Looking for some unlocked Android phones? We’ve rounded up five Android phones that are easy to find on sale and unlocked. An unlocked phone provides a number of benefits over a phone on contract. For example, people who travel internationally for business may find that an unlocked phone gives them more options and cheaper rates when using the phone abroad. The lifelong costs of your phone plan may also be cheaper with an unlocked phone, since the carrier isn’t subsidizing the cost of your phone in the plan itself. If you are looking for an unlocked phone with a rich set of features and robust specs, read on to see our top picks.
1. Motorola Moto X (2nd Generation 2014 Version)
Learn about the camera capabilities of the new Moto X in the video above.
The new Moto X launched earlier this year, and is the successor to last year’s Moto X. The 2014 Moto X has a 13MP F2.25 rear camera. The front camera is a 2MP, but it takes 1080p video. The Moto X comes in a 16GB version, as well as a 32GB Motomaker variant. The Moto X might appeal to you because it lacks the “bloatware” found on other Android phones.
Wondering how the new Moto X compares to the new Moto G? The new Moto X is .2 inches bigger than the new Moto G, and has double the RAM. The X has a 1080p OLED display, compared to a mere 720p display on the Moto G. Both phones run Android 4.4.4 KitKat. The two phones are nearly identical in weight, with the Moto G clocking in at 149g and the X clocking in at 144g.
Price: $699.99 (though we’ve seen it online for as low as $485)
- No “bloatware” on some options
- More RAM than the new Moto G
- Attractive design with many customization options
- Nice camera
- Some users find the phone too large to hold comfortably in one hand
- Some back materials can wear unevenly over time
- Battery life could be better
- “Moto Actions can poorly mix with Lollipop’s new notification modes,” according to one reviewer
2. Samsung Galaxy S5
The video above from TechSmartt runs nearly 40 minutes in length. The video includes over 50 tips and tricks for getting the most out of your S5, including how to install a streamlined interface and how to unlock air gestures.
Samsung has packed a ton of great features into the Galaxy S5, including a power-saving mode, IP67 waterproofing, and a great camera. While it may be a bit expensive, this Samsung phone will appeal to those who are looking for a premium smartphone experience.
Price: $513.99 and up, depending on options selected
- IP67 water and dust resistance rating
- 16MP rear camera
- Ergonomic design
- Pairs with Galaxy Gear watches or fitness bands
- Built-in heart rate monitor and biometric sensor for mobile payments
- Front camera is 2MP, compared to 5MP on the HTC One M8
- Some reviewers feel phone is all flash, with not enough substance
- Screen is big, but perhaps not big enough for phablet fans
- A few new features aside, not a huge step up from the Galaxy S4
- May feel cheaper than all-metal unibody phones
3. HTC One (M8)
The HTC One (M8) gets attacked by knives and a hammer in the torture test video above.
The original HTC One from 2013 won a ton of awards, but the new-for-2014 HTC One (M8) is even better. Boasting an even sturdier construction, and improved user interface, and the same great commitment to elegant design, HTC’s new version of the One is a great smartphone.
- Exceptional battery conservation
- Great reviews for design and interface
- Metal unibody design makes phone feel ultra-premium
- Bigger display than original One
- Includes microSD card slot
- Camera has gotten poor reviews, despite improvements from original model
- Some reviewers found the previous model to be slightly more sleek
- Devices partners with Fitbit in a major way, but this won’t matter to you if you don’t like the Fitbit
- Three color options are all kind of similar
- “Dot View” case functionality is cool, but rather limited
4. LG G3
The LG G3 boasts a 5.5-inch Quad HD display, your choice of 16GB or 32GB of storage and either two of three gigs of RAM. There’s a slot for microSD expansion, and a 3,000 mAh battery. The rear camera is a 13.0MP with OIS+ and Laser Auto Focus, while the front camera is a 2.1MP.
The phone will support Qi wireless charging. More importantly, however, this phone offers a “Smart Keyboard” feature. This keyboard reduces input errors by up to 75 percent, according to LG. It works by tracking and analyzing your unique typing habits.
Price: $439.99 and up, depending on options selected
- Nice camera
- Multiple options available
- Supports expansion up to 128GB
- Attractive design
- Bigger battery than some other flagship smartphones
- Rear key takes some getting used to
- Some bloatware
- Size may be too large for some tastes
- Not as nice as the camera on Sony’s Xperia Z3
- Looks like metal, but isn’t
5. Sony Xperia Z3
Check out the Z3 and Z3 compact in the video above.
With a 5.2-inch screen and two-day battery life, this waterproof smartphone is ideal for those who don’t want a huge screen on their phone. The Xperia Z3 has a higher megapixel rating (20.7 MP), and a lens that has a wider angle than the old Xperia Z2. This is a great phone for gamers, or for anyone who lives in a wet and rainy climate.
Price: $588 and up
- Plays nice with the new Sony SmartWatch 3
- The Sony Xperia Z3 plays your PlayStation games
- Great camera
- Trusted name
- Limited color options, compared to phones like the Moto X
- Parts of UI seem dated
- Camera autofocus could be improved
- Housing is prone to fingerprint smudges
- Should not be exposed to salt water