Looking to trade in your old phone? Time for an upgrade? We’re rounding up the best smartphones on the market for students, travel, and work.
To say that there are a lot of smartphones to choose from nowadays would be the understatement of the year.
With prices for popular phones ranging from $50 to nearly $1000, how do you choose the best phone for you and your lifestyle?
Sometimes it makes more sense to look at what you do during your day to help you figure out the phone that best suits your needs.
Many college students need a robust smartphone that’s also budget-friendly, but what if you’re a traveler? You’ll probably want an unlocked phone that has great mobile connectivity – and one with a high-quality camera to capture your vacation.
On the other hand, business people need a powerful phone that’s functional and easy to use when they’re at work. Smartphones with big screens and quality cameras can come in handy when you’re using them for business – on an overseas video call for example.
Let’s look at the best smartphones for students, travel and work.
Budget-Friendly Smartphones for Students
1. Motorola Moto E (Second Generation)
While Motorola’s popular Moto G line (currently the G4) is probably the best unlocked budget phone on the market, it comes in at $200. Even at that price the Moto G is a true steal (and now runs the latest Android Nougat), but for price-sensitive students, this might be out of their budget after spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on textbooks and school supplies.
So, the runner up is Motorola’s highly affordable 2nd Generation Moto E. At around $80 it won’t break the budget, and you still get a featured-filled phone, albeit with a smaller screen, less storage and an older version of Android.
The Moto E has a fast quad-core processor, 4G LTE, is expandable with a microSD card, and has long-lasting battery life (for those late study sessions).
2. BLU R1 HD
BLU might not have the name recognition of Samsung, Motorola or Apple, but students in the market for an affordable smartphone can’t go wrong with the best-selling R1 HD.
This unlocked smartphone is available exclusively from Amazon and comes in 2 different configurations, both at the same price. The standard version – with 8 GB storage and 1 GB RAM – is your traditional smartphone. For the same price, however, the Prime Exclusive version comes with double the storage and RAM – although it displays Amazon ads and offers on your lock screen.
At a little over $100, this is a reasonably priced smartphone with a curved display, trendy design, decent camera (with LED flash) – and is a great choice for students on a budget, or for parents who are footing the bill!
Smartphones for the Chronic Traveler
3. iPhone 7
Everyone knows the iPhone is a premium smartphone, but for many travelers, price isn’t their primary objective – quality is.
If you want to travel light and not have to carry along a cumbersome DSLR, you’ll have to spring for a mobile phone with a stellar camera. One of the best smartphones for that is the iPhone 7 (especially the 7 Plus). Apple arguably has the best cell phone camera around.
With iPhone 7 you get a powerful, water-resistant mobile phone that can handle anything you throw at it. The large display is among the best on the market, and battery life is outstanding.
4. Google Pixel
The built-in Google Assistant app can help you find the closest restaurant or café, translate a foreign language for you, and even help you back to your hotel if you get lost.
With a sleek design, great battery life, a top-of-the line AMOLED display, unlimited photo and video storage from Google, and easy video calls back home with Google’s Duo app, the Pixel is perfect for the digital nomad or heavy traveler.
Smartphones for the Daily Grind
5. Galaxy S7 Edge
A work phone must be durable, lightweight and high quality. You get that, and more, with the Samsung Galaxy S7 (or S7 Edge) smartphone – one of the most popular smartphones in the world.
It’s lightning fast, nearly waterproof with an IP68 rating, has a beautiful quad HD 5.1-inch (or 5.5-inch edge to edge) display, and storage is expandable with the included microSD slot.
The S7 battery lasts all day, but also features quick wireless charging so there’s no need to attach charging cables. It comes out of the box running Android Marshmallow, but updates to Nougat are currently being pushed out by Samsung.
6. Google Nexus 6P
If your work involves getting dirty – like a construction worker – or visiting busy jobsites, you might not want to babysit an expensive current-model smartphone while on the job.
In that case, an older model top-tier Android phone like the Nexus 6P can make for an excellent choice, and it is very affordable these days.
Although the Nexus is now replaced by the google Pixel, it still has great specs and performance, a large, nearly 6-inch screen, an excellent camera and lots of storage space available – although it’s not expandable, so be sure to buy a model with enough included storage.
The unlocked Nexus works with any carrier and since it’s available directly from Google, comes with a snappy, bloatware-free version of Android – and can run the latest Android Nougat.
Wrapping It Up
With so many options to choose from, picking out a new smartphone can be a challenge.
For the budget-conscious student or parent, the Motorola G4 or Moto E is a popular option. If you’re needing more performance for work, the older Nexus 6P is budget-friendly when compared to a current generation smartphone.
Travelers can’t go wrong with the iPhone 7 Plus or the Google Pixel. And with the Pixel’s class-leading camera and unlimited storage for your photos, it’s hard to beat.
Whichever smartphone you choose, be sure to download our SURE Universal Remote app. Even the iPhone and budget Android phones are supported by using Broadlink’s WiFi to IR Converter.
Over to you – which smartphone do you enjoy using?