The name “unlocked smartphone” might sound a little nefarious if you don’t know what it means – perhaps conjuring up the image of something you might buy from a guy in a trenchcoat. We assure you, it’s nothing of the sort. In fact, unlocked cellphones are sold by phone manufacturers themselves or by trusted retailers. So, what exactly is an unlocked smartphone?
An unlocked smartphone is a smartphone that’s sold independently of a carrier. While most phones are sold with a plan, unlocked smartphones are sold on their own, separate from companies like At&T or T-Mobile. This allows the buyer to customize the carrier, data plan and features they want. It also means your phone won’t come pre-downloaded with those useless and un-deletable apps carriers foist upon users.
Here are three good unlocked smartphones, including some picks for those looking for an alternative to Samsung and Apple.
1. Samsung Galaxy S9 Unlocked Smartphone
Boasting a curved screen, a fingerprint sensor, and a stunningly clear display, the Galaxy S9 remains one of the best and most impressive smartphones on the market. It’s one model older than the S10, which means it still has many top-of-the-line features without the brand new price tag.
Pros: Sleek design, great display, solid low light photography.
Cons: Many users found the Bixby assistant obtrusive and unhelpful.
2. Huawei Mate SE Factory Unlocked
It may come as a surprise to some that there are other players in the smartphone game besides Apple, Samsung, and Google. Huawei is one of the biggest telecoms companies in the world, but you may not know it because their primary market is China. The Huawei Mate SE runs the Android operating system and has a solid 64GB of internal storage.
Pros: Many users were satisfied with the storage and capabilities for the low price.
Cons: WiFi offered is not 5ghz, and some users had issues with customer support.
3. Honor 7X GSM Unlocked Smartphone
Like the Huawei Mate, the Honor runs Android as its operating system. It has a dual rear camera and a fingerprint sensor. It also has the ability to display two apps simultaneously through split screen, allowing you to stream video and chat at the same time.
Pros: Many features for a budget price, 32GB storage, good battery life.
Cons: No 5ghz WiFi, some users found the photo quality lacking.