Some of the most popular phones on the market are among the priciest. Apple’s iPhone 6s and Samsung’s Galaxy S7 cost $650 each. But Consumer Reports says you can find great smartphones for less.
Consumer Reports has tested dozens of smartphones, including some more affordable options, which earn high scores. One of the newest is Apple’s iPhone SE, which starts at $400. That may sound like a lot for a cheap smartphone, but it’s the least expensive new iPhone you can buy.
The SE looks like the older iPhone 5s but performs more like the iPhone 6s, offering Touch ID, Apple Pay, and the “Hey, Siri” voice assistant. It has very good battery life, with nine hours of talk time in Consumer Reports’ tests. One of the biggest things you’re giving up with the SE is a larger screen.
Consumer Reports also recommends LG’s Escape 2 for $180. That Android phone has a slightly curved display with home and volume buttons on the back. It’s a watered-down version of LG’s flagship phones. The Escape has a lower-resolution display than some pricier smartphones. And it’s only available on AT&T.
If you prefer a larger phone, check out the Asus ZenFone 2 and the Blu Vivo 5. They have five-and-a half-inch displays and cost $200. Both are unlocked, which means they can run on a number of carriers. They also scored Very Good in Consumer Reports’ battery tests. Their cameras aren’t as good as the ones on the top-rated phones, but they do take decent pictures and videos. And they both offer slots for two SIM cards, so you can have a work account and a home account on one phone.
Another option for saving money on smartphones: Consider buying models that are a year or two old. Companies often sell them at a big discount.
Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website. Subscribe to ConsumerReports.org.