Smartphones

Three great smartphone buys for the summer

Summer is a lull in new smartphone announcements but that doesn't mean good phones vanish if you're in the market for a new device.

Here are three worth a serious look.

Google Pixel/Pixel XL 

Both the 5-inch Pixel and 5.5-inch Pixel XL have excellent build quality, come with a great camera, sport a gorgeous AMOLED display and boast one of the most advanced digital helpers, Google Assistant.

And now that Google has finally worked out supply problems, Verizon has kicked in with a deal on both the Pixel and Pixel XL.

The carrier has knocked the Pixel down to $15 from $27.08 per month and the XL to $20 from $32.08. Over the course of the payment plan that’s a pretty steep discount. For an outright purchase, the Pixel starts at $649 (32GB), while the larger XL starts at XL starts at $769.

Google also offers cell phone service (only for select Google phones including the Pixel) called Project Fi that can save you money every month if you don’t use gobs of data.

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iPhone SE 

The iPhone SE’s smallish 4-inch display is fine for most users, as I can attest to since I use one.

The internals are on par with the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus and it has the same great rear-facing 12-megapixel camera and even better battery life than both the 6 and 6s. It's also great at one-handed operation when doing things like thumb-scrolling, photo-taking, and typing.

The pricing is the icing on the cake. Starting at $399 for a 32GB version and $499 for the 128GB model, that's an improvement over the original iPhone SE. The 32GB iPhone SE can also be picked at Amazon Bargains for around $375.

A word of caution though: Apple is expected to announce a slate of new iPhones in the fall.

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Samsung Galaxy S8 

The Galaxy S8 is no doubt one of the best smartphones in the world with the specs to prove it.

The big 5.8-inch, curved, Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 571 pixels per inch is pretty much unrivaled, even by the iPhone.  Despite having a larger screen than the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus, the S8 is both narrower and shorter than the Plus.

Samsung's latest smartphone is fast, has great battery life and is water resistant. It also offers wireless charging, along with a microSD card slot, both of which are not available on the iPhone.

The base model comes with 64GB of storage -- plenty for most consumers -- and has 4GB of RAM, the latter helps to speed things up versus the iPhone 7 Plus’ 3GB.

The downside is that you’ll never find the S8 in the bargain bin at carriers and retailers. It’s pricey starting at around $750, depending on the vendor.