Not sure what to look for in a cell phone? Check out some of our in-depth guides, comparison tools, & resources!
While modern smart phones offer a ton of features, they’re not so great for battery life or durability. For emergency use, we recommend a standard prepaid phone. What they lack in features they make up for in battery life--some will hold a charge for weeks or months.
Be sure to check the top off terms. Most require you to add minutes to your plan at specified intervals to keep your phone active. Most prepaid carriers offer long-term options to avoid wasting minutes you’re not using.
Kids are prone to drops, spills and other accidents. Adding the cost of a new iPhone to your next trip to visit grandma isn’t exactly cheap. Fortunately, the budget Android market offers a long-list of affordable phones. Smaller phones will offer a lower price in most cases but might not work for those with developing motor skills. Larger phones, while more expensive, offer chunkier buttons and easier navigation for growing fingers and minds.
For young adults, a solid mid-tier smartphone option offers reliable performance without blowing your budget. Used phones are an excellent way to ensure you find an up-to-date phone without the high price tag of the latest flagship releases. Last generation’s iPhone or Galaxy offers everything a student needs at a price that will make parents happy too! If you’re not sure where to find a good used smart phone, our Phone Buyer’s Guide offers everything you need to know!
If you’re looking to replace traditional landline service, a standard phone is a great introduction to the world of mobile phones. They use a standard keypad and don’t require understanding advanced features for basic use.
If you’re looking to join the smartphone crowd, we recommend an iPhone. Not only are these devices dependable, they offer a simple user interface and support for Apple devices is some of the best around. Better still, most Apple phones feature a similar interface, so upgrading or replacing one Apple phone with another won’t mean relearning how to use the device.
In most cases, buying a phone at full price will offer the greatest flexibility in the future. However, this depends on why the carrier is offering a discount.
In the case of refurbished phones, you’re getting a discount for a returned--and possibly repaired--product. Don’t let the label scare you. As long as you’re buying from a reputable source, you’ll often find that refurbished phones come with similar warranties to new devices and cost much less. If you’re looking to save some money, this is an option to consider.
In the case of phone subsidies, you’re getting a discount in exchange for maintaining service with a specific carrier. If you know the carrier’s service and coverage fits your needs, this might be a good deal. However, a short time after the initial purchase, you’ll be locked into your contract. Getting out of a cell phone contract isn’t impossible, but it can be expensive.
While some apps offer versions for different phones, your phone’s operating system will limit your app choice. iOS apps will not run on Android or Windows 10 for example.
In the case of one-time purchase apps, you will likely need to repurchase the app if you switch phone operating systems.
Many subscription-based apps will allow you to download a version of the app for a variety of devices. However, if you intend to use a specific app, research the supported operating systems to avoid any future complications.
Yes and no. On a hardware level, you will need a dual-SIM phone to support multiple separate lines from your carrier. However, if you’re an area with CDMA network coverage, you won’t be able to take advantage of this feature.
If you don’t mind using a virtual number, there are a variety of apps to add second numbers to your phone using software. Many require additional payments and plans to function. Popular options include Skype, Sideline and Line2.
No. The features and specifications for mobile phones are determined by the manufacturer. This makes researching your phone prior to purchasing essential. If you’re not sure where to start, consider our Phone Buyer’s Guide. If you’re looking to get a little more performance out of your phone, our Guide to Saving on Mobile Data offers tips that might squeeze a little more performance out of your phone and 9 Great Uses for Your Old Smartphone or Tablet offers ways to repurpose a device that might be collecting dust.
This will depend on how you purchased your phone and your current contract obligations. If you have an unlocked GSM or CDMA phone, it should work on any other carrier using the same network type.
If your phone is currently locked to your carrier, you will need to request to unlock it before you can change providers. As long as you are no longer under contract, most carriers will unlock the phone at no cost.
Yes! In fact, we think this one of the most overlooked options for upgrading your phone or making some spare cash with your old devices. If you’re looking to sell, we have a comprehensive guide on Selling Your Used Phone for Maximum Profit.
Looking to buy? We have a section in our Phone Buyer’s Guide dedicated to what to look for in a used phone. Topics include ensuring that the phone is valid and functional, getting the best price and the best sites for finding used mobile phones.
Monthly and prepaid data tariffs add up fast. While it might seem like they’ve become a standard part of owning a mobile phone, there are still a few exceptions. If you pick up a standard phone, you’ll sacrifice some features, but most don’t require data plans. Feature phones will vary depending on the exact features that they add. Still, most carriers offer lower priced plans since the data used by feature phones is often much less than that of smartphone.
If you’re using a smartphone and you’re no longer on contract, you might be able to drop data service if you deactivate the phone and use it over Wi-Fi. Apps such as Line2 and Skype make it simple to maintain a phone number on the device without the need for traditional carrier service. However, this will mean that you no longer can make or recieve calls or text when outside of Wi-Fi range.
If you’re stuck keeping a data plan on your phone but looking for ways to reduce costs, we offer guides on finding how much data you need and saving data on your mobile phone.