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The best unlocked phones to meet your every need

Looking for unlocked cell phone deals that will keep up with your busy lifestyle without being tied down to a carrier? You’ve come to the right place.

Updated Apr 15, 2024
6 min. reading time
Image of 3 smartphones including Samsung and Pixel

If you’re like most people, your smartphone is your life. It stores your best memories, your work schedule, your bank account access and all the contact details of your loved ones. And while we’re tied to our phones, not all of us want to be tied down to a specific carrier when purchasing a new cell phone.

We’ve listed only the best cell phones unlocked to any carrier services so you can keep your phone even when you choose to change your cell phone plan. 

From Best Buy unlocked phones to affordable unlocked cell phones, we’ve got it all, so start browsing for your new phone today.

Read more: Look for the best cell phone plans here

Browse unlocked smartphones

Samsung S23+ in lavender and light yellow
Best for camera
Samsung Galaxy S23+
$699.99 at Samsung
iPhone 13 back and front view in black
Most user-friendly
Apple - iPhone 13 5G 128GB
$629.99 at Best Buy
Samsung Galaxy S24 in titanium green with S pen on the side
Best for AI tools
Samsung Galaxy S24
$1,149.99 at Samsung
Google Pixel 7 Pro front and back view in black
Long-lasting battery option
Google Pixel 7 Pro 5G Unlocked
$899 at Target

Best for camera

Samsung S23+ in lavender and light yellow
Photo: Samsung
Pros & Cons
  • Captures high-quality photos in low-light settings

  • Quick Share enables image sharing instantly with Android and iOS users

  • Automatically adapts screen settings to suit environment

  • Doesn’t come with S Pen

  • New users may experience  a learning curve

Whether you’re a photography enthusiast or a casual user who loves capturing every moment, you’ll love the features that the Samsung Galaxy S23+ has to offer. Boasting a 50 megapixel (MP) wide camera, a 12 MP front camera and up to 30 times space zoom, it’s one of the best cameras that a smartphone has on the market, rivaled only by the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. 

A standout feature of the S23+ is its low-light photography capabilities. With its Nightography feature, users can take noise-free and sharp images at night or in dimly-lit settings during candlelight dinners and concerts. And with an impressive AI-powered front camera, taking clear selfies and video calls are a breeze.

Prefer to capture moments on video? Not to worry, the phone supports 4K video recording, too. Plus, with its Adaptive Vision Booster and Quick Share features, you can review your content no matter where you are and share it with your friends instantly, even if they’re using iOS.

Looking for a sweeter deal? Get up to $600 enhanced trade-in credit on the Galaxy S23+ when you purchase this unlocked phone directly from Samsung. If you’re ready to take high-quality photos and videos, get your hands on the S23+ now.

Most user-friendly

Pros & Cons
  • Easy to navigate

  • Syncs easily to any Apple device

  • Doesn’t support SD card

  • Back camera is only 12MP

Not a pro at navigating smartphones? With the iPhone 13, you don’t have to be. Apple iPhones are known for having user-friendly features like a minimalistic home screen setting and automatic content syncing to all your Apple devices like the iWatch, iPad and Macbook.

The iPhone 13 features a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display and up to 19 hours of video playback so you can watch your favorite Netflix shows on HD even while you’re on the go. We also love that it’s IP68 water resistant so it won’t get damaged if you’re caught in a drizzle on your way back home.

If you want a phone that is easy to use, this unlocked iPhone is definitely the one to get.

Best for AI tools

Samsung Galaxy S24 in titanium green with S pen on the side
Photo: Samsung

Samsung Galaxy S24

You save $150 (11.54%)

If you want the latest and greatest in smartphones, get your hands on the Samsung Galazxy S24 Ultra. It features what promises to be the most megapixels on a smartphone in the market to date, long lasting battery (up to over a day with intense usage) and real-yime graphics rendering with its latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 technology.

The phone has AI capabilities including circle to search, live translating and AI photo editing. On top of that, it's scratch, water and dust resistant.

Even better? Now you can get up to $750 enhanced trade-in credit on the Galaxy S24 Ultra.

Long-lasting battery option

Pros & Cons
  • Up to 72 hours battery life on Extreme Battery Saver mode

  • Live translate conversations in 48 languages

  • Built-in VPN for added security

  • Needs longer time to charge

Google Pixel phones have made a name for themselves since they first hit the market, thanks to its lifelike camera image quality. But did you know that they’re also known for their capability to run for a long time on a single charge?

With the Pixel Pro 7, you can get up to 24 hours of usage, thanks to its adaptive battery. And if that’s not enough, you can turn on its Extreme Battery Saver mode to keep it going for 72 hours. It also supports wireless charging so you don’t have to worry about finding a plug point when your battery’s about to die.

But that’s not all that it has to offer. If you enjoy traveling, you’ll love the Live Translate feature which can interpret face-to-face conversations in 48 languages and even translate pictures or signboards directly from the phone camera. This way, you’ll never be lost in translation, no matter where you are.

Best for music

Pros & Cons
  • Up to 75 hours battery life on audio

  • Syncs to all Apple devices

  • Front and back camera is only 12MP

If you love listening to music on the go, the iPhone 14 is made for you. With up to 75 hours of battery life on audio, you can listen to all your favorite tunes without worrying about your phone dying on you. 

We also love that you can continue listening while browsing other apps on your phone without lagging. And you can set your music EQ preference to a sound that suits you - whether you prefer a heavier bass or the acoustics of a live performance.

With a huge selection of songs to download directly from Apple Music, it’s definitely on of the best unlocked phones on our list for music lovers.

Best for business

Pros & Cons
  • Comes with S Pen

  • IP68 dust and water-resistant

  • Fast network connection

  • May be too bulky for some 

  • Front camera is only 8MP

If you’re the type to bring work with you wherever you go, we recommend getting the Samsung Galaxy Note9. With an expandable memory of up to 640GB, you can store as many documents and files as you need to get the job done. 

The Galaxy Note9 also provides you with a fast network connection so you can download files and tune in to online meetings without worrying about your calls dropping out. To top it off, it also comes with an S Pen that gives you more freedom for creativity, especially if you enjoy designing and creating visuals.

Did we also mention that this phone is IP68 dust and water-resistant? With all these top-tier features available, it’s definitely the best unlocked Android phone on our list!

Best for vlogging

Pros & Cons
  • Supports Google Assistant

  • Anti-distortion stutter for more stable video recording

  • Camera quality is lower compared to other phones

Love vlogging? Then you will find the Sony Xperia PRO-I a great filming tool. With a 4K HDR OLED Display and anti-distortion stutter, making videos will be a breeze no matter where you are. 

The Xperia can easily be paired with Sony’s shooting grip and wireless remote commander that gives you more control when you’re shooting videos on the go. The phone also supports Google Assistant and if you need more storage, simply pop in a Micro SD card and you’re good to go.

Best budget option

Pixel 6a front and back view in black
Photo: Walmart

Google Pixel 6a 128GB

You save $70.64 (18.71%)
Pros & Cons
  • Affordable price

  • IP67 water-resistant

  • Requires learning curve to navigate phone

The Google Pixel 6a is perfect if you’re looking for a smartphone without the high price tag. Rated IP67 for water resistance, you can use your phone with ease even in the rain. Its Extreme Battery Saver mode, gives you power for up to 72 hours.

With a 12.2 MP dual-pixel wide camera and a 12MP ultra-wide camera, you can zoom up to 5x closer to the object you’re shooting and even record in 4K time-lapses with stabilization - think about all the sunset videos you can take with this smartphone.

Plus at less than $320, it’s definitely the most affordable out of all the smartphones on our list.

Which unlocked cell phones get our top vote?

Depending on what’s important to you in a phone, all the smartphones we’ve picked have something special to offer, especially when it comes to the phone’s camera and when browsing content. However, if we had to pick our favorites, these two would be at the top of our list:

  • Samsung Galaxy S23+: With the S23+, you no longer have to worry about getting low-quality photos when you’re out at night or at a concert. Plus with the Quick Share feature, sharing photos will take less than a minute, regardless of the phones your friends are using.

  • Google Pixel 6a: Wanta great phone at an affordable price? Not only does this have a long battery life but it also takes great quality photos and videos. It’s a win-win.

Are you ready to upgrade your phone without worrying about changing your service provider? Start shopping for the best phones unlocked today.

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Prices updated on 04/15/2024. We are not responsible for any changes to the prices mentioned above.

Afina Najib Professional Headshot
Written by
Afina Najib

A journalism graduate from Curtin University, Afina Najib specializes in writing tech, finance, automotive and wellness content. Now residing in Kuala Lumpur, Afina spends her weekends hitting the gym or watching Formula 1 races.

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