Electronics & Gadgets

12 Best Smartphones Consumer Reports 2019 – Top Rated

We’re a smartphone-dominated nation, with 4G LTE networks beating many home internet connections in terms of speed, and 5G just beginning to launch in select cities. We have more good wireless carrier options than we’ve had in years, thanks to vigorous competition between the four major carriers and smaller virtual carriers like Google Fi and Visible. But some of our choices have constricted a bit: The smartphone OS marketplace is basically down to Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, and it’s hard to find a really good simple voice phone nowadays.

Top 12 Smartphones

Bestseller No. 1
Samsung Galaxy A01 (A015M) 16GB, Dual SIM, GSM Unlocked, 5.7” Display Smartphone - International Version - Red
  • Unlocked cell phones are compatible with GSM carrier such as AT&T and T-Mobile, but are not compatible...
  • Please check if your GSM cellular carrier supports the bands for this model before purchasing, LTE may...
Bestseller No. 2
BLU Studio Mini -5.5HD Smartphone, 32GB+2GB Ram -Black
  • 5.5”Hd+ 18:9 Curved Glass Display 720x1440 Resolution.
  • 13MP Main Camera with LED Flash, 8MP Selfie camera with LED Flash.
Bestseller No. 3
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. 4
Samsung Galaxy A20s A207M/DS, 32GB/3GB RAM Dual SIM 6.5''HD+ Snapdragon 450, Factory Unlocked (International Version) - (Red)
470 Reviews
Samsung Galaxy A20s A207M/DS, 32GB/3GB RAM Dual SIM 6.5''HD+ Snapdragon 450, Factory Unlocked (International Version) - (Red)
  • International Model - No Warranty in US. Compatible with Most GSM Carriers like T-Mobile, AT&T, MetroPCS,...
  • RAM 3GB , ROM 32GB Internal Memory ; MicroSD (Up to 512GB), Android 9.0 (Pie), Qualcomm SDM450 Snapdragon...
Bestseller No. 5
Fujifilm Instax Mini Link Smartphone Printer - Dark Denim + w/120-pack
  • Print photos easily using the Instax Mini link app (free app download required)
  • Bluetooth capability
Bestseller No. 6
Samsung Galaxy A21 Factory Unlocked Android Cell Phone, US Version Smartphone, 32GB Storage, Long-Lasting Battery, 6.5” Infinity Display, Quad Camera, Black
  • Charge Up. Power Through: Spend more time scrolling, texting and sharing, and less time looking for an...
  • A Lens for Your Favorite Angle: Capture shareable cell phone portraits, wide shots and videos with the...
Bestseller No. 7
BLU G90-6.5” HD+ Smartphone with Triple Main Camera, 64GB+4GB RAM and Android 10 -Magenta
  • 6.5” HD+ Infinity Display with Curved Glass; Android 10 OS
  • Triple Main Camera: 16MP + Depth Sensor + 8MP Wide Angle 120° Camera with Flash, and 13MP Selfie Camera
Bestseller No. 8
Simple Mobile Samsung Galaxy A01 4G LTE Prepaid Smartphone - Black - 16GB - Sim Card Included - GSM
  • 5.7" HD Screen; 2.0 GHz + 1.45 GHz Octa-Core Processor ; Android 10.0
  • Dual 13MP + 2MP Camera/5MP Front Facing Camera; Internal Memory 16 GB (device only); Supports microSD...
Bestseller No. 9
Xiaomi Poco X3 NFC 64GB, 6GB RAM, 5160mAh (typ) Large Battery, 6.67" DotDisplay, QUALCOMM Snapdragon GSM LTE Factory Unlocked Smartphone - International Version (Cobalt Blue)
  • LTE Band 1/3/7/8/20/28/38/49 - Hybrid SIM slot > (ensure to check compatibility with your carrier before...
  • 6.67" DotDisplay 2400 x 1080 FHD+, Corning Gorilla Glass 5, TÜV Rheinland Low Blue Light certification -...
Bestseller No. 10
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro 64GB, 6GB RAM 6.53" LTE GSM 64MP Factory Unlocked Smartphone - Global Model (Forest Green)
  • 6.53 inches 1080 x 2340 pixels, 19.5:9 ratio (~395 ppi density), Corning Gorilla Glass 5, HDR -...
  • Rear Camera: 64 MP, f/1.9 (wide) + 8 MP, f/2.2 (ultrawide) + 2 MP, f/2.4 (dedicated macro camera) + 2 MP,...

But what should you be looking for when buying a cell phone? Here are some key points to consider:

Which Cell Phone Carrier Should You Choose?

Despite all the recent hardware and mobile software innovation, your wireless service provider remains your most important decision. No matter what device you buy, it’s a doorstop unless you have solid wireless coverage. Maybe you have friends and family on the same carrier that you talk to for free, and you don’t want that to change with your next phone. Maybe you’re lusting after a certain device—say, an unlocked smartphone for international travel. And of course, you want to choose a carrier that offers fair prices and provides the best coverage in your area. These are all good reasons to put the carrier decision first.

Do You Need a 5G Phone?

5G is if officially here. And while 5G may change everything, it’s not going to happen immediately. 5G is a much faster wireless system that will not work with current phones. In 2019, 5G rollouts will be limited and devices will be expensive, so don’t worry too much about waiting if you want to buy a phone this year.

The 5G networks and devices will get much more interesting, and more widespread, toward the end of 2020. The real differentiating coverage and speeds will initially be in large cities. If you consider yourself an early adopter, you live in a large city, and you want the ultimate in connectivity, you should assume you’ll probably want a 5G phone next year. By 2021, the 5G situation will be even better.

Locked vs. Unlocked Phones

As carriers have moved to increasingly more confusing service and pricing plans, the value of unlocked phones has been rising accordingly. Unlocked phones are bought from a third-party store or directly from the manufacturer, and aren’t tied to any specific carrier. Usually, you can use them with AT&T or T-Mobile. But some popular unlocked phones work on all four major carriers. If you want the best flexibility, look for a recent Apple, Google Pixel, or Samsung flagship, or a Motorola phone.

If you buy an unlocked phone, you’ll be able to move it freely between compatible carriers. But even if you don’t intend to ever change your carrier, unlocked phones are free of carrier bloatware and (with Android phones) often receive software and OS updates more quickly than the carrier versions do.

What Is the Best Smartphone?

As more people become accustomed to instant email, web, music, and messaging access at all times of the day, regardless of where they are, smartphones have become almost indispensable. That said, there’s plenty of variety out there—not to mention devotees of specific OS platforms. That makes sense, though; sometimes, a platform’s user interface or app selection just speaks to you, and that’s all there is to it. With that in mind, and at the risk of attracting flames, let’s break it down as well as we can for those who aren’t so fully vested.

The Best Feature Phones

A good portion of the US population is still using simpler phones, but there are surprisingly few current choices out there. There are still reasons to get a simple, less-expensive device: They’re easier to use, and they charge much lower monthly fees because data isn’t involved. There are some killer deals for voice-only usage on virtual carriers like TracFone and Consumer Cellular.

There’s a big problem with voice phones and current networks, though. Because all of our carriers are eliminating or reducing the quality of their 2G and 3G networks, voice phones must be verified by the carriers for 4G voice-over-LTE coverage to get good quality and connectivity in the future. Older voice phones don’t have that, and there aren’t many voice-over-LTE voice phones, period. It’s frustrating.

The Best Budget Phones

This story tends to be headlined by very expensive phones, but you can get a perfectly good smartphone for between $200 and $300 upfront. We’re big fans of Motorola’s low-end and midrange phones. They’re unlocked and compatible with all US carriers, and they use a fast, clean version of the Android OS. The Moto E series is available from carriers for under $100, and the Moto G7 Power is available online for $250; they’re great deals.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *