Consumer Reports evaluates smartphone by price and quality

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- This is the time of year when a lot of fancy new phones hit the market. Some of the most hyped ones cost a small fortune but Consumer Reports found a few solid alternatives to those that won't break the bank.

At $1,400, Samsung's Galaxy S20 Ultra is one of the most expensive smartphones in Consumer Reports ratings. The same goes for Apple's iPhone 11 Pro Max at $1,100.

Both models are newer and earn excellent scores in CR's rigorous tests. But do you really have to spend over a thousand dollars for a great phone?

"Absolutely not," said Bree Fowler, Consumer Reports Tech Editor.

Fowler covers smartphones for CR. She said there are several less expensive options out there.

"While these phones might not have the fanciest cameras or the fastest processors, for a lot of people, they're still good options," she said.

Take the iPhone XR. It's almost two years old, but at $600 it's cheaper than ever and packed with features like a sharp screen and very good cameras, making it a Consumer Reports Best Buy.

Same goes for the Samsung Galaxy S10 for around $750. It's been on the market for over a year, and the price is $150 less than when it launched.

"You can also save by shopping a lesser-known brand, like Google or OnePlus, or think about buying a used phone or one that's refurbished," said Fowler.

CR said before you buy a used phone, make sure you know exactly what you're getting. Will it come with a charger? Is the screen scratched?

If you buy a refurbished model directly from Apple or Samsung, you might pay a little more but you'll get a phone that's just like new. It may even have a brand new battery, outer shell, box and accessories. And both companies provide a one year warranty.

If you want to get a little more life out of your current phone, Consumer Reports has some easy ways to extend the battery life and free up storage.
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