Galaxy S7 in hotel room

For many travellers, their smartphone is the most useful, if not the only, electronic device they’ll carry. It can replace everything from flashlight to camera, guidebook to diary, and more. It’ll also let you stay in touch with loved ones, book flights and accommodation, convert currency, and deal with many other of the inevitable tasks that crop up on vacation.

There’s a huge difference between devices, however, and price isn’t always a guide to quality. The good news is, though, that no matter how much you have to spend, it’s possible to get a good smartphone to make your trip much easier and more enjoyable.

These are the best smartphones for travellers to buy in 2018, broken down by price range. There’s also a separate section on phones with the best battery life, since it’s such an important aspect on those long travel days.

Note: all prices are for the outright purchase of an unlocked phone. This ensures you can use local SIM cards around the world for inexpensive calls, text, and data. 

Best Budget Smartphones for Travel

Smartphone in hand

If you’re after a new smartphone for your travels but don’t have a lot of cash to spend on it, don’t despair. Budget phones have become a lot better in recent years, and you can now pick up a perfectly good device for under $300.

No longer are dim screens, slow processors, and awful cameras the only option, even when you’re on a budget. Sure, they aren’t up there with fancy flagship devices that cost three times as much, but for many travelers, they’re good enough.

Right now our top overall pick is the Motorola Moto G6. To find out why, check out our guide to the best budget smartphones for travelers in 2018, which also includes devices from Asus, Honor, Nokia, and if you shop in the right place, even Apple!

Best Mid-Range Smartphones for Travel

Women taking selfie

For us, a mid-range smartphone costs $300-600, although by far the best value lies towards the top end of the price range. For this kind of money, you get a significant step up from even the best of the budget range, and most travelers don’t need to spend any more than that.

For around $500, you can buy a phone that handles everything you throw at it, and looks good while doing it. Attractive designs, bright, colourful screens, and high-end specifications aren’t hard to find at this price, which simply wasn’t the case even a few years ago.

To be worth considering, cameras need to take good photos, at least outdoors and preferably in more challenging conditions too. Storage space should be an absolute minimum of 32GB, and ideally more. You need to be able to get a full day of moderate to heavy use for those long travel days away from charging points, and things like water resistance and dual-SIM support start to become less of a luxury and more of an expectation.

You’ll find devices that deliver all that (and often much more) in our guide to the best mid-range smartphones for travelers in 2018. For now, the best choice is the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, but it’s a tightly-knit bunch. Two or even three devices could easily have taken the top spot, and we expect things to change again before the end of the year.

Best Smartphones with Long Battery Life

Charging phone

No matter how much they cost, there’s an area where most smartphones fall down: battery life. When you’ve still got several hours to go on one of those endless travel days, the last thing you need to see is the battery icon starting to flash on your phone. As processors get faster, screens get bigger, and phones get thinner, finding a phone that even lasts a full day of exploring remains a challenge.

Fortunately, though, you do have a few options. Whether you’re on a budget, need a seriously-rugged device that lasts forever, or want after a premium phone that doesn’t compromise on anything including longevity, we’ve got you covered.

Here are six of the best smartphones with great battery life in 2018, all of which will get you through even the lengthiest long-haul flight without breaking a sweat. Our top choice is the Asus Zenfone 3 Zoom, due to the combination of a huge battery, decent specifications, and a surprisingly good camera for the money.

Images via Samsung (man in bed), Japanexperterna (finger on phone), rawpixel (two women), and rawpixel (charging phone).

Comments

  1. Hi again. I’m going to make a purchase this year so I’ve been looking. Any thoughts about ASUS ZenFone, Xiaomi, other Samsungs ( A9 Pro is looking pretty good, as well as Note5), Huawei. I found something called Yu Yureko, a 6″ phone with specs, for $120 approx., with good reviews. I’m currently using a ZenPad 8 with double sim. It’s actually holdable as a phone,fits in my pocket, albeit a bit heavy and bulky. 8″ is a great all in one travel size. True 10″ better at home, a phone better on street, but hey, $220.

    1. Author

      I actually used to recommend one of the Zenfone phone models, and you wouldn’t go too far wrong with the higher-spec versions. I only include phones that are easily available for purchase in both the US and Europe, which unfortunately rules out many of the Chinese manufacturers.

  2. I have two unlocked iphones and am visiting Vietnam (Hanoi) in a little over a week…will these work if I walk into vinaphone and ask them to asctivate/purchase a sim? Is it the same price or more expensive to use an iphone?

  3. Hi, I’ve read there are issues with limited frequencies/bands on the oneplus 3, what do you think about that?

    1. Author

      It guess it depends on what you’re comparing it to. There are three models of OnePlus 3T (Europe/Asia, North America, and China), each with somewhat different LTE band support. This means you’ll typically get 3G coverage pretty much anywhere it’s available, and LTE mainly in that particular region. A region-specific approach is common from most manufacturers — Apple has four different versions of the iPhone 7, for instance, although its 1778 model has pretty wide-ranging global support.
      That said, all versions of the 3T definitely support fewer frequencies than (eg) high-end devices from Samsung and Apple, so you’ll be a little more restricted as to which countries and carriers you can get LTE speeds in. How much that matters is really an individual issue.
      As an example, the phone I use (currently a Nexus 5x) is the North American model, meaning I rarely get LTE coverage elsewhere in the world. Personally I’ve never found that to be a problem — 3G speeds are fast enough for me, and LTE burns through my data allowance and battery much faster, to the point where I usually turn it off even if it is available! If getting LTE speeds in as many places as possible is especially important to you, though, you may need to spend the extra money for a Samsung, Apple, or other phone with greater band support than the 3T.

  4. Hi Dave

    Do you think there’s any advantage to choose the S8+ over the S8, obviously apart from the bigger screen

    1. Author

      The only other reason is a bigger battery – it jumps from 3000mAh to 3500mAh. That’s nearly 20%, which is significant. Is that worth the extra cost and weight? For some people, maybe, but if you pack a portable battery anyway, probably not.

  5. Hello Dave,

    I am suffering from my iPhone 7 256GB heat and slowness specially Whatsapp and other apps. I’m too hungry photographer and my camera-roll is holding over 40K photos and videos BUT the free space is still over 100GB. I’m upset because the free space isn’t tight and iPhone performs slow! Is there a recommended smartphone that can handle my heavy use and photography media OR I just have to free up my iPhone as everyone recommends 🙁

    Thank you.

    1. Author

      If you’ve got 100GB of free space, that’s definitely not the issue. It’s likely either a problem with a particular app, or the phone itself. If it was me, I’d back everything up (and then double and triple-check I’d got everything!), then do a factory reset and only reinstall the apps I absolutely needed. I’ve done that on a couple of Android phones when they started showing similar symptoms, and it made a world of difference.

      If it doesn’t help, and the phone’s still under warranty, it’s time for a trip to an Apple store.

  6. Hi Dan,
    I need an unlocked smart phone for intermittent travel both in Europe and SEAsia. You have a Nexus5X. Why isn’t that a phone you recommend? I have been going to Asia for many years and for those many years Nexus was the phone of choice. I have a cheap model that I’ve brought with me when I go, but it’s not a smartphone.

    I hope you still get this, need your advice!

    1. Author

      Dan?

      I don’t recommend the Nexus 5x because it’s no longer a current model, and you can’t buy it (other than second hand, perhaps). Google has replaced the inexpensive Nexus brand entirely, now selling decent, but expensive, Pixel phones.

  7. Hi Dave,

    I came across your article as I was researching a smartphone that I can purchase in the US to give as a gift to someone in India. Costs aside my concern is the international warranty and the ease of connecting to the local carriers of Idea or BSNL. Any recommendations ?

    Yours
    Sruthi

    1. Author

      True international warranties on smartphones are hard to come by — even Apple doesn’t officially offer it on iPhones, although you can sometimes get a warranty repair/replacement overseas. Even major companies with a local presence often won’t honour the warranty if you’re in a different country — and especially, a different region of the world — to where the phone was purchased.

      The 4G/LTE cellular frequencies used in India are different to those in the US, which means that most phones purchased in North America won’t get 4G/LTE coverage in India. That said, any unlocked GSM phone (ie, one that would work on the AT&T or T-Mobile networks) bought in the US should get 3G data, and be able to be used for texting and calling, without a problem.

      1. “True international warranties on smartphones are hard to come by — even Apple doesn’t officially offer it on iPhones, although you can sometimes get a warranty repair/replacement overseas.”

        Actually… AppleCare hardware support is honoured at any *official* Apple store globally, and at any authorized Apple service centre. Similarly, every region has a number for AppleCare phone support. In North America it’s 1-800-MY APPLE.

      2. Author

        You’re right, thanks. I checked the details on the Apple site when replying, so either I misread it, or they’ve changed. It now specifies that “portable devices” (ie, things that can operate without a power cable) get international warranty support. Good news for travelers!

  8. Hey Dave,

    I’m interested in buying the new Blackberry KEYone, but since I travel a lot (Central/South America, Europe and Mediterranean, Asia, Australia), I was wondering if it would be a good phone for me. I use Verizon here in the US, so I would need the CDMA version of the phone, but I’m not sure if that version can be used outside of the US that easily. I currently have an iPhone 6 and it works and gets data coverage just about everywhere I’ve gone.

    Thanks,
    Gordon

    1. Author

      Hi Gordon,

      Since Verizon doesn’t sell the phone itself, and the CDMA variant is less common, it’s a bit tricky to get guaranteed information. That said, this page shows a model that supports CDMA, plus 14 LTE frequency bands, many of which are commonly used overseas. The Amazon listing for the CDMA version mentions the phone having a nano SIM.

      Combining those two pieces of information, plus the fact you’re presumably buying an ‘unlocked’ version of the phone (since Verizon doesn’t sell it directly), my guess would be that you’ll be able to put in a local SIM card, or roam with Verizon, and get connected overseas. This forum post and this Amazon question/answer also suggest that to be the case. I have to say, though, that none of this is confirmed — it’s a best-guess only!

  9. Hi Dave
    I am a tech dinosaur, still using my non smart phone – just for phone/texts.
    With two daughters overseas, and a trip overseas planned I need to be able to contact hotels, family etc.
    What do you recommend for very easy use, non expensive, sometime that will enable me to use wi fi so I can use whatsapp and facetime whilst overseas.

    Thanks so much Angela

    1. Author

      The Moto G5 Plus mentioned in this article is your best bet, since it does all the things you need, without making major compromises on things like speed, screen quality, camera etc. When switching to a smartphone, many people find that although they start out only wanting pretty basic functions (in your case, WhatsApp and Facetime), they start using their phone for more things once they’ve had it for a while.

      Things like maps, translation apps, and entertainment like music, podcasts, games, crosswords etc for long travel days, all become pretty useful, and the really cheap smartphones just can’t handle those things very well (not enough storage space, memory or speed), plus tend to have terrible cameras. You’ll be surprised what a different a decent camera makes on your smartphone — I rarely take my standalone camera on trips these days, as the one on my phone meets about 90% of my needs.

  10. Hi, Dave, I’d like your opinion on travel phones to India. I’ve been looking at electronic translators that have Smart Phone capability. I’d like your opinion between a Smart Phone and Vasco Traveler Premium 7. Ray

    1. Author

      I’d never heard of that Vasco device before today. It’s hard to tell exactly what it is, but it seems likely it could be an Android device with an inbuilt SIM, and a bunch of custom apps. It doesn’t say much about its translation or GPS tools, but I’d be surprised if they were better than Google Translate and Google Maps (because if they were, the software would be being sold separately!).

      While free incoming calls is a nice extra, the data rates are terrible (“as little as $0.2/MB” = 20c/MB!), and the call rates are comparable with other international SIMs.

      At $399, personally I’d just buy a low to mid-range Android smartphone instead. You have much more control and flexibility with your apps, and can use a local SIM in India for vastly cheaper rates (you can now pick them up at major international airports in the country). Alternatively,you could buy one of these international SIMs instead, which would still be a cheaper way to stay connected.

      It’s (slightly) more work than buying the Vasco device, but with a much better end result, likely for less money.

  11. Hi Dave,

    So I’ve been looking around for a good phone to take with me to South America and Southeast Asia for a long long trip (8 months). I’m interested in the Galaxy you mentioned here but I’m with Verizon so I’m a little confused on a few points:

    If Verizon sells it, does that mean it will be a CDMA phone? And if that’s the case does that mean my plan to pick up SIM cards in other countries when I get there a terrible plan?

    I’m staying with Verizon because it’s cheaper to stay on than to cancel service and start again but I won’t be using any cellular data from them while I’m gone.

    Is the Samsung Galaxy in this article GSM or CDMA depending on who you buy it from? Thank you very much!

    1. Author

      Hi Rae,

      There are different models of the device, some with CDMA support, some without. If you buy it from Verizon, it will have CDMA support for use on Verizon’s network within the US. Other models won’t, but either way, it will have a SIM card slot that gives calling and data on Verizon’s (and other) new-ish LTE network in the US, and also supports 3G and some LTE frequencies for data use overseas. Reading the reviews, several Verizon customers have bought the model from Amazon linked to in this post, and got it activated and working on the Verizon network.

      Verizon is in a bit of a transition phase with its network at the moment, which is why giving advice to Verizon customers who want to buy a phone and use it in both the US and overseas is even more complicated than it has been in the past. Regardless, though, you’ll have no problems using local SIM cards during your trip if you buy the phone linked to in the article.

  12. Hi my son is going travelling to SE Asia, New Zealand and Australia soon and needs a phone with a good camera and photo storage and also I would like to communicate with using face time. I have the iPhone 6s what would you suggest please

    1. Author

      If you want to use Facetime (rather than one of the other free video chat tools), it’s only available on iOS, so he’ll need some model of iPhone to do so. Any of the current or recent models will be fine for the tasks you mention.

  13. Thanks for all the information above.
    Regarding the MOTO G5 plus… for a person based in US or Canada (At&T, Bell) and traveling to the UK, EU, East Africa and mid East… which one would you suggest; XT1687, XT1684 or XT1685?

    1. Author

      The 1685 is the European model with dual SIM slots, so that’d be my pick based on features and where you’re going — as long as you don’t mind not getting LTE speeds with AT&T, and perhaps not with Bell either, when you’re back in North America. If that’s a problem, you’re pretty much going to have to go with the North American 1687 version.

  14. Hi Dave – Thank you for your very informative and useful article. My husband and I don’t use cell phones here in the US, other than a basic pay-as-you-go flip phone for emergency calls on long distance trips. However, we are going to start spending 6 months each year out of the country – 3 months in Europe (Portugal & UK) and 3 months in Central America (Costa Rica). It’s becoming apparent that a more advanced phone will be almost essential while we’re “international.” We don’t text, and we would be using the phone for local & US (emergencies only) calls, mapping/navigating (restaurants, recreation, etc), finding/paying for transportation (taxis, trains, etc), emails and taking pictures. I like your recommendation for the Motorola Moto G5 Plus, but seeing your explanation of phones working best in specific regions, I’m not sure what to do. We’ll be spending equal times in Europe & Central America, and will buy local SIM cards when we arrive in those regions; we probably won’t be using the phone in the US. Will the the Motorola Moto G5 Plus work equally well in Europe & Central America, or do I have to buy 2 region-specific phones? Also, can I buy the European/other model before I leave the US, so that I can learn how to use it before arriving in another country? Thanks so much for your help, Kathi

    1. Author

      The Moto G5 Plus is the right option for you, by the sounds of it. It’ll work in most countries, it’s just that you’ll get faster data speeds (ie, LTE/4G) in certain regions and not others, depending on what model you buy.

      Given that you’ll be spending the majority of your time in the Americas (6 months at home in the US, 3 months in Central America), I’d personally buy the North American model if I was you. You may well find that after you’ve got used to using a smartphone while traveling, you’ll want to keep using it when you’re back in the US as well, rather than switching back to your existing flip phone. It also makes life easier for you now, as getting hold of a European model with a valid warranty can be difficult in the US.

  15. Very! informative and clear help, thank you!

    I need a phone for a long travel in China. (few month). I have Nexus 6p, tmobile as a provider. I just came back from China. The phone and phone data worked, but access to the internet was very unreliable.
    What would be your recommendations?

    Thank you.
    simon

    1. Author

      If you were roaming on T-Mobile’s One plan, speeds are significantly reduced outside North America (more on our experiences with that plan here.) Coupled with the strict censoring (and associated speed reductions) of the Internet in China, it isn’t going to make for a good experience.

      You’ve got a couple of options. The first is to purchase a high-speed data pass from T-Mobile, which should give you much higher speeds — but if you’re going for a few months, that’ll end up very expensive.

      Alternatively, if you bought your phone direct from Google (or paid full price for it from T-Mobile), the SIM slot is probably unlocked, meaning you should be able to use a local SIM card there and get better speeds. Check with T-Mobile if you’re uncertain, or need to ask about unlocking.

      From what I understand, you’d want a China Unicom SIM, which gives 3G speeds on most phones. China Mobile has better coverage, but with your Nexus 6P, you’d probably only get slow 2G speeds.

  16. What about iPhone 7+?
    I think this one is the best smartphone for travelers.
    What do you say?

    1. Author

      If you particularly want an iPhone, and are happy to buy an old model, it’s still a reasonable device. Given it’s about the same price as a Google Pixel 2 or Samsung Galaxy S8, though, both of which have far superior cameras (among other things), it doesn’t compare particularly well in 2018.

  17. Hello,

    Currently I’m with Telus here in western Canada. I’m using an iPhone six for work and hate how slow it is.
    I’m looking for a decent, unlocked, not necessarily top of the line, dual active cellphone.
    I visit the USA frequently for work,so it needs to be working there too.
    I thought I had it narrowed down to Moto 5G plus.
    I want good battery life, decent pictures. I don’t game or used it for music.

    I’m confused by 2-3-4G and LTE, don’t know to much about these terms.
    Same with ram, gb and all the other fancy terms.

    Can you advise me a good dual active Sim phone with at least 16gb memory, preferably more

    1. Author

      If you could get the dual-SIM (ie, international) version of the Moto G5 Plus, it’d meet your needs. It’s very difficult to get that model of the phone in North America, however, especially from a reputable vendor who will honour the warranty.

      Failing that, the OnePlus 5T is a very good dual-SIM phone you’re more likely to be able to buy and get warranty support on in Canada, but it’ll cost you more.

      The sad reality is that dual-SIM phones are rarely sold by carriers or manufacturers in North America, so your options are very limited.

  18. Hi,

    What unlocked cdma phone has the most amount of bands and frequencies in the world and will work with verizon? Please advise asap. Thank you.

    1. Author

      Because many CDMA phones aren’t much use for international travel, I don’t track which ones are good/popular, I’m afraid. Verizon is also very picky about which phones are “authorised” on its network, whether they’re physically compatible or not. You’ll probably need to address your question to Verizon itself.

  19. Mainland China and international phones do not agree with each other. My first trip was with an Apple and ATT’s World Plan. The only number that worked was ATT’s 800 and they never could fix the issue. Apple refused to help when they were contacted by ATT’s support. The next trip was with a unlocked 6p. I bought a sim in China which worked but limited you to China Unicom only. The last few trips were with my unlocked Pixel XL. Again China Unicom is your only choice and the wifi bands were more limited than the 6p’s. My next trip I will be carrying a mainland version Honor 10.

  20. HI Dave,

    I have a Moto X smart phone. I do like Moto, but am not crazy about the camera.
    I travel mostly to Europe and will be going to Peru later this year. I live in a townhome with homes on both sides and a metal roof. Phone reception is poor. I need a phone with WIFI calling. So my needs are a phone with a good camera, good for travel and WIFI calling to use at home. I am looking at the above smart phone recommendations. Can you advise me on which would be the best for me- the Moto G5 plus or the Samsung Galaxy S8? Thanks

    1. Author

      If you’re after Wifi calling and a good camera, plus good multiband support for travel, you’re going to want to pick the Galaxy S8 (or the newly-released S9). The camera, especially, is dramatically better.

  21. Your response is very helpful. Thank you. Have a great day . Pat

  22. Hello…have you heard about the brand BLU cell phones??
    do you think they will work in Argentina and Italy??
    Thanks.
    maria

    1. Author

      I’ve heard of BLU — they typically make budget phones with relatively low specifications. I can’t make a blanket statement about whether every model they make will work in any particular country, sorry.

  23. Dave thank you for this site its a great help.
    My question coming from Australia heading to Spain and driving we would like to have a mobile phone that will provide google maps .
    As well as Phone and txt .
    can you adivse which would be an ecomical phone to purchase here in Australia proir to heading out.

    1. Author

      The Motorola Moto G5S Plus is an economical option that would suit your needs well, and it looks like it’s available to buy in Australia.

  24. What do you think about the Xiaomi Redmi 5 plus for traveling from the U.S. to Spain, will it work there?

    1. Author

      The Redmi 5 is a decent budget smartphone, although like many budget phones, camera quality isn’t the greatest. There’s no fast charge either, so it takes a long time to get back to 100%. You’ll get calls, texts, and at least 3G (possibly LTE) data in Europe.

  25. Greets!
    I bought Asus Zenfone 3 Zoom which promised really good photography experience as well as a long-lasting battery for a backpacker who uses maps and navigation too much.
    I literally bought it 2 months ago and managed to drop it into water, which caused it’s instant death.
    I probably contributed to it by trying to turn it on frantically.
    It did make really neat photos and the battery life was super holding since the battery was huge – 5000, alas non-removable and I couldn’t dry it properly since I needed that special screwdriver.

    Now, Im looking for a phone for a nomad constantly on the road. A phone that should have a really nice camera options and camera itself, sturdy build, decent speakers, accurate navigation, long battery life and of course, that little protective touch of water-resistance since water damage happens when you don’t expect it.

    My budget is not much and even though I really want that Samsung S8, is there something on par with it out there but for a bit shallower pocket?

    My Asus Zenfone 3 Zoom was 300 dollars, and if I have to, Ill give a bit more, I just need sth that’ll endure.

    Thank you beforehand!

    1. Author

      Honestly, the phone you had (other than the lack of waterproofing) is probably the one that best meets your needs for the money. Maybe look at a waterproof case, if you’re prone to drowning it? 🙂

      It’s the camera that’s the biggest issue, since that’s where most budget phones (and even mid-range ones) fall down. Perhaps check out the reviews of the brand-new Moto G6 (or G6 Plus) to see what the verdict is on the camera — it’s splash-proof, at least, and has decent specs, so if the camera is ok, it might be an option for you.

      Battery life won’t be as good with pretty much any other phone, so you’ll want to grab a portable battery to go with whatever you buy if you’re not getting a full day out of it.

  26. Hi Dave,

    I’m currently travelling southeast Asia and will be for a long time yet. My galaxy s6 is almost at its end and needs replacing asap. I think its worth investing in the galaxy S8 for the amount I will use it, I’m currently in Vietnam but I’m hesitant about spending buying big to later have issues with using the phone back in the UK.

    I know the frequency bands needs to match up and you need a quad band device for international travel, but samsung has a regional lock once a SIM is inserted, so is it better buying second hand (which should be sun unlocked) or buy new? I wanted to go second hand to play safe. What do you look for?

    Thanks, great blog and support to those with questions.

    1. Author

      There’s a lot of overlap between the frequency bands used in SE Asia and those used in the UK and Europe, so you shouldn’t have any problems with a phone bought in Vietnam when you get to the UK. You can check out this site for confirmation with any model of phone.

      The Samsung region lock is an interesting thing — I’m not sure it applies to phones bought in Asia, but even if it does, it’s apparently removed once you insert a SIM card from the region you bought the phone in and make five minutes worth of phone calls. There should be a sticker on the box advising of the region lock, if there is one. More info here.

      The only thing I’d be cautious about is warranty support. I suspect you won’t get warranty service from Samsung UK with a phone bought in Asia. If you’ll be in Asia for much or all of the warranty period anyway, it won’t make any difference, but depending on when you do decide to head back to the UK, it may be something to consider.

  27. Hi Dave, so I’m going to western Europe for about a month, and I wanna take a smartphone for convenience. I’ve been trying to do my research and my brain feels like its fried. I haven’t had a smartphone, but I’m familiar with other Apple devices, so I was leaning towards an iPhone. But your advice seems to suggest android would be a better choice? I just need something reliable, with good data coverage since I’m sure I’ll be using that alot. I can use wifi whenever possible, but still.. I’ll be a newbie in EU, I haven’t been before, so I just want to simplify as much as possible. Also I can’t spend too much for this, heh:( So without taking too much of your time, what phone/plan/carrier would you suggest for something like that? A good camera will also be a factor for me.. thanks for your help..

    1. Author

      Hi Mark,

      If you’re familiar and comfortable with Apple products, and can afford the price tag, I’m sure you’ll be happy with an iPhone. The camera is very good on both the 8 and X models, and not bad by today’s standards on the 7. For data, if you’re looking to save money, pick up a local SIM card in the first EU country you visit, and you’ll typically be able to roam without extra charges throughout the rest of the EU. More on local SIM cards here, and EU roaming regulations here.

      If you’re looking for a more affordable phone with a reasonable (but not fantastic) camera, the new Motorola Moto G6 is getting good early reviews. The US models are due to be released soon, but if they’re not available before you leave, you won’t be unhappy with the previous G5 Plus either.

  28. Hey does anyone know a phone that has good battery life and reaches all over the world? I travel a lot so I need one that works in a lot of places

  29. Hi,

    We have a Motorola MotoX Pur. We are having issues with the charging port and it will no longer accept the micro usb plug. I have read that others are having the same issue. Have you heard that they improved this on the newer models?
    Thanks!
    Cheryl

  30. hi i just wanted to ask that i am going to sail for the first time i have samung A8plus indian variant will i be able to get a stable connection sailing?

    1. Author

      I can’t really answer that question without knowing where you’re sailing. Assuming you’ll be within range of land-based cell towers, you can use this website to see what kind of service you can expect if you’re roaming or have a local SIM card, based on the country you’re sailing near. If you’re further out at sea, you’ll have no coverage without a satellite phone.

  31. Hi Dave,
    Thanks for this incredibly helpful post (and the others you linked to). I have resisted getting a smartphone for years, but am finally surrendering, and this information has been great for research.

    I need a phone that I can take to both Western Europe and Southern Africa next year (mostly Namibia–btw, I also read your excellent posts on traveling there). The problem for me is that beyond the usual communication requirements, I need a camera that will take good pictures indoors of books and handwritten documents (I’m traveling for research). Sometimes the lighting will be a bit on the dingy side, as well. Up until now, I’ve used an older digital camera (10 MP) that has usually done ok, but I have no experience with smartphone cameras, so I don’t have a good sense of how crisp they will be. To put it in perspective, these are documents that I occasionally have to use a magnifying glass for, so when I take photos, I have to be able to take an image that I can later zoom in on when I’m looking at it on my computer.

    If possible, I’d like to keep costs down as much as possible. Would you recommend any of the budget phones on your list? I was thinking of the Moto G6, but since I’m a Mac user, I wondered about the iPhone SE as well (though that sure looks dated…).

    Thanks,
    Steve

    1. Author

      Hi Steve,

      Of the budget smartphones, the Moto G6 camera is as good as as any other, and it’s generally a better phone than the rest in other aspects. As you’ve probably gathered, though, camera quality is the weak point of all budget devices and you need to get up into the roughly $500 range before you’ll find something that takes really good shots in lower light.

      That said, I’d suggest buying the G6 from Amazon or somewhere else with a good returns policy, and putting it through a thorough test to see if it meets your needs. You might also find that using a clip-on lamp like this helps as well.

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