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 7
Courtesy of AT&T

While it looks strikingly similar to the previous iPhone, the guts of the iPhone 7 make it truly the best Apple device to date. For starters, the 12-megapixel camera is a major step up. Apple even went so far as to say at its product launch that it is the best camera most people will ever own. It captures a wider range of colors, which is noticeably apparent when put side by side with an iPhone 6 photo, and adds a new, faster f/1.8 lens, a six element lens, plus optical image stabilization. Of course, to make room for the upgraded camera, Apple had to swap out one of its most iconic features, the headphone jack, but you can use their Bluetooth-enabled AirPods.

The iPhone 7 features a four-core A10 Fusion processor which, in combination with a larger battery, adds a supposed two hours of battery life to the device. As for the screen, the 4.7-inch Retina HD display has 1334 x 750-pixel resolution at 326 ppi, producing sharp, bright colors that really come to life when viewing photos and videos. If you’re already an Apple fan, it’s probably only a matter of time before you get your hands on this device; but if you’ve been a devout Android fan, the iPhone 7 could make you seriously reconsider. More »

Galaxy S8
Courtesy of AT&T

With a gorgeous 5.8-inch, 2960 x 1440-pixel Super AMOLED screen, the Galaxy S8 is miraculously only .1 ounce heavier than the 5.1-inch Galaxy S7. Because of this, and its smooth curves, it feels luxurious in your hand. (It’s also fairly slippery, so we’d recommend investing in a case.)  The screen wears down the 3,000mAh battery quickly, but with standard use, you should be able to get through a day with no problem. On the bright side, the phone charges up fairly fast, going from 0 percent to 100 percent in about an hour and a half. Better yet, the phone is built to hold a better charge over time, so while most batteries will retain about 80 percent of their charge after two years, the S8 will retain 95 percent of its original capacity.

The S8 houses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset, bumping up the graphics. While it doesn’t have dual main cameras like Apple’s iPhone 7, its 12-megapixel rear camera takes sharp photos, even in low light settings. Its front-facing camera also gets an upgrade from five megapixels to eight megapixels. All in all, it’s the best Android phone on the market today. 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 »

Galaxy J3
Courtesy of AT&T

The Galaxy J3 looks similar to the Galaxy S4, measuring 5.6 x 2.8 x .3 inches. It’s 5-inch, 1,280 x 720-pixel AMOLED display produces bright colors and good contrast. And although its body is plastic, which is what you can expect from a budget phone, it feels and looks sturdy nonetheless.

On the inside, it houses a Samsung Exynos 3475 processor that delivers solid performance despite the fact that the phone only has 1.5GB of RAM. Its battery is perhaps one of its most impressive qualities, lasting more than nine hours while streaming full-screen video over LTE at max brightness. That puts other budget phones to shame. It runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow, which is more than most other budget phones can say, though it does come with a fair amount of bloatware. The J3 has a five-megapixel rear-facing camera and a two-megapixel front-facing camera, which is nothing spectacular, but this is still a great budget buy. More »

Samsung Galaxy S8+
Courtesy of AT&T

A larger version of the Galaxy S8, the S8+ has arguably the best camera on the market today. Its two cameras, a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera and an eight-megapixel front-facing camera, capture crisp, bright pictures even in less-than-desireable low light settings. One drawback of the phone is the fact that its fingerprint sensor is located on the back of the phone, just next to the rear-facing camera. This means you might end up with a smudged screen now and then, but like most features, it’s probably something you’ll adapt to after just a few days.

The most show-stopping feature about the S8+ is no doubt its display. The 6.2-inch 2,960 x 1,440 resolution screen has a 18.5:1 aspect ratio, which is taller and narrower than most other phones, but it holds comfortably in your hand and is ideal for one-handed use. Battery life is also commendable, with a 3,500mAh battery that should add an additional hour or two to your use time. It’s a massive phone for sure, but if you’re in the market for a great camera phone, you’ll get that and a whole lot more with the Galaxy S8+. 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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