The best AT&T phone just became a dramatically more difficult decision in September because Apple's iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus launched on the carrier. That's not to mention three already great Samsung phones have been on the network for months, including the Note 7. No need to fret, we've gone ahead and thoroughly tested then ranked all of the best AT&T phones available, from the iPhone 7 ($650, 32GB) to the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge ($794) to help you decide which phone you want in your pocket for the next year or two. This is handset shopping made easy! Read on for the easy way to choose a new phone on AT&T.
- Jump straight there: AT&T's phones page
- Choose your plan: The best AT&T plans available this month
- See also: 10 best smartphones in the US
AT&T phones: The options explained
TechRadar's guide to finding the best AT&T phone for you
To rank the best AT&T phones out there, we reviewed just about every contender and balanced the value of the phone compared to AT&T's asking price. We also disregarded any personal preferences and/or biases towards specific operating systems, be it Android, iOS or Windows. All of these phones are available through AT&T's main Mobile Share Value plan and can be financed with AT&T Next, which spreads the cost of the phone over a set amount of time. For this article, we'll be looking at the AT&T Next 24 plan, which spreads the cost of the phone over 30 months, with an option for upgrade after 24 months. If you're still shopping for a plan with AT&T, check out our breakdown of the best plans the carrier has to offer (coming soon).
How to choose the best AT&T phones for you:
AT&T features a wide range of handsets, ranging from around $5/month to over $30/month and everything in between. Essentially, you as the customer can pay as little or as much as you like, but naturally your phone will reflect the investment. A solid, cutting-edge phone will likely run you above $22/month every time, with a few notable affordable exceptions falling below that threshold. Instead of you having to manually peruse the AT&T site for a decent phone, we've compiled a list of the best the network has to offer, ranked as we see them. Let's dive in and find the perfect phone for you before we rank all of the available options a bit further down the page.
The best AT&T phone options for every budget:
Best of the best: Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Overall we found that the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is the very best handset that AT&T has to offer, boasting a brilliant 12MP camera, a removable SD card slot and arguably the best display on the market. On top of it all, the phone is natively water resistant for 30 minutes in over 4 feet of water, adding some much needed peace of mind. We also like the newer and even bigger Galaxy Note 7, but Samsung has temporarily recalling its phablet. The S7 Edge is also cheaper, starting at $26.50/month.
Best Apple phone: iPhone 7 Plus
AT&T's best phone running iOS is the iPhone 7, or the iPhone 7 Plus if you like them big! Was Apple late to the phablet party? Of course. Does it matter? Not really. The iPhone 7 Plus makes up for its tardiness with Apple's best camera because it has a dual lens system. It also has a brighter display and the longest lasting battery to date. This is the best Apple phone this carrier currently offers and starts at $25.67/month.
Best Android: LG G5
The best Android is technically the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. However, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention at least one of the many other excellent Android phones that AT&T has to offer, including the surprisingly impressive LG G5. This phone also runs at lightning speeds on a glorious 5.3-inch IPS display with a 16MP camera that's nothing to scoff at. This could be the Android dark horse on this carrier.
Best value phone: Apple iPhone SE
If you're like Bono and still haven't found what you're looking for, you're probably waiting around for a stellar value. The best bang for your buck at AT&T is without a doubt the iPhone SE. Don't let its size fool you - the iPhone SE runs on the same guts as the ultra-powerful iPhone 6S and boasts a 12MP camera with 4K video capture. Starting at only $13.34/month for the 16GB version, you'll be hard pressed to find a better value.
Best cheap phone: LG G Vista 2
If you're not looking to spend much money, AT&T has no shortage in excellent affordable smartphones. The best is the LG G Vista 2, an oft-overlooked phablet that has some pretty impressive features, including a full-HD 5.7-inch display, a 13MP camera and an embedded stylus. Most impressive is that this behemoth starts at only $9.97/month, making this a perfect choice for the penny-pinchers out there.
The 10 best AT&T phones for you...
1. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge | Android 6.0 | 5.5-inch screen | 12MP/5MP camera | From $26.50/month
Simply put, this is the best phone on the market at the moment. As we mentioned, the native water resistance paired with a sharp camera and an even sharper design make this a phone to covet. I highly recommend this phone to anyone living an active lifestyle, especially around water, or to someone who simply wants the best phone available at the moment. It's that good.
2. Samsung Galaxy S7 | Android 6.0 | 5.1-inch screen | 12MP/5MP camera | From $23.17/month
This phone is so similar to the Edge that we'd be lying if we put it anywhere else on the list. The crystal clear 5.1 display along with the joyous return of the SD card slot to Samsung phones are just a taste of what makes the S7 and S7 Edge a cut above the rest.
3. Apple iPhone 7 Plus | iOS 10 | 5.5-inch screen | 12MP/7MP camera | From $25.67/month
The iPhone 7 Plus is not only bigger than Apple's iPhone 7, but it is more powerful, with a few groundbreaking features thrown in. The highlight is the dual-camera lenses on the back for better telephoto photography and an all-new portrait mode. Behind the 5.5-inch display is a bigger battery. At launch the iPhone 7 Plus Jet Black was almost impossible to find, so snap this phone up right away in the color of your choice.
4. Apple iPhone 7 | iOS 10 | 4.7-inch screen | 12MP/7MP camera | From $21.67/month
The iPhone 7 is nearly as impressive as the 7 Plus. In fact, many would prefer the size on the 7 over the 7 Plus, even if it doesn't come with the fancy dual-camera lens. This ranks just behind its counterpart, but if you're looking to get an iPhone and still want a phone you can control easier with one hand, the iPhone 7 is probably the one for you. Even coming from the more powerful 5.5-inch iPhone, we greatly appreciate the one-handed operation of the iPhone 7.
5. Samsung Galaxy Note 7 | Android 6.0.1 | 5.7-inch screen | 12MP/5MP camera | From $29.34/month
The Galaxy Note 7 is Samsung's oversized phone that's had a troubled launch. It was recalled due to overheating batteries that exploded, resulting in burns and fires. That's a shame because it remains one of the best Android phones on AT&T. It has a larger 5.7-inch display and S-Pen stylus you can't get on any other phone. It's now water-resistant and supports microSD cards, but you still can't swap out the battery. You'll have to turn to LG for that perk.
6. Moto Z | Android 6.0.1 | 5.7-inch screen | 13MP camera | From $24.67/month
Motorola has the world's thinnest smartphone, and it now works with the AT&T due to the fact that it's unlocked. It's making its way to other carriers now, but Verizon's timed-exclusivity of Droid phones has always been a nice perk. While this phone touts its thinness, it's not meant to be kept so slender. It's compatible with a bunch of modular accessory backs, from a mini boom box to a pico projector. If you like accessories, this phone is for you.
7. LG G5 | Android 6.0.1 | 5.3-inch screen | 16MP/8MP/8MP camera | From $22.97/month
While this is a stellar Android phone for a host of reasons, its modular design and easy battery access make this an unforgettable entry into the Android lineup. I would recommend this device to anyone who longs for the Android days of yesteryear and needs a steady, no fuss handset.
8. LG V10 | Android 6.0.1 | 7.7-inch scr5en | 16MP/5MP camera | From $23.34/month
The LG V10 is yet another impressive entry lately from LG. Otherwise known as the selfie king, the LG V10 can take 120 degree wide angle photos with its front facing camera, negating the need to ever look silly with a selfie-stick ever again. Isn't that reason enough to buy it? Besides the impressive camera, the phone has a rich HD display and would appeal to just about any casual Android fan.
9. Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge | Android 6.0.1 | 5.1-inch screen | 16MP/5MP camera | From $23.84/month
Although the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge both went through a bit controversy in the nixing on the SD card slot (a move which was undone by the S7 and S7 Edge,) the fact remains: this is a great phone. This ultra sleek handset is one of the best looking devices Samsung has released and has the features to back it up. While it's not cutting edge, if you're looking to save a bit of money compared to the latest generation, this is the ticket.
10. Microsoft Lumia 950 | Windows 10 | 5.2-inch screen | 20MP/5MP camera | From $19.97/month
If you're looking for a new flavor altogether, the Windows powered Lumia 950 just may be the way to go. With a high megapixel camera, Windows 10, and Windows' personal assistant, Cortana on board, this handset is a welcome change up from the Android/iOS rat race. This phone's for anyone who's ready for a break from the two main competitors.
Bonus: 11. iPhone SE | iOS 10 | 4-inch screen | 12MP/1.2MP camera | From $13.34/month
For those longing for the days when the iPhone could fit in the palm of your hand, the iPhone SE is likely exactly what you've been waiting for. This thing runs on the same heavy duty guts that the iPhone 6S runs on, with several other features that make it a formidable entry into the iPhone line.