Last updated: September 3, 2020

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The cell phone market has dramatically evolved in recent years. The strong emergence of Chinese manufacturers has substantially increased the number of models available. This is naturally a great advantage for customers, who now have access to a much broader offer and generally at more affordable prices.

As a result of this trend, you can often find phones with very similar features to high-end models at a significantly lower cost. However, choosing which device to buy isn’t always a walk in the park. The most crucial aspect you have to take into account is how you plan on using your mobile phone.

Key Facts

  • Nowadays, cell phones allow us to have the Internet in the palm of our hands anywhere, anytime. This means that you can communicate with your loved ones wherever you are and access the web’s information instantly, which offers great benefits.
  • You can find mobile phones for all types of users, old and young, casual or professional. Some have a more leisure-oriented profile or prefer to focus on the most basic communication functions. Others, finally, are designed specifically for professional applications.
  • The first thing you need to consider when purchasing your own cell phone is how you will use it. In the technical department, the processor and RAM are the two components that most influence the performance of your device.

Our Selection: The Best Cell Phones on the U.S. Market

In the following section, we have prepared a selection of the best cell phones currently available on the market. While they all offer great value for money, we have picked models suited to the needs of different potential buyers. All come from quality brands, thus ensuring great performance.

Best Samsung Cell Phone

Samsung is potentially the most popular manufacturer using Android, so it’s not a surprise to see the Galaxy A10 be an Amazon Best Seller. With hundreds of positive reviews, this unlocked model features a 6.2-inch HD+ screen, 2 GB of RAM, and 32 GB of internal memory.

You can naturally add a microSD to increase the space available, and also insert two SIM cards. The Galaxy A10 runs on Android 9 Pie.

Best Affordable Smartphone

BLU isn’t necessarily the most famous brand on the market, but they offer quality smartphones at affordable prices. For under $100, the Vivo XL4 offers many features found in more high-end models. With a 6.2-inch HD+ screen, 3 GB of RAM, and an octa-core processor running at 2.0 GHz, you will be able to run most apps with this device.

This cell phone comes with earbuds, a screen protector, and two silicone cases.

Best Apple Cell Phone

We have all heard of Apple, this American company that has taken the tech world by storm. The iPhone 8 isn’t the latest model anymore, but it offers great value for money and specs that would make the latest cell phones blush.

These include a 4.7-inch HD screen, NFC technology, and a 12 MP camera that allows 4K video recording. Running on iOS 13, this phone comes with great built-in apps and access to the App Store.

Best Budget-Friendly Cell Phone

Some people just want a basic phone to communicate with their loved ones without investing much money. This is what Tracfone’s MyFlip was designed for. Its powerful speaker makes it ideal for seniors, but it is also a great first cell phone to give to children. It is resistant, easy to use, and offers additional features such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and a camera.

This cell phone is hard to beat for less than $20.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Cell Phones

You will have to know a series of basic aspects in order to choose the most appropriate cell phone for your needs. Remember that the number of models is constantly increasing, each offering different characteristics and features. This is why we have answered some of the most frequently asked questions regarding cell phones in the section below.

These electronic devices use telephone networks and the Internet to communicate.
(Source: Maliha Mannan: 8gn_WhKv8Ns/ Unsplash.com)

What are cell phones exactly?

These electronic devices are designed to communicate with each other using telephone networks and the Internet. Today, they offer a wide variety of functionalities, such as taking photos, recording videos, playing video games with improved graphics capacities. You can also watch movies and listen to music, pay in stores, and much more.

While these devices are compact, the current trend is moving towards models with larger screens. Technological advances are also leading to the constant addition of new features. Cell phones have, therefore, become fundamental devices for communicating and connecting with each other, as well as for leisure and professional applications.

What are the advantages of cell phones?

Having a mobile phone allows you to make the most of its many advantages. First of all, you are able to stay connected to the Internet, browse websites, read the news, or use social networks. You also have access to an incredible number of applications on the different stores, many of which are free.

As we mentioned earlier, you can play video games, listen to music, and watch your favorite movies or series. Cell phones now feature powerful cameras with which you can take quality photos and record videos. The very best smartphones, however, can cost over $1,000. In the following table, you can see that the benefits that cell phones offer clearly outweigh the drawbacks:

Advantages
  • You can stay connected to the Internet at all times
  • They provide a wide variety of free and paid applications
  • You can communicate with your loved ones through social media
  •  They have powerful photo and video cameras
  • Nowadays, you can use them to pay in stores
  • There many different models with a wide range of prices and features
  • A lot of free games are available
  • You can watch series and movies anywhere you go
  • You can listen to music
  • They integrate a GPS
Disadvantages
  • The best models can be costly
  • You need to charge the battery continuously
  • They can lead to addictions

Who can benefit from a cell phone?

These devices have become really helpful for virtually anyone. You can use them for basic tasks such as making and receiving calls or sending messages, or take full advantage of the endless possibilities they offer. These range from surfing the Internet, reading your emails, and playing video games to watching series or movies, and even paying in stores.

After all, cell phones give you access to thousands of applications for communicating, entertainment, and work. Every person can find the right cell phone – from children to the elderly – and they are particularly useful when traveling. Applications like Google Maps and the possibility of having your boarding pass at hand make your journey more comfortable.

cell-phone

Cell phones give you access to a wide variety of applications, many of which are free.
(Source: Freestocks Org: m7zKB91brGo/ Unsplash.com)

What are the most popular operating systems?

Android and iOS are the two operating systems currently dominating the market worldwide. Based on Linux, the former is Google’s operating system, while the latter is found in Apple’s iPhones. That being said, many cell phone manufacturers now customize Android to suit their brands.

Keep in mind that not all devices integrate the latest version of Google’s operating system. Make sure you check the following when purchasing an Android cell phone: the version, the manufacturer’s user interface, and its registration. That way, you will see if you have access to the software’s latest updates. We have summed up the main features of both operating systems in the table below:

Android iOS
Price of cell phones The price range is much wider, from the most affordable to the most advanced models. They tend to be more expensive.
Applications  It offers more free apps. You can install applications that are not found on the Google Play Store. Applications tend to come out for iOS first. Apple doesn’t allow you to install apps that are not on its App Store.
Games You can find thousands of games. The best games are first released for iOS.
Battery Android gives you an estimate of your battery life. It is optimized to make the most of the battery.
Updates Android phones use different versions of the operating system. Only a small percentage has the latest version. Virtually all iOS phones are updated to the latest version.
Customizability You can easily personalize your cell phone and sometimes modify the entire user interface. The customization possibilities are much more limited.

What is the useful life of a cell phone?

This is a very tricky question to answer. It will naturally depend on how you use your device and how well you take care of it, but also on its technical specs. Models with advanced processors and more RAM can last longer, while keeping up with the latest trends can also increase their useful life.

Technologies like facial recognition or NFC will become indispensable in the coming years. You will thus be able to use your cell phone longer if the model you buy already includes them. In any case, a 3-year-old cell phone will still allow you to do just about everything today.

What is NFC technology?

This technology gives you a comfortable, easy, and safe way to pay with your cell phone in stores. It is very likely that this trend will continue and that virtually all cell phones come to include it. Since this technology can be found in devices of all ranges, we encourage you to bet on a model with NFC.

Buyer’s Guide

You will need to consider various essential criteria before purchasing your very own cell phone. This is why we have detailed the most important factors and the most relevant technical specifications in the section below. We hope that this information is useful and steers you in the right direction.

Use of the Device

What do you want to do with your cell phone? If you want to communicate on social networks, surf the Internet, and snap a few photos from time to time, you won’t find any use in purchasing a $1,000 model. However, this is quite different if you plan on using your device intensively for work or leisure.

You will need a more powerful device to play very demanding video games, take high-quality photos, or record videos in high resolution. Besides, top-of-the-line cell phones offer a longer useful life. In that regard, don’t overlook the battery life of the device you choose, or you may have an unpleasant surprise quite soon.

Cell phones now feature powerful photo and video cameras.
(Source: Paul Hanaoka: HbyYFFokvm0/ Unsplash.com)

Operating System

This system software manages all your programs and applications as well as your phone’s resources. It also allows you to interact with your device, hence its great importance. As you know, Android and iOS are both excellent operating systems, and you can opt for the one that best suits you.

Remember that different versions are currently in use, and Android devices in particular won’t always offer the latest updated version. If you want to compare two operating systems, we encourage you to analyze aspects such as battery consumption, quantity and quality of the applications available, and security.

Screen

This is naturally the component that you most use, which is why you can’t neglect it. Think about its size, its material, the image resolution it offers, and the percentage of useful screen. You will want the latter to be over 80%. HDR technology will give you better image quality.

The minimum screen resolution you want is Full HD. Regarding the screen format, OLED panels offer the best image quality and energy efficiency. The screen size, on the other hand, will mostly depend on your preferences – we do recommend screens of at least 6″.

Martin CooperInventor of the Cell Phone

“People want to talk to other people – not a house, or an office, or a car. Given a choice, people will demand the freedom to communicate wherever they are, unfettered by the infamous copper wire. It is that freedom we sought to vividly demonstrate in 1973.”

Processor

The processor has a fundamental influence on the performance of your cell phone. First of all, the number of cores it integrates is decisive for multitasking and plays a significant role in processing the photos you take with the camera. These cores also allow you to use augmented reality applications and play the most demanding video games.

Virtually every function of your cell phone requires this processor. In addition to its number of cores, you will want to have a look at its performance in GHz. The leading processor manufacturer is currently Qualcomm, with its most powerful model being the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855.

RAM

If the processor is potentially the most fundamental component in your phone’s performance, its RAM isn’t very far behind. Designed to store the commands executed by the processor, its role to manage apps running in the background makes it particularly important to make the most of multitasking.

Whether you want to play demanding video games or use powerful apps, more RAM will always be better. In that regard, you can now find cell phones with 12 GB of RAM. However, 2 GB is plenty enough if you simply want to surf the Internet and communicate using social networks and messaging apps.

Cell phones let you watch series and movies anywhere.
(Source: Youssef Sarhan: tze1kKj7Lgg/ Unsplash.com)

Connectivity

Cell phones can integrate much more than Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections. As we mentioned earlier, we strongly encourage you to opt for a model with NFC technology. You should also know that many manufacturers are removing headphone jacks from their devices.

The future is coming, and you may want to opt for a model that supports 5G networks – although they are not implemented everywhere in the U.S. yet. If your budget doesn’t allow it, you should purchase a model that supports 4G. Other useful connections include USB Type-C ports, dual-band Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 5.

Summary

The market offers a wide variety of cell phones with very different prices and features to suit every type of user. This great advantage can quickly become a drawback when you are facing the overwhelming number of options available.

Remember to think about your planned use when choosing which cell phone to purchase. You are also advised to have a look at future features and compatibility with your device so that you can keep it as long as possible. The main components are the processor and RAM, as well as the screen and the operating system.

If you found our shopping guide on cell phones helpful, feel free to leave us a comment in the section below. You can also share this article on your social media.

(Source of featured image: Freestocks Org: L5DxWLmywmM/ Unsplash.com)

Why you can trust me?

Brett Holmes Technology Geek
Brett is a keen observer of the latest technology trends and knows his way around the industry because he runs an electronics store. He writes about it in his spare time and wants to help others learn more about the technology industry.