The holidays are one of the best times to buy a new smartphone because deals are coming left and right. In fact, this weekend (until Sunday, December 20th), you can actually buy a new iPhone 6S for just $1.
But you don’t want to buy just any smartphone that’s on sale — you want the best one for your price range. We have assembled a list of the 11 phones you should be on the lookout for (along with a few alternates).
From giant powerhouses to beautiful budget options, these are the best smartphones of the season.
(Note: All prices below indicate how much each phone typically costs without a carrier contract. Prices may vary depending on the retailer.)
The BlackBerry Priv is the company's first phone that runs the Android operating system. But BlackBerry has stuck partially to its roots by including a slide-out keyboard. If you are nostalgic for the old days of BlackBerry keyboards but love Google's app ecosystem and operating system, this could be a nice compromise.
The Moto G costs $199 without a carrier contract, which is cheaper than what most phones cost with a carrier contract.
For that price, you're getting a 13-megapixel camera, water resistance, and a 5-inch screen. It's not as powerful or as attractive as most flagship phones, but it's an unbelievable bargain.
Price: Around $179
9. The OnePlus 2 is excellent if you're looking for a large-screened phone that won't cost you too much.
The 16GB OnePlus 2 sells for $329, while the 64GB edition sells for $389.
The phone has a powerful 64-bit processor, a 1080p 5.5-inch screen, a 13-megapixel camera, and a fingerprint sensor. The specs are almost on par with other flagship phones, and it costs much less.
For $400, the Moto X Pure gives you a super-sharp QHD screen and a 21-megapixel camera. It also runs on a version of Android that's not crowded with bloatware or unnecessary apps, which makes the experience feel more smooth.
It's significantly cheaper than Samsung's newest Galaxy phones, and you're getting a similar experience, though it doesn't have a fingerprint sensor.
If you're looking for an Android phone with a big screen, the Galaxy Note 5 is probably your best choice. It has a gorgeous display and a great camera, and Samsung's stylus is optimised to work well with its version of Android. For example, pulling the pen out of its holster launches a special menu for apps that work with the stylus.
This year's Note is better than ever, especially since Samsung improved its design so that it matches that of the Galaxy S6. You can also write on the screen even if the display is turned off, which makes it easier to quickly jot down notes.
But if you don't care about the stylus and have an extra $100 to spend, you might want to take a look at Samsung's Galaxy S6 Edge+. This big-screen phone might be the the best-looking smartphone on the market. But again, for most people, the curved screen doesn't add enough it doesn't add enough benefit to justify the price tag.
Galaxy Note 5 Price: Around $700
If you're looking for an Android phone and are on a tight budget, Google's new Nexus 5X is also a great option. It comes with a 5.2-inch screen, which makes it the same size as Samsung's Galaxy S6, and includes a 12.3-megapixel camera.
But Google claims that the pixels in the Nexus 5X's camera are larger than that of the typical smartphone, which should result in better photos. The real benefit of buying a Nexus phone like the 5X is that it runs on a completely pure version of Android. It's always the first to get Google's big Android updates, too.
And if you want a big-screen phone from Google, The Nexus 6P has a solid 5.7-inch screen, and only costs $500.
Nexus 5X Price: Around $379
Nexus 6P Price: Around $499
The iPhone 6S Plus is the best large-screened phone you can buy. Although Samsung's newest Galaxy Note is a worthy competitor, the iPhone offers the best mix of hardware, design, and app selection.
This year's iPhone 6S Plus is faster than the last, has a better camera and an improved fingerprint scanner, and comes with Apple's new pressure-sensitive technology.
Price: Around $749
The iPhone 6S is the best phone for most people. It's not drastically different than its predecessor, but it comes with a ton of subtle improvements. These include faster performance, a better camera, and Apple's 3-D Touch technology. And let's not forget that with Apple, you get access to the best marketplace for apps.
Price: Around $649
Additional reporting by Lisa Eadicicco.