Electronics & Gadgets

12 Best Cell Phone Consumer Reports 2019 – Top Rated

If you haven’t looked for a new cell-phone plan in a while, you may be paying a price for your loyalty—or your inertia. In a recent survey of almost 120,000 Consumer Reports subscribers, more than half of those who switched providers in the past two years say they saw a big drop in their monthly bill. After making the shift, some respondents said they got more reliable coverage, a bigger data allowance, and better customer service.

And here’s another change: Remember unlimited data plans? They disappeared for a couple of years but then started being offered again by the major carriers. You may not need that much data—and many people sign up for more expensive plans than they need. But if you stream a lot of music or movies over your cellular network, an unlimited plan may be a smart move.

Top 12 Cell Phone

$100.99Bestseller No. 1
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G | Factory Unlocked Android Cell Phone | 128 GB | US Version Smartphone | Pro-Grade Camera, 30X Space Zoom, Night Mode | Cloud Navy
  • Pro-Grade Camera: The new Samsung Galaxy S20 FE mobile phone features high-powered pro lenses for...
  • 30X Space Zoom: Whether you want your cellphone to zoom in close from afar or magnify details of...
$30.00Bestseller No. 2
Moto G Power | 3-Day Battery1 | Unlocked | Made for US by Motorola | 4/64GB | 16MP Camera | 2020 | Black
  • Unlocked for the freedom to choose your carrier. Compatible with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon...
  • Up to 3 day battery *. Go up to three days1 on a single charge thanks to a 5000 mAh battery.
Bestseller No. 3
Unlocked Smartphones Ulefone Note 9P (2020) Android 10 Unlocked Cell phones, Triple Rear Camera Triple Card Slots, 6.52" Waterdrop Full-Screen Dual SIM Phones, 4500mAh Global Bands, US Version - Green
  • Android 10 OS; 4GB RAM + 64GB ROM Micro SD up to 256GB; MT6762 Octa-core 64-bit 1.8GHz
  • Ultra-Large 6.52-inch Waterdrop Screen 2.5D curved glass; 4500mAh with OTG function
$45.49Bestseller No. 4
Samsung Galaxy A10s A107M - 32GB, 6.2' HD+ Infinity-V Display, 13MP+2MP Dual Rear +8MP Front Cameras, GSM Unlocked Smartphone - Blue
1,050 Reviews
Samsung Galaxy A10s A107M - 32GB, 6.2" HD+ Infinity-V Display, 13MP+2MP Dual Rear +8MP Front Cameras, GSM Unlocked Smartphone - Blue
  • SM-A107M/DS, Unlocked, Android 9.0 (Pie), Samsung One UI; 32GB storage expandable with SD card up to...
  • 13MP+2MP Dual Rear Camera (F1.8), 8MP Front-Facing Camera (F2.0)
$30.00Bestseller No. 5
Moto E | Unlocked | Made for US by Motorola | 2/32GB | 13MP Camera | 2020 | Blue
  • Unlocked for the freedom to choose your carrier. Compatible with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon...
  • 13 MP dual camera system. Get creative and get your best results, whether shooting beautiful close-ups or...
$50.00Bestseller No. 6
Moto G Fast | 2020 | Unlocked | Made for US by Motorola | 3/32GB | 16MP Camera | White
  • Unlocked for the freedom to choose your carrier. Compatible with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon...
  • Blazing fast performance. Experience instant response to every tap, touch, and swipe with the Qualcomm...
Bestseller No. 7
Google Pixel 4a - New Unlocked Android Smartphone - 128 GB of Storage - Up to 24 Hour Battery - Just Black
  • New, unlocked Android phone gives you the flexibility to change carriers and choose your own data plan;...
  • Capture great photos using your cell phone on the 12 MP dual pixel rear camera with features like Live...
Bestseller No. 8
Rugged Cell Phone Unlocked OUKITEL WP5 Pro, 8000mAh Battery, 4GB+64GB ROM, Android 10 Rugged Smartphone, 5.5 Inch IP68 Waterproof Shockproof Phone with 4 LED Flashlights, Triple Camera, Dual SIM 4G
  • 【Rugged and waterproof smartphone】 the companion of industrial worker and outdoor sports enthusiast....
  • 【Large 8000 mAh battery】 OUKITEL WP5 Pro resistant phone supports a large 8,000 mAh battery under...
Bestseller No. 9
Motorola Moto G7 Play (32GB, 3GB RAM) 5.7" HD+ Max Vision, Global 4G LTE GSM + CDMA T-Mobile Unlocked (Verizon, AT&T, Metro, Straight Talk) XT1952-4 (Black, 64GB SD Bundle)
  • Max Vision display Immerse yourself with ultra-wide views on a 5. 7" HD+ display with a 19: 9 aspect...
  • Fast-focusing camera. Never miss a moment with a 13 MP rear camera and 8 MP front camera with a built-in...
$20.00Bestseller No. 10
BLU VIVO X6-6.1” HD+ Display, 64GB+3GB RAM - Gradient Blue
204 Reviews
BLU VIVO X6-6.1” HD+ Display, 64GB+3GB RAM - Gradient Blue
  • 6.1” HD+ 19:9 Infinity Curved Glass Display
  • Dual 13MP+ Depth Sensor Main Camera with LED Flash + 13 MP Selfie Camera

Provider: The First Choice You’ll Make

Go Big or Go Small
Generally speaking, prepaid service from the smaller carriers such as Consumer Cellular, Republic Wireless, and Ting benefits people with modest data needs (web browsing, email, Facebook) and little lust for the hot phone of the moment. Heavy data users, especially those who want three or more phone lines, will most likely be happier with one of the Big Four carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless).

Confirm the Coverage
Large carriers such as AT&T and Verizon have a distinct advantage. They have the country well-covered with high-speed 4G internet service. Use the providers’ ZIP code maps and other resources to confirm basic coverage. But these references don’t take into account small dead zones in your neighborhood or home. (You might want to ask friends in the area how well their phones work in those spots.)

Count Your Phone Lines
That’s easy: you plus spouse plus dependents.

Do the Math
For smartphone users, the biggest charge is usually related to data use. See the chart below to estimate how much data you’ll need on a monthly basis.

The Lowdown on Data

How much data you’ll burn through each month depends on your WiFi access (and how often you’re away from it), how much you regularly stream or download, and whether you’re a gamer.

Light Data Use (1GB per Phone)
You spend more time calling and texting than checking e-mail and using apps such as Facebook and Twitter. When streaming content such as movies or YouTube videos, you do it almost exclusively on WiFi.

Medium Data Use (2GB per Phone)
You are less reliant on WiFi and engage in a little bit of everything—streaming some movies and TV shows. Additionally, one of you does limited live gaming.

Heavy Data Use (4GB or More per Phone)
You are also less reliant on WiFi, and additionally, everyone in your household loves to download movies and TV shows, plus watch YouTube videos—and two of your kids are heavy live gamers.

Do You Need a New Phone?

Take a clear-eyed look at whether your phone is past its prime. Here are three cases when it might be wise to replace it:

Your Current Phone Is Giving You Trouble
You can replace a cracked display or an anemic battery (by yourself on many Android phones), but when system improvements from Apple or Google reduce the performance of your phone, it’s probably time to replace it. Ditto sluggish response times, frequent crashes, and a battery that gives out before the end of the day.

You’re Moving to Another Provider
In the past, switching carriers meant you were definitely getting a new phone. Providers locked the phones they sold into their services. Once you met the terms of your agreement, you might persuade the company to set yours free, but chances are the device lacked the technology to function properly on a rival network. That’s no longer true for all phones: Apple, for instance, sells unlocked phones with the technology to operate in multiple networks. Okay, so you don’t have to get a new phone if you’re switching providers. But it can still be a great idea. You may be able to trade in your old phone for money toward a new one or even replace a model from your old provider with one that’s the same or similar at no additional cost.

You Can’t Resist a New Gadget
These days, annual improvements in handset technology are less significant than they were a few years ago, so there’s less incentive to upgrade. For instance, the iPhone 6s is still recommended by Consumer Reports, even though it was introduced back in 2015 (and if you want a conventional headphone jack, you might be happier sticking with the older model). Ditto for the new Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+. These are great phones—but so are the S7 models they nudged aside in our rankings. Phone cameras and displays have been excellent in many smartphones for several generations now. Only you can say whether the incremental improvements are enough to make you want to upgrade.

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