Best cell phones

Here's how to get the best cell-phone deal amid changing choices

Last reviewed: January 2011
January 2011 issue cover This article appeared in
January 2011 Consumer Reports Magazine.
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More competition among phones, especially sophisticated smart phones. More varied service options, including more phones and plans that don't require a contract. A change in regulatory approach from Washington that promises to end some problems with carriers, such as unexpectedly high bills. Could the cell-phone market finally be turning in favor of consumers?

Our special report on phones and plans and cell-phone-service providers aims to bring you up to date on a fast-changing marketplace, including the rise of smart phone rivals to the iPhone, the "smartening" of conventional phones, some hot new smart phones we're still testing, some phones you can get without a contract, and an update of how the various phone operating systems compare. We also address concerns with cell-phone radiation and placing 911 calls on a cell phone along with tips on limiting your phone's power consumption.