Top Phones for a Top-Notch Network
The nation’s number one wireless carrier has the nation’s number one wireless network, according to our Fastest Mobile Networks tests. But as much as Verizon Wireless would like to tell you that “it’s the network,” a network isn’t very useful without a device to connect to it.
We’re here to help. We put about 100 phones a year through rigorous testing in PC Labs to find out which ones live up to their ad copy, and which ones are just phoning it in. If you’re buying a phone on Verizon right now, these are the best you can get.
Verizon, like the other major carriers, has been moving away from two-year contracts and subsidies in favor of monthly phone payment plans. That has made many phones “zero dollars down,” although you’ll end up paying full price for them in the end.
Almost all Verizon phones are bought through the
Some very good ones do, though, and we’ve included many of them here. Recent iPhones, flagship Samsung Galaxy models, Google Pixel phones, and Moto G and E series phones are all available as unlocked, cross-carrier versions that work on all of the major carriers in the US.
While it’s hard to move non-Verizon phones to Verizon, keeping your phone if you decide to leave Verizon is much easier. While the carrier is moving away from selling its phones unlocked, it insists that all of its phones are unlockable on demand; you just have to call the carrier or stop into a store. Most Verizon phones work well on AT&T, T-Mobile, and foreign carriers, although you should definitely check your specific model, as sometimes they omit 4G LTE bands that the other carriers need.
The ten phones listed here are the best we’ve reviewed that run well on Verizon’s network. They include Android and iOS smartphones, and our favorite of a batch of voice phones we recently tested.
If you need more help buying a phone, check out our cell phone product guide for the most recent reviews. While you’re at it, take a look at our lists for the best phones on AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile.
Best Verizon Phone Reviews Featured in This Roundup:
Pros: Big battery. Lots of storage. Excellent S Pen stylus. Class-leading processor and modem.
Cons: Expensive. Heavy.
Bottom Line: The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is an attractive pen-enabled phablet with a fast processor, a terrific modem, and a huge battery.
Pros: Gorgeous screen. Beautiful body. Spectacular network performance. Dual main cameras with excellent low-light capture. Loud audio.
Cons: Camera software oversharpens images. AR Emoji and Bixby disappoint.
Bottom Line: It’s not revolutionary, but the Samsung Galaxy S9+ sets the bar for smartphones in 2018, with the best hardware features you can get.
Pros: Affordable. Support for all major US carriers. Solid specs and overall performance. Long battery life.
Cons: Average camera. Still uses micro USB.
Bottom Line: The Motorola Moto G6 Play is a more affordable take on the standard G6 that trades some power for battery life, striking an ideal balance of price and performance.
Pros: Water-resistant design. Faster processor, brighter screen, and better cameras than last year’s model.
Cons: The absence of a 3.5mm headphone jack is a big hassle, at least for a few months. Not all models are compatible with all carriers. Lacks dual cameras.
Bottom Line: Apple’s iPhone 7 is better than last year’s model in almost every way, but it isn’t quite as good as its bigger sibling, the iPhone 7 Plus.
Pros: Updated design. Powerful processor. Excellent screen. First-of-its-kind augmented reality front camera. Animoji are really fun.
Cons: Very expensive. Apps need to be reprogrammed to take advantage of display. Not the fastest modem.
Bottom Line: The iPhone X sets the stage for Apple’s next decade, with a sharp new design and a future focus on augmented reality.
Pros: Solid specs for the price. Crisp display. Sleek build. Long battery life. Good network performance.
Cons: Mediocre camera. Heavy UI layer.
Bottom Line: The Verizon exclusive Asus ZenFone V has a sleek build and specs that pack a punch for a very affordable price.
Pros: Promising camera. Fast processor. Nice build. Exclusive Assistant features.
Cons: Small screen and big bezels for the size. No headphone jack.
Bottom Line: The Pixel 2 brings exclusive Google Assistant features you can’t get on any other phone, and lets you trigger them with a squeeze.
Pros: Audiophile-friendly sound. Sharp, bright display. Solid low-light camera mode and AI image tweaking. Latest processor and modem.
Cons: AI camera processing can be slow. No real blockbuster new features.
Bottom Line: The G7 ThinQ hits the latest phone trends and includes signature LG features like a wide-angle camera and audiophile-quality sound for a solid alternative to flagships from Apple and Samsung.
Pros: Bright external display. Long battery life. HD Voice, Wi-Fi calling, and hotspot mode.
Cons: Poor camera. No video recording or playback. No global roaming.
Bottom Line: The Kyocera Cadence LTE is a perfectly competent no-frills voice phone for Verizon Wireless.
Pros: Slim. Extensible with Moto Mods. Solid overall performance.
Cons: Dated processor. Below average low-light camera. Some carrier bloatware. Promised Mods are slow to appear.
Bottom Line: The Motorola Moto Z3 is the “first 5G phone,” in that it will have an optional add-on for Verizon’s 5G network next year. Until then, it stands on its own merits as a solid phone and a good way to try out Moto Mods.