based on Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, and nowadays it’s hard to find a really good and simple voice phone.
Here we try to provide a list of phones that span a wide range of different price points, rather than just selecting phones with the highest ratings. This list is focused on the latest, newest devices, but you can also find great value on slightly older phones, so make sure you shop.
Also, keep in mind that as of this post, google pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5, LG Wing, OnePlus 8T, and new iPhones will all be released, but we haven’t received them yet. Some or all of these may be great phones, but we can’t include them in this collection until we review them. Take a look at our list of mobile phone reviews to see our latest decisions.
The Best Easy Picks of Smartphones by Easi Solve
- Apple iPhone SE (2020) – $429
- Samsung Galaxy S10e – $399
- Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G – $699
- Alcatel Go Flip 4GB 4044W Blue – T-Mobile – $79
- Nokia 5.3 – $177
- Motorola Moto G Power – $199
- Apple iPhone 11 Pro – $999 on Amazon
- Google Pixel 4a – $349
The Best Smartphones Deals by Amazon Prime Day
- Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite 128GB Unlocked Phone
- Pixel 4 XL 64GB Unlocked Smartphone
- Samsung Galaxy S20 5G 128GB Unlocked Smartphone – Read Best Guide here.
- Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 128GB 5G Unlocked Phone
- Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G 128GB Unlocked Phone – Best Note 20 guide here.
- Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 128GB 5G Unlocked Phone
The Best Guide to Choose your Cell Phone Carrier
Despite all the recent hardware and mobile software innovations, your wireless service provider remains your most important decision. No matter which device you buy, it’s the door stop unless you have solid wireless coverage. Maybe you have friends and family at the same operator that you talk to for free, and you don’t want that to change with your next phone. Maybe you want a specific device, such as a smartphone unlocked for international travel. And of course, you want to choose a carrier that offers affordable prices and provides the best coverage in your area. These are all good reasons to put the carrier’s decision first.
We have two main features to help you choose a carrier. For our Readers’ Choice Awards, The readers tell us which carriers they prefer based on coverage, call quality, device selection and other factors. And for our Fastest Mobile Networks (by Speedtest) feature, we’ve sent drivers to 26 US states to determine which smartphone operators have the best data coverage. Since each of the national carriers sell a wide range of smartphones, your first move should be to select your service provider. Here’s a quick summary of what each has to offer:
AT&T and Verizon have shared wins in 26 cities this year. AT&T has a very strong 4G network, but the 5G offer is fundamentally meaningless. As we’ve seen many times, AT&T has performed particularly well in the Carolinas and parts of California and Texas. AT&T owns DirecTV, so if you’re also interested in satellite TV services, there are some pricing packages.
T-Mobile has won the Sprint this year; Sprint is no longer available. “The new T-Mobile” is in the process of transitioning by absorbing Sprint’s network and broadcasts to deliver a potentially fast mid-band 5G network in most major cities nationwide. There have been some difficulties this summer and autumn, and our Fastest Mobile Networks tests have shown that it doesn’t keep up with the competition. T-Mobile is currently the only carrier where you can buy a 5G phone and assume performance will be much better in 2021. AT&T and Verizon will need new broadcasts to improve 5G performance, which means new phones, while T-Mobile improves performance in line with existing 5G smartphones.
Verizon Wireless is famous for its premium network quality and good customer service. The super-fast millimeter wave 5G network has helped make it our Fastest Mobile Network this year, and the 4G network is also excellent. But the 5G network is hard to find because it uses very short-range technology.
US Cellular is only available in about half of the country. It has a reputation for good customer service, but recently it suffers from the fact that our surveys have said that readers’ prices and LTE network quality do not match some alternatives.
There are also many virtual operators that use four large networks, but offer lower monthly fees, cheaper international calls or other benefits. They are generally better for lighter users, and most do not have family plans. The winner of our Reader Selection award this year was Consumer Cellular, a virtual carrier working on at & t and t-mobile networks.
AT&T owns Cricket; T-Mobile owns Metro by T-Mobile; He owns Verizon Visible; and Google owns Google Fi. In September, Verizon said it plans to buy Tracfone, which has subsidiary brands such as Straight Talk, Family Mobile and Net10.
Want to Spend Less?
This story tends to start by very expensive phones, but you can get an excellent smartphone for between $200 and $300 in advance.
We’re big fans of Motorola’s mid-level phones. They are compatible with all U.S. operators and use a fast, clean version of the Android operating system. The Moto G Power, which sold for $249, is our choice there.
Apple has released a new iPhone SE for $399. It’s not just the cheapest iPhone, it’s our favorite iPhone right now. If you want an even cheaper iPhone, you can go with a used model, but we don’t recommend buying anything under the iPhone 8 as older smartphones will lose software support more quickly in the coming years.
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