Unlocked phones — outside the shackles of the carriers and able to work on any GSM operator worldwide — are finally starting to have their moment in the sun.
And we’re not just talking more expensive versions of top-shelf phones. There are a number of mid-range unlocked phones that will serve you very well — and not burn a hole in your wallet. Let’s take a look.
Nexus and unlocked go together like PB&J
Great build quality
Pure Google software
It’s pretty big
Lacks wireless charging
A little bit slippery to hold
In the Android world, one brand should always come to mind when thinking unlocked: Nexus. For the Nexus phones aren’t just a way to get the latest and greatest software from Google. They’re also a way to get a good phone at a good price and stay away from a new contract. Of the two current Nexus phones, the 6P is the one to get.
We’ve usually had to recommend a Nexus phone with a rather large caveat — and that’s usually had to do with the camera. Not so with the Nexus 6P, manufactured by Huawei.
It’s got a camera that doesn’t make us want to carry around a second shooter, just in case. It’s got the design and build quality that stands up against any other phone. And perhaps most important is that it’s going to always be updated to the latest version of Android, and that goes for the monthly security updates, too.
Read our Nexus 6P review
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Motorola Moto G (2015)
Still one of the best value phones around
Solid build quality
No manufacturer bloatware
MicroSD card slot
Only a single speaker compared to previous model
No quickcharge or wireless charging
Motorola is arguably responsible for reinventing the budget phone space when it tore up the rule book with the original Moto G. Now three