Finding the Best Smartphones

Last Updated: February 10, 2017 by

finding-the-best-unlocked-cell-phones

Welcome to our guide to the best unlocked cell phones and smartphones based on critic coverage, user reviews and expert research.

Unlocked smartphones offer even more freedom when compared to no-contract phones. While prepaid phones allow users to choose the exact type and amount of text, call and data services, users are still locked to their carriers. On the other hand, an unlocked phone can work on any GSM network from carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile. With this freedom, users can try out different SIM plans before sticking to one that fits their desired needs and price. Another advantage is you can avoid steep call and data roaming charges while in a foreign country by simply inserting a local GSM SIM. After contract smartphones, the unlocked smartphone segment has the largest selection of smartphones available and you can usually find almost all of  the latest smartphones available unlocked. However, most carriers don’t stock them and buyers will have to purchase them online from websites like Amazon and Mobile planet. Unlocked mobile phones also have higher resale value than their locked versions which is another important point to consider. While there are many advantages of using unlocked smartphones, there are a few drawbacks as well. They cost a lot more up front than contract phones because you are paying the full price instead of monthly over your contract period, although some contracts can also significantly raise the price of smartphones in the long term. It is also possible to unlock your current phone but doing so while still on contract will violate your device’s warranty which is not always recommended.

Smartphone Buying Guide

There are many budget unlocked smartphones available for users who want a new phone with no strings attached or a backup phone for travelling and emergency situations. Our budget smartphone guide covers phones under $100- $200 which generally have very plain designs, smaller screens, entry-level hardware, low quality cameras, older operating systems and support only 3G connections. Over $200 you will have access to mid-range products with a better build quality and stronger overall performance. The best of the best unlocked smartphones are the latest devices with premium design, lightning fast Quad-Core processors, best in class cameras, and support for the latest technologies like NFC, IR, USB 3.0 and the fastest 4G LTE networks. Below you’ll find our regularly updated list of the best unlocked smartphones available on the market today.

To learn more about the essential features of smartphones, read our buying guide on smartphone hardware. To further help you with your buying decision we have another guide on the different types of smartphones based on price range, screen-sizes and operating systems.

Top Picks >> Premium >> Under $500 >> Under $400 >> Under $300 >>

 


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Best Unlocked Smartphones – Top Picks

Apple iPhone 7 Plusapple-iphone-7-plus

If you’re coming from recent iPhone models, you won’t get particularly dazzled by the iPhone 7 Plus design, unless you get the new Jet Black finish, which looks and feels uniquely fantastic. The 5.5-inch Full-HD “Retina” display is admirably clear and sharp. It might not boast the highest resolution among competitors, but it makes up for it with an overly wide color gamut, for more realistic and diverse tones. Additionally, the speakers are sufficiently loud and well-refined. Watching movies on the iPhone 7 Plus is therefore a real delight. Performance-wise, Apple’s new A10 chip handles anything you throw at it astoundingly well. The 3GB RAM is a warmly welcomed boost, up from the 2GB on the iPhone 7, which means butter-smooth day-to-day use and multitasking. Part of the speed should however be credited to the new iOS 10, which is significantly faster than before. Apple has also been kind enough to upgrade just the right areas, such as iMessage, Apple Music and 3D touch. The iPhone 7 Plus comes with two cameras on the back, but working together as one. While we have seen dual cameras before on phones like the LG G5 and Huawei P9, the phone uses its twin cameras to provide zoom without compromising picture quality, much like using optical zoom instead of digital zoom. Capturing images also a lot faster than before, and pictures look impressive, even in low-light. Employing the iPhone 7 Plus as your everyday phone will be a fulfilling endeavour, thanks to the excellent battery, which provides sufficient juice, even when streaming video or playing your favorite 3D games.

Specs

  • Apple A10 Fusion 2.23GHz [View Benchmarks]
  • 3GB RAM
  • Internal Storage: 32GB
  • Removable Storage: No
  • Cameras: Front 7MP, Rear 12MP
  • 5.5 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels (IPS)
  • iOS 10
  • 0.41 lbs

Pros

  • Great build quality and premium finish
  • Beautiful Full-HD screen
  • Excellent audio output
  • Incredible performance
  • Unique camera technology
  • Solid battery life

Cons

  • Largely unchanged design
  • Expensive

Summary

The iPhone 7 Plus is not cheap, but it tries very hard to convince you that it’s worth it. With a luscious 5.5-inch screen, great performance, clever camera and reliable battery life, the phone offers very good value; way more than that offered by the iPhone 7.

Apple iPhone 7 Plus 5.5-inch
from $749.99 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 20-02-2017 02:25 UTC) Details

Google PixelGoogle-Pixel-Phone-32GB-5-inch-display-Factory-Unlocked-US-Version-0

The least exciting part about the Pixel is its design, and it is thus fitting that we should start there. The body is made of a nice blend of metal and glass, and both sides are chamfered such that the device fits comfortably in the hand. Add that to its relatively small,compact size and its thin and light nature, and you get one of the easiest phones to hold and carry around. Many premium phones are moving above 5 inches, but here Google has chosen this display size and endowed it with an acceptable 1080 x 1920 Full-HD resolution to offer the perfect mix of portability and quality. Furthermore, it is an AMOLED panel, which means you get the deepest of blacks and the most vibrant of colors. There is nothing to complain about regarding the sound output either. The pixel is truly an admirable multimedia device.  Moving on to the software, the device comes with the very latest Android version 7.1 Nougat, which brings more than enough great updates to the table. Thanks to excellent optimization and a top of the range hardware set which includes the latest Snapdragon 821 and 4GB of RAM, the Pixel only comes second to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus in terms of speed. The fun overflows to the camera, which is again one of the best we have ever seen on a smartphone, particularly when it comes to low-light performance. To cap it all, while a 2770mAh battery doesn’t seem like much, the Pixel easily gets through a day of normal usage on a single charge.

Specs

  • Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 821 [View Benchmarks]
  • 4GB RAM
  • Internal Storage: 32GB
  • Removable Storage: No
  • Cameras: Front 8MP, Rear 12MP
  • 5.0 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 0.31 lbs

Pros

  • Compact
  • Friendly-sized Full-HD display
  • The latest Android version
  • Outstanding performance
  • Great camera
  • Reliable battery life

Cons

  • Back panel prone to scratches
  • Expensive

Summary

The Google Pixel is one of the best Android phones out there, but it is for a good reason. With a software experience, performance and camera quality that is only second to the latest iPhone, you really can’t go wrong with this one.

Google Pixel – 32GB
from $683.49 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 20-02-2017 02:21 UTC) Details

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge – 32GBPhoto of Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is a great update of the last year’s flagship of Samsung, the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. The new phablet outclasses its predecessor in every aspect, from design to battery performance. The Galaxy S7 Edge is made of metal and glass with a new tweak to its design – a curved Edge screen. The body of the phone is water-resistant and dust proof with IP68 certificate. The S7 Edge sports similar specs to the flagship Galaxy S7. It is outfitted with a 5.5-inch Super AMOLED screen, QHD resolution.The software pre-installed on the phablet is Android 6.0 Marshmallow. There are two variations of the phone in terms of hardware. The model for North America is sold with a Snapdragon 820 chip Dual-core 2.15 GHz Kryo & dual-core 1.6 GHz Kryo while the international model works with an octa-core processor with Exynos 8890 Octa and supports dual SIM capabilities. The included RAM in the device is 4GB.The smartphone arrives with 32GB native memory which can be expanded via microSD cards in the dedicated slot. The primary camera of the Galaxy S7 Edge is a 12MP rear sensor with OIS, RAW mode, Pro mode, a LED flash and the capabilities to record 4K videos. This is one of the strongest advantages of the flagship before its rivals. The secondary snapper is a 5MP camera that uses the LED flash on the screen. The battery of the new phablet is a 3600mAh cell. The Galaxy S7 Edge has a unique Edge display that offers an easy access of users to different apps and features. The home button of the flagship functions as a fingerprint sensor as well.

Specs

  • Exynos 8890 Octa
  • 4GB RAM
  • Internal Storage: 32GB
  • Removable Storage: microSD slot
  • Cameras: Front 5MP, Rear 12MP
  • 5.5 inches, 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 0.35 lbs

Pros

  • Edge display
  • Premium design
  • Water and dust-resistant body
  • Great primary rear camera 12MP
  • Always-on display
  • microSD card slot

Cons

  • High-price
  • 32GB memory
  • Non removable battery

Summary

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is an extraordinary flagship product that dazzles with a polished and unique design, a fast and powerful processor and an exceptional primary camera.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge – 32GB
from $604.99 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 20-02-2017 02:20 UTC) Details

lg-g5

LG G5

On the G5, LG finally did away with the plastic and leather designs found on its previous flagships for the premium metal and glass design found on other high-end competitors. The phone’s top and bottom curve away from the screen, making it supremely comfortable to hold, and the screen got downsized as well, allowing it to be lighter and more compact. Keeping the QHD resolution from previous flagships, the G5’s screen has a higher pixel density and colors look vibrant and images are exceptionally sharp. One interesting fact is that the display never turns off. While the phone is asleep, the screen is kept dark, but the date, time and notifications are displayed. Thanks to its modular design, the G5’s bottom can be removed and modules connected to enhance the phone’s experience. These modules include a camera grip (LG Cam Plus) which has an extra battery, and a speaker module (LG Hi-Fi Plus), with more rolling out in the future. Sporting the Snapdragon 820, with 4GB of RAM, the G5 trades blows with the best of them. The interface remains smooth even with a ton of apps running in the background, and games wish they could make the Adreno 530 sweat. It runs Android Marshmallow, but LG decided to forego the app drawer, with all apps located on the home screens. Unfortunately, even the power saving features of Android Marshmallow could not save the small 2800mAh battery from the phone’s power-hungry idle mode, with the phone having a hard time lasting a full day.

Specs

  • Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 820 [View Benchmarks]
  • 4GB RAM
  • Internal Storage: 32GB
  • Removable Storage: microSD, up to 256 GB
  • Cameras: Front 8MP, Rear 16MP
  • 5.2 inches, 1440 x 2560 pixels (IPS)
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 0.35 lbs

Pros

  • Beautiful screen
  • Modular design
  • Strong performance
  • Wide angle camera
  • Cheaper than other devices with the same specs

Cons

  • Average battery life
  • Design not for everybody

Summary

The LG G5 tries to deliver a unique Android experience with its dual cameras and future-proof modular design, and it is sure to catch the eye of those looking for something a little bit different.

LG G5 H860 32GB LTE (GOLD)
from $449.99 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 20-02-2017 02:21 UTC) Details

Huawei-Nexus-6P-64-GB-Aluminum-US-Version-Nin-A12-Unlocked-57-inch-Android-60-smartphone-w-4G-LTE-US-Warranty-0

Huawei Nexus 6P – 64GB

The Nexus line of phones have always been praised for having the best specs for the price, However last year’s Nexus 6, while not a bad device, was criticized for its bulky build and a rather weak camera performance. Designed by the popular Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei, the Nexus 6P now sports an aluminum frame with rounded edges and keeping up with the latest smartphone trends, and it even rocks a fingerprint scanner on the back. The phone’s 5.7-inch is thinner than the previous Nexus phone, but it still requires two hands for proper use. Having a unibody design means you won’t get the option to insert a microSD card or swap out the battery. The phone uses the new USB Type-C port for charging and data transfer, which means you can no longer use your old microUSB cables. The audio quality from the phone’s dual front facing speaker is great and comparable to HTC’s Boomsound. Its 5.7 AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution and a pixel density of 518 ppi, is one of the best smartphone displays today. It is sharper and supports deeper blacks than the IPS displays on competing devices like the iPhone 6 and Nexus 5X. Powered by a Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 CPU paired with 3GB RAM, the 6P won’t slow down even when you’re jumping between multiple large applications. The phone’s 12MP rear camera is a major improvement, and it can snap impressive photos even in low-light conditions thanks to the laser auto-focus system.

Specs

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 MSM8994 2.0GHz [View Benchmarks]
  • 3GB LPDDR4 RAM
  • Internal Storage: 64GB
  • Removable Storage: None
  • Cameras: Front 5MP, Rear 12.3MP
  • 5.7 inches, pixels
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 0.43 lbs

Pros

  • High-resolution display
  • Solid camera
  • Loud front speakers
  • Fast performance
  • Excellent fingerprint sensor

Cons

  • Too big for single-hand use
  • Wireless charging isn't supported

Summary

The Nexus 6P does more than just improve upon its predecessor’s shortcomings to become the best Nexus phone to date.

Huawei Nexus 6P – 64 GB
from $549.99 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 20-02-2017 02:20 UTC) Details

Apple iPhone 7Apple-iPhone-7-Unlocked-Phone-US-Version-0

The iPhone 7 shares a lot of its aesthetic traits with the iPhone 6 and 6S models, but Apple has made some refinements such as repositioning the antenna bands that formerly ran across the back and making the camera nub more rounded. Powered up, the phone dazzles you with its clear, sharp 4.7-inch screen, which has excellent color quality and well-adaptable viewing angles. It still falls short of Samsung’s OLED displays when it comes to deep blacks, but then Apple gets its edge above the competition with significantly better sound output. Speaking of sound, one of the most groundbreaking changes that came with the iPhone 7 was the bold elimination of the overly common headphone jack in place for a supposedly more convenient wireless audio experience. Thankfully, the phone does come with a lightning to 3.5mm jack adapter for those of us who are not completely sold on Apple’s new AirPods. Moving on to the software, the iPhone 7 comes bundled with iOS 10, which presents a good number of positive improvements. The phone offers one of the best user experiences around, thanks to brilliant optimization and high-end internal hardware. The 2GB of RAM is generous, but the real champ here is the new A10 Fusion CPU, which delivers impeccable performance. The 12MP sensor has seen commendable upgrades as well, especially in the low-light and close-ups department, but the same can’t be said about the battery. Moderate to heavy usage drains the phone unpleasantly fast. Video streaming over Wi-Fi for example, juices it out after just about four and a half hours.

Specs

  • Apple A10 Fusion 2.34GHz [View Benchmarks]
  • 2GB RAM
  • Internal Storage: 32GB
  • Removable Storage: No
  • Cameras: Front 7MP, Rear 12MP
  • 4.7 inch, 1334 x 750 pixels (IPS)
  • iOS 10
  • 0.30 lbs

Pros

  • Premium, robust design
  • Great screen and speakers
  • Water resistant
  • Fast performance
  • Excellent camera

Cons

  • Poor battery life
  • Expensive

Summary

The iPhone 7 is uplifted by a good number of positives, but it is weighed down by poor battery life. Additionally, it is priced significantly higher than the iPhone 6 was when it first came out. Nonetheless, it is still one of the best smartphones out there.

Apple iPhone 7 4.7-inch
from $589.00 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 20-02-2017 02:25 UTC) Details

htc-10-topaz-gold-unlocked

HTC 10

The HTC feels like the first flagship in a while that HTC actually made an effort on. Featuring the familiar all-metal design found on previous HTC devices, the HTC 10 reeks of class, and while its design is met with different opinions, it gives the phone a premium look and feel. Although only slightly larger than on previous models, the Super LCD5 display has double the resolution (QHD), making images razor sharp, and it is bright as well providing great outdoor viewing. Predictably, the device is powered by the Snapdragon 820 found on most competing devices, backed by 4GB of RAM and an expandable 32GB storage space. Expect performance on any and all tasks. One notable change on the HTC 10, is the replacement of the bottom front facing speaker with a home button (with an integrated fingerprint scanner) and soft keys. Instead of dual front facing speakers, HTC fit a subwoofer unit at the bottom. This translates into unrivaled audio quality due to the increased low end, at the cost of reduced volume as compared to previous models. The 12MP camera seems like a downgrade from the One M9’s 20MP snapper, but the size per pixel is smaller as well, making the lens actually better; it consistently takes great pictures and videos even in low light conditions. With a large 3000mAh battery, the HTC 10 has great stamina, and easily lasts a full day of moderate to heavy use.

Specs

  • Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 820 [View Benchmarks]
  • 4GB RAM
  • Internal Storage: 32GB
  • Removable Storage: microSD, up to 256 GB
  • Cameras: Front 12MP, Rear 5MP
  • 5.2 inches, 1440 x 2560 pixels (IPS)
  • 0.35 lbs

Pros

  • Gorgeous premium design
  • Unrivaled audio quality
  • Expandable storage
  • Brilliant display
  • Excellent performance
  • Fast fingerprint scanner

Cons

  • Boomsound Speakers not as loud as previous versions
  • Camera not as good as other smartphones

Summary

The HTC 10 marks HTC’s highest achievement yet, with upgraded specs and premium features that firmly cement it as a favorite in the high-end smartphone market, and hands-down the best audio on any device.

HTC 10 32GB LTE (TOPAZ GOLD)
from $455.86 $455.82 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 20-02-2017 02:21 UTC) Details

Moto ZMoto-Z-Lunar-Grey-64GB-US-Warranty-0

The new Moto Z’s design doesn’t radically depart from the style of Motorola’s previous phones such as the Moto X, but what is undoubtedly most remarkable about it is the thickness. At 5.19mm, this is one of, if not the thinnest smartphone out there. While thinness is always welcomed, the Moto Z  feels a little too thin. Add that to a glossy rear and you get a phone that is ultimately incredibly precarious in the hand. The phone comes in stronger with its 5.5-inch screen, whose 2560×1440 QHD resolution makes it bold and vibrant. Audio output from the speakers is also admirable for both multimedia use and gaming. Running things in the Moto Z is Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, which comes barely touched in terms of customization, other than the all-too-familiar Motorola gestures and a one-hand mode that shrinks the screen down for use with the thumb. Everyday use is a guaranteed breeze, thanks to the highly capable Snapdragon 820 processor and a generous 4GB of RAM. Apps fire up swiftly and even the latest, most demanding games are handled exceptionally well. The Moto X has a 13-megapixel rear camera, bolstered by both optical stabilization and laser autofocus to provide very good results, especially in good light. The camera often struggles with low light however, and night photos appear soft, with lots of noise. The phone’s woes spill over to battery life, where the tiny 2600mAh cell – made so as a compromise for the Moto Z’s razor-thin design – falls short of anyone’s expectations. Thankfully, the phone comes with a USB Type-C wall charger for TurboPower charging.

Specs

  • Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 820 [View Benchmarks]
  • 4GB RAM
  • Internal Storage: 64GB
  • Removable Storage: microSD, up to 256 GB
  • Cameras: Front 5MP, Rear 13MP
  • 5.5 inches, 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 0.30 lbs

Pros

  • Good build quality
  • Large, bright and ultra-sharp QHD display
  • Good sound output
  • Excellent performance

Cons

  • Ultimately too thin
  • Poor camera performance in low light
  • Disappointing battery life

Summary

Despite its shortcomings, the Moto Z is a decent, up-to-date smartphone with a feature set that is destined to please even the most hard-headed Android enthusiast.

Motorola Moto Z 5.5-inch
from $488.99 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 20-02-2017 02:21 UTC) Details

Apple-iPhone-6s-64-GB-(Rose-Gold)

Apple iPhone 6s – 64GB

The Apple iPhone 6S features the same design as the previous iPhone 6, but includes many hardware enhancements such as better cameras, a faster process and smart 3D Touch technology for a more intuitive interaction using iOS 9. The front is covered in glass including the home button that doubles as a Touch ID fingerprint scanner while the back is made of anodized aluminum with soft edges for a smooth feel. While light, the 6S is actually slightly heavier than the previous model due to the inclusion of 3D Touch. The 6S has a Retina HD display with 1334 x 750 resolution at 326ppi with a screen that includes a fingerprint resistant oleophobic coating, wide viewing angles and high brightness for better visibility in direct sunlight. The 6S features the new A9 chip which, according to Apple, is twice as fast as the A8 in the iPhone 6. Couple this faster processor with 2GB of RAM and you get a noticeable boost in system performance. Despite packing more horsepower, its battery life is only a few minutes shorter than the less powerful iPhone 6. Apple greatly enhanced the cameras, as well, adding a 12MP rear camera and a 5MP front camera for much better shots and the ability to shoot 4K video.If you can afford it, the 6S is the best smartphone on the market, otherwise the Samsung Galaxy S6 is a close contender with a lower price tag.

Specs

  • Apple A9 1.8GHz (64-Bit)
  • 2GB RAM
  • Internal Storage: 64GB
  • Removable Storage: None
  • 4.7 inch, 1334 x 750 pixels (IPS)
  • iOS 9
  • 0.31 lbs

Pros

  • Sturdy design
  • High-end performance,
  • 3D Touch
  • Improved camera quality
  • 4K video recording

Cons

  • Camera lacks optical image stabilization
  • Battery life unchanged from previous version

Summary

The combination of a sleek metallic design, smooth user interface and modern hardware enhancements, makes the 6s the best iPhone available today.

Apple iPhone 6s – 64GB (Rose Gold)
from $638.00 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 20-02-2017 02:14 UTC) Details

Photo of Samsung Galaxy S7Samsung Galaxy S7 – 32GB

The Samsung Galaxy S7 features a premium design using both metal and glass, but still feels much like its predecessor, the Galaxy S6.  It features a 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels. The size of the smartphone makes it comfortable to work with, and easy-to-carry while traveling. The flagship stands-out with great performance of the hardware configuration. The international version of the S7 is packed with an octa-core processor with Exynos 8890 Octa chipset courtesy of Samsung. It supports dual SIM. The variant for North America works with a Snapdragon 820 chip Dual-core 2.15 GHz Kryo & dual-core 1.6 GHz Kryo. It is coupled with 4GB RAM. The included memory by default in the phone is the modest 32GB. Fortunately, the Galaxy S7 boasts a microSD slot for expansion of the memory with up to 200GB of storage. One of the strongest selling points of the flagship is the rear 12MP camera with a dual-pixel tech usually applied for DSLR cameras. It includes an abundance of features and capabilities, such as OIS, a LED flash, phase detection autofocus and etc. The front-facing camera is a 5MP sensor with an LED flash perfect for low-light conditions. The battery included in the S7 is with a capacity of 3000mAh and it supports wireless and quick charging. The phone runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow by default. A fingerprint sensor is embedded in the home button.

Specs

  • Exynos 8890 Octa 2.3GHz
  • 4GB RAM
  • Internal Storage: 32GB
  • Removable Storage: microSD slot (Max 256GB)
  • Cameras: Front 5MP, Rear 12MP
  • 5.1 inches, 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 0.33 lbs

Pros

  • Premium design
  • Always-on screen
  • Long battery life
  • Water-resistant panel
  • MicroSD slot

Cons

  • Non removable battery
  • Fingerprint magnet
  • 5MP front-facing camera
  • No USB Type-C port
  • Only 32GB internal storage

Summary

The Samsung Galaxy S7 features a premium design with a powerful Exynos 8890 Octa chip, a great 12MP rear camera and a 3000mAh battery.

Samsung Galaxy S7 – 32GB
from $487.97 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 20-02-2017 02:20 UTC) Details

huawei-p9-plus

Huawei P9 Plus

The Huawei P9 Plus looks and performs like a premium device, add those to the fact that it is one of the first Android phones with a pressure-sensitive screen, and you quickly realize it is not looking to make friends in the high-end smartphone market. Huawei improved the pressure-sensitive screen from the Mate S, and it is now far more useful. It sure has a ways to go, though, if it looks to beat Apple’s 3D Touch, as it only proves to be a nifty add-on than an essential go-to feature. Staying true to the P9’s design, the P9 Plus has a gorgeous all-metal design, but with a larger screen. Unfortunately, the pixel count remains the same, and the screen is nowhere near as sharp as the QHD screens on other flagships. It is AMOLED, however, producing colors pop, whites are bright, with blacker-than-black blacks. It features the same great Leica Optics dual-camera setup found on the P9, which takes razor sharp images, and the same chipset which offers smooth gaming and multitasking. However, the P9 Plus’s now bigger battery eliminates one of the P9’s major issues: short battery life. The biggest issue with the Huawei P9 Plus is its price. It even costs more than the Galaxy S7 Edge, a massive user favorite (Android or otherwise).

Specs

  • Octa-core (4x2.5 GHz Cortex-A72 & 4x1.8 GHz Cortex-A53)
  • 4GB RAM
  • Removable Storage: microSD, up to 256 GB
  • Cameras: Front 8MP, Rear 12MP
  • 5.5 inch, 1080 x 1920 pixels (IPS)
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 0.35 lbs

Pros

  • Premium design
  • Sturdy build
  • Great camera
  • Fast performance
  • Fast fingerprint sensor
  • Expandable storage
  • Pressure-sensitive screen

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Unattractive interface

Summary

The Huawei P9 Plus’s upgrades from its sibling, like its larger battery, and its larger, now pressure-sensitive screen are all pluses, but its also plus size price tag puts it up against some opponents it just can’t handle.

Huawei P9 Plus (P9+)
Price Currently Unavailable Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 20-02-2017 02:21 UTC) Details

LG V20LG-Electronics-V20-Factory-Unlocked-Phone-Titan-Grey-US-Warranty-0

In addition to looking and feeling premium, LG has made sure its new phone is as robust as they come. The V20 boasts military-grade build, made so by a proper blend of aluminum and silicon polycarbonate which guarantees reliable protection. With a resolution of 2560 x 1400, the Gorilla Glass 4-covered 5.7-inch screen looks ultra-sharp and colors are overly accurate. Multimedia use is made even better by the V20’s audiophile-grade sound hardware and to top things off, LG is offering a complimentary set of headphones along with every phone purchase. As with several other phones that share its young age, the V20 adds an always-on second screen docked above the main screen and reserved for notifications, quickly launching apps and settings, and showing extra bits of information like the time and date. Software-wise, the LG V20 is the first smartphone outside Google’s line of Nexus devices to ship with Android Nougat. LG’s new UX5.0+ overlay is also commendable, offering just the useful while not being overly intrusive. Android Nougat is best experienced with high-end internal hardware and with the V20, you get nothing less. While it missed out on the new Snapdragon 821, the Snapdragon 820 plus 4GB RAM is a future-proof combination, capable of keeping things running smoothly, well into the next generation of games and apps. The 16MP and 8MP dual-camera combo serves up excellent picture quality and impressive wide angles. If you’re someone who likes to shoot video, LG has you covered with 4K and 1080p video recording support, and thanks to an admirable 3200mAh battery, you can keep recording for hours without worry.

Specs

  • AMD Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 820 [View Benchmarks]
  • 4GB RAM
  • Internal Storage: 64GB
  • Removable Storage: microSD, up to 256 GB
  • Cameras: Front 5MP, Rear 16MP
  • 5.7 inches, 2560 x 1440 pixels (IPS)
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 0.38 lbs

Pros

  • Robust build quality
  • Large, bright and sharp screen
  • Cutting-edge sound hardware
  • Android Nougat out of the box
  • Excellent performance
  • Good cameras
  • Commendable battery life

Cons

  • Misses out on the new Snapdragon 821
  • Expensive

Summary

With nothing much to hate about it, the LG V20 is one of the best smartphones you can buy today. It is exciting and overly equipped to handle anything you throw at it.

LG V20 5.7-inch
from $799.99 $659.99 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 20-02-2017 02:21 UTC) Details

zte-axon-7-unlocked-64gb

ZTE Axon 7

You would be forgiven if you took one glance at the ZTE Axon 7’s specs and quickly exclaimed, “I cannot afford that!” The thing is, you probably could. Taking from its predecessor, the original ZTE Axon, the Axon 7 packs some high-end specs at a surprisingly reasonable price. It incorporates a fully metal unibody with no edges, giving the phone great rigidity and a sublime feel. Its QHD 5.5-inch AMOLED display rivals even the Galaxy S7 Edge’s, with punchy vibrant colors, razor sharp images, and great outdoor readability. It also features the same Snapdragon 820 found in the Galaxy phone, with 4GB of RAM and 64GB expandable storage, which makes for some pretty stellar multitasking and gaming capability. Where the Axon 7 truly beats the opposition, however, is in terms of sound. The dual front-facing stereo speakers that are both loud and with impressive quality can only be rivalled by the BoomSound speakers on HTC devices. Premium features like NFC, fast charging, and a fingerprint scanner can be expected, and the 20MP rear camera takes amazing pictures in good lighting. Wrapping up the ZTE Axon 7’s long list of features is its great all-day battery life, which rivals even phones with bigger batteries (and larger price tags) like the Galaxy S7.

Specs

  • Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 820 [View Benchmarks]
  • 4GB RAM
  • Internal Storage: 64GB
  • Removable Storage: microSD, up to 256 GB
  • Cameras: Front 20MP, Rear 8MP
  • 5.5 inches, 1440 x 2560 pixels (IPS)
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 0.38 lbs

Pros

  • Great dual front-facing speakers
  • Gorgeous QHD AMOLED display
  • Premium design
  • Fast Performance
  • Excellent battery life
  • Expandable storage
  • Fast fingerprint scanner

Cons

  • Slippery design
  • Camera not as good in low light
  • Limited carrier support

Summary

The ZTE Axon 7 has so many premium features at an astoundingly low price that you would feel ashamed even complaining about its minor flaws.

ZTE Axon 7 (64GB Ion Gold)
from $399.98 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 20-02-2017 02:21 UTC) Details

huawei-p9-unlocked

Huawei P9

Huawei has come a long way, with a great line of phones like the Nexus 6P and the Mate 8, it has slowly gained a strong foothold in the Android market, and the P9 is a great addition to its roster. Featuring a similar but more refined P8-look, the P9 looks and feels great in the hand. It is also worth mentioning that this is one of the few devices out there without a camera bump, giving the phone a clean look. Despite this, the phones dual camera setup takes amazing photos and video. Thanks to Huawei’s partnership with Leica, a German camera company, two 12MP cameras work in tandem to produce super-detailed shots. Huawei upgraded the processor and RAM, and you can expect fast performance from the phone. However, the interface is a huge letdown, with large icons that look a bit childish. They should have stuck to stock Android like on the Nexus 6P. Although the 5.2-inch screen is only 1080p, it is actually quite good and provides a great viewing experience. Proving that the more pixels trend is not the only way to improve displays. Despite the low pixel count, however, the P9’s battery life is not that great. This is further compounded by the lack of wireless and fast charging support; having to charge the P9 will often be an issue.

Specs

  • HiSilicon Kirin 955 [View Benchmarks]
  • 3GB RAM
  • Removable Storage: microSD, up to 256 GB (uses SIM 2 slot)
  • Cameras: Front 8MP, Rear 12MP
  • 5.2 inches, 1920 x 1080 pixels (IPS)
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 0.31 lbs

Pros

  • Attractive design
  • Impressive performance
  • Great dual camera setup
  • Expandable storage
  • Cheaper than competitors

Cons

  • Interface is questionable
  • No wireless/fast charging

Summary

The Huawei P9 offers premium features at a modest price, though we wish the UI and battery life were better.

Huawei P9 EVA-L09 32GB 5.2 Inch (TITANIUM GREY)
from $438.04 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 20-02-2017 02:21 UTC) Details

blackberry-priv-stv100-1

Blackberry Priv

The fact that the Priv is a BlackBerry that runs on Android alone makes it a very special device. BlackBerry sales have been waning for years as more and more people made the move to Android and iOS, and it was only a matter of time before they made the jump. It keeps some of its traditions, however. The screen can slide up to reveal the familiar physical keyboard found on older BlackBerrys, and while it runs on Android, its interface is slightly customized with a few familiar BlackBerry apps and security features. One of the phone’s highlights is its 5.4-inch AMOLED QHD screen, providing pin-sharp images with gorgeous colors making every second of use a joy. With a Snapdragon 808 with 3GB of RAM at its heart, it performs exceptionally well in games and heavy tasks. However, the interface is a bit sluggish, with significant lag while opening apps and switching between apps. Software optimization issues, perhaps. Sporting an 18MP rear camera, with dual flash, the Priv takes exceptional pictures. However, you experience lag opening the camera app and taking photos, and the selfie camera is alright at best. Featuring a large 3410mAh, the Priv offers up great stamina; it lasts the full day and you will rarely find yourself looking for an outlet to plug it in.

Specs

  • Qualcomm MSM8992 Snapdragon 808 [View Benchmarks]
  • 3GB RAM
  • Internal Storage: 32GB
  • Removable Storage: microSD, up to 256 GB
  • Cameras: Front 18MP, Rear 2MP
  • 5.3 inch, 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
  • 0.42 lbs

Pros

  • Great Screen
  • Runs on Android
  • Gorgeous design
  • Physical keyboard
  • Increased security

Cons

  • Build quality not premium
  • Expensive for specs

Summary

The BlackBerry Priv is one of the best devices the company has ever made, and while core Android users may not be sold, it provides an effective means for BlackBerry fans to get in on the Android way of life.

BlackBerry Priv STV100-1 32GB 4G LTE Unlocked
from $449.99 $370.00 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 20-02-2017 02:21 UTC) Details

oneplus3

OnePlus 3

Every iteration of the OnePlus brings something new to the table, slowly bridging the gap to the Samsung/Apple smartphone heavyweights, and the OnePlus 3 is the best one yet. They finally ditched plastic and went with an all-metal design, and though understated, it looks very attractive, and gives the device a premium look and feel that rivals the best. At the front is a 5.5-inch Full-HD screen, and even though it does not offer a high pixel density as competitors, they (rightfully) went for an AMOLED panel, making colors super vibrant and with supreme brightness and viewing angles. Apart from the Exynos on some S7 variants, the Snapdragon 820 is the fastest mobile chipset in production, beating out even the aforementioned Exynos 8890 in some tasks. This, coupled with a whopping 6GB of RAM give the OnePlus 3 some serious horsepower, enough to shrug off even the latest games on their most demanding settings. At the back, you find a 16MP snapper that takes impressive shots in the right conditions, nothing game changing, however. The 8MP selfie camera is pleasing, though, with beauty mode and smile sensor that starts a 3-second countdown when you smile at the phone. Oxygen OS has been improved and offers a ton of customization features, the interface runs on top of Android Marshmallow and is incredibly smooth and unobtrusive. The power-saving features also allow a full-day battery life.

Specs

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 [View Benchmarks]
  • 6GB RAM
  • Internal Storage: 64GB
  • Removable Storage: None
  • Cameras: Front 8MP, Rear 16MP
  • 5.5 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels (IPS)
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 0.34 lbs

Pros

  • Premium design
  • Powerful performance
  • Affordable price
  • Solid camera
  • Fast fingerprint camera

Cons

  • no card slot
  • only Full-HD

Summary

The OnePlus 3 offers some great performance, premium features, and a high build quality at an affordable price that proves it to be a force to be reckoned with in the high-end smartphone market despite its humble beginnings.

OnePlus Three 3 64gb
from $402.99 $402.98 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 20-02-2017 02:21 UTC) Details

Samsung-Galaxy-A9-A9000-GSM-Unlocked-Cellphone-White-International-Version-No-Warranty-0

Samsung Galaxy A9 A9000

Samsung has firmly cemented itself as the leading smartphone manufacturer in recent years, and with devices like the Galaxy A9, it is easy to see why. Featuring a 6-inch screen, the A9 is well into the phablet category, but it keeps the same slick design on flagships like the Galaxy S and Note series. You are presented with two glass panels at the front and back, with a metal frame all around the device; it looks amazing with high build quality. The device is a bit heavy, however, and combined with its large size; it can get a bit cumbersome. While some may have quarrels with the less-than-QHD resolution, Samsung’s Super AMOLED displays truly shine in terms of color vibrancy, saturation, and brightness, and this 1080p display is no exception. The large screen size will also be highly be appreciated by regular visual media consumers and avid gamers alike. Running these games, a Snapdragon 652 chip, backed by the Adreno 510 GPU, and 3GB of RAM; performance is incredible and rivals even the Snapdragon 810 on some flagships. You get premium features like NFC, a fingerprint scanner, fast charging, dual-SIM capability, a great 13MP snapper, and the 32GB storage is expandable as well. Topping this all off is a massive 4000mAh battery that provides excellent stamina, keeping you distracted for hours on end, careful not to lose your job.

Specs

  • Qualcomm MSM8976 Snapdragon 652 4x1.8 GHz Cortex-A72 & 4x1.2 GHz Cortex-A53 [View Benchmarks]
  • 3GB RAM
  • Internal Storage: 32GB
  • Removable Storage: microSD (up to 256 GB)
  • Cameras: Front 8MP, Rear 13MP
  • 6 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
  • 0.44 lbs

Pros

  • Premium design
  • Large, vibrant display
  • Superb battery life
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • Fast Performance

Cons

  • Low pixel density

Summary

While the large 6-inch display may not be for everyone, the Samsung Galaxy A9’s metal and glass flagship design, high-end performance, and incredible battery life may make you give this plus-size phablet a second look.

Samsung Galaxy A9 A9000 6-inch
Price Currently Unavailable Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 20-02-2017 02:21 UTC) Details

microsoft-lumia-950-xl-rm-1085

Microsoft Lumia 950 XL

The Microsoft Lumia 950 XL is making leaps and bounds breaking through a largely Android and Apple dominated market. Windows 10 Mobile is the OS’ best version yet, and largely resembles its PC counterpart. In fact, a new feature on the Lumia 950, called Continuum, allows connection of the phone to a TV or monitor via a dock, blowing up windows to provide a larger working area. This is especially handy for text editing. It is a shame their store has such a limited app selection, and the basic ones like Facebook and Instagram which are actually available often feel slow and outdated. Instead of a fingerprint scanner, the Lumia 950 employs a special camera that actually scans the user’s iris to unlock the phone. A nifty little feature. The Snapdragon 810 powers the phone, coupled with 3GB of RAM. It is hard to compare its performance to other smartphones with the same chipset (since they run on Android), the interface is smooth, however. Though we feel like poorly optimized apps often slow it down. The 20MP camera delivers, however, with great looking shots and 4K video recording. Battery life is about a full day, which is a very good since the OS is fairly new and future updates will likely increase efficiency and consequently, the phone’s staying power.

Specs

  • Qualcomm MSM8994 Snapdragon 810 [View Benchmarks]
  • 3GB RAM
  • Internal Storage: 32GB
  • Removable Storage: microSD, up to 256 GB
  • Cameras: Front 20MP, Rear 5MP
  • 5.7 inches, 1440 x 2560 pixels (IPS)
  • 0.36 lbs

Pros

  • Iris scanner
  • Continuum allows the smartphone to be used as a pc replacement
  • Removable battery & expandable storage
  • Beautiful QHD screen
  • Slick Windows 10 UI

Cons

  • Limited apps

Summary

The Lumia 950 has a lot going for it, with its premium features and great Windows Mobile OS. It, however, is in dire need of more apps to take advantage of its powerful hardware.

Microsoft Lumia 950 XL RM-1085
from $291.99 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 20-02-2017 02:21 UTC) Details

huawei-honor-8-4g

Huawei Honor 8

We do not know whether Huawei outsourced the design phase of the Honor 8 to an external design firm, and frankly, we do not really care. What we do know is: it looks stunning. It features a glass front and back with aluminum sides, and according to Huawei, the back is made of a 15-layer special glass that catches light at different angles to produce gorgeous reflections. The back features a fingerprint sensor, much like other recent Huawei devices like the P9, and the sensor doubles up as a programmable key. 12MP dual cameras are in charge of taking pictures and video, and boy do they do it well. There is also no camera hump, keeping the phone slick and making it possible for it to lie completely flat on its back. While the HiSilicon Kirin 950 processor cannot keep up with the Snapdragon 820, it holds its own; performance is smooth and games run well. However, Emotion UI is a resource hog and makes the phone lag sometimes. It also negates Android Marshmallow’s power-saving features and makes the phone’s battery drain faster than it should. Luckily, fast charging allows the phone to charge up to 50% in only 30 minutes using its USB-Charging port.

Specs

  • HiSilicon Kirin 950 [View Benchmarks]
  • 4GB RAM
  • Internal Storage: 32GB
  • Removable Storage: microSD, up to 256 GB (uses SIM 2 slot)
  • Cameras: Front 8MP, Rear 12MP
  • 5.2 inches, pixels (IPS)
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 0.33 lbs

Pros

  • Stunning looks
  • Fingerprint scanner that doubles up as a programmable key
  • Fast charging
  • IR blaster
  • Great dual-camera setup

Cons

  • Average battery life
  • Unattractive, heavy interface

Summary

The Huawei Honor 8 has some solid features and great performance, with a striking design that makes other phones in the same price range look downright ugly.

Huawei – Honor 8 4G LTE Sapphire blue
from $399.00 $264.99 Read Reviews Order Now
from BestBuy.com
(as of 27-11-2016 08:47 UTC) Details

sonyxperiaz5

Sony Xperia Z5

For some time, Sony kept true to its “Flagship every six months” motto, and while some of the Z-series phones were great, most felt like minor updates to their predecessors. Let’s see how the Z5 fairs. Featuring a glass front, frosted glass back, and metal lining, the Z5 looks and feels very premium. It is also light and thin (though a bit thicker than its predecessor), making it easy to handle. Just like the Z3+, the Z5 sports a 5.2-inch Full-HD display. Colors are vibrant, images are crisp, and it also offers decent brightness for outdoor viewing. However, it cannot keep up with today’s QHD displays, or especially the 4K display on its sibling, the Z5 Premium. Running all the phone’s processes is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 with 3GB of RAM and expandable 32GB storage; the interface is smooth, and all the latest games run great. Sony finally upgraded the 20.7-megapixel snapper, used all the way from the Xperia Z1, to a 23MP lens. It takes some amazing photos, with great detail, and videos are smooth with 4K shooting available as well. Selfies also looked great on the 5MP front camera, though both cameras struggled in low light conditions. Sony integrated a fingerprint scanner into the power button, which works very well, and although the battery is 30mAh less than its predecessor, the software seems optimized, and it fairs well during regular use.

Specs

  • Qualcomm MSM8994 Snapdragon 810 [View Benchmarks]
  • 3GB RAM
  • Internal Storage: 32GB
  • Removable Storage: microSD, up to 256 GB
  • Cameras: Front 23MP, Rear 5.1MP
  • 5.2 inches, 1920 x 1080 pixels (IPS)
  • Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
  • 0.33 lbs

Pros

  • Fast performance
  • Good battery life
  • Stereo speakers
  • Sleek design
  • Water Resistant
  • Great outdoor pictures

Cons

  • Camera performs poorly in low light
  • 1080p display cannot compete with displays on other flagships

Summary

The Sony Xperia Z5 is a great looking phone with some nice features, but it feels more like an “update” to the Z3+ than a new flagship from Sony.

Sony Xperia Z5 32GB GSM/LTE
from $490.00 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 20-02-2017 02:21 UTC) Details

LG-Nexus-5X-Unlocked-Smartphone-Black-32GB-US-Warranty-0

LG Nexus 5X

The Nexus 6P’s large size and higher than mid-range price tag may not be for everyone. That’s why Google has also released a budget friendlier model- the Nexus 5X, which offers similar performance and features as the 6P but comes in a more manageable size. Users won’t have any problem reaching all corners of the 5X’s 5.2-inch display with a single hand. The phone is also very lightweight due to its polycarbonate chassis, but it feels cheaper than the metal covered 6P. Despite its smaller frame, the 5X includes almost all the modern features found on the 6P such as the dual front speakers, USB Type-C connector and a fingerprint scanner on the back. Like its big brother, the 5X is one of the first phones to ship with Android 6.0 Marshmallow, and it is guaranteed to receive future Android updates straight from Google. Both the 6P and 5X also have the same 12.3MP rear camera and an 8MP front camera. However, the camera on the 5X lacks some features like electronic stabilization, burst mode and 240fps slow motion mode. The 5X uses a Full-HD IPS display with 432 pixel per inch. This 5.2 inch display shows that you don’t need a Quad-HD display to get sufficient clarity. The onboard Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor coupled with 2GB of RAM ensures consistently smooth performance. Unfortunately, the 5X offers only two storage options- 16GB or 32GB, which may not be enough for some special type of users who cram their phones with lots of movies, music and games.

Specs

  • Qualcomm MSM8992 Snapdragon 808 [View Benchmarks]
  • 2GB RAM
  • Internal Storage: 32GB
  • Removable Storage: No
  • Cameras: Front 5MP, Rear 12MP
  • 5.2 inches, 1920 x 1080 pixels (IPS)
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 0.3 lbs

Pros

  • Reasonably sized
  • Impressive display quality
  • Capable 12.3-megapixel rear camera
  • Unskinned stock Android Marshmallow
  • Decent performance

Cons

  • Dull design
  • No MicroSD slot
  • Middling battery

Summary

Evidently, the LG Nexus 5X doesn’t have a lot on its specs sheet to justify being significantly pricier than budget devices like the Moto G4 and the OnePlus 2. Nonetheless, it still offers good value and given its unpolluted Android environment, it is well-worth considering.

LG Nexus 5X H791 5.2-inch
from $399.00 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 20-02-2017 02:21 UTC) Details

Apple iPhone SE smartphone

Apple iPhone SE

Apple must have decided to throw their “just enough” design policy to the wind, to flex their tech muscles by unveiling the most powerful 4-inch phone ever made: the Apple iPhone SE. The SE is a 4-inch smartphone. It shares the same compact size perfect for one-hand use, and selfie camera as its sibling, the iPhone 5S, that is where the similarities end, however. Everything from the chipset to the OS has seen massive upgrades. Running all the phone’s computing tasks is the same Apple A9 chipset found on the 6S, with 2GB of RAM, giving the phone unprecedented power and supreme gaming performance due to the lower pixel count. The lower pixel count, however, makes the SE’s screen look uninspiring and significantly less sharp than other flagships. It makes up for it, partly, in sound quality; music and movies sound great on the speaker as well as on headphones. You get a 12MP snapper similar to the one on the 6S, which takes great photos. Focus pixels significantly reduce focusing time and you will generally take sharp pictures on each shot. Finally, the iPhone SE features a larger battery than the 5S, which lasts more than a full day’s use. It is amazing how many times Apple can upgrade battery size on the same chassis, from the 5 to the 5S, and now the SE.

Specs

  • Apple A9 1.84 GHz Twister [View Benchmarks]
  • 2GB RAM
  • Internal Storage: 64GB
  • Removable Storage: No
  • 4-inch, 1136 x 640 pixels (IPS)
  • iOS 9
  • 0.25 lbs

Pros

  • Powerful specs
  • Longer battery than 5S
  • Lower price

Cons

  • Tired design
  • Old
  • old screen technology Rattling home key

Summary

The Apple iPhone SE packs most of the high-end specs of the 6S in a small 4-inch frame, perhaps looking to service 5S users who felt alienated after the company’s move to larger screens.

Apple iPhone SE
from $565.19 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 27-11-2016 08:49 UTC) Details

sonyxperiaz5compact

Sony Xperia Z5 Compact

While all other Android phones are going big (screen) on their high-end phones, Sony realized that not all power users want a large phone; and thus came the Xperia Z5 Compact. It features the same great cameras, fingerprint scanner, and chipset found on its larger siblings, but with a reduced screen and slightly smaller battery. At only 4.6 inches, the screen makes the phone super compact, it is a little bit thicker than the Z5 to accommodate the battery, but one can hardly notice; it is a breeze to handle in one hand. One “deduction” that will be a deal-breaker for some is the screen’s reduced pixel count. At only 720p, it is not quite as sharp as the Z5, not to mention the 4K-screen Z5. This comes as a blessing in disguise, however, the low resolution means the Adreno 430 GPU has to process less than half the pixels as on the Z5 and only a ninth as compared to the Z5 Premium. Translation: Super gaming. Games run amazingly well on the Compact, despite the reduced RAM, and the interface is super fluid. The reduced resolution also means you can use the phone all day and still have some charge left at bedtime. You will need this extra stamina, because with the great pictures and up to 4K video that the 23MP snapper takes, you will fancy yourself a professional photographer.

Specs

  • Qualcomm MSM8994 Snapdragon 810 [View Benchmarks]
  • 2GB RAM
  • Internal Storage: 32GB
  • Removable Storage: microSD, up to 256 GB
  • Cameras: Front 5.1MP, Rear 23MP
  • 4.7, 720 x 1280 pixels (IPS)
  • Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
  • 0.30 lbs

Pros

  • Powerful Specs
  • Compact
  • Great fingerprint sensor
  • Long battery life
  • Impressive Camera

Cons

  • 720p screen

Summary

Sony’s Xperia Z5 Compact target’s smartphone users looking for a premium phone in a compact frame.

Sony Xperia Z5 Compact E5803 32GB Black
Price Currently Unavailable Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 20-02-2017 02:21 UTC) Details

oneplus2

OnePlus 2

The OnePlus 2 remains a viable option, even with the release of the OnePlus 3, due to its premium features and stupendous value for money. The company did a great job upgrading the original OnePlus, the OnePlus 2 sports a sturdy metal frame, that makes the device sturdy despite its plastic design. There are also different wood and Kevlar back cases sold separately that cause the device feel even more premium. You get a 5.5-inch 1080p screen and a fingerprint scanner at the front, none of which are that impressive due to comparisons with newer devices, but they are solid nonetheless. One thing to note is that the OnePlus 2 uses a USB-C connection for charging and connecting to computers, and while it has its benefits, you will often find yourself regretting leaving the single included cable at home, as borrowed “regular” USB cables will not work. This makes the omission of fast and wireless charging even more annoying. At least the battery can handle a full day’s use. The device’s performance is pretty impressive, on par with the likes of the Xperia Z5 due to its Snapdragon 810 and 4GB worth of RAM. However, there is no SD-card slot, and I highly recommend staying away from the 16GB model of the phone as it will definitely fill up in a flash.

Specs

  • Qualcomm MSM8994 Snapdragon 810 [View Benchmarks]
  • 4GB RAM
  • Internal Storage: 64GB
  • Removable Storage: none
  • Cameras: Front 13MP, Rear 5MP
  • 5.5 inches, 1080 x 1920 pixels (IPS)
  • 0.38 lbs

Pros

  • Vibrant display
  • Solid build
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • Good value for money

Cons

  • No microSD card slot

Summary

While OnePlus 2’s bold claim of being the 2015/2016’s flagship killer may not be quite true, its fast performance, solid build, premium features, and compelling price get it quite close.

Oneplus 2 Factory Unlocked (International version)
Price Currently Unavailable Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 20-02-2017 02:21 UTC) Details

htc_one_m9_plus

HTC One M9+

Most companies have employed the use of the “Plus” label on smartphones to indicate better performance, added features, and usually a larger screen than on base models. In this respect, the M9+ ticks a lot of the right boxes. Featuring an upgraded screen, the M9+ has a larger, now QHD screen that is a lot sharper, with excellent outdoor visibility, which is a pleasure to use during any activities. It retains the metal-unibody that screams premium, but is understandably a bit larger. This increased size, however, allowed HTC to fit an extra 2.1MP camera at the back for refocusing of pictures after you have taken them. Featuring the same BoomSound speakers found on the M9, the M9+ reproduces audio extremely well at a high volume. A home button sits between the split bottom speaker grille, and it doubles up as a fingerprint scanner that allows you to quickly unlock the device. Probably the biggest letdown of the One M9+, however, and one that will surely be a deciding factor for most users, is its performance. HTC decided to go with the MTK Helio X10 chipset, which looks good on paper, but is a mixed bag in actual use. Normal tasks run smoothly, and the interface is very fluid. However multitasking is often met with lag, and games especially take a hit in performance, with even moderate games resulting in unstable frame rates.

Specs

  • Octa-core 2.2 GHz Cortex-A53
  • 3GB RAM
  • Internal Storage: 32GB
  • Removable Storage: microSD, up to 256 GB
  • Cameras: Front 4MP, Rear 20MP
  • 5.2 inches, 1440 x 2560 pixels (IPS)
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop
  • 0.37 lbs

Pros

  • Solid all-metal build
  • Great BoomSound speakers
  • Expandable storage
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • Crisp QHD display

Cons

  • Lag encountered during gaming and multitasking

Summary

Unfortunately, the HTC M9+’s high price puts it up against some very stiff competition, and despite its other premium features, its slower performance makes it a very tough sell

HTC One M9+ (Gunmetal Grey/Black)
from $341.99 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 20-02-2017 02:21 UTC) Details

 


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Best Unlocked Smartphones – Under $300

Apple iPhone 5s – 16GB

Apple iPhone 5s

Now that the bigger and better iPhone 6 has been announced, the price of the iPhone 5s is taking a dive. Is it wise to buy the 5s now or should you wait? The answer is simple, if you have the budget for the new iPhone then by all means go for it. However, if you own an iPhone 4 and want to upgrade to something faster without the absurdly high prices of the iPhone 6, the 5s is still a good choice. The 5s sports a sturdy and high-end design. It is more compact that its successor and other high end Android alternatives, although a smaller bezel and larger edge-to-edge screen would’ve made better sense. Its 4-inch Retina display has 326ppi pixel density with excellent contrast and brightness to match HTC One’s glorious display. While the external appearance is similar to its predecessor, under the hood there are significant changes. The 5s’ new A7 64-bit processor is said to be twice as fast as the A6 on the iPhone 5. It is clearly oriented for power users and avid mobile gamers, although there aren’t many games on the market that take full advantage of the 5s’ graphics capability. Apple’s iOS 7 isn’t as customizable as the Android OS, but unlike the latter it doesn’t show any lag or stutter after installing lots of apps or updates. The 5s’ 8MP camera is solid with a larger aperture that gives better low light exposure and the faster processor enables true burst mode shooting. For additional security, it comes with a Touch ID fingerprint sensor situated secretly under the home button. Overall the 5s is a good investment now than at its release, but if you want larger screen, better camera or a microSD slot, you must consider an Android device.

Specs

  • Apple A7 chip 1.3GHz
  • 1GB RAM
  • Removable Storage: None
  • Cameras: Front 1.2MP, Rear 8MP
  • 4.0 inch, 1136 x 640 pixels
  • iOS 7
  • 0.24 lbs

Pros

  • Touch ID
  • Apple eco-system
  • Decent camera
  • Great performance
  • Premium design and build quality

Cons

  • Battery life
  • iTunes
  • 4-inch screen is a bit small
  • Limited storage
  • No AC WiFi

Summary

The Apple iPhone 5S offers great performance and a decent camera for everyday photos. But the 16GB of storage space is a bit limiting and it has to be used in conjunction with iTunes.

Apple iPhone 5s – 16GB
from $235.00 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 20-02-2017 02:20 UTC) Details

Samsung Galaxy S5 – 16GB
Samsung Galaxy S5 (Virgin Mobile)

On the surface, the Samsung Galaxy S5 doesn’t look much different from its slightly shorter predecessor, the S4. It has the same curved rectangular body with a 0.1 inch larger 1080p screen at the front. Its rear cover with tiny dimples and matte finish makes it look more sophisticated and less of a fingerprint magnet that the S4. The firmly snapping cover indicates that the S5 is also water resistant and dust proof. Its design upgrade includes a USB 3.0 port at the bottom just like on the Note 3. The 5.1 inch AMOLED screen is as clear as ever showcasing HD videos and images in all its glory with rich colors and high contrast. The GS5 runs the latest Android 4.4 KitKat with Samsung’s TouchWiz UI. Some useful software extras include the Ultra power-saving mode which when turned on can give you 24 hours of power even with only 10 percent of battery remaining. The download booster feature combines your Wi-Fi and data connections for enhanced download speeds. Power users won’t have any problem with what the S5 is packing under the hood. Its 2.5GHz Quad-Core processor is top of the line and beats many of its rivals in real world benchmarks. Coming from the S4 users will definitely experience smoother navigation and faster app loading times. Samsung has incorporated the latest co-processor and sensor technology into its 16MP camera, which is capable of taking clear images even in low-light. Overall, the shinier HTC One M8 is the most formidable rival to S5, but the latter tries to you win you over with extras like the heart rate.

ASUS-Zenfone-2-64GB

Asus ZenFone 2 – 64GB

The Asus ZenFone 2 is the highest-end model of the ZenFone 2 series smartphones, but except for a faster processor, larger memory and bigger storage, it sports the same design as the $100 cheaper budget version and comes with similar features like NFC, LTE and fast charge support. It is made of plastic with a brushed metal design that gives it a somewhat premium look, but once held you can definitely feel the difference. The 5.5-inch display has anti-glare coating with Gorilla Glass 3 protection and the LCD screen supports Full-HD resolution resulting in sharp text and beautiful images. Unfortunately, the brightness could be better. The ZenFone 2 offers one of the best hardware at this price point with a powerful Intel Atom Z3580 Quad-Core processor clocked at 2.3 GHz, 4GB of RAM and a huge 64GB of storage with microSD card slot. Add to that the PowerVR Series 6 G6430 GPU and you have a smartphone that can handle almost anything you throw at it. Its 3000 mAh battery does last all day in normal use but heavy users can expect only about 4 hours between charges. However, with fast charging ability the ZenFone can be quickly charged to 100% within 1.5 hours. The 13MP rear camera on this device is decent but produces slightly oversaturated images in auto settings. Low light performance on the other hand is better than most competitors. All in all, the ZenFone 2 is a good mid-range device that offers one of the best values for the money when it comes to raw performance.

Specs

  • Intel Intel Atom Z3580 2.33GHz [View Benchmarks]
  • 4GB RAM
  • Internal Storage: 64GB
  • Removable Storage: microSD card slot
  • Cameras: Front 5MP, Rear 13MP
  • 5.5 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels (IPS)
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop
  • 0.37 lbs

Pros

  • Outstanding value
  • Full-HDscreen
  • Decent battery life
  • Powerful hardware

Cons

  • Average camera
  • ASUS Bloatware
  • Maximum screen brightness is low

Summary

If you’re looking for high-end performance and modern connectivity features for a mid-range price, the ZenFone 2 is worth a look.

ASUS ZenFone 2 – 64GB
from $299.00 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 20-02-2017 02:14 UTC) Details


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Best Unlocked Smartphones – Under $400

Motorola Nexus 6 – 32GBMotorola-Nexus-6-32GB

Though a year old, the Nexus 6’s hardware, features and design is still on par with the latest powerful handsets. Now down to $350 from its starting price of $650, it is a serious mid-range competitor. It was the first device to run Android 5.0 Lollipop and has already received the latest Android 6 Marshmallow update which has noticeably resolved its battery draining issues. The Nexus 6 is a large device that takes two hands to properly operate and borrows design elements from the Moto X like the sturdy aluminum metal frame and a curved back that feels natural against the hands. Lacking any physical buttons and having a near edge-to-edge display, the Nexus 6 is only a tad bigger than the smaller 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus. While it lacks a fingerprint reader, it has front-facing stereo speakers that are almost as good as the BoomSound speakers found in the HTC devices. The pixel-packed 5.96-inch AMOLED display with 2560 x1440 resolution is big as well as brilliant to look at. The Nexus 6 houses a dated but capable 2.7GHz Snapdragon 805 Quad-Core processor with Adreno 420 GPU. With the backing of 3GB of RAM, the system rarely slows down whether you’re streaming videos or playing demanding Android games. Latest phablets like the Nexus 6P and iPhone 6 Plus have better design, improved cameras and slightly faster performance, but they’re going to cost you over $500 for the base models. The Nexus 6 is on sale for just $350, and if you’re fine with having the next best thing, the Nexus 6 won’t let you down.

Specs

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 APQ8084 2.7GHz [View Benchmarks]
  • 3GB RAM
  • Internal Storage: 32GB
  • Removable Storage: None
  • Cameras: Front 2MP, Rear 13MP
  • 5.96 inch, 2560 x 1440 pixels
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop
  • 0.41 lbs

Pros

  • Large display
  • Turbo charging
  • Decent camera
  • Fast performance
  • Pure Android experience

Cons

  • Too big for some
  • Battery life is average
  • No microSD card slot

Summary

If you’re looking for a fast, big phone with enough bells and whistles to satisfy a power user, the Nexus 6 is a good option for the price.

Motorola Nexus 6 – 32GB
from $358.00 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 20-02-2017 02:14 UTC) Details

Moto-X-Pure-Edition

Moto X Pure Edition – 32GB

The Moto X Pure Edition incorporates some of the best specs available in its price range and stands on par with many category leaders. Sporting a 5.7-inch screen running at an impressive 2,560 x 1440 resolution with 520 pixels per inch, you will easily be able to read the screen although it will be difficult to hold in one hand. It features an attractive design with a slim metal frame, curved back and a cover that you can customize. The device is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 process with 3GB of RAM providing powerful performance and multitasking. The device includes a pair of front facing speaker that provide superior audio quality that is much louder and clearer than smartphones with speakers in the rear. The phone includes 32 MB of storage and even a microSD card slot so you can expand it up to 128 GB to store all your media files. The included camera takes excellent pictures, but its performance suffers under lower lighting conditions. If battery power is your concern, it can run an amazing 10 hours after just 15 minutes on a charger. Blending a stylish look, high end specs and a pure Android experience, the Moto X Pure Edition clearly deserves to be recognized among many of the market’s leaders.

Specs

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 MSM8992 1.8GHz [View Benchmarks]
  • LPDDR3 RAM
  • Internal Storage: 32GB
  • Removable Storage: microSD slot (Max 128GB)
  • Cameras: Front 5MP, Rear 21MP
  • 5.7 inches, 1440 x 2560 pixels (IPS)
  • Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
  • 0.39 lbs

Pros

  • Sleek design
  • Improved camera
  • Pure Android
  • Useful Moto software tweaks
  • Loud front speakers

Cons

  • Big size
  • Average battery life
  • Camera isn't great in low light

Summary

Buying the Moto X Pure you’ll get a quality design and the same high-end features as the pricier flagships along with a pure Android experience that is free from any unnecessary additions and modifications from manufacturers or network providers.

Moto X Pure Edition – 32GB
Price Currently Unavailable Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 20-02-2017 02:14 UTC) Details

LG-G4-H815

LG G4 H815 Brown Leather – 32GB

With the G3, LG made its mark as a serious high-end smartphone manufacturer. Similarly, the new G4 improves on the shortcomings of its predecessor by offering a better camera, faster hardware and brighter display.The G4 is available in two variants, one with a polycarbonate back with diamond effects and the other with a leather back, which gives a more premium feel to the device and also doesn’t catch fingerprints. G4 users also get the option to swap out the battery and expand the storage via microSD card- two things you can’t do on most phones today.The 5.5-inch Quad HD IPS Quantum Display has the same 2560 x 1440 resolution and 538ppi pixel density as last year’s G3. It’s one of the best smartphone displays with improved brightness and contrast for better outdoor visible. Due to the overheating issues of the new Octa-Core 810 processor, LG opted for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 chip which is still a powerful Hexa-Core processor that can tackle any demanding tasks when paired with 3GB of RAM. If the 32GB of internal storage is not enough users can expand on it via microSD. The crowning features of the G4 is its 16MP rear camera that has an f/1.8 aperture lens with OIS 2.0 and a color spectrum sensor. The high-end camera hardware is complemented by superb camera software that gives full manual control to users. If you can live with a plastic body phone, the G4 is the best smartphone in its price range.

Specs

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 MSM8992 1.8GHz [View Benchmarks]
  • 3GB RAM
  • Internal Storage: 32GB
  • Removable Storage: microSD (Max 256GB) | microSDXC (Max 2TB)
  • Cameras: Front 8MP, Rear 16MP
  • 5.5 inch, 2560 x 1440 pixels (IPS)
  • Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
  • 0.34 lbs

Pros

  • Color-rich display
  • Excellent camera performance
  • Strong specs
  • Removable battery and MicroSD card slot

Cons

  • Still made of plastic
  • Speaker is weak
  • Battery life is average

Summary

All in all, the G4 has all the features everyone wants out of a high-end smartphone- a great camera, a colorful display and a modern design at a reasonable price.

LG G4 – 32GB
from $328.00 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 20-02-2017 02:14 UTC) Details

HTC One M9HTC One M9 – 32GB

Built with amazing craftsmanship, the HTC One M9 sports a bolder and a more luxurious look than last year’s M8. Its solid unibody design is complemented by an attractive two tone metallic rim. The weight and balance of the device is very comfortable. However, the premium chassis can get easily dented on impact so a protective case is recommended. The M9 is a bit taller than many 5-inch devices because it has two, powerful front-facing Boom Sound speakers on the top and bottom of the display. Its Full-HD SuperLCD display is identical to last year’s model, and while it’s not as reputed as Samsung’s Super AMOLED panels, it’s still sharp enough to compete with any high-end QHD screens. It is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor backed up by 3GB of RAM, and this powerful combo results in very fast performance in gaming as well as benchmarks. However, the metallic frame coupled with a power hungry CPU means the device tends to get warm after long use. The internal storage has been boosted to 32GB with a microSD card slot to ensure there’s no low memory issues. Ditching the Ultrapixel camera on the M8, the M9 has a more competent 20.7MP camera at the back and a wide angle 4MP front camera that truly shines in low-light situations. However, competitors like LG G4 and Galaxy S6 have superior cameras that consistently take natural pictures. While there aren’t many reasons for M8 owners to upgrade, other users who want the best looking Android phone should definitely take a look at the M9.

Specs

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 MSM8994 2.0GHz [View Benchmarks]
  • 3GB RAM
  • Removable Storage: microSD slot (Max 2TB)
  • Cameras: Front 4MP, Rear 20MP
  • 5.0 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop

Pros

  • Bright and sharp display
  • Great front facing camera
  • Loud and clear speakers
  • Premium design
  • microSD slot
  • HTC Sense 7 software

Cons

  • Battery life
  • Camera not as good as its competitors

Summary

The HTC One M9 offers a brilliant display and HTC’s easy-to-use Sense 7 software. But the camera and the battery life haven’t changed enough from the previous HTC One.

HTC One M9 – 32GB
from $348.88 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 27-11-2016 08:51 UTC) Details

BLU Pure XL – 64GBblu-pure-xl

For years, BLU has focused primarily on entry-level products, but their latest release is an exception. With high-end specs, modern features and a an affordable price tag, the BLU Pure XL is ready to compete with the premium smartphones. It’s a well-built phone with a matte finish back and an aluminum metal trim bezel. It’s a large and heavy phablet that is difficult for one-hand use but has a subtly curve for a comfortable hold. The device supports NFC, 802.11 AC Wi-Fi and also features a handy fingerprint sensor which works just as well as the ones on higher-end products. While it does support 4G LTE, it’s missing band 5 and band 12 which may be a problem for some T-Mobile and AT&T users. The 6-inch Super AMOLED display features a 1440 x 2560 Quad-HD resolution with 490 ppi pixel density, which produces crisp images. The extra large screen size means the users get more room for enjoying their HD movies. Powered by a 2.0GHz Helio X10 64bit Octa-Core processor, the Pure XL is one of the fastest phones in its class. In addition to a powerful chip, it includes 64GB storage, 3GB of RAM and a PowerVR G6200 GPU that handles even the most graphically intense games with minimal lag. Even with a large 3500 mAH battery, it has mediocre battery life of 15 hours with about 4 hours of screen time at 50% brightness. In good lighting conditions, the 24MP Main Camera featuring an f/2.3 sensor delivers sharp pictures with great color reproduction.

Specs

  • Mediatek MT6795 Helio X10 2.0GHz
  • 3GB RAM
  • Internal Storage: 64GB
  • Removable Storage: microSD slot (Max 64GB)
  • Cameras: Front 8MP, Rear 24MP
  • 6 inch, 2560 x 1440 pixels
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop
  • 0.45 lbs

Pros

  • Solid build
  • Sharp display
  • Powerful processor
  • Generous storage

Cons

  • Its large size feels uncomfortable in small hands
  • No guarantee of upcoming Android update

Summary

As BLU’s most ambitious device yet, the Pure XL offers high-end hardware and a solid design for power users on a budget. However, its battery life and low-light camera performance need improvement, and BLU must ensure future OS updates if it wants to attract more buyers.

BLU PURE XL – 64GB
Price Currently Unavailable Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 20-02-2017 02:14 UTC) Details


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Best Unlocked Smartphones – Under $500

Samsung-Galaxy-S6-Edge-G925F-32GB-Unlocked-GSM-LTE-Octa-Core-Smartphone-Green-Emerald-0

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge G925F – 32GB

The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge G925F shares many similarities to the S6 but includes a new 5.1-inch AMOLED display. The device is made of aluminum alloy that both looks great and feels solid and both panels are covered in Gorilla Glass 6. While the new design looks great, it lacks a microSD slot and a removeable battery. It includes a fingerprint sensor under the home button that recognizes your print almost instantly, much faster than the iPhone 6. While slightly larger than the iPhone 6, the Edge is still easy to use with just one hand.The primary 5.1-inch display with 1440 x 2560 resolution is one of the sharpest, and the fact that it is AMOLED means colors will appear more vibrant and brighter than on normal IPS displays. The extra display area at the “edge” is only used to view notifications for apps, missed calls, emails and texts. The Edge uses Samsung’s own Exynos 742 octa-core chip which actually combines the performance of two Quad Core processors- a 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 and a 2.1 GHz Cortex-A57. This powerful processor backed by 3GB of RAM sails through the heaviest Android applications without any slowdown. However, the battery life is rather short, but the Edge does support fast charge.. Both of its 16MP main camera and 5MP front cameras rank among the best smartphone cameras. Power users who want the best display, best camera and blazing performance should go for Galaxy Edge 6.

Specs

  • Samsung Exynos 7420 Octa 2.1GHz [View Benchmarks]
  • 3GB LPDDR4 RAM
  • Internal Storage: 32GB
  • Removable Storage: None
  • Cameras: Front 5MP, Rear 16MP
  • 5.1 inches, 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Android Lollipop 5.0.2
  • 0.29 lbs

Pros

  • Premium design
  • Powerful interface
  • Great camera
  • Fast

Cons

  • Somewhat expensive
  • Mediocre battery
  • No microSD slot

Summary

If you are willing to pay a premium for a handset that excels in all departments such as design, hardware and software, the Galaxy S6 Edge G925F is one of the best Android smartphones on the market right now.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge SM-G925 – 32GB
from $467.00 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 20-02-2017 02:14 UTC) Details

Lg-V10-H961N

LG V10 – 64GB

LG has been known to prioritize performance and functionality over aesthetics in its smartphones. The V10 with a stainless steel rims on the left and right edges and metallic finishes on the speaker grille and camera is LG’s most premium built smartphone to date. It has a textured silicone back, which LG calls “Dura Skin”, for extra grip and protection against scratches and fingerprints. The V10 lays completely flat while its counterpart G4 has the signature curved back we’ve seen on other LG products. Media users and mobile gamers will appreciate the rich details offered by its 5.7-inch IPS display with QHD resolution and a 515 ppi pixel density. There is also a small secondary display at the top which serves a similar purpose as Samsung’s edge display by providing quick access to recent apps, notifications, media controls, contacts and so on. The V10 houses an Octa-Core Snapdragon 808 processor with Adreno 418 GPU backed by 4GB of RAM. This six-core processing unit can smoothly execute daily tasks along with graphics-intensive games, and the adequate memory ensures a lag free multitasking experience. Its 16MP primary camera has an f/1.8 aperture lens with optical image stabilization and laser auto focus. There are two front 5MP cameras, one with 80 degree angle lens and the other with a 120 degree wide-angel lens for group selfies. The cameras take true to life pictures and are packed with tons of manual mode features for budding videographers to play with. The V10 also has a microSD card slot and a removable battery: two features that a lot of premium phones lack.

Specs

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 MSM8992 2.0GHz
  • 4GB RAM
  • Internal Storage: 64GB
  • Removable Storage: microSD (Max 128GB)
  • Cameras: Front 5MP, Rear 16MP
  • 5.7 inches, 1440 x 2560 pixels (IPS)
  • Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
  • 0.42 lbs

Pros

  • Dual front camera
  • Sharp screen
  • Removable battery
  • Fast performance

Cons

  • Notification screen is inconveniently placed
  • manual camera controls takes some time to learn

Summary

If you are seriously into smartphone photography and videography, you are going to love the camera features on the LG V10.

LG V10 H961N – 64GB
from $444.99 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 20-02-2017 02:14 UTC) Details


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Best Unlocked Smartphones – Premium

Samsung-Galaxy-Note-5-N920-32GB

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 – 32GB

The Galaxy Note 5 is Samsung’s best phablet to date. It comes in the same shape and size as last year’s Note 4, but is more solid in construction due to the glass and metal design it borrows from the Galaxy S6. While more premium, it is slippery and gets easily smudged than its faux leather backed predecessor. The Note 5 is a lot bigger than the 5.1-inch S6, but it is smaller and noticeably thinner that the Note 4, and it’s easier to hold due to its curved design. It has a unibody build that removes the microSD card slot and removable battery, features that have been the selling points for devices like the Note 4 and LG G4. With no option for expansion, buyers will have to carefully decide whether they want the 32GB or the 64GB version. The fingerprint sensor on the oval-shaped home button works just as fast as iPhone’s Touch ID sensor. Reviewers have hailed the Note 5’s 5.7-inch super AMOLED display as one of the best ever. The screen is super sharp with 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution which equates to 518 pixels per inch. The Gorilla Glass 4 protected display is color accurate and has adequate brightness to let you see even under bright sunlight. The Note 5 is a beast in performance featuring the same benchmark leading specs as the S6. Its Exynos 7420 octa-core chip backed by 4GB of RAM outpaces every other high-end system and can handle more tasks at once than any other smartphone. Its wide aperture 16MP camera also beats the best of smartphone cameras.

Apple-iPhone-6s-Plus-64-GB

iPhone 6S Plus – 64GB

The new iPhone 6S Plus and 6S are identical in design and performance, but the former has some crucial advantages. The Plus has a bigger 5.5 inch display as opposed to 4.7-inch of the 6S. While both sport the same camera sensor, the 6S Plus has optical image stabilization (OIS) for taking blur free photos and video. With a bigger battery, the 6S Plus also lasts longer than 6S. In terms of design, the 6S Plus is identical to last year’s iPhone 6 Plus. It has the same solid unibody construction that continues to look and feel premium. It is 0.2mm thicker than its predecessor because it had to make room for the new 3D Touch technology. To avoid last year’s bendgate debacle, Apple has made the 6S Plus extra tough by using “7000 series aluminum” in its construction. Text and images look sharper and more vibrant on the Full-HD IPS panel of the 6 Plus than on the smaller iPhone 6S screen. According to Apple, the new 1.82GHz dual-core A9 chip on this device is 70% faster and 90%.more powerful in graphics intensive tasks than its predecessor. Apple has also bumped up the Megapixels on both the front and back cameras to 5MP and 12MP respectively. Faster shutter speed coupled with OIS means the 6S Plus takes much better pictures than previous iPhones. Overall, as Apple’s most expensive phone, the 6S Plus makes no compromise in performance or build quality. By incorporating some advanced features, it is an iPhone that is more ready for the future than its predecessors.

Specs

  • Apple A9 1.84GHz
  • 2GB LPDDR4 RAM
  • Internal Storage: 64GB
  • Removable Storage: None
  • 5.5 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels (IPS)
  • iOS 9
  • 0.42 lbs

Pros

  • Great new cameras
  • Fast performance
  • Solid battery life
  • 3D Touch

Cons

  • Quite Large
  • Expensive
  • No fast-charging

Summary

The combination of excellent performance and the emerging 3D Touch technology means iPhone 6S Plus is better equipped to compete with the high-end Android phablets.

Apple iPhone 6s Plus – 64GB (Rose Gold)
from $699.89 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 20-02-2017 02:14 UTC) Details

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus SM-G928 – 32GBSamsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus SM-G928

The Galaxy S6 Edge Plus is a gorgeous device with unique, curved and almost bezel-less screen edges making it stand out from the crowd. It is just a larger 5.7-inch version of the original S6 Edge, and features similar design and hardware at a slightly higher price. Keeping the device firm is an aluminum alloy frame that is sandwiched between the Gorilla Glass 4 display and back panel. It feels solid in hand, doesn’t feel chunky and the futuristic design makes most other phones look outdated. The home button houses a fingerprint scanner that can unlock your phone at an amazing speed. The 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display on the Note 5 was rated as one of the best, and the same has been used on the S6 Edge Plus. The QHD (1440 x 2560) screen is rich in color, extra sharp and bright enough to be used outdoors on a sunny day. In terms of specs, you won’t notice any difference in performance on the S6 Edge Plus compared to the Edge 6. The Edge Plus has a slightly higher 4GB of RAM, but the same Octa-Core Exynos 7420 processor with Mali-T760MP8 GPU and 32GB internal storage. For both general use and gaming, this device packs the power to support it. It also has a bigger 3000mAh battery, meaning it will last a bit longer than the S6 Edge. Speaking of competition, the Note 5 may not look as good, but with an S-Pen stylus and better battery life, it is superior to the S6 Edge Plus in terms of phablet functionality.

Specs

  • Samsung Exynos 7420 Octa 2.1GHz [View Benchmarks]
  • 4GB LPDDR4 RAM
  • Internal Storage: 32GB
  • Removable Storage: None
  • Cameras: Front 5MP, Rear 16MP
  • 5.7 inches, 2560 x 1440 pixels
  • Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
  • 0.33 lbs

Pros

  • Octa-Core
  • Brilliant display
  • Shoots 4K
  • Excellent camera

Cons

  • No S Pen support
  • No microSD slot
  • Hard to find a full screen protector
  • Samsung bloatware

Summary

The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus offers users a brilliant Super AMOLED display and an excellent 16MP camera that can shoot 4K video. But the curved edges of the screen make it harder to find a good screen protector. You will need a Nano SIM card.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus SM-G928 – 32GB
Price Currently Unavailable Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 20-02-2017 02:20 UTC) Details

Huawei Mate 8 – 64GB

Huawei-Mate-8
The Huawei Mate 8 6.0″ is an impressive high-end smartphone that boasts a slick design, a powerful hardware configuration and a great primary camera. This phablet style phone is a large device with dimensions of 6.2 x 3.2 x 0.3 inches and weighs in at 6.6 ounces. The software running on the Mate 8 is Android 6.0 Marshmallow customized with the Emotion UI 4.0 user interface. The panel of the flagship is made of metal and Corning Gorilla Glass 4 for extra protection. The processor that powers the phablet is an octa-core CPU with a HiSilicon Kirin 950 chip coupled with 3GB of RAM. The storage in the flagship is 32 GB out-of-the-box. Users who prefer more memory can use one of the slots of the phone for adding a microSD card for extra storage, or dig a little deeper into their wallets for the 64GB and 128GB variants of the device. The primary camera of the Huawei Mate 8 is a 16MP rear sensor with a dual-LED flash, OIS and an aperture of f/2.0 and the front-facing camera of the flagship is an impressive 8MP sensor. In terms of battery life, the phablet can work up to 528 hours in standby mode thanks to the massive Li-Po 4000mAh cell. The device also supports fast charging, which can recharge the battery up to 30% in 30 minutes.

Specs

  • HiSilicon Kirin 950 [View Benchmarks]
  • 4GB RAM
  • Internal Storage: 64GB
  • Removable Storage: microSD, up to 256 GB
  • Cameras: Front 8MP, Rear 16MP
  • 6 inch, 1080 x 1920 pixels (IPS)
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 0.41 lbs

Pros

  • Premium design
  • Robust build quality
  • Large, bright and sharp Full-HD screen
  • Exceptional performance
  • Outstanding battery life

Cons

  • Average sound output
  • Modest camera
  • Custom UI leaves a lot to be desired

Summary

With the Mate 8, Huawei delivers great performance, a larger-than-life screen and great battery life, all packaged in an extraordinarily designed casing. While its other drawbacks are easy to live with, it is a shame that the Custom UI couldn’t have been any better.

Huawei Mate 8 – 64GB
from $509.99 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 05-12-2016 06:43 UTC) Details

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Final Words

You have reached the end of our buying guide to the best unlocked smartphones in the market today, and it is our hope that you now know where to start the journey to acquiring the smartphone of your dreams. If you are more budget-cautious however, perhaps our guide to the best cheap unlocked smartphones will light your path. Additionally, locked phones are well-known to be more affordable, so you might also want to widen your smartphone scope with our best prepaid phones and best cheap prepaid phones buying guides. Happy hunting!