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Verizon buyer's guide: The best Verizon phones for every budget

The Best
By
September 21, 2021
Verizon logo on phone stock photo
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
Table of contents

A vast network and an extensive menu of phones give Verizon status as one of the best US carriers. If you’re thinking about joining Big Red, you have to know what phones you can choose. These include popular devices available on all carriers, as well as exclusive Verizon phones.

See also: How to unlock a Verizon phone

We’ll show you the best Verizon phones in different categories in this guide, including flagship, mid-level, and budget categories. Additionally, we’ll talk about Verizon’s prepaid phones and the best Verizon plans you should know about. Let’s dive in.

Best Verizon phones:

Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this list of the best Verizon phones regularly as new ones hit the carrier.


1. Samsung Galaxy S21 series — Flagship

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra back in hand 10
David Imel / Android Authority

Samsung’s latest Galaxy S series consists of the Galaxy S21, S21 Plus, and the S21 Ultra. The S21 Ultra offers the most of the lineup, sporting a large 6.8-inch AMOLED display, 16GB of RAM, and a quadruple-camera setup at the back (108MP+10MP+10MP+12MP). The phone is powered by the Snapdragon 888 chipset and packs a 5,000mAh battery.

The Galaxy S21 Plus, on the other hand, comes with a 6.7-inch display and triple-camera setup at the back, featuring 64MP, 12MP, and 12MP shooters. The phone packs a 4,800mAh battery and 8GB of RAM. The same chipset powers it as the Ultra model.

The regular Galaxy S21 is very similar to the Plus model. The main differences are that it sports a smaller 6.2-inch display and packs a smaller 4,000mAh battery. It also has a plastic back.

All three phones sport in-display fingerprint scanners, IP68 ratings, and wireless charging. And no, none of them have a headphone jack.


Samsung Galaxy S21 specs:

  • Display: 6.2-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 888
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 64, 12, and 12MP
  • Front camera: 10MP
  • Battery: 4,000mAh
  • Software: Android 11

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus specs:

  • Display: 6.7-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 888
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 64, 12, and 12MP
  • Front camera: 10MP
  • Battery: 4,800mAh
  • Software: Android 11

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra specs:

  • Display: 6.8-inch, QHD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 888
  • RAM: 12/16GB
  • Storage: 128/256/512GB
  • Cameras: 108, 10, 10, and 12MP
  • Front camera: 40MP
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 11

2. Samsung Galaxy Note 20 series — Flagship

samsung galaxy note 20 review hero
Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

The Samsung Galaxy S series may be more popular, but more demanding Samsung fans will prefer the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 smartphones. These come with more powerful specs and an S Pen stylus that will turn your device into a productivity machine. 

Read next: The Galaxy Note 20 buyer’s guide

This year, we have two versions of the Note 20: the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. The most notable differences between the two phones are display, construction, and cameras. The Ultra model has a larger display with a higher resolution and refresh rate, better rear cameras, and a larger battery. It also comes with more RAM and a microSD card slot.

It feels more premium in hand, thanks to its glass and metal construction. The rear panel of the regular Note 20, on the other hand, is made of what Samsung calls glasstic — a plastic material with a glass-like paint job.

 

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 specs:

  • Display: 6.7-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 865 Plus
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 12, 12, and 64MP
  • Front camera: 10MP
  • Battery: 4,300mAh
  • Software: Android 10

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra specs:

  • Display: 6.9-inch, WQHD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 865 Plus
  • RAM: 12GB
  • Storage: 128/256/512GB
  • Cameras: 12, 12, and 108MP
  • Front camera: 10MP
  • Battery: 4,500mAh
  • Software: Android 10

3. Apple iPhone 13 series— Flagship

iPhone 13 Pro series real world
Apple

 

No matter how much we love Android, we can’t ignore just how good the iPhone 13 series has become. It packs premium A15 Bionic chipsets across the entire range and a newly revamped camera setup. Sure, you’ll pay the Apple tax, but at least Verizon is fully loaded with deals and discounts to take the sting out of it.

See also: Apple iPhone 13 buyer’s guide

Apple is sticking with its four device family for another year — keeping the latest 5.4-inch iPhone 13 Mini in the mix. You’ll find similar internals, including the Bionic A15 and a pair of 12MP shooters, but be careful when it comes to battery life. We had issues with at year’s model and haven’t had time to thoroughly test the new version. You’ll find a glossy glass finish on both the iPhone 13 and 13 Mini, though the iPhone 13 and 13 Pro opt for a frosted glass finish, and they jump to 6GB of RAM.

You’ll even find Apple’s first-ever 120Hz display at home on the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max, as well as support for ProRes and Cinematic Mode. 


iPhone 13 Mini specs:

  • Display: 5.4-inch, Super Retina XDR
  • SoC: A15 Bionic
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 128/256/512GB
  • Cameras: 12 and 12MP
  • Front camera: 12MP + 3D depth sensor
  • Battery: 2,438mAh
  • Software: iOS 15

iPhone 13 specs:

  • Display: 6.1-inch, Super Retina XDR
  • SoC: A15 Bionic
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 128/256/512GB
  • Cameras: 12 and 12MP
  • Front camera: 12MP + 3D depth sensor
  • Battery: 3,240mAh
  • Software: iOS 15

iPhone 13 Pro specs:

  • Display: 6.1-inch, 120Hz Super Retina XDR
  • Chipset: A15 Bionic
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128/256/512GB/1TB
  • Cameras: 12, 12, and 12MP
  • Front cameras: 12MP + 3D depth sensor
  • Battery: 3,125mAh
  • Software: iOS 15

iPhone 13 Pro Max specs:

  • Display: 6.7-inch, Super Retina XDR
  • SoC: A15 Bionic
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128/256/512GB/1TB
  • Cameras: 12, 12, and 12MP
  • Front cameras: 12MP + 3D depth sensor
  • Battery: 4,373mAh
  • Software: iOS 15

4. Samsung A42 5G — Mid-range

Samsung Galaxy A42 left rear profile
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The Samsung Galaxy A42 5G is a great mid-range device that comes in just under last year’s Galaxy A51. It offers an excellent screen with solid battery life and 5G connectivity.

The phone has an excellent build quality and comes with a headphone jack, which is missing on both the latest Galaxy S and Note series. It’s powered by the Snapdragon 750G, between 4GB and 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. There are four cameras at the back for extra flexibility, although we’d prefer to see Samsung skip the macro lens and go with a telephoto instead.

See also: Samsung Galaxy A42 review

These things combined make the Galaxy A42 5G one of the best Verizon phones you can get. It’s also just $5 per month with an eligible unlimited plan.


Samsung Galaxy A42 5G specs:

  • Display: 6.6-inch, HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 750G
  • RAM: 4/6/8GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Cameras: 48, 8, 5, and 5MP
  • Front camera: 20MP
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 11

5. Google Pixel 4a and 4a 5G — Mid-range

Google Pixel 4a 5G next to 4a
David Imel / Android Authority

If you’re in the market for a mid-range smartphone, the Google Pixel 4a and Pixel 4a 5G should be at the top of your list. The most impressive thing about them is that they’re some of the best camera phones you can get, despite the 4a only having a single rear lens.

The 4a handset packs the Snapdragon 720G chipset under the hood and 6GB of RAM with 128GB of storage. However, the more powerful Pixel 4a 5G moves to a Snapdragon 765G chipset instead. There’s also the old-fashioned headphone jack onboard. The displays are a significant improvement over the Pixel 3a, coming in at 5.81 inches and 6.2-inches, respectively, and surrounded by thin bezels for a modern look. Besides offering a bloat-free software experience, the Pixel 4a and 4a 5G are guaranteed to get three years of Android updates.

However, there are a few omissions, which are expected due to the device’s affordable price tag. There’s no wireless charging or an IP rating. The Pixel 4a family also doesn’t feel quite as upmarket because of its plastic backs. 

Unfortunately, Verizon is no longer offering the Pixel 4a or the Pixel 4a 5G brand new. On the bright side, you can always snag the Pixel 5a straight from Google and activate it on Verizon’s massive nationwide network. It packs everything to love about the Pixel 4a with 5G but adds an IP67 rating and Google’s largest battery ever to the mix.

Activate yours at the button below:

 
 

Google Pixel 4a specs:

  • Display: 5.81-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 720G
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Camera: 12.2MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 3,140mAh
  • Software: Android 10

Google Pixel 4a 5G specs:

  • Display: 6.2-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 765G
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Camera: 12.2 and 12.2MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 3,885mAh
  • Software: Android 10

Google Pixel 5a 5G specs:

  • Display: 6.34-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 765G
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Camera: 12.2 and 16MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 4,680mAh
  • Software: Android 11

6. Apple iPhone SE — Mid-range

iPhone SE review header - Best Verizon prepaid phones
David Imel / Android Authority

Budget premium phones were all the hype in 2020. And although we’re an Android-focused website, we can’t deny that the iPhone SE is a great phone. It offers tremendous value for money, not something you usually hear when talking about Apple products.

The iPhone SE includes the familiar glass and metal design we saw on the iPhone 8 and has a very competitive camera. Users will also love that Apple didn’t skimp out on the processor, as the iPhone SE uses the same Apple A13 Bionic processor we see in iPhone 11 handsets. Other benefits include wireless charging and an IP67 rating, two features the Pixel 4a phone lacks.

However, there are a few drawbacks you have to keep in mind. The phone has a small 4.7-inch display with a low resolution. It also has large bezels that make it look dated and lacks Night Mode, so low-light photography isn’t anything to write home about.


Apple iPhone SE specs:

  • Display: 4.7-inch, 1334 x 750
  • SoC: Apple A13 Bionic
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Storage: 64/128/256GB
  • Camera: 12MP
  • Front camera: 7MP
  • Battery: 1,821mAh
  • Software: iOS 13

7. Nokia 8 V 5G — Mid-range Verizon phone

Nokia 8 V 5G UW
Supplied by HMD Global

This is one of the cheapest 5G-ready smartphones on this list. The Nokia 8 V is exclusive to Verizon, although it’s a re-branded version of the Nokia 8.3. It’s decently powerful, and it offers impressive value for your money.

The front is covered by a 6.81-inch FHD+ display with a punch hole on top that gives it a modern look. You’ll find the Snapdragon 765G chipset under the hood along with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage that you can expand with a microSD card. The battery comes in at 4,500mAh, and there’s also a headphone jack onboard.


Nokia 8 V specs:

  • Display: 6.81-inch FHD+
  • Chipset: Snapdragon 765G
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 64GB
  • Camera: 64, 12, 2, and 2 MP
  • Front camera: 24MP
  • Battery: 4,500mAh
  • Software: Android 10

8. Motorola One 5G Ace — Cheap Verizon phone

Motorola One 5G Ace on top of colorful coffee table book.
Adam Molina / Android Authority

If you’re on a budget and don’t demand a lot from your phone, the Motorola One 5G Ace might be up your alley. Its specs won’t blow your socks off, but the handset still comes 5G-ready with power for everyday tasks on Verizon’s best network.

The device’s screen is quite large, coming in at 6.7 inches, and it packs a Full HD+ resolution. Three cameras at the back get the job done, just don’t expect the world from them — especially in low-light situations. Other specs and features include 64GB of storage, a 5,000mAh battery, and Android 11 right out of the box.

See also: Motorola One 5G Ace review

The phone is also equipped with a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner and supports expandable storage.


Motorola One 5G Ace specs:

  • Display: 6.7-inch, FHD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 750G
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB
  • Cameras: 48, 8, and 2MP
  • Front camera: 16MP
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 11

9. Moto G Power 2021 — Cheap Verizon phone

Motorola Moto G Power app drawer
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

The USP of the Moto G Power is right there in its name. It packs a massive 5,000mAh battery that can power you far beyond a day. Motorola also packed 6.6-inches of screen real estate to play with, perfect to view your 48MP camera shots.

The G Power is a mid-range smartphone packing the Snapdragon 662 chipset under the hood and up to 4GB of RAM. It has a modern design with a punch-hole display, three rear cameras, and a dedicated macro lens. It also sports a headphone jack and supports expandable storage. Combined, these things make the Moto G Power one of the best cheap Verizon phones you can currently get.

The software experience on the Moto G Stylus gets a thumbs-up since it comes with a super light skin that doesn’t change the look and feel of Android by much.


Moto G Power specs:

  • Display: 6.6-inch HD+
  • Chipset: Snapdragon 662
  • RAM: 3/4GB
  • Storage: 32/64GB
  • Cameras: 48, 2, and 2MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 10

10. Sonim XP5s — Basic Verizon phone

Sonim XP5s
Sonim

This phone is built to last. It has a MIL-STD-810-G rating, which means it has gone through a series of 29 tests and can withstand everything from shock and vibration to heat and humidity. It’s also IP68 rated, making it resistant to both water and dust.

The Sonim XP5s looks rugged and is small enough to slide into just about any pocket, making it easy to carry around you while on the job. It’s a great phone for those who work in construction or are just generally clumsy. It’s not a smartphone, so don’t expect it to do the same things as an Android phone. But if calls and texts are all you need from a phone, the Sonim XP5s may be for you.

This is the most expensive basic phone Verizon sells, although the price may be worth it for some due to the handset’s rugged design and the included three-year warranty.


Sonim XP5s specs:

  • Display: 2.64-inch
  • SoC: Snapdragon 427
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Storage: 16GB
  • Camera: 5MP
  • Front camera: /
  • Battery: 3,180mAh
  • Software: Proprietary OS

11. Alcatel Go Flip V — Basic Verizon phone

Alcatel Go Flip V
Alcatel

If you’re in the market for a cheap Verizon flip phone, the Alcatel Go Flip V should be the first one on your shortlist. It has two displays and large keys, making this an ideal device for older people.

It’s as simple to use as they get, but it still packs a camera at the back that takes acceptable images. The battery capacity doesn’t sound like much at just 1,350mAh, but the battery life should be excellent since this is a basic phone that isn’t power-hungry.

The device also comes with a headphone jack, a feature most high-end Android phones lack these days.


Alcatel Go Flip V specs:

  • Displays: 2.8- and 1.44-inch
  • SoC: Snapdragon 210
  • Storage: 8GB
  • RAM: 1GB
  • Camera: 2MP
  • Front camera: /
  • Battery: 1,350mAh
  • Software: AOSP-based OS

12. Kazuna eTalk — Basic Verizon phone

Kazuna eTalk
Kazuna

If you’re looking for a flip phone on Verizon for as little money as possible, the Kazuna eTalk is for you. It’s very similar to the Alcatel Go Flip V mentioned above, sporting the same display sizes and chipset. The resolution of the camera is also the same at 2MP.

However, the phone comes with less RAM and storage, which is why it’s more affordable. But on the other hand, it does pack a slightly larger battery at 1,500mAh.

Like most flip phones, the Kazuna eTalk has large physical keys that make using it a breeze. Because of the phone’s design, the chance of butt-dialing someone is also more or less eliminated. 


Kazuna eTalk specs:

  • Displays: 2.8- and 1.44-inch
  • SoC: Snapdragon 210
  • Storage: 4GB
  • RAM: 512MB
  • Camera: 2MP
  • Front camera: /
  • Battery: 1,500mAh
  • Software: AOSP-based OS

Verizon prepaid phones

samsung galaxy note 10 plus star wars edition s pen 2

Prepaid phones are usually bought off-contract, which means you can’t get them on an installment plan and have to pay for them up-front. Verizon has plenty of them available, although their selection doesn’t include the latest and greatest flagships like the Note 20 Ultra and OnePlus 8 Pro.

If you want to opt for a prepaid Verizon phone, check out the five best ones we think you should consider below.

There are plenty of others to choose from, some of which you can check out in our dedicated best Verizon prepaid phones post at the link.

Verizon phones vs. unlocked phones

Verizon Wireless logo stock image 7

When deciding whether to go for a Verizon or an unlocked phone, you have to keep a few things in mind.

A phone bought directly from Verizon has its advantages, with the biggest one being that you don’t have to pay for it up-front. You only pay a portion of the cost right away and then pay off the rest over a period of time. This up-front cost could be anywhere from zero dollars to hundreds of dollars, depending on the phone’s price and popularity. With unlocked phones, you usually have to pay for them in full at the time of purchase.

Verizon's deals can save you a lot of money.

Verizon also offers great deals on select devices, so you can save a lot of money compared to getting them unlocked from Amazon or any other retailer. BOGO deals are top-rated, which get you two handsets for the price of one. Deals like these usually aren’t available for unlocked phones.

Support is another advantage of getting a phone from Verizon. Whenever you need help with anything, visit your local carrier shop, and the staff will gladly help you with it. If your phone has some physical defect, Verizon can help you get it fixed.

Another thing worth mentioning is that if you buy a carrier device, you can be sure that that device is specifically configured to work well on the carrier’s network. In other words, if you buy a Verizon phone, you can be sure that it will work well on Verizon’s network and that you’ll be able to take advantage of all the features you would expect.

Read next: The best Android phonesThe best cheap phones

When it comes to disadvantages, the biggest one is that a phone bought from Verizon is locked to the carrier’s network for a certain amount of time. That means you can’t use it on a different carrier before the phone gets unlocked, which is 60 days in Verizon’s case.

If you buy an unlocked phone, you can usually take it to just about any carrier and switch between them as you please. You have much more freedom this way.

Verizon phones may also come with a lot of bloatware you don’t get on unlocked phones. The selection is limited, and you won’t find every popular model in the carrier’s lineup. For example, while Verizon sells the OnePlus 8, it does not offer the Pro model. So if you want a specific phone that’s not available at Verizon, you’ll have to get it unlocked.

Don’t forget to pick a plan

verizon big red v logo at mwc 2019

After you select the phone you want to get, it’s time to choose a Verizon plan. There are many options available, so regardless of what you’re looking for, Verizon likely has you covered. You can check out and compare the carrier’s post-paid plans in the table below. Still, if you want to learn more about the other plans Verizon has to offer and how they compare with the competition, check out our dedicated best Verizon plans and best Verizon prepaid plans posts at the links.

Start UnlimitedPlay More UnlimitedDo More UnlimitedGet More Unlimited
Cost
Start Unlimited:
$70 for one line
$60 for two lines
$45 for three lines
$35 for four lines
Play More Unlimited:
$80 for one line
$70 for two lines
$55 for three lines
$45 for four lines
Do More Unlimited:
$80 for one line
$70 for two lines
$55 for three lines
$45 for four lines
Get More Unlimited:
$90 for one line
$80 for two lines
$65 for three lines
$55 for four lines
Talk & Text
Start Unlimited:
Unlimited
Play More Unlimited:
Unlimited
Do More Unlimited:
Unlimited
Get More Unlimited:
Unlimited
Data
Start Unlimited:
Unlimited 4G LTE
5G Nationwide
Play More Unlimited:
25GB Premium 4G LTE
Unlimited standard 4G
5G Ultrawide access with compatible phone
Do More Unlimited:
50GB Premium 4G LTE
Unlimited standard 4G
5G Ultrawide access with compatible phone
Get More Unlimited:
75GB Premium 4G LTE
Unlimited standard 4G
5G Ultrawide access with compatible phone
Hotspot
Start Unlimited:
Not included
Play More Unlimited:
15GB 4G LTE
Unlimited 3G
Do More Unlimited:
15GB 4G LTE
Unlimited 3G
Get More Unlimited:
30GB 4G LTE
Unlimited 3G
International Service
Start Unlimited:
Talk & Text in Mexico and Canada
Texting in over 200 countries
Play More Unlimited:
Talk & Text in Mexico and Canada
Texting in over 200 countries
Do More Unlimited:
Talk & Text in Mexico and Canada
Texting in over 200 countries
Get More Unlimited:
Talk & Text in Mexico and Canada
Texting in over 200 countries
Extra Perks
Start Unlimited:
480p streaming
Apple Music for 6 months
Disney Plus for six months
Discovery Plus for 12 months
Play More Unlimited:
720p streaming
Apple Music for six months
Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN Plus included
Discovery Plus for 12 months
Do More Unlimited:
480p streaming
Apple Music for 6 months
Disney Plus for six months
Discovery Plus for 12 months
500GB cloud storage
Get More Unlimited:
480p streaming
Apple Music included
Disney Plus, Hulu, and EPSN Plus included
Discovery Plus for 12 months
500GB cloud storage

Frequently asked questions

Verizon Wireless logo stock image 1

Q: Is my Verizon phone unlocked?
A: No, it’s not. The phone you bought from Verizon is locked to the carrier’s network.

Q: How to unlock a Verizon phone?
A: All Verizon phones are locked for 60 days after purchase/activation. After 60 days, Verizon unlocks the phone automatically, so you don’t have to do anything.

Q: How to activate a new Verizon phone?
A: Setting up and activating a new Verizon phone is a breeze. All you have to do is charge it, turn it on, and then follow the on-screen instructions. Once the setup is complete, Verizon will activate your phone and have it ready for use.

Q: How to switch phones on Verizon?
A: If you want to switch devices with someone else on your account, all you have to do is visit the Swap Devices page in My Verizon and follow the on-screen instructions. The process only takes a few minutes to complete.

Q: Can I use a Sprint phone on Verizon?
A: Generally yes, since both carriers use CDMA technology. So if you have an unlocked Sprint phone, you should be able to use it on Verizon. However, you should check with Verizon before signing up for a plan to make sure since some specific devices may not be compatible.