Best Smartphones

Smartphones offer greater functionality than regular cell phones, with the ability to access the Internet, download email, work with document attachments, sync data with personal and corporate computers, send instant messages, play music, show streaming video and scout out locations with GPS - in addition to making phone calls. The best smartphones have full keyboards or touch screens - or in rare cases, both.
Samsung Galaxy S4 Active

Samsung Galaxy S4 Active

Reviewed August 2013

Rugged GS4 Active more fun, less techy than its predecessor

Pros: Durable and water-resistant, attractive, colorful design, underwater camera mode

Cons: Lower-quality camera than original, less saturated screen than GS4

AT&T
Est. $200 with contract
 
HTC One

HTC One

Reviewed July 2013

Power-packed, aesthetically pleasing HTC One wows experts

Pros: Sleek, striking design, top-of-the-line hardware, good low-light camera performance

Cons: Normal lighting camera performance only average, blinkFeed home screen unremovable

AT&TSprintT-MobileVerizon Wireless
Est. $200 and up with contract
 
Samsung Galaxy S4

Samsung Galaxy S4

Reviewed June 2013

All-encompassing Galaxy S4 impressive and overwhelming

Pros: Large, vibrant display with wide viewing angles, wide variety of camera settings and filters, good reception and 4G connectivity, includes apps for virtually every need

Cons: Plastic chassis feels cheap, long list of settings and features can overwhelm

AT&TCricket WirelessSprintT-MobileU.S. CellularVerizon Wireless
*Est. $200 and up with contract
 
HTC Droid DNA

HTC Droid DNA

Reviewed April 2013

A speedy processor and stunning high-res display make the HTC Droid a winner

Pros: Large, high-resolution display, easy, one-handed use, rapid quad-core processor

Cons: Screen colors slightly muted, no expandable memory

Verizon Wireless
*Est. $200 with contract
 
Samsung Galaxy Note II

Samsung Galaxy Note II

Reviewed February 2013

A sleek profile, large display and powerful processor make the Galaxy Note II a tempting titan

Pros: Responsive , large display, excellent battery life, above-average call quality, lightning-fast quad-core processor

Cons: One-handed use difficult, display can appear slightly washed out

AT&TSprintT-MobileU.S. CellularVerizon Wireless
*Est. $300 and up with contract
 
HTC One X

HTC One X

Reviewed November 2012

"One" of the most powerful Android smartphones

Pros: Large, high-resolution screen, durable, sleek design, excellent call quality, high-end camera performance, speedy processor

Cons: HTC Sense interface doesn't appeal to everyone, size may be too large for some

AT&T
*Est. $100 with contract
 
Samsung Galaxy S III

Samsung Galaxy S III

Reviewed November 2012

With the latest tech and a gorgeous display, the GS3 climbs to the top of the Android heap

Pros: Slim profile, large, vibrant screen, excellent call quality, long battery life, impressive camera, latest Android features

Cons: Plastic design instead of metal, s Voice (voice commands) performs poorly

AT&TSprintT-MobileVerizon Wireless
*Est. $200 and up with contract
 
Apple iPhone 5

Apple iPhone 5

Reviewed October 2012

Taller, thinner, lighter iPhone 5 speeds up with a faster processor and true 4G

Pros: Thinner, lighter design, durable aluminum backing, larger, more vibrant display, improved camera software, 4G LTE capabilities, speedy operating system upgrade

Cons: New charger requires $30 adaptor for old accessories, data plans can be costly, depending on carrier

AT&TSprintVerizon Wireless
*Est. $200 and up with contract
 
HTC Evo 4G LTE

HTC Evo 4G LTE

Reviewed October 2012

Packed with all the power and performance of a flagship smartphone, the HTC Evo 4G LTE is ready for Sprint's LTE network

Pros: High-quality design, excellent camera, good call quality and battery life, powerful processor, intuitive HTC Sense interface

Cons: 4G LTE coverage limited

Sprint
*Est. $200 with contract
 
BlackBerry Curve 9360

BlackBerry Curve 9360

Reviewed June 2012

Dependable BlackBerry with Wi-Fi calling capability

Pros: Responsive QWERTY keyboard, wi-Fi calling

Cons: Mixed call quality, mixed data speeds, lack of third-party apps

T-Mobile
Free with new contract
 
BlackBerry Torch 9860

BlackBerry Torch 9860

Reviewed March 2012

Touch-screen BlackBerry installed with RIM's newest operating system

Pros: Snappy processor, blackBerry OS 7, fast browser, good call quality, good battery time, vivid screen

Cons: No physical keyboard, cramped on-screen keyboard, cheap-looking physical buttons

AT&T
*Est. $100 with contract
 
Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Reviewed March 2012

Samsung Galaxy Nexus is light-years ahead of other Android stars

Pros: Beautiful and speedy Android operating system, large, bright screen, fast and responsive

Cons: Mediocre camera performance, spotty 4G signal strength, short battery life

Verizon Wireless
Price too low to display
 
Samsung Replenish

Samsung Replenish

Reviewed February 2012

Affordable and eco-friendly Android candybar phone keeps it simple

Pros: Tactile physical keyboard, recyclable, made of recycled components, good call quality

Cons: No Flash support, slow processor, plastic feel, low-resolution screen

SprintBoost Mobile
from $99.99 with new contract
 
LG Phoenix

LG Phoenix

Reviewed February 2012

The LG Phoenix is an excellent entry-level Android smartphone, but it's got stiff competition

Pros: Lightweight and easy to hold, excellent battery life, world phone

Cons: Browser unable to play Flash videos, weak camera that lacks a dedicated button, bloated with non-removable AT&T apps

AT&T
Free with contract
 
HTC Arrive

HTC Arrive

Reviewed November 2011

HTC Arrive takes Windows Phone 7 design to the next level

Pros: Spacious keyboard, large, tilting display, solid construction, simplie operating system

Cons: Not 4G compatible, mediocre image quality

Sprint
Free with new contract
 
BlackBerry Torch 9850

BlackBerry Torch 9850

Reviewed November 2011

Touch-screen BlackBerry is short on apps

Pros: Bright and crisp touch screen, fast browser with HTML5 support, speedy performance, solid build, blackBerry OS 7

Cons: Small keys on virtual keyboard, meager app selection, poor battery life, slow 3G connection, two-toned color looks cheap, no Flash support

SprintVerizon Wireless
from $19.99 with new contract
 
BlackBerry Bold 9900 4G

BlackBerry Bold 9900 4G

Reviewed November 2011

Best BlackBerry device yet -- but is that saying much?

Pros: Fast processor, solid design, responsive keyboard, clear, sharp display

Cons: Poor battery life, no auto-focus in camera, no Flash support, 4G data speeds fall short, no haptic feedback on touch screen

T-Mobile
from $249.99 with new contract
 
BlackBerry Torch 9810

BlackBerry Torch 9810

Reviewed November 2011

BlackBerry Torch sports recycled design, but improved specs

Pros: Sharp, responsive touch screen, fast web browser, speedy interface, good battery life, excellent keyboard

Cons: Recycled design, new OS not very different from predecessor, false signal strength, lack of apps, lack of Flash support

AT&TT-Mobile
*Est. $50 with contract
 
Apple iPhone 4S

Apple iPhone 4S

Reviewed October 2011

iPhone 4S proves that it's what's on the inside that counts

Pros: Improved camera, dual-band world phone, faster, more powerful processor, voice-activated personal assistant feature, new antenna configuration to improve reception

Cons: No change in design from iPhone 4, not 4G-compatible

AT&TSprintVerizon Wireless
*Est. $100 with contract for 16 GB
 
LG Optimus V

LG Optimus V

Reviewed August 2011

Virgin Mobile's Android smartphone delivers great performance for its price

Pros: Price, clear call quality, fast processor, responsive interface

Cons: Cramped screen, browser has no Flash support, can't use as mobile hotspot

Virgin Mobile
from $129.99 with new contract
 
Samsung Galaxy Indulge

Samsung Galaxy Indulge

Reviewed July 2011

Speedy 4G phone quickly runs out of juice

Pros: 4G LTE connection, fast processor, roomy QWERTY keyboard

Cons: Short battery life, dim display, camera shutter lag

MetroPCS
*Est. $200, no contract
 
HTC ThunderBolt

HTC ThunderBolt

Reviewed May 2011

HTC ThunderBolt's lightning-fast speed zaps battery life

Pros: Fast web browsing, large touch screen with wide viewing angle, high-quality camera, kickstand for video viewing

Cons: Poor battery life when using 4G, occasional bugs

Verizon Wireless
*Est. $100 with new contract
 
BlackBerry Style 9670

BlackBerry Style 9670

Reviewed May 2011

BlackBerry's second flip smartphone has full keyboard and latest OS

Pros: Comes with BlackBerry OS 6, full QWERTY keyboard, browser faster than previous BlackBerry browsers, good call quality

Cons: Bulky, small selection of apps, short battery life, keys are flat

SprintBoost Mobile
*Est. $200, no contract (Boost)
 
Motorola Atrix 4G

Motorola Atrix 4G

Reviewed May 2011

The versatile Motorola Atrix 4G is fast, but not 4G fast

Pros: Responsive interface, large, colorful display, can double as a netbook

Cons: Slow 4G speeds, lags when used with accessory dock

AT&T
*Est. $30 with contract
 
T-Mobile myTouch 4G

T-Mobile myTouch 4G

Reviewed May 2011

T-Mobile's top Android phone brings the speed

Pros: Speedy web browser, wi-Fi calling, hotspot capabilities

Cons: No HDMI output, problems with video calling

T-Mobile
Discontinued
 
BlackBerry Bold 9780

BlackBerry Bold 9780

Reviewed May 2011

Blackberry Bold 9780 is not a bold update

Pros: Comes with BlackBerry OS 6, excellent battery life, better browser than older BlackBerrys, can make calls over Wi-Fi network

Cons: Design is almost identical to BlackBerry Bold 9700, oS 6 works better on touch-screen display, small screen, can't play high-definition videos

T-Mobile
Discontinued
 
Samsung Galaxy S 4G

Samsung Galaxy S 4G

Reviewed April 2011

Samsung Galaxy S 4G takes speed to the next level

Pros: Speedy, 4G web browsing speeds, front-facing camera for video chat, bright, colorful touch screen

Cons: No camera flash

T-Mobile
*Est. $100 with contract
 
Samsung Epic 4G

Samsung Epic 4G

Reviewed February 2011

Speedy Sprint Android phone boasts excellent physical keyboard

Pros: Gorgeous touch screen, fast 4G network speeds, spacious physical keyboard

Cons: Mediocre camera quality, expensive monthly data plan

Sprint
*Est. $100 with contract
 
BlackBerry Bold 9650

BlackBerry Bold 9650

Reviewed February 2011

BlackBerry Bold with world-roaming functionality

Pros: Wi-Fi capability, responsive trackpad, global roaming, generous memory for apps

Cons: Clunky browser, awkwardly placed charging port

SprintVerizon Wireless
Discontinued
 
Apple iPhone 4 (Verizon)

Apple iPhone 4 (Verizon)

Reviewed February 2011

Apple's powerful smartphone meets Verizon's speedy network

Pros: Colorful screen, fast speeds, easy-to-use touch-screen keyboard

Cons: No world roaming

Verizon Wireless
Free with contract for 8 GB
 
Apple iPhone 4

Apple iPhone 4

Reviewed August 2010

AT&T's iPhone 4 leads the smartphone pack, but not by much

Pros: Brilliant high-contrast display , powerful 5-megapixel camera, unrivaled app store, easy FaceTime video calling

Cons: Limited multitasking, unreliable reception, faceTime restricted to iPhone 4 owners

AT&T
Free with contract for 8 GB
 
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