Best Android Phone on Verizon
December 19, 2017 6:45 AM   Subscribe

I'm getting an Android smartphone that runs on Verizon. I overwhelmed myself with comparison sites and reviews, and need some guidance. Budget: Under $600, preferably under $400.

"Best" not necessarily meaning the most expensive. I want something that will last a while, provided no stupid-human mishaps.

I had a Motorola Droid Turbo that I loved, but dropped it in the toilet. I'm assuming it's a bad idea to get a refurbished one, since it's over 2 years old and may be unsafe and on its way to being unsupported. (?)

I also had an iPhone 6 plus, which was only OK. It went through the washing machine and is also very dead.

What I'm looking for:

1) Works on Verizon, and is under $600 (hopefully under $400?). Could be new, could be refurbished from Glyde/Swappa/etc.
2) Good battery life.
3) Good camera.
4) Durable and has some "life" left in it: will still receive updates, etc. and isn't so old that it won't have support anymore. Something that will not break in 3 months, or become obsolete.
5) Seeing the fate of my other phones, a degree of water-proofness.
6) Be able to pay for cost of phone up-front. I see that Verizon has a deal on Google Pixel 2's right now, but you only get the sale price if you pay month-to-month. Which is a rant for another day.

Apps I use frequently: MapMyFitness, Instagram, Facebook, eBird

What I liked about my Droid Turbo:

1) Android interface, how apps were sorted, easy to find, etc.
2) "Air Swipe" feature: I could just swipe my hand over the phone to check the time, and maybe even snooze alarms. It's been a while, so I'm a little fuzzy on the extent of it.

What bugged me about my iPhone

1) Had touch disease from day 1.
2) App display/management/etc. I know it's basically the same, but it wasn't my thing.
3) How I had to select dates/times from a scrolling wheel, rather than typing in or selecting from a calendar.

Thanks for your insight!
posted by Guess What to Technology (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I have a 2 year old Moto X Pure. Good audio, android os. It was 225 or so. Never heard it called air swipe, but the time comes on the lock screen at the slightest provocation. I can snooze the alarm even if it's locked. Notifications are configurable. It's sturdy; I dropped it down some stairs the other day. I have a thin case on it, and it was fine. So I happily recommend the Moto line. I got mine at Best Buy; search unlocked moto verizon got lots of results.
posted by theora55 at 7:12 AM on December 19, 2017

Just have them double-check it's compatible with Verizon. Verizon and Sprint use CDMA phone networks, most others use GSM.
posted by theora55 at 7:15 AM on December 19, 2017

I love my Pixel 2 and totally recommend it.
posted by The1andonly at 7:25 AM on December 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm a huge fan of the Samsung s5+ family; mostly for the waterproofness and the pretty screen. they've also lasted a very long time for me; on average 3years between upgrades (and this is with dropping it etc). I have had the Samsung s3 ,s5, s7 and s8 over the past 5 years, and loved all of them. they do the airdrop thing, as well as wireless charging. a good friend has the pixel 2 and LOVES it, so I'd seriously consider that as well.

The upfront payment is going to be very hard to find with a deal; Verizon switched to contract pricing last year and it almost caused me to leave the network. (except they've had the best coverage in weird out of town places I go so blargh)
posted by larthegreat at 7:52 AM on December 19, 2017

Target has a deal on the Verizon Pixel 2 this week with a $250 Target Gift Card in addition to the Verizon $300 credit. ( You can make a down payment of most of the phone cost up front then continue to get the $300 credit in monthly increments for the next 24 months.
posted by schwab at 7:57 AM on December 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Google Pixel 2
posted by mikecable at 8:33 AM on December 19, 2017

I have the Moto G 5-Plus, and I love it. Great camera, excellent battery life, runs everything I need it to. Seems pretty sturdy: I have dropped it a few times with no problems.
posted by suelac at 9:03 AM on December 19, 2017 [3 favorites]

Nthing the pixel 2. Best phone I've ever had. Though I'm directly on Google's Project Fi so I can't speak to the experience of using it with a normal carrier.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 9:41 AM on December 19, 2017

I just got a Moto G5+ because it gets the best reviews for a budget Android phone. We live in a world where budget means about $200. It's good, works on verizon, will receive updates. Wirecutter review.
posted by medusa at 9:42 AM on December 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

I love my LG V20 -- it was ~$300 and has an always-on upper screen with the time/whatever else you want on there. I bought it on Amazon, specified by carrier, then took it into the shop to be activated. The camera is great and lets you have manual control if you like.
posted by fiercecupcake at 9:46 AM on December 19, 2017

Another vote for the Moto G5+. I got mine in September and have been very happy with it - great battery life and pictures, does everything I need it to, and sturdy.
posted by writermcwriterson at 1:06 PM on December 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Another vote for Moto G5+. I came from a OnePlus and expected Moto G5+ to feel very cheap and it is nothing of the sort. Feels sturdy, nice screen. Okay camera. 5* value. Plus if you break the screen after three months like I did by dropping it (for the 1000th time) face down on essentially a metal spike, the second $200 will still be within your budget!
posted by RoadScholar at 1:36 PM on December 19, 2017

Girlfriend just upgraded her iphone 4 to a Moto G5 Plus, and I just got an LG G5 which has a replaceable battery. Case and glass screen protector on both. I delayed a few days on the LG, got small fine scratches on the screen, so put on a protector before turning it on. LG has better screen for vr.
posted by Sophont at 2:07 PM on December 19, 2017

A vote for the S7 Edge, which Verizon is currently selling refurbished for $400 (the non-Edge S7 is $350, but the Edge has a bigger screen and battery). Meets all your specs, runs all your apps, and you don't need AirSwipe because Samsung has an always-on lock screen that displays time, date and notifications (icon only, but double tap on the icon and it opens to your notification).

As a general rule, phones are mostly evolutionary not revolutionary these days, so by looking at last year's model of this year's phone you can usually get a really good deal on a phone that's 90% as good as the phone that came after it.
posted by pdb at 3:17 PM on December 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Moto Z Play has excellent battery and is a bargain right now. Battery life of a day and a half is routine.
Moto Z2 Play doesn't do as well in the battery department.
Go up the Moto Z food chain a bit for better cameras.
The Moto Mod features are a huge plus for me and if you want a really good camera you can add one when you're in the mood. I switch between the JBL Speaker mod and a wireless charging back.
posted by blue_wardrobe at 3:56 PM on December 19, 2017

I vote for the Samsung Galaxy S7 (not Edge) which is $350 per pdb above.

I don't like big phones. One phone ago, the only not-huge phones I could find were the value models. OK fine, less money outlay for me. Big mistake! The phone had lots of problems, and I don't have the time to deal with get sh## fixed, or a phone swap (do you realize how long it takes to set up a new phone ?!)

So this time I got the S7 as soon as it was discounted enough. So far it's been perfect, in that everything works. More than I can say for the budget models. And the S7 (not Edge) is small enough to not bother me.

Get last year's flagship.
posted by intermod at 6:51 PM on December 19, 2017

I'm generally a fan of Motorola phones as good all-around inexpensive Android phones, and if you came from a Droid Turbo, it'll probably end up feeling similar. In your shoes I'd probably look at the Moto X4 over the G5+/G5S+, as it's a bit better spec'd and is also IP68 water resistant (most of the others are splash resistant at best). You should be able to purchase it unlocked from Motorola directly.
posted by Aleyn at 11:14 PM on December 19, 2017

I got a Pixel 2 on Verizon a few months back and it was definitely a worthy investment.

Trick to Verizon - you can pay for up to half the phone upfront and put the rest on contract. Then, after the return period is up for your phone, they will let you pay the balance.
posted by tryniti at 3:57 AM on December 20, 2017

another vote for the pixel 2 (or the pixel from last year) especially if you want to take photos.

google also sells them direct w/o a contract financed at 0% for 24 months.
posted by noloveforned at 8:21 AM on December 20, 2017

I would suggest the best samsung galaxy you can afford!
My wife has Galaxy S7 and she loves it! So I would probably go with this one!
posted by raiguabe at 1:55 PM on January 2, 2018

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