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Charles Bennett
Charles Bennett

Top Cell Phones To Buy ((LINK))

Flaws but not dealbreakers: The Nord N20 is available with 4G LTE support through any carrier, but its 5G connectivity is limited to T-Mobile. Its camera is also weak even for a budget phone, and low-light photos come out grainy and dim. It also runs Android 11 out of the box, but OnePlus promises an upgrade to Android 12 in the coming months. If you want a budget Android phone with the latest software, a better camera, and an excellent screen, consider the Pixel 6a.

top cell phones to buy

Roderick Scott is Wirecutter's staff writer reporting on smartphones, tablets, and accessories. He is the former publisher of TechGuySmartBuy, where he reviewed everything from phones to headphones to smart speakers to cars. He is also a former aspiring songwriter, music producer, and A&R working with local talent.

Google's Pixel A-series phones have been our favorites for a few years now, and that hasn't changed with the Pixel 6A (8/10, WIRED Recommends), though its lead is narrowing. It's powered by Google's Tensor chip, which means you're getting some of the best performance for the money, and it supports all the same great (and helpful) software smarts as the flagship Pixel 6 series. My favorites include Assistant Voice Typing to type up accurate messages with just my voice and Hold for Me, so I never have to listen to hold music. I also love its size; at 6.1 inches, the screen is comfortable to manage with one hand. Speaking of, the OLED panel gets plenty bright, making it easy to see on sunny days. (Sadly, it's stuck at a 60-Hz screen refresh rate.)

If you want a no-compromises best-of-the-best kind of smartphone, then look no further than Samsung's latest Galaxy S23 range (9/10, WIRED Recommends). Whether you opt for the 6.1-inch Galaxy S23, the 6.6-inch S23+, or the massive 6.8-inch S23 Ultra, these phones are chock-full of high-end features, from the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset that keeps even the most demanding games running beautifully to the wonderfully fluid and bright 120-Hz AMOLED displays. Battery life has improved across the board, with the S23 comfortably lasting more than a day and the S23 Ultra hitting nearly two full days with average use.

Cameras are a big part of Pixels, and the Pixel 7 Pro outshines its sibling with an upgraded ultrawide with autofocus, enabling a new Macro Focus mode for close-ups. Its telephoto camera has also improved, with excellent 5X optical zoom. Updated Super Res Zoom image-processing algorithms also mean you get sharper photos whether you're shooting at 2X or 30X zoom. They're hard to beat at these prices, and it helps that they're regularly on sale too (try not to pay full price). These Pixels will receive five years of security updates, which is great, but only three OS upgrades, which is not as good as what Samsung offers.

Most phones will do a perfectly great job running the latest games, but the Asus ROG Phone 6 is one of the only handsets that truly elevates mobile gaming. It's a massive phone, with a 6.78-inch AMOLED screen and a 165-Hz screen refresh rate, and it's powerful thanks to Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset and a whopping 12 gigabytes of RAM. (In a lot of ways, it's total overkill.) But those top-tier specs get you some of the smoothest gaming performance available in a phone, and everyday tasks and multitasking are a breeze. The screen pops, the haptic vibrations are sensational, and the speakers get loud.

It's an absolute shame that the Nothing Phone (1) (8/10, WIRED Recommends) isn't sold in the US. The number of good midrange phones here is really small, whereas you have endless options across the Atlantic. Nevertheless, if you're in a market where it's available, this first-gen phone from the relatively new brand is pretty darn great. It has smooth performance, a 120-Hz screen, wireless charging, day-long battery life, and a slick interface. Even the main camera is capable, though it can struggle with any kind of motion. Nothing promises three OS upgrades and four years of security patches, which is pretty nice, though we'll have to wait to see if it'll follow through.

We recommend unlocked phones in this guide. When a phone is sold as unlocked, that means it can be used on multiple wireless carriers and networks. When you buy a phone directly from your wireless carrier, usually on a payment plan, it often comes locked to that network. Carriers are legally required to unlock a phone upon request so you can switch networks, but it's a big hassle. Try to pay full price for your phone, or make sure it specifically says it's unlocked. If you feel it's too expensive to buy outright, that's a good sign you should find a cheaper model. Buy it from the manufacturer directly, or investigate your carrier's policies for unlocking phones if they're bought on a payment plan that requires you to use its network.

Verizon tips: Buying an unlocked phone is smart, but even if you do the smart thing, networks like Verizon will put up hoops for you to jump through. If you insert your SIM card but still have trouble receiving text messages or something else, contact customer service and have them enable "CDMA-Less roaming." This Motorola guide may help. The steps should be similar for other phones.

We have case recommendations for a few popular devices, like Samsung's Galaxy S23 and S22 range or Google Pixel phones. It's smart to slap a case on these glass sandwiches and even a screen protector to keep the display free of scuffs and scratches. Here are a few other noteworthy accessories, including charging adapters, which many phones don't include anymore. Read our Best USB-C Cables guide for other recommendations.

Choose a Wireless Charger: Our guide to the best wireless chargers includes dozens of models in varying colors, shapes, and materials, and even some designed for specific phones. Not every Android phone supports wireless charging, but it's a luxury you'll want to take advantage of. Take a gander at our guide for our favorites.

There are many phones we've previously recommended that are right on the edge. They're either getting old (two-plus years) or their internals are too weak. We worry they won't have software support beyond this year or that the next Android update will render them too sluggish. We've also added to this list some newer phones that we just can't recommend after testing.

I'm that 5G guy. I've actually been here for every "G." I've reviewed well over a thousand products during 18 years working full-time at, including every generation of the iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy S. I also write a weekly newsletter, Fully Mobilized, where I obsess about phones and networks.

This is for road warriors who often find themselves in places with a spotty cell signal. It helps keep your GPS going for your entire journey, and might prove invaluable if you ever need to place a call from a remote spot.

If cost isn't a concern and you need to cover an extremely large space, you won't find a more suitable consumer option than the HiBoost 15K. If you're just looking to get cellular connectivity in a traditionally sized home, however, the SureCall Flare 3.0 above is a more reasonable choice.

Booster manufacturers have to use various tricks to detect the best signal from surrounding towers and then amplify the signal without messing up the carriers' systems. That's why you need to stick with boosters primarily from the big four companies: Cel-Fi, HiBoost, SureCall, and weBoost (we also include one from Wilson for a special use case you can read about below). Cheaper boosters available from Amazon often aren't FCC-certified, which means they can cause trouble with surrounding cell sites and networks.

The basic principle behind signal boosters is simple: A big antenna is better than a small one. Instead of relying on the tiny antenna in your phone, they capture cellular signal using a large antenna in your window or outside your house (or car), pass that signal through a device that cleans and amplifies it, and send it out through a rebroadcaster inside your home.

You can install all retail cellular boosters by yourself without any drilling, although ideally, you should hide the cables against your baseboards. You also need to find the optimal antenna position outside your home.

Cellular boosters generally can't boost the "good parts" of 5G networks. AT&T and Verizon carry a small amount of 5G on the old cellular bands 2 and 5. Boosters handle that, so a booster may summon you a 5G icon, but that signal doesn't give you an experience that's much different from 4G. The fastest 5G networks for AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon are currently on bands n41, n77, n260, and n261; no consumer boosters support those bands reliably.

There is a sneaky way around this. While no powered boosters work with these bands, passive antennas can still improve signal on bands 41 and 71. They may only get you 10dB to 20dB of gain as opposed to 70dB, but that isn't insignificant (and even just the fact that the antenna is outside can help). Meanwhile, Waveform's Griddy parabolic antenna(Opens in a new window) and MIMO panel antennas(Opens in a new window) improve signal on the new 5G band n77. Connecting an outdoor cellular antenna(Opens in a new window) to a Wi-Fi hotspot that has a TS9 connector, such as the Netgear Nighthawk M5, can also turn an outdoor cell signal into an indoor Wi-Fi signal.

A reliable cell phone provides numerous benefits to older adults. They allow seniors to stay connected with friends and family, receive help during an emergency, get some entertainment, capture special moments through photos, and so much more.

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