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Samsung Galaxy S8

Available at: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon, SIMPLE Mobile, Boost Mobile, Cricket, Consumer Cellular, MetroPCS, Straight Talk, Ting, Virgin Mobile

What's good  

  • Future-proof features and performance
  • Blazing performance
  • Stunning design
  • Gigabit LTE support
  • MicroSD support
  • Plenty of internal storage
  • All-day battery life
  • QuickCharge and wireless charging support
  • Crisp, vibrant display
  • Great camera (even in low lighting)

What's bad  

  • Slippery finish
  • Darker colors are fingerprint magnets
  • Hard-to-find fingerprint scanner
  • Screen measurement might mislead

Hoping to redeem themselves after the Note 7 debacle, Samsung’s latest entry in their popular flagship S-series brings mobile firsts and some interesting changes to the mix. There’s no denying that the phone is an absolute stunner in pictures. But a pretty phone isn’t always a phone that’s good for daily use.

Reviews are rolling in on this much-anticipated release and we’ve slogged through them all so you don’t have to!

Let’s see what they’re saying!

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Google Pixel

Available at: Verizon, Project Fi, SIMPLE Mobile

What's good  

  • Fast, detailed camera with great low-light performance
  • Built-in support for technical issues
  • All-day battery
  • Fast charging support
  • Vibrant, bright display
  • Fast performance
  • First access to Android updates

What's bad  

  • No microSD support
  • Single, weak down-firing speaker
  • Possibly bland design

Google’s Nexus series offered a mid-tier option for those looking for fastlane access to the best of Google’s Android operating system. However, Google never made their own handsets. Instead they handed the reins to other manufacturers and focused on the software. Until now that is. The Google Pixel is the first completely Google phone and they have made bold claims about what to expect.

The phone is finally out and reviews are rolling in. Does the Pixel have what it takes to compete with the big names in Android flagship phones? Let’s see what others are saying!

Reviews on the overall design of the phone are divided. One group feels the phone is bland. The other feels that it’s a perfect take on the designs of the other flagship phones this year. However, no one had issues with quality or comfortable usage. The Guardian noted, “The Pixel feels great in the hand, with nicely curved edges and flat sides that make it easy to grip and hold on to.” Android Police sided with the critics, saying, “The Pixel is a phone that seems to say "You're just going to put a case on me anyway, why should I dress up for the occasion?"

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Samsung Galaxy S7

Available at: T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, MetroPCS, U.S. Cellular, Sprint, Boost Mobile, Cricket, Page Plus, Republic Wireless, TPO Mobile, Virgin Mobile, Consumer Cellular, CREDO Mobile, SIMPLE Mobile, TracFone Wireless, Mint SIM, Ultra Mobile

What's good  

  • Blazing performance
  • Comfortable grip
  • Premium design
  • Excellent low-light camera performance
  • MicroSD support
  • QuadHD display
  • All-day battery
  • Rapid/Wireless charging

What's bad  

  • Cost
  • TouchWiz interface clutter
  • 7+ GB of software pre-installed
  • Non-removable battery

Fans of Android phones have loved most of Samsung’s Galaxy-series flagships. However, with the minor issues of the S6 and a fresh wave of flagships debuting from the competition, Samsung needed to hit a homerun with the S7 to stay near the top of the pack.

While the phone might look like an S6 on the outside, Samsung has been hard at work tweaking and polishing their favorite flagship. Do the changes add up? We’ve scoured reviews from the biggest tech sites on the Internet to find out! Let’s dig in!

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Motorola Moto G4

Available at: Consumer Cellular, Republic Wireless, Tello

What's good  

  • Beautiful display
  • All-day battery life
  • Price
  • Dual-SIM option
  • Clutter-free interface
  • Above-average camera

What's bad  

  • Poor low-light camera performance
  • Non-removable battery
  • No NFC
  • No TurboPower charger included

The Motorola G-Series has built a loyal following on its affordable pricing, bloat-free software and attention to design details. However, Motorola has changed hands from Google to Lenovo since the last release--leaving some wondering what will come of the phone line. With the new Motorola Moto G4, it seems the answer is finally here!

We’ve scoured the leading review sites to see what people are saying about the phone. Let’s take a look at what they’re saying!

Looking at the phone, you’re greeted with a plastic chassis typical of the budget- to mid-tier market. Reviewers all agree that the design is one of the best currently available for the price. The Inquirer chimed in on the look, saying, “Yes it's simple, but the smooth curves make it stylish too.”

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Huawei P9

What's good  

  • Lag and stutter free performance
  • Ergonomic design
  • Sharp and color accurate display

What's bad  

  • Mediocre battery life
  • Inconsistent picture quality
  • No quick or wireless charging

Huawei has slowly evolved from simple Chinese smartphone copycat to a company capable of churning out high quality products. In fact, Google used them to build the Nexus 6P. With the P9, Huawei hopes to finally become a household name.

Despite being cheaper than the Galaxy S7 and LG G5, the P9 doesn’t skimp on quality. It’s slim at only 0.27 inches. The all metal body gives it a nice heft, though it remains a manageable weight of 5.1 ounces. In terms of the design, reviewers were surprised with how comfortable it is. The straight sides seem sharp, but the chamfered edges and rounded corners made it easy to hold and the “tacky” texture thanks to the ceramic coating on the back gave them a good grip. While this design is not uncommon, The Verge states, “I look at the P9’s design, ask myself how it could be improved, and I find no easy answer.”

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Sony Xperia Z5 Compact

What's good  

  • Snappy performance for all tasks
  • Over 2 days of battery life during moderate usage
  • Incredibly fast autofocus
  • Highly detailed photos in bright and low light conditions

What's bad  

  • 720p resolution display
  • Camera lag issues when navigating app and in-between shots
  • Difficult to adjust to smaller keyboard when typing

While other companies are pushing forward with larger and larger screens, Sony's Xperia Z5 Compact is one of the few smartphones in 2015 that offers a sub 5-inch display. Despite being only 5 inches tall, it manages to be fairly thick at 0.4 inches, leading many experts to call it chunky and chubby. This slight thickness made it feel like a less than premium device to critics, which was only amplified thanks to its plastic sides. With that said, they still found it to be an attractive device thanks to the frosted glass back panel and array of color options. As well, the added thickness and rounded corners provided them with a comfortable fit.

Gracing the front of the Z5 Compact is the petite 4.6-inch, 720 IPS LCD screen. This provides a Retina-like pixel density of 323ppi. While some critics bemoan the fact that it isn't full HD, they all agree it is sharp enough for most people. Still, there are some limitations to this resolution as they were not able to watch some videos at the intended resolution. The screen did deliver in other aspects, however. They describe it as bright with good viewing angles and good color balance. Unlike larger smartphones, they were also able to use the phone one-handed easily. Some reviewers did discover it took them some time to get used to typing on the smaller screen as they had become accustomed to larger ones.

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Samsung Galaxy Note5

Available at: Sprint, Page Plus, US Mobile

What's good  

  • Bright and sharp display
  • Snappy performance during all tasks
  • Premium build and appearance
  • Excellent picture quality in almost all lighting situations

What's bad  

  • Non-removable battery
  • S Pen novelty wears off after a week
  • No SD slot

While other phone manufacturers have turned their nose up at the stylus, Samsung has fully embraced it with their Note5 smartphone. Of course, Samsung knows a thing or two about a stylus smartphone as all their Note models ship with one. Besides this addition, reviewers consider the Note5 the least distinctive in terms of overall design. In fact, many find it practically identical to the Galaxy S6 as it has completely straights sides, flat face and slightly curved rear. At 6 x 3 x 0.3 inches, it definitely is a large device. Still, experts explain it had an overall slim feeling to it thanks in part to a thinner middle and thicker top and bottom edges. In a departure from its older models, Samsung decked out the Note 5 with metal edges and a glass back. Sadly, experts did notice the glass back attracted fingerprints, but add the issue is easily remedied with a quick wipe.

The reason for the Note5's large size is due to the 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display. With a resolution of 1,440 pixels, it offers an incredibly sharp 518 pixels per inch. As expected, reviewers had zero issues with fuzziness or pixelization. As an AMOLED screen, it offered critics crisp whites, deep blacks and vibrant albeit oversaturated colors. They also praise its overall brightness with Engadget stating, "…the screen is an absolute champ under the sweltering summer sun…I had no problem thumbing through…various photo sets."

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LG Aristo

Available at: MetroPCS, T-Mobile

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Samsung Galaxy S8+

Available at: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon, SIMPLE Mobile, Ting

The Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus is the larger version of Samsung’s latest release. However, apart from size, it shares many similarities with it’s smaller sibling.

Key differences include:

  • A larger 6.2-inch 1440-by-2960 display
  • A larger 3500mAh battery

Reviewers found that the display still looks sharp and vibrant even though the resolution is still the same. Engadget says, “For the people in search of buying advice, here's all you need to know about the S8 and S8 Plus's screens: They're awesome.”

Battery life for the S8 is stellar. Stuff TV notes, “It managed over 12 hours of streaming video playback, and easily lasted a full day of heavy use - including wireless music streaming to a pair of Bluetooth headphones, snapping photos and far too much time spent scrolling through Facebook.”

For what to expect on design, performance, cameras and other factors, check out our review summary for the Samsung Galaxy S8.

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Available at: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon

What's good  

  • Plenty of storage
  • Detailed screen
  • Solid performance
  • microSD support
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • Dual-lens camera

What's bad  

  • Aspect ratio not supported by all apps and services
  • Multiple regional variants

LG is known for challenging design standards with their new releases. Sometimes that doesn’t work out well. With the G6, they’re offering a large 5.7-inch screen in a slim package.

Does their new screen ratio make the phablet experience more friendly? Reviews are rolling out and we’ve gathered what the biggest names are saying to bring you this summary!

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Tools & Resources

Not sure what to look for in a cell phone? Check out some of our in-depth guides, comparison tools, & resources!

Common Questions

While modern smart phones offer a ton of features, they’re not so great for battery life or durability. For emergency use, we recommend a standard prepaid phone. What they lack in features they make up for in battery life--some will hold a charge for weeks or months.

Be sure to check the top off terms. Most require you to add minutes to your plan at specified intervals to keep your phone active. Most prepaid carriers offer long-term options to avoid wasting minutes you’re not using.

Kids are prone to drops, spills and other accidents. Adding the cost of a new iPhone to your next trip to visit grandma isn’t exactly cheap. Fortunately, the budget Android market offers a long-list of affordable phones. Smaller phones will offer a lower price in most cases but might not work for those with developing motor skills. Larger phones, while more expensive, offer chunkier buttons and easier navigation for growing fingers and minds.

For young adults, a solid mid-tier smartphone option offers reliable performance without blowing your budget. Used phones are an excellent way to ensure you find an up-to-date phone without the high price tag of the latest flagship releases. Last generation’s iPhone or Galaxy offers everything a student needs at a price that will make parents happy too! If you’re not sure where to find a good used smart phone, our Phone Buyer’s Guide offers everything you need to know!

If you’re looking to replace traditional landline service, a standard phone is a great introduction to the world of mobile phones. They use a standard keypad and don’t require understanding advanced features for basic use.

If you’re looking to join the smartphone crowd, we recommend an iPhone. Not only are these devices dependable, they offer a simple user interface and support for Apple devices is some of the best around. Better still, most Apple phones feature a similar interface, so upgrading or replacing one Apple phone with another won’t mean relearning how to use the device.

In most cases, buying a phone at full price will offer the greatest flexibility in the future. However, this depends on why the carrier is offering a discount.

In the case of refurbished phones, you’re getting a discount for a returned--and possibly repaired--product. Don’t let the label scare you. As long as you’re buying from a reputable source, you’ll often find that refurbished phones come with similar warranties to new devices and cost much less. If you’re looking to save some money, this is an option to consider.

In the case of phone subsidies, you’re getting a discount in exchange for maintaining service with a specific carrier. If you know the carrier’s service and coverage fits your needs, this might be a good deal. However, a short time after the initial purchase, you’ll be locked into your contract. Getting out of a cell phone contract isn’t impossible, but it can be expensive.

While some apps offer versions for different phones, your phone’s operating system will limit your app choice. iOS apps will not run on Android or Windows 10 for example.

In the case of one-time purchase apps, you will likely need to repurchase the app if you switch phone operating systems.

Many subscription-based apps will allow you to download a version of the app for a variety of devices. However, if you intend to use a specific app, research the supported operating systems to avoid any future complications.

Yes and no. On a hardware level, you will need a dual-SIM phone to support multiple separate lines from your carrier. However, if you’re an area with CDMA network coverage, you won’t be able to take advantage of this feature.

If you don’t mind using a virtual number, there are a variety of apps to add second numbers to your phone using software. Many require additional payments and plans to function. Popular options include Skype, Sideline and Line2.

No. The features and specifications for mobile phones are determined by the manufacturer. This makes researching your phone prior to purchasing essential. If you’re not sure where to start, consider our Phone Buyer’s Guide. If you’re looking to get a little more performance out of your phone, our Guide to Saving on Mobile Data offers tips that might squeeze a little more performance out of your phone and 9 Great Uses for Your Old Smartphone or Tablet offers ways to repurpose a device that might be collecting dust.

This will depend on how you purchased your phone and your current contract obligations. If you have an unlocked GSM or CDMA phone, it should work on any other carrier using the same network type.

If your phone is currently locked to your carrier, you will need to request to unlock it before you can change providers. As long as you are no longer under contract, most carriers will unlock the phone at no cost.

Yes! In fact, we think this one of the most overlooked options for upgrading your phone or making some spare cash with your old devices. If you’re looking to sell, we have a comprehensive guide on Selling Your Used Phone for Maximum Profit.

Looking to buy? We have a section in our Phone Buyer’s Guide dedicated to what to look for in a used phone. Topics include ensuring that the phone is valid and functional, getting the best price and the best sites for finding used mobile phones.

Monthly and prepaid data tariffs add up fast. While it might seem like they’ve become a standard part of owning a mobile phone, there are still a few exceptions. If you pick up a standard phone, you’ll sacrifice some features, but most don’t require data plans. Feature phones will vary depending on the exact features that they add. Still, most carriers offer lower priced plans since the data used by feature phones is often much less than that of smartphone.

If you’re using a smartphone and you’re no longer on contract, you might be able to drop data service if you deactivate the phone and use it over Wi-Fi. Apps such as Line2 and Skype make it simple to maintain a phone number on the device without the need for traditional carrier service. However, this will mean that you no longer can make or recieve calls or text when outside of Wi-Fi range.

If you’re stuck keeping a data plan on your phone but looking for ways to reduce costs, we offer guides on finding how much data you need and saving data on your mobile phone.

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