The holidays are one of the best times to buy a new smartphone because deals are coming left and right. We have assembled a list of the 11 phones you should be on the lookout for (along with a few alternates).
From giant powerhouses to beautiful budget options, these are the best smartphones of the season.
(Note: All prices below indicate how much each phone typically costs without a carrier contract. Prices may vary depending on the retailer.)
11. The BlackBerry Priv is perfect for Android fans who miss their old BlackBerry.
The BlackBerry Priv is the company’s first phone that runs the Android operating system. But BlackBerry has stuck partially to its roots by including a slide-out keyboard. If you are nostalgic for the old days of BlackBerry keyboards but love Google’s app ecosystem and operating system, this could be a nice compromise.
10. Motorola’s new Moto G is a game changer when it comes to cheap smartphones.
The Moto G costs $199 without a carrier contract, which is cheaper than what most phones cost with a carrier contract.
For that price, you’re getting a 13-megapixel camera, water resistance, and a 5-inch screen. It’s not as powerful or as attractive as most flagship phones, but it’s an unbelievable bargain.
Price: Around $179
9. The OnePlus 2 is excellent if you’re looking for a large-screened phone that won’t cost you too much.
The 16GB OnePlus 2 sells for $329, while the 64GB edition sells for $389.
The phone has a powerful 64-bit processor, a 1080p 5.5-inch screen, a 13-megapixel camera, and a fingerprint sensor. The specs are almost on par with other flagship phones, and it costs much less.
8. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus still offer one of the best smartphone experiences, now for less.
Although it’s not the newest iPhone, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth checking out if you’re an Apple fan looking for a new phone. It has the same screen and the same nice-looking all-metal design as Apple’s newest iPhones.
If you’re looking for something that offers a similar experience and don’t want to splurge on Apple’s latest phone, the iPhone 6 is still a great choice.
Same goes for the iPhone 6 Plus, which is still among the best phablets you can buy.
iPhone 6 Price: $549
iPhone 6 Plus Price: $649
7. Motorola’s Moto X Pure might be the best value you’ll find when shopping for an Android phone.
For $400, the Moto X Pure gives you a super-sharp QHD screen and a 21-megapixel camera. It also runs on a version of Android that’s not crowded with bloatware or unnecessary apps, which makes the experience feel more smooth.
It’s significantly cheaper than Samsung’s newest Galaxy phones, and you’re getting a similar experience, though it doesn’t have a fingerprint sensor.
6. The HTC One M9 and A9 are some of the most stylish Android phones out there.
The HTC One M9 is a minor improvement over HTC’s previous Android phones. It has the same attractive aluminum design, an improved camera, and a faster processor. If you liked HTC’s other One phones, chances are you’ll like the M9, too.
And if you are a big fan of the iPhone design but want Android, you might try checking out the HTC One A9, which is a fast and sleek phone that you’d be forgiven for confusing with an iPhone.
HTC One M9 Price: Around $649
HTC One A9 Price: $499
5. Samsung’s Galaxy Note 5 is perfect for people looking to get work done on their phone.
If you’re looking for an Android phone with a big screen, the Galaxy Note 5 is probably your best choice. It has a gorgeous display and a great camera, and Samsung’s stylus is optimized to work well with its version of Android.
For example, pulling the pen out of its holster launches a special menu for apps that work with the stylus.
This year’s Note is better than ever, especially since Samsung improved its design so that it matches that of the Galaxy S6. You can also write on the screen even if the display is turned off, which makes it easier to quickly jot down notes.
But if you don’t care about the stylus and have an extra $100 to spend, you might want to take a look at Samsung’s Galaxy S6 Edge+. This big-screen phone might be the the best-looking smartphone on the market. But again, for most people, the curved screen doesn’t add enough it doesn’t add enough benefit to justify the price tag.
Galaxy Note 5 Price: Around $700
4. Samsung’s Galaxy S6 gives the iPhone 6S a run for its money.
Samsung’s Galaxy S6 is its best flagship phone yet. The company totally redesigned the phone from scratch, giving it a metal and glass body that looks and feels much nicer than any of its previous phones. And its 5.2-inch screen is right for most people.
Samsung has loaded its latest Galaxy S phones with a few handy features you won’t get elsewhere, too, such as the ability to launch the camera by pressing the home button twice and a built-in heart-rate monitor.
If you want to shell out an extra $100, you can go for the Galaxy S6 Edge, which features a curved screen. There are a few neat things you can do with the curved portion of the screen, such as adding shortcuts to your favorite contacts and making it so that the screen lights up a certain color when a particular contact calls you. But while those features are nice to have, they don’t change the overall experience enough to justify the phone’s higher price.
Galaxy S6 Price: $600-$700
Galaxy S6 Edge Price: $700-$800
3. Google’s Nexus 5X is an affordable way to enjoy a pure Android experience.
If you’re looking for an Android phone and are on a tight budget, Google’s new Nexus 5X is also a great option. It comes with a 5.2-inch screen, which makes it the same size as Samsung’s Galaxy S6, and includes a 12.3-megapixel camera.
But Google claims that the pixels in the Nexus 5X’s camera are larger than that of the typical smartphone, which should result in better photos. The real benefit of buying a Nexus phone like the 5X is that it runs on a completely pure version of Android. It’s always the first to get Google’s big Android updates, too.
And if you want a big-screen phone from Google, The Nexus 6P has a solid 5.7-inch screen, and only costs $500.
Nexus 5X Price: Around $379
Nexus 6P Price: Around $499
2. If you want a big phone, the iPhone 6S Plus is hands-down the best.
The iPhone 6S Plus is the best large-screened phone you can buy. Although Samsung’s newest Galaxy Note is a worthy competitor, the iPhone offers the best mix of hardware, design, and app selection.
This year’s iPhone 6S Plus is faster than the last, has a better camera and an improved fingerprint scanner, and comes with Apple’s new pressure-sensitive technology.
Price: Around $749
1. The iPhone 6S is the best phone out today, and it will work for everyone.
The iPhone 6S is the best phone for most people. It’s not drastically different than its predecessor, but it comes with a ton of subtle improvements. These include faster performance, a better camera, and Apple’s 3-D Touch technology. And let’s not forget that with Apple, you get access to the best marketplace for apps.
Price: Around $649
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