Works on all three main US carriers.
The iPhone 12 (7/10, WIRED Recommends) will serve you nicely for a number of years in the event you can justify the worth. It’s Apple’s flagship from 2020 and the primary to introduce MagSafe, so you can also make use of the magnetic accent system. It has Apple’s newer design, with slimmer bezels, a bigger display screen, and Face ID as a substitute of Touch ID (although no 5G). Apple used to promote an older iPhone mannequin for $499 however, sadly, that is your subsequent best choice from the iPhone SE with out going used or refurbished.
The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is a good various to the Pixel. Its digital camera system isn’t fairly as good, nevertheless it comes shut, and the 5,000-mAh battery affords up comparable daylong battery life. Performance places it one other notch under the Pixel—it’s one of many first Samsung telephones bought within the US to run the corporate’s homegrown processor, the Exynos 1280. You can run almost each app and recreation nicely sufficient however count on stutters and slowdowns right here and there.
The spotlight is the AMOLED display screen, which matches the Pixel 6A in inky blacks, nevertheless it helps a 120-Hz refresh price, which means it feels very easy if you doomscroll via Twitter late at night time. The A53 5G additionally bests the Pixel 6A in software program updates, with a promise of 4 OS upgrades and 5 years of safety updates in comparison with the three years of help Google affords.
It has comparable niceties, akin to an IP67 water- and dust-resistance ranking to guard the telephone from dips within the pool, sub-6 5G connectivity, NFC for contactless funds, and even a MicroSD card slot to extend the built-in 128 GB of storage if you wish to obtain extra films and reveals. Sadly, it doesn’t have a headphone jack both. The A53 5G has often dipped to $350, so it’s price ready for a sale and snagging it at that worth.
Works on all three main US carriers.
This Motorola is uncommon (6/10, WIRED Review). Unlike its Moto G siblings, it has an NFC chip so you should utilize tap-to-pay by way of Google Pay at shops—useful if you neglect your pockets at dwelling. Its battery lasts almost two full days, there’s 5G connectivity, and the efficiency is fairly nice. It even has a MicroSD card so that you get lots of storage. It often dips underneath $400. Don’t count on a lot from the cameras, however in the event you don’t care about ’em or about software program updates a lot, this may fulfill.
In the US, many low cost unlocked telephones don’t work completely on all main carriers. Some won’t work at Verizon, whereas others might need no entry to 5G on AT&T. The carriers are completely in charge for this mess. Thankfully, you don’t have to fret about compatibility with Samsung’s Galaxy A13 5G (7/10, WIRED Recommends). I examined it on AT&T and had full entry to the service’s sub-6 5G community, however I’ve additionally confirmed with Samsung that it’ll work completely on Verizon and T-Mobile as nicely.
The Mediatek Dimensity 700 processor powering this system delivers easy efficiency—I’ve hardly ever seen it decelerate or stutter—and the 5,000-mAh battery lasted me a day and a half, if no more. It has a capacitive fingerprint reader baked into the ability button on the sting, a MicroSD card slot, a headphone jack, and help for contactless funds like Google Pay or Samsung Pay. The better part? Samsung guarantees two OS upgrades (as much as Android 13) and 4 years of safety updates. That’s greater than some other telephone that prices lower than $300.