The 7 Best AT&T Smartphones to Buy in 2017

Buy the best smartphones on AT&T's reliable network

AT&T has an exceptional arsenal of smartphones. From budget-friendly to the latest and greatest, there are plenty of options whether you're a fan of the Android OS or iOS platform. To help you decide which phone is best for you (do you want the best camera? The best battery life? The most durable?), we've combed through all the options and rounded up the best seven out on the market right now.

iPhone 6S
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Choosing between the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus on AT&T for the best Apple smartphone is one tough call. But we're going for the iPhone 6s, thanks to its more pocket-friendly size and incredible performance. It also supports AT&T’s voice-over-LTE (VoLTE), which offers up higher-quality phone calls over the LTE network. The advent of live photos might be gimmicky, but the iPhone 6s 12-megapixel camera is no joke. The 5-megapixel front-facing FaceTime HD camera is equally wonderful and reminds us why Apple is among the best-performing smartphone cameras every time. Photos are excellent. There’s no other way to say it.

The addition of 3D touch (a new way of engaging with apps on your phone via a longer press to bring up home screen menus) is unique, but certainly not a standalone reason to purchase this device. The A9 processor puts forth performance that rivals the competition with nary a home screen freeze in sight. More »

Galaxy S7 Edge
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There’s no question about it. Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Edge is the best Android device available on AT&T’s network and likely any other network as well. Its 12-megapixel camera, water resistance up to 30 minutes and arguably one of the best displays ever on a smartphone make this Android a must-have. The design is beautiful, with glass front and back panels and an aluminum frame.

Paired with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, 3600mAh battery, and a 5.5” display, it’s an incredible smartphone. If the 32GB of onboard memory isn’t enough, Samsung kicked it up a notch allowing a microSD and 200GB of external storage. Performance is second to none in the Android world with nary a skip, freeze, pause or slow app load in sight. The camera is fantastic. There’s really no other way to describe its performance, especially in low light. This is arguably the most powerful and best-performing smartphone on the market, period. More »

iPhone SE
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If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, look straight at the iPhone SE. It has the same specifications and internal hardware as our Best Apple pick, the iPhone 6s. There’s a 12-megapixel camera capable of recording video in 4K. If you were a fan of the iPhone 5 or 5s, you’ll feel right at home as the phone is almost identical in size and shape. Apple’s Touch ID, the fingerprint-based method to access your smartphone without a password, is present, as is Apple Pay. In fact, if you have any cases lying around for the iPhone 5/5s, you’ll be able to slip it right in and feel nostalgic.

The 4” display might not please some of today’s “bigger is better” smartphone crowd, but finding a device that rivals the performance of the best smartphones on the market in a pocket-friendly package hasn’t been easy. In this area, Apple has succeeded and done so with spades. That the price is almost half of its larger sibling makes it an easy recommendation for the best value phone. The A9 processor, the very same as inside the iPhone 6s, is 3x more powerful than that of the iPhone 5s, which means console-class graphics and solid performance for Pokémon Go. More »

LG G Vista 2

Finding a happy medium between the budget bin and high-end requires a device that meets our usage requirements but only does so at an affordable price. The LG G Vista 2, available on AT&T’s network decidedly fits that criterion and while it’s not perfect, it’s more than good enough. Featuring a full-HD 5.7” display, 13-megapixel camera and stylus, there’s no questioning the Vista 2 wants to punch above its price point. The built-in stylus is welcome, but if you’re used to the performance and capabilities of Samsung’s S-Pen, you’ll be hard-pressed to find similar performance. The lack of built-in software to take advantage of this specialized feature feels like a glaring omission.

Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor, performance was just fine for general use. You might see some lags when running multiple apps in the background, which is par for the course for devices running similar hardware. The 13-megapixel camera was quite good, with quick focus and images that felt clean with good details. Unfortunately, AT&T loaded the Vista 2 with an unnecessary amount of carrier bloatware or preinstalled applications. There’s a total of 20 non-Google, preinstalled apps and, as most of this can’t be uninstalled, it’s a frustrating experience. However, if you don’t want to pay top-dollar for a phone that’s similarly sized, but offers the latest and greatest hardware, you should definitely consider the LG G Vista 2.  More »

LG V10
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Ultimately, our choice of the LG V10 as the best camera smartphone available on AT&T isn’t hitting on the idea that it is far better than others on this list, but the addition of useful features like the 120-degree wide angle photos with the front-facing camera offer some useful, if gimmicky, bonuses that helped nudge it into the top spot. Its 5.7” display is roughly the same size and weight of the iPhone 6s Plus, but LG eeks out a slightly larger display without the dedicated home button that limits Apple. Thankfully, the hardware feels rugged, durable and ready to take on the world. Battery life is par for the course and overall performance will rival that of the Samsung Galaxy series.

Everything really comes down to the camera with the V10 and here it doesn’t disappoint. Smartphone camera standards have jumped leaps and bounds in recent years, closing the gap between Android manufacturers and Apple’s own performance. Everything from the camera app and its manual and automatic modes, to 4K recording, to how quickly it focuses and exposes, make this an easy choice if smartphone photography is at the top of your buying decisions. LG’s manual settings are second to none and while this won’t replace a dedicated DSLR, you’ll feel more than comfortable on-the-go with the V10 for capturing excellent shots. More »

Galaxy S7 Active
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Skip the indestructible and waterproof phone cases, this phone is ready to go for a swim. Our vote for the best durable smartphone, the Galaxy S7 Active, offers all the benefits of our Best Android choice, but in a military-grade casing. The addition of IP68 certification means it's dust proof, water resistant (up to five feet of water for 30 minutes) and certified against salt, humidity, rain, vibration, solar radiation (yes, really) and thermal shock resistance. It also comes with a 4,000mAh battery under the hood (which offers around an extra hour to ninety minutes of additional performance over the standard Galaxy S7). And while the matte green reinforced metal frame isn’t all that attractive, what it lacks for in looks it makes up for in performance. More »

When it comes to utilizing a device on a network like AT&T that’s not officially sold by the carrier, the good news is not only is this allowed, it’s often encouraged. The real challenge becomes finding devices that can fully encapsulate the network experience without being officially supported by the carrier. In the case of the OnePlus 3, it fully supports AT&T’s network, including the 4G LTE band you’ll want for the best possible experience. So why buy this phone instead of something like the iPhone or Galaxy S7 Edge? For the price, it’s a steal, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, a 16-megapixel camera and an all-aluminum body.

That’s not to say the camera is perfect, as there’s some issue with low-light image performance that we’d love to see improve via software update. Still, it’s more than good enough and runs right up there with the Galaxy S7 Edge as a premium camera offering a host of useful features. Unfortunately, battery life was disappointing in the sense that it’s just average. It’s right in the middle of the pack with top-tier Android devices. However, when it comes to recharging, the OnePlus 3 is, bar none, best in class. You can juice up the device by up to 60 percent in just 30 minutes, no matter what you’re doing on the phone at the time. And when we're in an age that's all about speed, that's pretty amazing.


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