Smartphones : Ratings of Sources

In this report

Smartphones: Ratings of Sources

1. CNET Best phones of 2015, CNET, Aug. 4, 2015
Credibility:
CNET reviews lots of smartphones, with the top models winding up on this constantly evolving list. Links lead to reviews of top phones organized by operating system and carrier. Each listed phone also includes links to in-depth, hands-on reviews. Phones are rated, and top choices occasionally earn an Editors' Choice award.
2. TomsGuide.com Best Smartphones on the Market Now, TomsGuide.com, July 31, 2015
Credibility:
Tom's Guide, part of the same online family as Laptop Magazine, TopTenReviews.com and other well-known sites, is another prolific smartphone reviewer. Lots of phones are tested and rated. Good performers earn an Editors' Choice award and the very best ones are included in this list, which names a best reviewed overall along with some others that would be excellent picks as well.
3. ConsumerReports.org Cell phones & services, ConsumerReports.org
Credibility:
ConsumerReports.org tests and rates more than 50 smartphones, ranging from the latest releases to devices that are several years old, but still available. Discussion far surpasses what we typically see at this site, and provides lots of useful information -- though the technically obsessed will find still more at other top sites. Phones are graded on qualities such as ease of use, web browsing, call quality and more. An overall rating is assigned, and top phones earn Recommended status -- though a large number earn that later distinction.
4. PCMag.com Cell Phones, PCMag.com, As of August 2015
Credibility:
Yet another terrific cell phone reviewer, by its count, the site looks at hundreds of devices each year --ranging from the latest cutting edge smartphones to super-cheap basic devices. Reviews are hands-on and in depth. Ratings are assigned and Editors' Choices are named. There's a list of the best smartphones, but it was a little dated at the time of our visit.
5. TechRadar.com 10 best smartphones in the US, TechRadar.com, As of August 2015
Credibility:
Here, top phones are profiled in a slide show format. Though top line assessments are given, you need to click through to full reviews to get the sites full impressions of each phone. Discussion is detailed and based on testing. Comparisons to specific competitors are made.
6. The Verge Cellphones, The Verge, As of August 2015
Credibility:
The Verge reviews smartphones in single product reviews and occasional multi-product round ups. On the downside, it doesn't review as a many smartphones as some other sites, but it goes into great detail for the ones it does cover, evaluating each on multiple criteria.
7. Brighthand.com Smartphone Reviews, Brighthand.com, As of August 2015
Credibility:
Brighthand.com is a mobile-technology-oriented site that publishes a good number of smartphone reviews covering all the major operating systems. Ratings are given, and editors are relatively stingy in giving out good grades. Reviews are in depth and leave little doubt as to whether a phone is a hit or a miss.
8. Gizmodo.com The Best Smartphone For Every Need, Gizmodo.com, July 16, 2015
Credibility:
Gizmodo.com offers good, in-depth reviews of smartphones. However, it does fewer of them than many top reviewers, and finding them on the site can sometimes be a challenge. However, this article rounds up the findings of earlier reviews and names top smartphones for most users and uses. Links lead to the full reviews of each individual phone.
9. MobileTechReview.com Smartphone Reviews, MobileTechReview.com, As of August 2015
Credibility:
MobileTechReview.com is a veteran reviewer of mobile devices. Lisa Gade and her staff do an excellent job of evaluating significant new phones as they reach market, with competent hands on and benchmark testing. The only reason that the site does not rate higher is that MobileTechReview.com reviews fewer phones than many other top review sites.
10. Anandtech.com Smartphones, Anandtech.com, As of August 2015
Credibility:
AnandTech.com publishes relatively few smartphone reviews, and finding them among the many industry news and technology articles it produces can be a pain. However, for the technically obsessed, no reviewer provides more exhaustive -- and sometimes exhausting -- reports then this one. Pages of discussion, highlighted by extensively documented testing results, make this site a delight for those that appreciate such things. For everyone else, skip to the concluding comments, they go into reasonable depth and leave no doubt about the reviewer's impressions -- good and bad.
11. Engadget.com Find the Right Cellphone, Engadget.com, As of August 2015
Credibility:
Navigating around Engadget.com is a bit of a task, especially since the site maintains lots of older phones on its list of reviewed products, but it's worth the effort. Testing isn't well documented, but comments are based on hands-on evaluations and written in a style that informs without overwhelming. Capsule summaries of other reviews on the Internet are also provided.
12. Amazon.com Cell Phones & Accessories, Amazon.com, As of August 2015
Credibility:
If you are looking for user reviews of cell phones, Amazon.com is a great place to start. Most phones available in the U.S. are listed here, including unlocked phones and phones that are tied to a specific carrier, be they prepaid or postpaid. Most phones get at least some feedback, and many get hundreds if not thousands of reviews. Like most user review sites, lots of the feedback you'll see is brief, but unlike most user sites, we also spotted many reviews that go into so much depth that they rival some expert reviews.
13. BestBuy.com Cell Phones, BestBuy.com, As of August 2015
Credibility:
BestBuy.com is another retailer that offers cell phones at all price levels. You can get user feedback on cellphones for each major carrier, as well as for many prepaid carriers and unlocked devices. However, compared to Amazon.com, there are fewer phones offered, and most get fewer reviews.
14. Walmart.com Cell Phones, Walmart.com, As of August 2015
Credibility:
Walmart.com is a good destination for user reviews of cheaper devices, including devices that work on prepaid networks that are sold exclusively by the store. Reviews tend to be brief, but most phones get at least a comment or two, and some receive substantial feedback.
15. Re/code What It's Really Like to Use a Windows Phone, Re/code, July 9, 2015
Credibility:
This lengthy review of the Lumia 640 XL delves decently into the hardware and performance of that Windows phone. However, this review is most helpful when discussing the pros and cons of Windows phones in general.
16. VerizonWireless.com Phones and Devices, VerizonWireless.com, As of August 2015
Credibility:
VerizonWireless.com is a top destination for owner feedback on smartphones. It's particularly helpful for Verizon subscribers as reviews reflect user experiences with the device on that carrier. Popular phones, especially those available for some time, can attract hundreds and sometimes thousands of reviews.
17. ATT.com Cell Phones & Mobile Devices, ATT.com, As of August 2015
Credibility:
Like VerizonWireless.com, ATT.com is an excellent destination for AT&T wireless subscribers to learn more about phones available for that service. However, while there is still ample feedback, most phones attract substantially fewer reviews.
18. T-Mobile.com Phones, T-Mobile.com, As of August 2015
Credibility:
Continuing a theme, T-Mobile subscribers can find information about phones supported by their carrier here. Most phones get some feedback, and many receive dozens if not hundreds of reviews.
19. AndroidCentral.com Android Central, AndroidCentral.com, As of August 2015
Credibility:
AndroidCentral.com is a news, tips and reviews site dedicated to everything Android. Editors provide occasional reviews of android products, including most of the latest smartphones, and there's a very active user community with forums dedicated to many of the most popular devices. Links lead to sister sites, iMore.com, Crackberry.com, and WindowsCentral.com, that provide similar coverage and feedback for phones using different operating systems.
20. Sprint.com Phones, Sprint.com, As of August 2015
Credibility:
Sprint is the fourth of the major carriers we consulted, and the one that provides the least helpful information. Overall ratings are published, as are star ratings for factors such as performance and value, but individual reviews are not shown -- only the number of "community reviews" those are based on.