Tag Archive | "phones"

Unlocked phones: The pains and pleasures

Unlocked phones are gaining ground in the United States, even if locked devices continue to be the norm. An NPD Collected Intelligence report from late 2018 showed there were 38 million unlocked phones in the USA, which accounts to about 15% of the market.

We don’t see growth slowing down, as there are many benefits to owning an unlocked phone. Reasons to stick with carrier-locked phones also exist. Today we are giving you a rundown of the pros and cons that come with buying an unlocked phone. Let’s help you find out what kind of phone you will get next!

What is an unlocked phone?

The best way to explain this is by telling you what a locked phone is. Locked phones have been blocked from working with other networks. Carriers do this to ensure you don’t go giving your business to competitors. Try putting a SIM card from another carrier in a locked phone and you will get a message telling you this action is a no-go.

Carriers lock phones to ensure you don’t go giving your business to competitors.

Edgar Cervantes

On the contrary, an unlocked phone has no network restrictions. You can pop any SIM card into an unlocked phone and get it working with the carrier of your choice (given it’s compatible).

It’s important to note carriers have their reasons for locking devices, which include ensuring customers stay with them through contracts, and avoiding theft/fraud. This is why they offer to unlock devices after your contract has ended, you have paid the smartphone off, or have spent some time using their network.

For more details on unlocked phones and how to tell if you have one (or how to unlock a locked phone), you’ll want to head here.

Unlocked phone advantages

Carrier freedom

Unlocked phone users have no restrictions, contracts, or ties to any company. They can shop around for the best deals and go to any carrier they want. Whether they want T-Mobile deals, Verizon quality, or the lowest prices the market can offer, they are free to come and go from carrier to carrier as they please. There is a catch, though! Your phone needs to be compatible with the network (more on that in the cons section).

How about two networks?!

Huawei Mate 20

Dual-SIM unlocked phones make it possible to use two networks at once. Say you want to use a carrier for calls/texts and another for data. Maybe you travel often and want to have a SIM card from another country. You can do it with a dual-SIM unlocked phone

Not all unlocked phones offer dual-SIM capabilities, but this is a feature you certainly won’t be seeing in locked devices.

No monthly payments

Carriers offer phones on monthly payments, which is very convenient, but makes your bills pricier. Device payments keep you in debt with the carrier and make it harder to leave the network if you ever chose to. It’s always nice to be debt-free and keep your monthly expenses as low as possible.

You can save money!

Make Money Online Wallet

Carriers are businesses and obviously want to earn as much money as possible. Their smartphone prices are not always fair, and they are only ever cheaper if they can hook you into staying with them for a longer period of time. Let’s take the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus as an example.

Carriers will get discount money back from you eventually, and then some.

Edgar Cervantes

As of the time of writing this article, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus costs $ 1,099.99 on Verizon. Meanwhile, you can get the same phone unlocked at Amazon for $ 1,049.99. It’s only $ 50, but that’s your $ 50, and the price difference can often be much more significant. You could save even more if you don’t mind buying a used unlocked phone!

Buying unlocked and outright commonly gets you better prices. Carriers often have deals that drive down their device prices, but they always want you to get these on device payments, or to take on a contract. This only means they will get the money back from you eventually, and then some.

Unlocked phones help avoid over-spending

Samsung Galaxy Fold home screen in hand

See the device above? It’s a Samsung Galaxy Fold and it costs a whopping $ 1980. Any sane (non-rich) person would think twice or three times before forking out nearly two grand for a phone. But $ 66 a month? Many of us can swallow that!

Buying unlocked will not only get you lower prices on devices, it will also help you avoid overspending when not considering the full cost of a phone. These carrier device payments make it easy for us to go buying expensive smartphones we wouldn’t necessarily buy at full price.

Device payment plans make people think it’s ok to spend over $ 1,000 on a super-phone to… check their emails and use social media.

Edgar Cervantes

Very few people take full advantage of what high-end phones have to offer, but you see people using them every day. Device payment plans make people think it’s ok to spend over $ 1,000 on a super-phone to… check their emails and use social media. Maybe if we had to pay our devices outright we would think twice about getting the latest and greatest smartphone the industry has to offer! After all, most people would do just fine without a high-end handset.

Not limited to carrier selection

ATT logo stock image 1

Carriers have a limited selection of devices. They all tend to have the most popular phones, but there are many options out there you might prefer. When buying unlocked you can choose from a plethora of manufacturers all across the world, and there are many amazing phones that have limited or no availability from US carriers. These include the Asus ROG Phone 2, the Huawei P30 Pro, the OnePlus 7T series, and many others.

When buying an unlocked phone you can chose from a plethora of manufacturers all across the world

Edgar Cervantes

No carrier bloatware

American carriers love throwing unnecessary apps on our phones. While some manufacturers are guilty of this too, we don’t need carriers pre-installing even more apps in our smartphones. Most of these are useless and sometimes they can’t be uninstalled.

Most carrier apps are useless and sometimes they can’t be uninstalled.

Edgar Cervantes

Unlocked phones get quicker updates

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus Update

Carriers update their own phones. This means your software needs to go through an extra filter before reaching your device. The process goes something like this: Google releases its software updates, the manufacturer optimizes it for its phones and hands it to the carrier, the carrier optimizes it for its phones and network, and then it gets to your device. All these steps could take weeks or months, and that’s if it happens. Unlocked phones skip the last step and get software updates from the manufacturer.

Unlocked phone disadvantages

Unlocked phones get no support from carriers

A T-Mobile employee wearing a black t-shirt with the T-Mobile logo.

This is easily the biggest disadvantage of going with an unlocked phone. Carriers will let you use unlocked phones, but they won’t offer support if anything goes wrong. You will be on your own when your phone starts failing, the network has issues, or you have any technical difficulties. The manufacturer has its support team, but their knowledge is limited to their own products, not carrier network technology.

Does your unlocked phone even work with your carrier?

Sprint logo stock image 2

We have already established unlocked phone owners need to be more tech-savvy, but it’s for more reasons than support. You need to figure out if your unlocked phone will work with your desired network(s). This can be confusing, as it requires you knowing which radio bands are used by carriers. It’s also imperative that you understand the differences between CDMA and GSM network technologies.

Buying an unlocked phone requires a lot of research! On the other hand, carriers will only sell you phones that work perfectly in their networks.

Carrier warranties and insurances are better

Every new phone gets a warranty from the manufacturer, but we all know how painful the process of claiming it can be. You gotta call customer service, spend hours with them, ship the device, get it fixed or replaced, then they send it back. Dealing with your carrier is much simpler. Most times you can simply show up to your local retail location and get things taken care of. At the very least they can help you through the claim process.

Carriers also offer insurance through selected partners and these can be pretty good deals. You can cover your phone against malfunctions, drops, spills, theft, and even loss. This offers peace of mind many customers like. Unlocked phones can only be insured by third parties and those prices aren’t always as friendly.

Unlocked phones need to be paid in full

Unlocked phones need to be paid in full, unless you are using a credit card. The point is you need to cover the cost of the phone right away, and we all know these gadgets can be expensive. It doesn’t feel good to see your account suddenly drop by over $ 1,000 because of a high-end smartphone. Sometimes even affordable phone prices can hurt.

A monthly payment is easier to swallow than forking out a hundreds or thousands of dollars on a phone.

Edgar Cervantes

Carriers offer devices on monthly payments with 0% interest. Monthly payments are easier to swallow than forking out hundreds or thousands of dollars on a phone in one go.

Carriers have some sweet deals at times

Verizon Wireless logo stock image 8

In the unlocked phone advantages list we mentioned you tend to pay more for carrier devices. We have seen carriers also offer some very sweet deals, though. There is a catch, as the deal will lock you to the carrier and usually requires signing up for certain plans. If you already want to be on that carrier and like their higher-end plans, though, your commitment to them can help you save cash.

Carriers are known to reduce smartphone prices and offer those discounts in the form of monthly credit to your bill. Sometimes they also have BOGO (buy one get one) deals, which means you end up saving 50% if you get two phones.

Carriers have exclusive phones

Moto Razr foldable folded sitting in box speaker

Exclusivity deals are not as common as they used to, but they happen. For example, Verizon has locked a lifetime exclusivity deal for the new foldable Moto Razr. They also are the only American carrier to offer the Palm Phone. This means that you will have to be on Verizon to get these phones in the USA. Importing is an option, but that also brings more complications and hassles.

Other carriers have similar exclusivity deals, but most times they are only exclusive for a limited time. AT&T had the Razer Phone 2, Sprint had the Essential Phone, T-Mobile had the OnePlus 6T, and so on.

Where can I buy unlocked phones?

So you now know what an unlocked phone is and are considering going that route. Now what? The most popular way to buy unlocked phones is online. Popular websites for purchasing unlocked phones Amazon, eBay, and Swappa. Going to a manufacturer’s online store is usually an option too. You can also find them in certain retail stores like Best Buy, Walmart, etc., but their selection isn’t commonly as wide.

If you are interested, we have created a list of the best unlocked phones, which tells you where you can buy them. Hit the link below to see which unlocked phone is best for your needs and budget.

Now that you know all there is to know about unlocked phones, what will you do? Hit the comments and let us know if your next phone will be locked or unlocked.

Android Authority

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New Android phones in Turkey won’t work with Google apps due to legal scuffle

Huawei Mate 30 Pro Google Play store

According to Reuters, a legal scuffle between Google and Turkey is having some unwelcome consequences. According to Google, future Android devices launched in the country will not support Google apps, at least as of right now.

Google sent out a message to its Turkish partners regarding the policy update.

“We’ve informed our business partners that we will not be able to work with them on new Android phones to be released for the Turkish market,” a Google statement said. “Consumers will be able to purchase existing device models and will be able to use their devices and applications normally. Google’s other services will be unaffected.”

Google and Turkey are in the middle of negotiations to resolve the problem.

The problem stems from antitrust issues Turkey raised with Google in 2018. In September of that year, the country penalized Google to the tune of 93 million lira (~$ 17.4 million) for violating competition law with its mobile software sales. Google had six months to address this problem.

Related: DOJ allegedly looking into the Google Fitbit deal over antitrust issues

Google did change its policies related to the financial penalty, but apparently it did not meet all of Turkey’s requirements, which included allowing users to change the default search engine on their handsets.

As punishment for not meeting Turkey’s requirements related to that previously mentioned fine, Google would need to pay a fine equivalent to 0.05% of its per-day revenue in Turkey going forward. This is likely the primary reason why Google is halting any support for new handsets in Turkey.

This antitrust issue between Google and Turkey is nothing new for the company. Over the past few years, Google has faced increased scrutiny from the European Commission related to its competition policies and regulators here in the US are reportedly thinking of pursuing similar litigation.

More posts about Google

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Older Pixel phones get Pixel 4 features and third-party launcher gestures

Google Pixel 3a front and Pixel 3a XL back

Google rolled out the latest Android security patch today. As usual, along with the security patch, the update also brought in some new features for Pixel devices, including a much-awaited feature: gesture navigation support on third-party launchers (via 9to5Google).

This means you can now choose from any number of launchers on the Google Play Store and still use Google’s new gesture navigation system. This includes swiping in from either bottom corner of the display to activate Google Assistant.

Curiously, the new feature comes to every device in the Pixel line except for the Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. The reason those devices don’t have the feature is that, for whatever reason, the update hasn’t rolled out for those two devices as of yet. However, every other Pixel device — including the OG Pixel and Pixel XL — should have gesture navigation support on third-party launchers now.

Related: December 2019 Android security patch is here, final update for OG Pixel included

For now, anyway, Pixel 4 users will be stuck using the Pixel Launcher if they want to use gesture navigation.

Additionally, the new update also brings some Pixel 4-exclusive features to older devices. These include Pixel Themes, clipboard suggestions, and Google’s Live Caption tool.

Finally, if you are using the Pixel Launcher you can now swipe down from anywhere on the home screen to pull down the navigation shade. This will be a welcome update when it lands on the Pixel 4, as users can’t easily drop down the shade since that device has no fingerprint sensor.

We’ll keep you posted as soon as the update lands for Pixel 4 devices. In the meantime, click here to get it on all other Pixels.

More posts about Google Pixel 4

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The best refurbished phones: What are they, and where can you get them?

Nokia phones

It’s getting more and more expensive to buy high-end smartphones these days. Unless you wait for special sales and promotions, you can end up paying a ton and it’s not uncommon to even break the $ 1,000 threshold. That’s why many consumers are opting for refurbished phones to save some money.

In this article, we will take a look at what the term refurbished phone actually means, and what different companies have on offer. As you’ll see, refurbished phones are actually quite common. But you need to do a bit more research than you might be used to. You want to make sure you’re actually buying what’s advertised.

What are refurbished phones, anyway?

Refurbished phones come with some stigma. The lower prices implies, to some, that there’s something wrong with the phone. You may also have seen refurbished phones presented as “pre-owned,” “renewed,” or “reconditioned”. You might even see an “open box” phone. These are all interchangeable terms describing the same thing.

Read next: Selling a used phone: do’s and don’ts

All of these terms mean that someone previously purchased the phone, then returned to the maker, wireless carrier, or retailer. Most times there was nothing wrong with refurbished phones even before they were “repaired”; the person may have simply decided that they didn’t want it. In other cases, the refurbished phone did have some kind of hardware problem, like a display that popped out or a cracked case. In that case, the phone was fixed and sold again as a “refurbished” item.

But what does “manufacturer refurbished” mean? The difference with a manufacturer refurbished phone is that the repairs that were needed to get it up to “like new” condition were done directly by the original manufacturer, as opposed to a third party. As you can imagine, this is typically preferred but third-party refurbished phones usually are still a good deal. Just shop carefully.

When it comes to refurbished phones vs new phones , there’s really no other difference beyond the fact it was lightly used before coming into your ownership. A refurbished phone should work just like new. It’s not technically a “new” phone anymore, so the term “refurbished” signals that distinction. The person who bought the phone originally may have never even used it. They may have even left it in its original packaging. That’s why refurbished phones can be such a great deal — they’re basically like new, but you get them at a discount.

Here’s what to keep in mind when shopping for refurbished phones

refubrished phone cameras

If you want to save some money by going the refurbished route, you need to keep some things in mind. In fact, you’ll want to do more research than if you were buying a new device.

  • Check for a warranty – If the refurbished phone you want truly has no issues, the smartphone maker or retailer will include some kind of warranty with the purchase. If it doesn’t come with a warranty, there’s a bigger chance something will be wrong with it out of the box.
  • Try to buy one from the company that originally made the phone – Many times, a phone manufacturer will have some handsets that are perfectly fine. The original owner returned them for some unknown reason. They’ll often try to resell them as refurbished phones on their official website. This is probably the easiest way for you to save some money.
  • Always read the fine print – You should do this anyway with any large purchase, but it’s especially important when you’re buying a refurbished phone. A common red flag is a phone marked “as is”. Reading the fine print might reveal that you can’t return the phone or get a refund if anything isn’t working.

What’s the best place to buy refurbished phones? There are actually plenty of places where you can purchase refurbished phones. They include well-known retailers, wireless carriers, and smartphone makers, along with companies that sell refurbished phones exclusively.

Best refurbished phones stores

Editor’s note: We will update this list with more refurbished phones stores as they are launched.

1. Swappa

This online second-hand shop originally only sold tablets and phones, making it a great place to find quality products. These days, the service has become even better by adding gaming, laptops, and VR to the mix. Basically, it’s sort of like eBay, in that there’s a mix of dedicated businesses and individual private sellers that you can negotiate with to find that perfect deal. The big difference is that the seller sets a price and you can simply pay it, or you can request that they lower the price.

Overall, this is a great and trustworthy place to buy from.

2. Gazelle

gazelle logo

This is one of the best places to buy refurbished phones, or at least the best known. They also buy old phones from consumers and fix them to sell, naturally, at a discount. The company says it doesn’t sell these phones unless they are “fully functional” and have been through a 30-point quality inspection. You can also return any phone you buy on Gazelle within 30 days of purchase and get your money back. It lacks a formal warranty, but Gazelle has a solid reputation for offering high-quality refurbished phones at great discounts.

3. Decluttr

declutter logo

The folks at Decluttr want you to sell your old phone, and then possibly buy a “new” refurbished phone from them. The store offers a 12-month limited warranty on all the phones they sell. Also, their refurbished phones undergo a 70-point inspection before they go on sale on its site. Of course, you can sell your old phones and Decluttr may even take them if they are broken in some way. 

4. Amazon Refurbished Phones

amazon refurbished phones

It’s not a shock to learn that Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, is also a great place to shop for refurbished phones. Like Gazelle, Amazon buys old phones from consumers, offering Amazon gift cards as payment. It then resells the older phones after testing them and making them both work and look like new. They also come with at least a 90-day supplier warranty.

5. Best Buy

Best Buy logo

Best Buy joins Gazelle and Amazon by offering a trade-in program for consumers to turn in older phones in exchange for Best Buy gift cards. The retailer also sells refurbished phones on its website, along with what it calls “pre-owned” phones. If a phone on Best Buy has that label, it means it is “fully functional with some cosmetic blemishes” and comes with a non-original package with a charger and a data cable, along with a 90-day warranty. A refurbished phone at Best Buy has been “repaired and restored to a like-new state” and also comes with its accessories, along with a warranty.

6-8 Sprint, AT&T and Verizon

Verizon Wireless logo stock image 8

A number of U.S. wireless carriers (including AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint) sell some refurbished phones, although their selection tends to be pretty small compared to Gazelle, Amazon and Best Buy. However, they are all certified to work like new phones, even if some of them might have some cosmetic blemishes. These won’t affect their functionality.

9. eBay

ebay headquarters Decante

If you are willing to do a little more research, and also more willing to take a risk on merchants that you may not be familiar with, eBay is a great place to check out a ton of refurbished phones. Again, our rules for buying such phones really matter when you dive into the murky waters of eBay. Make sure the phone you are buying has some kind of warranty, and be sure to check out any fine print before spending your hard-earned cash.

10. Samsung

If you are a Samsung phone fan, you might be pleased to know that the company actively sells refurbished Galaxy phones on its website. At a significant discount too. The good news is that Samsung’s technicians have fixed these older phones. And the company offers a one-year warranty, new headphones, and a charger. The bad news is that these refurbished phones are older than the company’s current phones.

So should you consider refurbished vs new? The answer comes down to how you feel about using something that isn’t technically new. As you can see, there are tons of options out there if you want to save yourself some money. You’ll have to do more research to make sure you get a refurbished phone that’s up to your standards. But that may be a small price to pay for the cash you’ll save in the long run.

Android Authority

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The best waterproof phones you can buy (November 2019)

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 camera module closeup

Smartphones that can handle being dropped in a bucket of water or getting caught in the rain aren’t as rare as they used to be. More and more smartphone manufacturers are launching waterproof phones with IP67 and IP68 ratings, which shouldn’t be rendered useless if they get submerged in water by accident. While technically no phone is completely waterproof, a lot of them will survive a dip in a pool for as long as 30 minutes. Here are the best ones.

Best waterproof phones:

Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this list of the best waterproof phones regularly as new devices launch.

1. Samsung Galaxy Note 10 series

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus back upright 6

The Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 Plus are IP68 rated for protection against water and dust. But they’re more than just water-resistant devices, as you’re also getting a Snapdragon 855 or Exynos 9825 processor, an S Pen stylus, and a triple-camera setup at the very least (the Note 10 Plus gets a ToF camera too).

As for other major differences between the two phones, the Note 10 Plus has a larger, sharper screen (6.8-inch QHD+ versus the Note 10’s 6.3-inch FHD+ panel), a bigger battery (4,300mAh versus 3,500mAh), and an optional 512GB variant.

There are a couple of disappointing omissions here, though. The Galaxy Note 10 doesn’t have a microSD card slot, while both devices lack a headphone jack. If these two features are deal-breakers for you, one of the Galaxy S10 phones (they’re on this list too, just wait) should be more up your alley.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 specs:

  • Display: 6.3-inch, FHD+
  • SoC: SD 855 or Exynos 9825
  • RAM: 8/12GB
  • Storage: 256GB
  • Cameras: 16, 12, and 12MP
  • Front camera: 10MP
  • Battery: 3,500mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus specs:

  • Display: 6.8-inch, QHD+
  • SoC: SD 855 or Exynos 9825
  • RAM: 12GB
  • Storage: 256/512GB
  • Cameras: 16, 12, 12MP, and ToF
  • Front camera: 10MP
  • Battery: 4,300mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie

2. Huawei P30 Pro

Huawei P30 Pro - a water resistant phone

The Huawei P30 Pro sports a large 6.47-inch display with curved edges, the Kirin 980 chipset, and as much as 8GB of RAM. It’s IP68 certified, meaning it can survive in up to 1.5 meters (~five feet) of water for a maximum of 30 minutes.

It’s the cameras that make the P30 Pro truly stand out.

The phone impresses in the photography department — its four rear cameras take fantastic shots, even in super low-light conditions thanks to Huawei’s Night Mode. It also comes with an in-display fingerprint scanner, has a gorgeous design, and supports wireless charging as well as reverse wireless charging.

The battery is worth a mention as well, coming in at a massive 4,200mAh. Our very own David Imel got between 9-10 hours of screen-on time during his testing, which is well above average. All these things combined make the P30 Pro one of the best waterproof phones you can currently get. And since it was released before the Huawei ban debacle, future software updates are expected to be unaffected.

Huawei P30 Pro specs:

  • Display: 6.47-inch, QHD+
  • SoC: Kirin 980
  • RAM: 6/8GB
  • Storage: 128/256/512GB
  • Cameras: 40, 20, 8MP, and ToF
  • Front camera: 32MP
  • Battery: 4,200mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie

3. Samsung Galaxy S10 series

Samsung Galaxy S10e, S10, S10 Plus - waterproof phones

The Galaxy S10 Plus, S10, and S10e are all IP68 rated for protection against water and dust. They all also feature wireless charging, have a headphone jack, and sport a punch-hole display for a modern look.

The Galaxy S10 Plus offers the most of the three phones. It has the largest display, the biggest battery, and two front-facing cameras instead of one. Most of its other specs and features, including the in-display fingerprint scanner and the triple-camera setup, are the same as those of the regular Galaxy S10.

The Galaxy S10e offers the least when it comes to specs and features, but it’s still a suitable phone for power users. It has the smallest display, sports two rear cameras, and comes with a side-mounted fingerprint scanner. It’s powered by the same chipset as its two larger brothers.

Samsung Galaxy S10e specs:

  • Display: 5.8-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: SD 855 or Exynos 9820
  • RAM: 6/8GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 12 and 16MP
  • Front camera: 10MP
  • Battery: 3,100mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie

Samsung Galaxy S10 specs:

  • Display: 6.1-inch, QHD+
  • Chipset: SD 855 or Exynos 9820
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128/512GB
  • Cameras: 12, 12, and 16MP
  • Front camera: 10MP
  • Battery: 3,400mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus specs:

  • Display: 6.4-inch, QHD+
  • SoC: SD 855 or Exynos 9820
  • RAM: 8/12GB
  • Storage: 128/512GB and 1TB
  • Cameras: 12, 12, and 16MP
  • Front cameras: 10 and 8MP
  • Battery: 4,100mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie

4. Sony Xperia 1 and 5

Sony Xperia 1 with an IP68 rating

The Xperia 1 and Xperia 5 are very similar phones. The latter is the more recent of the two and comes with a 6.1-inch Full HD+ display, 6GB of RAM, and three 12MP cameras at the back. It’s IP68 rated for protection against water and dust and supports expandable storage. There’s also a side-mounted fingerprint scanner on board.

Editor’s Pick

The Sony Xperia 1 sports a larger display at 6.5 inches that offers 4K resolution. Due to its bigger footprint, it also has a slightly larger battery (3,330mAh vs. 3,140mAh). The rest of the specs, including the chipset and cameras, are exactly the same as those of the Xperia 5.

Both phones are available in the US and are quite expensive, with the Xperia 1 costing more than its smaller brother.

Sony Xperia 1 specs:

  • Display: 6.5-inch, 4K
  • SoC: Snapdragon 855
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 64/128GB
  • Cameras: 12, 12, and 12MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 3,330mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie

Sony Xperia 5 specs:

  • Display: 6.1-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 855
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Cameras: 12, 12, and 12MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 3,140mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie

5. Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL

Google Pixel 4 and 4 XL waterproof phones

A combination of high-end specs, a great software experience, and fantastic cameras is what puts the Pixel 4 and 4 XL among the best waterproof phones on the market today. Both are IP68 rated, meaning they’ll survive in up to 1.5 meters (~five feet) of water for as long as 30 minutes.

The Pixel 4 and 4 XL are among the best phones for photography. They can capture fantastic images, even in low-light conditions thanks to Google’s Night Sight technology. They even have an Astro mode that lets you take awesome images of the stars. And as they run stock Android, they will be among the first to get updated to the latest version of the OS.

The phones are similar in terms of specs, both featuring the same chipset, cameras, and memory options. However, the Pixel 4 XL does have a larger display with a higher resolution and a bigger battery. It also costs more — check pricing via the button below.

Google Pixel 4 specs:

  • Display: 5.7-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 855
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 64/128GB
  • Camera: 12.2 and 16MP
  • Front cameras: 8MP + ToF
  • Battery: 2,800mAh
  • Software: Android 10

Google Pixel 4 XL specs:

  • Display: 6.3-inch, QHD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 855
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 64/128GB
  • Camera: 12.2 and 16MP
  • Front cameras: 8MP and ToF
  • Battery: 3,700mAh
  • Software: Android 10

6. Razer Phone 2

water resistant Razer Phone 2

Unlike the other waterproof phones on this list, the Razer Phone 2 is IP67-rated instead of IP68, allowing it to safely stay in up to one meter (~3.3 feet) of water for a maximum of 30 minutes. The device is aimed at gamers, featuring a vapor chamber cooling system and a design that definitely stands out.

The Razer Phone 2 is equipped with two front-facing speakers for a more immersive gaming experience, a large 4,000mAh battery, and a dual-camera setup at the back. There’s only 64GB of storage available, which isn’t much for a gaming phone, but you can expand it for an additional 1TB with a microSD card. The display of the device isn’t the biggest at 5.72 inches, but it does have a 120Hz refresh rate that makes everything look smoother and more fluid.

This isn’t the most recent phone on this list, as it was announced a little more than a year ago. But it’s still worth buying, especially due to its affordable price tag.

Razer Phone 2 specs:

  • Display: 5.72-inch, IPS LCD
  • SoC: Snapdragon 845
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 64GB
  • Cameras: 12 and 12MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 4,000mAh
  • Software: Android 8.1 Oreo

7. Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Huawei Mate 20 Pro up front

Like the P30 Pro, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is also resistant to water thanks to its IP68 rating. The flagship sports an in-display fingerprint scanner, packs a large 4,200mAh battery, and supports 3D facial recognition.

Editor’s Pick

You also get wireless charging as well as reverse wireless charging, although the latter is painfully slow. There are three cameras at the back that offer a lot of versatility when taking pictures and perform extremely well in low-light situations.

Keep in mind that the phone’s successor — the Mate 30 Pro — has already been announced. It offers more than the Mate 20 Pro when it comes to specs, but we don’t recommend buying one since it doesn’t come with the Play Store or any other Google apps.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro specs:

  • Display: 6.39-inch, QHD+
  • SoC: Kirin 980
  • RAM: 6/8GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 40, 20, and 8MP
  • Front camera: 24MP
  • Battery: 4,200mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie

8. LG G8X ThinQ

LG G8X ThinQ waterproof phone

The last model on our list of the best waterproof phones in the LG G8X ThinQ. It’s IP68-rated, so you won’t have to worry in case you drop it in the pool or get caught in the rain while making a phone call. The phone is a great choice for music lovers, as it sports a headphone jack as well as a Hi-Fi Quad DAC for an improved audio experience.

You can attach a secondary display to the LG G8X.

One of the things that make it stand out is the Dual Screen accessory, which adds a secondary screen to the device. It’s exactly the same as the main display, meaning it measures 6.4 inches and offers Full HD+ resolution. It even has a notch, although it’s just for looks, as it lacks a selfie camera.

Other specs and features of the LG G8X include an in-display fingerprint scanner, wireless charging, and the Snapdragon 855 chipset. The phone also has stereo speakers and a 4,000mAh battery.

LG G8X ThinQ specs:

  • Display: 6.4-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 855
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Cameras: 12 and 13MP
  • Front camera: 32MP
  • Battery: 4,000mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie

These are our picks for the best waterproof phones you can get, although there are a lot of other great options out there as well. We’ll be sure to update this post once new models hit the market.

Android Authority

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What are the must-have features for gaming phones? Google has the answer

Google is working on a game device certification program for gaming phones.

We’ve seen loads of so-called gaming phones launched since the Razer Phone revived the category in late 2017. Since then, we’ve seen the Asus ROG Phone series, the Black Shark family, and several other devices.

The “gaming phone” term is rather vague in practice though, as many brands interpret this as packing powerful internals and better cooling. Fortunately, XDA-Developers has uncovered the existence of a Game Device Certification program by Google.

Google documents obtained by the outlet reveal several requirements for a device if a brand wants game device certification for it.

How to qualify?

The first requirement is that the device should offer “predictable performance.” This means no “unexpected throttling, lost CPU cores, or other odd system behaviors” when playing games on the device.

Google is also focusing on GPU performance for the program, saying that devices should offer a “modern, up-to-date GPU and display APIs.” More specifically, the search giant mandates that Vulkan 1.1 should be supported on these devices.

Finally, the documents also address RAM behavior, saying that a certified gaming phone should provide access to RAM in a predictable way. Furthermore, Google says certified phones must allow a minimum of 2.3GB of RAM to be used by a process before it gets killed off.

Editor’s Pick

We’re glad to see Google reportedly mandate a few requirements for gaming phone certification, although you could argue that this is a low bar. For one, virtually all flagships (aside from Huawei and some Samsung devices) use the Snapdragon 855 chipset, which supports Vulkan 1.1. We’ve even seen this API supported on mid-range silicon.

This just leaves better cooling and RAM management as two challenges for manufacturers, although many existing gaming phones tout improved cooling measures and a ton of RAM.

The Razer Phone 2 display.

It’s also interesting to note that refresh rates and physical inputs don’t seem to be taken into account for gaming phone certification. We’ve seen the likes of the Razer Phone series offering 120Hz refresh rates, which translates into a smoother gaming and system experience. Meanwhile, the Asus ROG Phone family offers ultrasonic triggers that act like shoulder buttons.

In other words, Google’s reported definition of a gaming phone is basically a reasonably powerful device that won’t overheat but packs sensible RAM management. What would you like to see from gaming phones? Let us know in the comments!

More posts about gaming phones

Android Authority

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Moto G4 Plus International Giveaway [3 Phones!]

Welcome to the Sunday Giveaway, the place where we giveaway a new Android phone or tablet each and every week!

Congratulations to last week’s S7 edge giveaway winner: Supriyanto (Indonesia).

This week we’re giving away a brand new Moto G4 Plus!

The Moto G series has been around for years now, and in that time has established Motorola as the king of affordable yet powerful handsets. Motorola’s latest low-cost beauty is no exception to this rule.

For those unfamiliar, the Moto G4 Plus is powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor, clocked at 1.5 GHz, and backed by the Adreno 405 GPU and up to 4GB RAM. There’s also a beautiful 1080p 5.5-inch display, up to 64GB storage, microSD, and a 3000 mAh battery.

Despite being an affordable handset, the Moto G4 Plus has no shortage of extras, including a fast and responsive front-facing fingerprint scanner and support for Turbo charging. Motorola is also on the top of its game when it comes to the camera, delivering an impressive 16MP rear camera and a 5MP front cam.

For more details on the Moto G4 Plus, and its even more affordable little brother, the Moto G4, be sure to check out the following:

Enter giveaway

Moto G4 Plus International Giveaway! [3 Phones!!]

Terms & Conditions

  • The giveaway is an international giveaway (Except when we can not ship to your Country.)
  • If we can not ship to your country, you will be compensated with an online gift card of equal MSRP value to the prize.
  • We are not responsible for lost shipments.
  • You must be age of majority in your Country of residence.
  • We are not responsible for any duties or import fees that you may incur.
  • Only 1 entry per person, do not enter multiple email addresses. We will verify all winners and if we detect multiple email addresses by the same person you will not be eligible to win.
  • We reserve all rights to make any changes to this giveaway.
  • This giveaway is operated by AndroidAuthority.
  • The prize will ship when it is available to purchase.

Android Authority

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Best Chinese Android phones

In 2015, 7 of the top 10 smartphone manufacturers in the world were Chinese OEMs, and apart from their popularity in China, companies like Lenovo, Xiaomi, OnePlus, Huawei, and others have been making in-roads into competitive markets like the US, Europe, and India. We’ve covered these companies and their popular offerings extensively here at Android Authority, and you can check them out in the links below.

However, China is home to a slew of other great smartphone manufacturers as well, that, while quite popular in their home market, aren’t as well-known internationally. That’s certainly not because of the lack of a good product, with devices that offer everything you’d expect from a flagship smartphone, including solid specifications and features, all at a very affordable price point. The phones listed above definitely qualify as some of the best Chinese Android smartphones, but for this roundup, we attempt to showcase some of these lesser-known OEMs and their devices. Let’s take a look!

samsung galaxy s7 review aa (20 of 20)See also: Best Android phones215

Meizu Pro 6

Meizu Pro 6

Meizu may not be as well-known as some of its Chinese counterparts, but the company offers some fantastic smartphones, particularly in the ultra budget-friendly segment. That said, Meizu is making waves with their high-end offerings as well, and only a few months after the release of the Pro 5, comes the company’s latest flagship smartphone, the Meizu Pro 6. The Pro 6 retains the beautiful full metal unibody construction of its predecessor.

It comes with some useful features and hardware, including its own take on Apple’s 3D Touch and Huawei’s Force Touch, called 3D Press, which uses additional force to pull up previews, extra menus, and other hotkey functions. It also comes with a Cirrus Logic CS43L36 audio chip for Hi-Fi audio. The Pro 6 is also the first smartphone to be powered by the deca-core MediaTek Helio X25 processor, and backing it is the Mali-T880MP4 GPU and 4 GB of RAM. Other high-end features include a fingerprint scanner up front, a USB Type-C port (USB 3.1) and mCharge 3.0 fast charging capabilities, and a 21 MP rear camera.

The Meizu Pro 6 is the complete package, with specifications and features to give any current generation flagship a run for its money, but where it has its high-end competition beat is when it comes to price, with the 32 GB model retailing for ¥2,499 (~$ 390) and the 64 GB variant priced at ¥2,799 (~$ 430). Granted, the price will be slightly higher if you’re looking to import the device, but it’ll still be much cheaper the most of its competitors. You can find out more about the Meizu Pro 6 here.


  • 5.2-inch AMOLED display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 423 ppi
  • 2.5 GHz deca-core Helio X25 processor
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 32/64 GB of on-board storage, no microSD card expansion
  • 21 MP rear camera, 5 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 2,560 mAh battery
  • Flyme OS 5.6 based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 147.7 x 70.8 x 7.3 mm, 160 grams

Read more

Buy now from eBay

Nubia Z9

ZTE Nubia Z9-26

Nubia is a subsidiary of ZTE, and has produced a series of fantastic mid-range to high-end smartphones that are definitely worth checking out. The latest flagship offering from the company is the Nubia Z9, which comes with a solid design and build quality. It’s comprised of a metal and glass unibody construction and sports other top of the line specifications and features that make it a deserving competitor to its high-end brethren.

There are actually three variants of the Z9 available. While all three are powered by the octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, the Classic version comes with 3 GB of RAM, while the Elite and Exclusive iterations feature 4 GB of RAM. The Exclusive edition also comes with a fingerprint scanner, which isn’t available with the other two options. One of the standout features of this device is the display, which comes with a slightly raised 2.5D glass panel on top with curves along the edges that allows for a bezel-less look and feel which is sure to turn heads. Of course, the Full HD display also provides a fantastic viewing experience, with bright, vivid colors, high brightness, and good viewing angles.

The Nubia Z9 is a powerful device with a beautiful design, great display, solid battery life, and other specifications and features that make it among the best smartphones of 2015. On the pricing front, the Z9 is priced quite similarly to its flagship competition, and is one of the more expensive devices on this list, but is certainly worth every penny.


  • 5.2-inch IPS LCD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 423 ppi
  • 2 GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor
  • 3 GB of RAM (Classic edition), 4 GB of RAM (Elite and Exclusive editions)
  • 32 GB (Classic edition), 64 GB (Elite and Exclusive editions) of on-board storage, no microSD card expansion
  • 16 MP rear camera, 8 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 2,900 mAh battery
  • Android 5.1 Lollipop
  • 147.4 x 68.3 x 8.9 mm, 192 grams

Read more

Buy now from Amazon

Elephone P9000

elephone p9000-1

Elephone is another Chinese device manufacturer that is gaining a reputation for offering solid, mid-range to high-end smartphones at a fraction of the price when compared to its competitors. The latest smartphone from the company, the P9000, is one such device that strikes the perfect balance between specifications and price, and is definitely a phone worth keeping in mind.

The Elephone P9000 features a design that goes far beyond what its price point would suggest, with its metal frame and nearly bezel-less front. The black version of the device comes with a sand paper-like finish on the back that helps with the grip and handling experience, but can take some getting used to. Continuing with the trend of boasting features beyond its price point, the P9000 is powered by the octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 processor, backed by the Mali-T860 GPU and 4 GB of RAM. There is also a fingerprint scanner on the back, and a useful addition is an extra button on the side that apart from acting as a way to silence the device easily, works as a hotkey to quickly launch a preset application.

When considering all that the Elephone P9000 has to offer, what proves to be most impressive is the fact that this phone is currently priced at just $ 245, which is significantly cheaper than any smartphone that the Elephone P9000 may call its competition. If network compatibility and other considerations aren’t negative factors, the P9000 is definitely a device worth considering.


  • 5.5-inch IPS LCD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 401 ppi
  • 2 GHz octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 processor
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 32 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256 GB
  • 13 MP rear camera, 8 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,000 mAh battery
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow

Buy now from Amazon

Lenovo Vibe P1 Turbo


Lenovo has been making a name for itself with some fantastic mid-range offerings, one of which is the Vibe P1 Turbo. The Vibe P1 Turbo isn’t actually all that different from the Vibe P1, with the Turbo moniker indicating just an additional gig of RAM. All other specifications and features remain the same, and we can only assume Lenovo released two variants to compensate for different markets.

Speaking of specifications, the Vibe P1 Turbo comes with an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, which is backed by the Adreno 405 GPU and 3 GB of RAM. The device comes with a fingerprint sensor up front, which is works quite well, but may not be as fast as some other scanners out there. The Vibe P1 Turbo is a mid-range smartphone through and through, but its biggest selling point is its huge 5,000 mAh battery which allows for at least 2 days of battery life comfortably.

The Lenovo Vibe P1 Turbo is relatively affordable as well, currently priced at $ 357. So if you are looking for a solid mid-range smartphone with a beautiful design, decent specifications, and great battery life, the Vibe P1 Turbo could be the device for you.


  • 5.5-inch IPS LCD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 401 ppi
  • 1.5 GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor
  • 3 GB of RAM
  • 32 GB internal storage, microSD expansion up to 128 GB
  • 13 MP rear camera, 5 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 5,000 mAh battery
  • Android 5.1 Lollipop
  • 152.9 x 75.6 x 9.9 mm, 189 grams

Read more

Pre-order now from Lenovo



ZUK is a Hong Kong-based smartphone manufacturer that is backed by Lenovo, and the companies first effort, the ZUK Z1, is a solid mid-range smartphone that runs Cyanogen. Under the hood, the ZUK Z1 comes with a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, backed by the Adreno 330 GPU and 3 GB of RAM, which continues to be a reliable processing package, and using it is a smart move on the part of ZUK.

The ZUK Z1 doesn’t pack a whole lot in terms of extras, but does come with a fingerprint scanner up front, which is as fast as accurate as expected. As is the case with other mid-range smartphones from Lenovo, including the Vibe P1 Turbo above, the big selling point of this device is the large 4,100 mAh battery that it packs, that allows for 2 days of battery life quite comfortably with average use. Of course, its other attractive feature is its software package, with the phone running Cyanogen OS 12.1, based on Android 5.1 Lollipop. The highly-customizable software package is one of the most liked around, and perfectly complements the older processor to allow for a smooth and snappy experience.

The Lenovo ZUK Z1 is currently priced at $ 300, so if you are looking for a reliable smartphone with decent specifications, great software experience, and fantastic battery life, the ZUK Z1 is a good choice.


  • 5.5-inch IPS LCD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 401 ppi
  • 2.5 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor
  • 3 GB RAM
  • 64 GB of on-board storage, no microSD card expansion
  • 13 MP rear camera, 5 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 4,100 mAh battery
  • Cyanogen OS 12.1 based on Android 5.1 Lollipop
  • 155.7 x 77.3 x 8.9 mm, 175 grams

Read more

Buy now from Amazon

honor 7


Huawei has a slew of mid-range and high-end smartphones, and the company continues to expand their portfolio with new devices ever so often. One such series is the honor line, which falls under the “premium but affordable” segment, with one of the best options from the series being the honor 7.

The honor 7 was the first smartphone of the series that made the move to a full metal unibody construction, and the backing comes with a ceramic-like finish that counters the slipperiness that is usually associated with metal phones. Under the hood, the honor 7 packs an octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 935 processor, clocked at 2.2 GHz, and backed by the Mali-T628 GPU and 3 GB of RAM. And with the software optimized for their in-house processing package, you get a smooth and snappy experience overall. There aren’t a lot of extras in terms of hardware, but there is a fingerprint scanner on the back that works very well.

The honor 7 is another solid offering that gets a lot right with its beautiful display, impressive battery life, fantastic fingerprint scanner, good camera, and useful additions like the swipe gestures and the SmartKey button. The device is currently available for around $ 400.


  • 5.2-inch IPS LCD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 424 ppi
  • 2.2 GHz octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 935 processor
  • 3 GB RAM
  • 16/64 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 128 GB
  • 20 MP rear camera, 8 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,100 mAh battery
  • Android 5.1 Lollipop
  • 143.2 x 71.9 x 8.5 mm, 157 grams

Read more

Buy now from Amazon

So, there you have it for this roundup of some of the best Chinese Android smartphones! Of course, there are numerous other Chinese OEMs with great devices out there, and we will be sure to keep this list updated. One thing worth keeping in mind is that if you do consider picking up any of these smartphones, don’t forget to first check about network compatibility, as you may have trouble getting access to 4G LTE networks with these devices depending on your home market. If that isn’t an issue, all of the smartphones listed above are fantastic options from OEMs that have been flying under the radar, and are definitely good choices to make.

Next: Best cheap Android phones

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Over 100,000 Galaxy S7 phones sold in Korea in the first two days


Samsung managed to sell more than 100,000 Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge smartphones in South Korea during their first two days on the market, according to the first industry data about the two new phones.

A closer look at the figures reveals that the regular Galaxy S7 appears to be the more popular of the two phones in the series, accounting for approximately 60 percent of sales during the two day period. Combined sales of the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge reached around 60,000 units on Friday and 40,000 on Saturday. Samsung was also keen to point out that it considers Saturday a “slow day” for handset sales and so is happy with the initial performance.

While the figure may seem small in the grand scheme of Samsung’s yearly sales figures, these opening sales numbers suggest that the Galaxy S7 range is at least as popular as last year’s Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. Given Samsung’s declining flagship mobile sales over the past couple of years, a plateau in sales performance is perhaps no bad thing.

However, those hoping that the Galaxy S7 series would substantially lift Samsung’s sales may feel underwhelmed that these new phones haven’t generated a notable boost to consumer interest. Especially as the handsets offer improved camera components, water-resistance, and reintroduced the microSD card.

Samsung boothBig picture: Samsung’s fourth quarter earnings out, profits down 40%45

Of course, Samsung’s global smartphone sales may look quite different to those of its home nation. We should probably wait for a quarterly report or two before drawing too many conclusions about the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge’s impact on Samsung’s mobile business.

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Best Sprint Android phones (February 2016)

Are you a Sprint customer looking for your next smartphone? We understand it can be frustrating to look through the gigantic list of phones, so we’re here to help. Sprint has a wide selection of top-tier, mid-range and budget-friendly Android phone options, so we’ll help you decide which one is best suited for your lifestyle.

It should be noted that Sprint does sell phones without contracts, though for some reason, they’re really expensive if you buy through the carrier. If you want to buy your smartphone off-contract and bring it to Sprint, we’ll be happy to let you know where you can buy your phone at a cheaper price. So without any further ado, let’s dive right in!

Editor’s note – We will be updating this list as more devices hit the market.

Update, February 2016: There were no changes made to our list this month.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

It’s hard denying that Samsung has always been the king of large-screened smartphones, and that still holds true today. With its crystal clear 5.7-inch display, powerful Exynos 7420 CPU and killer 16MP rear-facing camera, the Galaxy Note 5 is one of the best Android phones available on the market right now.

It’s an all-around solid device, boasting an all-glass chassis that’s similar to that of the Galaxy S6. It comes with an improved S Pen and some great multitasking features that will make it easy to get work done. The software is much more clean and simple than we’ve seen from the company in the past, too.

With all of that said, though, this device doesn’t come without its caveats. Samsung’s decision to omit the microSD card slot and removable battery has been a controversial one over the past few weeks, especially among Samsung die-hards. Even with these notable omissions, the Note 5 can still be considered one of the best out there.

You can purchase the Galaxy Note 5 from Sprint starting at $ 30.80 per month with a 24-month installment plan. We’ve also attached an Amazon link below if you’re interested in buying off-contract.


  • 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display with 1440 x 2560 resolution, 518ppi
  • Samsung Exynos 7420 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32/64GB of on-board storage, no microSD card slot
  • 16MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3000mAh battery
  • Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
  • 153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6 mm, 171g

Read more

Buy now from Sprint
Buy now from Amazon

Samsung Galaxy S6 & Galaxy S6 Edge

Depending on who you ask, one might tell you that the last truly impressive member of the Galaxy S family was the widely popular GS3. While the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S5 were not bad handsets, their highly derivative nature came under fire, bolstered further by the fact that many of its rivals have since taken to pushing more premium builds made of metal, glass and other similar materials.

With the Samsung Galaxy S6, the Korean giant has finally delivered a truly premium Galaxy S experience, melding a glass front and back with a metal frame. Most tech journalists and even everyday tech enthusiasts agree that the redesign is a welcome one. Of course, Samsung’s new look isn’t without sacrifice, ditching Samsung staples like a removable back and battery. The microSD slot is also absent on the Galaxy S6. Another major change for the Galaxy S6 is the processing package, with Samsung electing to leave behind Qualcomm, solely offering up its Exynos 7420 processor, paired with 3GB RAM. And finally, the software has also been scaled back a bit with the latest iteration of the Galaxy S.

Like the idea of the Galaxy S6, but hoping for something that stands out even further? The Galaxy S6 Edge offers the same specs, but adds dual edges and a few special features that take advantage of the phone’s unique design.

The Galaxy S6 is available from Sprint for $ 24.34 per month with a 24-month installment, while the S6 Edge is available for $ 29.96 with a 24-month installment.


  • 5.1-inch Super AMOLED with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 577ppi
  • Samsung Exynos 7420 processor
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 32/64/128GB storage options, no microSD expansion
  • 16MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
  • Non-removable 2550 mAh battery (S6), 2600mAh battery (S6 Edge)
  • Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
  • 143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8mm, 138g

Read more

Buy the Galaxy S6 from Sprint
Buy the Galaxy S6 Edge from Sprint

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+

Launched alongside the Galaxy Note 5 at IFA 2015, Samsung announced a new phablet for the Android space called the Galaxy S6 Edge+. If you’re a fan of the Galaxy S6 Edge (listed above) but would like a larger screen, this is the device for you.

If features all of the same specs as the Note 5 – an Exynos 7420 processor, 4GB of RAM, a 16MP rear camera, a big 3000mAh battery and a massive 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display. This device doesn’t come with an S Pen, though. Instead, the S6 Edge+ features a display that curves on the left and right sides, leaving room for a few edge-based software features for quick access to contacts, favorite apps and more.

Don’t get us wrong, this is a great device. It might be a tad pricey for some users, though, which is why it’s achieved the number three spot on our list. Check out the review below to get a better look at what this device can do.

You can purchase the Galaxy S6 Edge+ from Sprint starting at $ 30.00 per month with an installment plan. We realize this might be a bit too expensive for some, so we’d recommend purchasing it off-contract and bringing it to the carrier instead. We’ve attached an Amazon link below if you’re interested.


  • 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display with 1440 x 2560 resolution, 518ppi
  • Samsung Exynos 7420 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32/64GB of on-board storage, no microSD card slot
  • 16MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3000mAh battery
  • Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
  • 154.4 x 75.8 x 6.9mm, 153g

Read more

Buy now from Sprint
Buy now from Amazon


The LG G4 enters the market promising pristine performance, a design that will have any crowd turning heads, insane battery life and customization like we no longer see in modern smartphones. In an industry where most manufacturers sacrifice battery life for thinness, LG manages to stand out from the crowd by offering a massive 3000mAh battery. It also happens to be removable, so you can easily swap batteries at will. Furthermore, it supports expandable memory, which also happens to be a feature under risk of extinction.

Oh, and this phone looks good! You can switch your back plates, but I am sure you won’t want to once you put that genuine leather back in there. Add in the fact that the phone comes with one of the best smartphone cameras in the market and you have a true winner. It does have some slight issues that need fixing, though, which is really why it didn’t make it higher up the list. Of course, you can read our LG G4 review to see what this phone is all about before you fork out your hard-earned cash.

You can purchase the LG G4 from Sprint starting at $ 19.00 per month with an installment plan. You can also find it on Amazon for a little over $ 400 without a contract.


  • 5.5-inch LCD Quantum Dot display with 1440 x 2560 resolution, 538
  • Hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 32GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 128GB
  • 16MP rear camera, 8MP front camera
  • Removable 3000mAh battery
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 149.8 x 76.2 x 6.3-9.8 mm, 155g

Read more

Buy now from Sprint
Buy now from Amazon

HTC One A9

HTC is doing something different, yet oddly familiar with the One A9. Straying away from the all-too-familiar design of the One M series, the HTC One A9 more closely resembles Apple’s latest iPhones rather than past HTC flagships. Still, the design is beautiful – it has an all-metal build that feels great in the hand and looks superb.

Under the hood, the One A9 sports a Snapdragon 617 processor, 2 or 3GB of RAM, 16 or 32GB of on-board storage and microSD expansion up to 200 additional gigabytes. It also has one of the best cameras HTC has ever produced, and comes with a surprisingly long lasting 2150mAh battery. HTC is also committed to quick software updates with this phone. The Taiwanese company is actually promising software updates for the unlocked model within 15 days of Google’s first push to Nexus devices. Not bad, right?

The HTC One A9 is available from Sprint for $ 29.00 per month with an installment plan. You can also purchase the unlocked One A9 from HTC directly for $ 499.99.


  • 5.0-inch AMOLED display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 441ppi
  • 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor
  • 2/3GB of RAM
  • 16/32GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 200GB
  • 13MP rear camera, 4MP UltraPixel front camera
  • Non-removable 2150mAh battery
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 145.8 x 70.8 x 7.3mm, 143g

Read more

Buy now from Sprint
Buy now from HTC

HTC One M9

The HTC One M9 is a really good phone. It’s one of the most beautifully-crafted Android devices out there, and boasts some killer audio and software features as well. It doesn’t stray too far away from the One M7 or One M8, but that’s perfectly fine for most people. It features a very nice 5.0-inch Full HD display, a powerful Snapdragon 810 processor and plenty of storage space for all of your games, photos and videos. It may not have the best camera around, but it’s certainly good enough for the average user.

The HTC One M9 is available now from Sprint for $ 29.50 per month with an installment plan. Amazon also sells unlocked models for just around $ 300 if you’re interested in going off-contract.


  • 5.0-inch Super LCD3 display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 441ppi
  • 2.0GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 32GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 200GB
  • 20MP rear camera, 4MP UltraPixel front camera
  • Non-removable 2840mAh battery
  • Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
  • 144.6 x 69.7 x 9.6mm, 157g

Read more

Buy now from Sprint
Buy now from Amazon

Going off-contract?

If you’re not keen on spending $ 600+ on one of the off-contract smartphones listed above, there are certainly some other smartphones out there that are worth your hard-earned money. The top two off-contract smartphones that we’d recommend can’t be purchased from any carrier, which is why they didn’t make our initial list. So if you’re looking for a great off-contract smartphone, you can go wrong with the Nexus 6P or Motorola Moto X Pure Edition.

Nexus 6P

As the successor to last year’s Motorola Nexus 6, Google recently unveiled the Huawei-made Nexus 6P. This device is the higher-end of the two Nexus phones announced at Google’s event, and that’s incredibly apparent when looking at the spec sheet.

It comes with a big 5.7-inch Quad HD AMOLED display, super fast Snapdragon 810 processor, a giant 3450mAh battery and an impressive 12MP rear-facing camera. Want to get your hands on one? The Nexus 6P is pretty cheap, considering the specs and build quality. You can purchase it from the Google Store starting at just $ 499!

This is really one of the best Android handsets we’ve ever seen. If you have a few hundred dollars to spend and aren’t keen on the best from Samsung or LG, get the Nexus 6P.


  • 5.7-inch AMOLED display with 1440 x 2560 resolution, 518ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 32/64/128GB of on-board storage, no microSD expansion
  • 12MP rear camera, 8MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3450mAh battery
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 159.3 x 77.8 x 7.3mm, 178g

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Buy now from the Google Store

Motorola Moto X Pure Edition (Moto X Style)

With the original Moto X, Motorola proved you don’t need to have the latest specs to get a great user experience. With the second generation, the Lenovo-owned company took no chances and double-downed on the spec side as well, packing the new Moto X (2014) with a dense 5.2-inch AMOLED screen, a beefy processor, and a capable 13MP camera. But with the Moto X Style, Motorola reaches the perfect balance between performance, simplicity, price and… well, style.

By Style we are mostly referring customization capabilities, a factor which has been an integral part of the Moto X experience since day one. Customers can use Moto Maker to manipulate their devices’ aesthetics to their will. You can change the color of the metal areas, engrave the back and even choose from a plethora of back options, including materials leather, wood, rubber and other materials.

The device is not a bad contender in terms of hardware, either. The larger screen puts the phone up with contenders like the OnePlus 2, Nexus 6, LG G4 and the Galaxy Note series. It may not sport the “best” processor in the market, but the Snapdragon 808 is pretty close to the 810, and Motorola has proven time and again they can make a super fast phone without the greatest chipset.

It’s worth noting that the phone will be sold in most markets under the Style branding, though in the United States it will be sold as the Moto X Pure Edition, an unlocked model that will play nice with all U.S. carriers. You can purchase the Moto X Pure Edition from Motorola or Amazon for only $ 399.99.


  • 5.7-inch IPS LCD display with 2560 x 1440p resolution, 520ppi
  • 1.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 16/32/64GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 128GB
  • 21MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3000mAh battery
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 153.9 x 76.2 x 11.06 mm, 179g

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Buy now from Motorola
Buy now from Amazon

How did you like our list? Do you have any other suggestions? If so, feel free to voice your opinion in the comments below!

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