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Best Android Phones on Verizon: January 2016

best android phone verizon

I don’t know that I can count on one hand, the times that we have been asked to give our opinion on which is the best phone for this carrier or that network. So, like we have done in the past with these types of questions that pop up time and time again, we thought we’d just start talking openly about the topic on regular intervals. And since many of you are still attached to Verizon, possibly even holding onto an unlimited data plan, we’ll start there before making our way through the rest of the major carriers.

Now, our answers will change as the year progresses and new devices arrive, but we need to start somewhere and so we decided January would be the best time to get this going. What we have for you below are the three best Android phones we think you can buy today on Verizon.


Note:  This post focuses on the Android phones you can buy at Verizon. This post isn’t touching on the unlocked options out there, like the Nexus 6P or Moto X Pure Edition. We know those fully work on Verizon, but they aren’t sold at Verizon stores.

galxay note 5 verizon

The Best:  Galaxy Note 5

This shouldn’t shock anyone. In our end of 2015 round-up on the best Android phone you could buy, we raved about the Galaxy Note 5, even though it came in just below the Nexus 6P. But just because it didn’t top our list, doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t swap a 6P for a Note 5 and not feel just as good about life.

You see, with the Galaxy Note 5, Samsung has ticked almost all of the boxes one could ask for in a smartphone. They put the best display and camera the world has ever seen in a smartphone. They also gave us a beautiful glass and metal body that fits perfectly in the hand, even though it’s a large device. They tossed in an improved S Pen, included a big enough battery to get you through almost any day, and utilized never-before-seen features like fast wireless charging. And let’s not forget that the Note 5 is one of a handful of phones that can take advantage of Samsung Pay, which is far and away the best mobile payment system on the planet.

The Galaxy Note 5 has few issues, but if you want a big one, it would be its lack of timely software updates. We are almost into February and this phone still doesn’t have Android 6.0 Marshmallow. We also don’t know when that will come. That’s unfortunate, because this phone could get even better with the behind-the-scenes improvements from Google’s latest version of Android.

To get the full scoop on the Galaxy Note 5, be sure to read our review.

As of today, you can pick-up the Galaxy Note 5 from Verizon for around $29 per month or $696 at full retail. By no means is this phone cheap or attempting to compete with the value phones of the world, but when you look at all of the tech and high-end finishes that Samsung included, you can understand why it carries a premium price. This is one of those phones that seems worthy of its high price, and that’s not something I say often.

With the Galaxy S7 arriving within the next couple of months, it’s tough to say if the Note 5 will remain here. Honestly, though, I wouldn’t be shocked if it does.

droid turbo 2 verizon

The Runner-up:  DROID Turbo 2

The DROID Turbo 2 is one of those phones that has a lot going for it (insane battery life and performance, shatterproof display, good camera, SD card slot, and Moto Maker), but it doesn’t quite nail it all. That’s not to say that you won’t be 100% satisfied with it, it’s just that it lags a bit in overall experience when you compare it to the Galaxy Note 5.

We tend to really like the Turbo 2 because of its “pure” Android experience that has given it (along with Motorola optimizations) one of the fastest and smoothest performance experiences in any phone I have ever used.  This phone just screams without lag. But it also really does have a shatterproof display. Seriously, you cannot crack this thing. That’s due in part to the plastic elements that make up its ShatterShield technology, but it truly is the phone for those with clumsy hands.

Outside of those two features, we can’t help but praise Motorola for the work they have done with cameras this year, and that includes the Turbo 2. They should also be praised for the high-end specs of this phone, inclusion of a microSD slot, the massive 3760mAh battery tucked inside, and the options in Moto Maker to let you customize a phone.

The Turbo 2 does have its issues, though. The display, while shatterproof, isn’t exactly the best looking display on the planet. The design of the phone is also quite middle-of-the-road, at least when considering the white model (buy the black one if you decide you want the Turbo 2). This phone doesn’t have a fingerprint reader and is loaded up with awful amounts of bloatware from Verizon. We also don’t know when it will see the update to Marshmallow, since Verizon is typically horrendous when it comes to updating its flagship phones in a timely manner.

To see an in-depth view of the Turbo 2, be sure to read our review.

The DROID Turbo 2 can currently be purchased from Verizon, with Moto Maker customization, at a starting price of $26 per month or $624 at full retail. Like the Note 5, this isn’t a value buy here. Instead, this is a high-end phone with mostly top-of-the-line finishes that command a steep price. To choose this over the Note 5, I think someone would have to be looking for insane battery life, coupled with a stock Android experience. Otherwise, spend the extra few bucks per month on the Note.

Edit: Original post said Turbo 2 doesn’t have wireless charging when it fact it does.

lg v10 verizon

Another Option: LG V10

If neither of those phones is doing it for you, maybe because you don’t trust Samsung or Motorola, you may want to consider something completely different in the LG V10. I clowned on this phone a bit when it was first announced, but ended up really liking it for the most part during my review period.

The LG V10 has a really incredible, big and beautiful display that I wasn’t expecting to see. It has a really unique design with steel bars running up its sides that I appreciate, especially after looking at so many similar phones on a daily basis. I also found the performance to be quite good, which is saying something for an LG phone, and the battery life to be up there with the best of them. LG even did some nice things with the gimmicky secondary display on the V10.

I think where the LG V10 trails those other two is in things like the software and camera departments. LG has always had one of the worst takes on Android and nothing changes here. But outside of that, the camera just isn’t as good as the shooters from Samsung and Motorola. The phone is insanely large as well, and completely unmanageable with one hand.

Look, if you want a tough phone, with an SD card slot and removable battery, and a really unique design, the V10 might just be the phone for you. Just remember that the software, camera, and size could all be an issue.

Be sure to read our full LG V10 review if you haven’t already.

You can currently buy the LG V10 from Verizon for $28 per month or $672 at full retail. That seems a bit steep to me and I would actually recommend you sit tight before jumping quickly at the V10. The LG G5 should be here within the next two months and should top this phone in almost every category. That likely means we’ll see discounts arrive to the V10, dropping it to a more reasonable price point.

What do you think? If you had to buy an Android phone on Verizon today, which would you choose?

  • Jillxz

    The performance on an LG has always been good. I have an LG G2 and its still very fast. Never had a problem with speed.

  • QLR

    Ended up with a gold Galaxy Note 5 on New Years Eve. My Note 4 was getting long in the tooth. I was initially put off by the capped storage and battery. However, I am loving the smooth performance and premium feel to the 5. I have no regrets. I just noticed the markdown on the Nexus 6p, so I will see where that takes me.

  • Gf1fanatic

    Just out today, ” For the second time in a month, researchers at cyber-security firms BugSec and CyNet have discovered a major security problem that leaves tens of millions of LG users at risk.” Give me the regular Google security updates any day! You can keep your Motorola, Samsung and LG.

  • EYEsee

    You are completely mistaken about the lg v10. It is a beautiful phone, which does have a different look and feel than that of the other phones and I did like the aesthetic of it. The camera is AMAZING. A host of manual options and the focus speed is one of the best I’ve even encountered. The interface is light on LGs overlay and I actually like some of the modifications theyve made over samsungs incredibly intrusive TouchWiz. However….for everything I love about the phone, in my month long experience with it, the battery life is ATROCIOUS. It would barely make it to 3 hours on normal use. I looked for threads as to ways that might remedy the problem and was unable to find a resolution.

    It’s a great phone w a big problem. For my usage, they’d have to fix the battery issue, which I believe they tried to remedy by offering a free spare battery with an external charger, and I’d have to be able to root it. But for your average user, the battery drain issue would have to be resolved.

  • john smith

    You’re really saying that the DROID Turbo 2 isn’t better than the Note 5? A bit of lag means nothing. And bloatware means nothing, especially because the phone has 2 TB of external storage, and the Note is bloated with Samsung crap.
    And I’ve seen the screen of the DROID Turbo 2 and it looks better than the Droid Turbo 1, if not the same. I don’t know what you or anyone else means by “The display isn’t very great”
    Also I saw the white model and I found nothing wrong with the design.
    This isn’t anything against your opinion. I’m just stating my opinion. 2TB of expandable memory and a shatterproof display that looks amazing is a seller to me.
    My order would be Turbo 2, LG V10, Note 5.
    Again, this isn’t to go against your opinion and I am NOT trying to upset you in anyway.

  • Nate

    I’ve got a 64GB Note 5, I use it a lot. But I also still have my Galaxy S5. I use it a heck of a lot too.

    What Samsung giveth with one hand, they take in the next.

    No ir, water resistance, removable battery….

    While the awesome camera and fast charging are awesome on the Note 5. I still find the S5 to be the trusty phone that continues to work.

  • Jasdeep Singh

    I respect your opinion Kellex, but saying that Droid Turbo’s camera is better than the V10 is just plain blasphemy! You may not like what LG has done with its software (and I don’t either), but I mean cmon!

    And I have an LG V10 which i chose on top of the DT2 because of the camera, and haven’t regretted it one bit!

    • DER

      I agree….the Camera is one of the best out there…but I’m struggling with the V10 because of poor battery life and a lot of lag and overheating the last couple days….thinking of getting rid of it sadly.

      • Jasdeep Singh

        That’s unfortunate because battery life for me has been really good. Aside from missing stock software experience, this phone is in every way better than my Nexus 5.

        • DER


  • Nunyur_Biznezz

    I disagree that the LG versions of Android are bad. I’ve tried using Samsung and……..ugh. Also think camera reviews are mostly BS. Unless you’re serious photographer you’re not telling a difference. And if you’re doing professional photos you’d be using a dedicated camera anyway. If you’re keeping the photos on your phone or using it for Facebook, Snapchat etc etc most phone cameras are overkill. Even pics on your PC don’t need that great of a camera. A 1080p screen is 2 MP even a 4K screen is 8 MP. Unless you’re doing an ungodly amount of cropping and zooming why do you need a 21 MP camera?

  • jimt

    The title is click-bait, who cares about the best phones you can buy from Verizon? Not even Verizon customers. Only Verizon would almost care.

    • scastro87

      Why wouldn’t Verizon customers care about the best phones available on the Verizon network? Verizon is the biggest carrier, so this is of interest to lots of people.

      • jimt

        My point is why wouldn’t people want to just buy a Nexus 6p or other unlocked phone, for example. Why not rate all phones that can be used on Verizon?

        • trevorsalienarms

          Why would anyone not want a Nexus 6P? lol. Like that’s such an impossible scenario.

  • JRomeo

    Buy the Nexus 6P and insert an active Verizon sim card = Best android phone on Verizon

  • Gf1fanatic

    The only reason to buy a Verizon phone is they are eligible for their TravelPass, which allows for $2 a day use of your existing phone/ data plan in Canada and Mexico. If you travel to these places at all, this is an incredible deal. My Nexus 6P is not eligible. Another reason people hate Verizon!

  • romma

    And still no Marshmallow for the Flagship Turbo 2…

    • Paul Kissel

      Get used to it. If you want fast updates for new versions of Android and exploit patches you shouldn’t buy Droid. Verizon is bad/slow enough about accepting OTA updates of Android phones in general but is even worse with regard to updating the Droid line of phones. I don’t know if its a matter of wanting to sell more hardware or just having a very slow QA process but either way the result is a long wait for an update that may never come. I love my Droid Turbo’s feature set and have been a loyal owner of past Droid product. Its BEEN the best phone out there for my needs. It won’t be my next phone however.

  • Gf1fanatic

    Without timely updates from Google, I won’t consider any phone besides Nexus phones. No excuse from Samsung or LG. Get your act together if you want to survive!

    • trevorsalienarms

      If you’re willing to make the trade-offs that most Nexus devices make for getting the latest OS the absolute fastest manner possible, then sure go for it.

      But a delay in the receipt of the latest OS is not the same thing as getting no updates whatsoever.

  • trevorsalienarms

    While it would be cool to have the latest greatest/version of Android as soon as possible, I’m really not sure it’s such a “big issue” that the Note 5 doesn’t have M right this second. It will at some point, might be another month or two or three, but how does the timing of that update negate how well the phone works right this second?

    Seems like an “issue” in that it rustles the jimmies for the “OMG I *have to have* the latest version right this second!!!!” crew and that’s about it.

  • Inspector Butters

    I grabbed my Note5 from bestbuy for $99!

    • MilesH

      Damn it Butters! How?!

      • Inspector Butters

        They had a promotion a few weeks ago. S6 was $1 and the Note5 was $99.

    • Jeffrey Fazal

      On contract of course! Well, I like the fast wireless charging feature as well as adaptive fast charging feature that I can check through this Micro USB Cable: http://amzn.to/1PdysgD

  • editorinchimp

    The LG V10 camera trails? Are you serious?

  • Ricky Giordano

    Already chosen on my Droid Turbo 2 and Maxx 2 love theses phones ain’t nothing tops them for me

  • it is he

    Samsung phones really is a garbage, I mean you wanna buy humongous phone with ton of apps installed there and Android with “best” Samsung feature – touch with which is only slow down phone, go ahead. Motorola is a way better in that case. LG is offering better quality/inside parts / software phones but only third place. Oh well, Samsung pays to those who give good review at least.
    And to be fare, Verizon isn’t user friendly network. Google made new Nexus generation to work with them and they not on hurry to approve it. Guess they won’t approve it until they will be allowed to put 50 of Verizon useless apps in it. And that would never happened. Nothing personal just bald facts.

    • Logic says…

      Enjoy my Note 5, and fine with Verizon. But it’s likely you haven’t had a Samsung phone in a while, just repeating the typical garbage at all of their products.

    • trevorsalienarms

      lol wut

  • TC Infantino

    I already voted when I bought the Droid Turbo 2. I love this thing.

    • DER

      I really want one. How’s the battery life?

      • TC Infantino

        It is phenomenal. At least 5 hours screen on time on each charge, and I mix use of browsing, streaming video and audio, and games. And it charges even faster than my original Turbo.

        • DER

          Ya..it must be good because I can’t find ANY on Craigslist….darnit.

      • krubby

        I second the it’s phenominal comment. I also got Turbo 2 about a month ago. Not sure how you would ever get the 48 hours they mention, but I easily go from 6am to about 11pm with moderate to a bit heavy usage and end the day at 25-30% battery. A 15-20 minute quick charge you would be good for at least a day and a half I think.
        I am loving the phone too. Seems far, not too big.

        How that helps

  • Raven

    I love my Droid Turbo 2 so much I just had to give one more vote for it. First off, despite some people’s opinions, especially of the white one, I think it is one of the best looking phones ever made and the personalization with Moto Maker makes it even better. I would take it over a silly glass backed and physical home buttoned Samsung phone any day. Although a little bigger than I would like to be carrying around I am getting used to it. The Note 5 is way too big for my tastes.

    Now for Shattershield, although it may not be perfect, yet, I think it was the most revolutionary phone development of the year.

    Of course, spec wise the phone is top of the line as well, the only real negative being the lack of a finger print scanner. And, with the huge battery and MicroSD slot I think it should have taken first as the best Verizon sold phone available.

    • Love it to. Nexus what?

    • netanil

      “The Note 5 is way too big for my tastes.”
      Do you even know what you are talking about? The Note 5 is both narrower and thinner than the Turbo 2 and is only 3.4mm taller and only weighs 3g more.

    • trevorsalienarms

      Yeah, but nothing personal….look at it. Yeesh.

      • Raven

        Yes, I think it is one of the best looking phones ever made. Pictures just don’t even do it justice. The dark metal and black looks and feels so slick and premium I almost want to call it “sexy”.

    • MattBoan

      Has there been any progress on achieving root? I ask because I wouldn’t mind picking one up, but I have a few games I’d like to move over via TiBu due to no save/transfer support.

  • SHunter

    Moto X PE all the way

  • StankyChikin

    My eyes must be deceiving me.. Note 5 camera better than v10? I can agree as far as auto goes.. V10 camera blows away anything Moto has to offer.

    • editorinchimp

      Yeah, Moto phones need to lose the “designed for a 2 year old-only” cameras and get a manual mode option, already

    • MechaStark

      Kellex hates LG… Well, that’s what I think.

  • Daniel Moshee

    Free refresh design for 64GB and free screen replacement within 4 years for Droid Turbo 2?

  • slug_munchies

    Or, maybe, the Droid is 2x the cost because selfish VZ is “sole seller”, and purchased the right to rape their customers. Having just bought 2 Moto X Pures a month ago (and jumped VZ to TMo), they were hundreds less. So, this phone should be $400 max.

    • krubby

      Actually while the list price of the Turbo 2 is $634, it is often $100 off, plus Verizon has $200 credit for old phone trade in on that model, so you can get it down to $334. If you need two, they currently have buy one get second half off, now getting at least the second one down to about $120

      • Jasdeep Singh

        I’d take math classes if I were you.

        • krubby

          $634 divided by two is $317 minus $200 old smartphone credit equals $117 or about $120. Math class passed… Pre tax…

  • Clift

    Nexus 6p. Haha. Okay the Note 5 is pretty dope. My wife has that one. Great feel in hand. But stuck on lollipop

  • TopXKiller

    And only one of these can be hooked up to the TV by SlimPort/MHL aka V10

  • LionStone

    I have one of those Unlimited Data plans and getting real tired of the hindrance that VZW has on its devices, it’s getting to not be worth it anymore. Not 1 of those devices are on the latest software. The Z3v I have is still on KitKat! I ask what’s up and just hear crickets… Only 2 full versions behind…

    • Jeremy Wray

      I had the 2015 Moto X and just got the N6 on sale for $250. It’s on the latest software, and still feels like an upgrade over my X though much of the hardware inside is the same. Though I do miss some of the Moto features.

    • ck125

      Good thing nexus are cheap and work on verizon again…

    • rodney11ride

      “Worth it” is going to be a discussion on its own. Lol

      Wife has one of those plans. We went moto/nexus awhile back. So I don’t care what Verizon sells.

  • staticx57

    None of these will be updated in a year’s time thanks to Verizon, so why bother recommending any of them? Unlocked or bust these days.

    • El_Big_CHRIS

      While true, to the majority of people who buy on contract and aren’t savvy, these phones are awesome and have fantastic cameras. People don’t really care that these don’t have the latest software because let’s face it eve if the phones did , most people wouldn’t be able to tell because of skins

  • rfranken

    But how do you buy any phone from them without changing your plan? And not paying full price?

    • Jeremy Wray

      You have to do either or. You want to keep your plan then you gotta pay full retail, otherwise you are getting a new contract

      Though I think they did away with it, there was an edge plan or something were you could basically finance a new phone ontop of the price of your monthly payments

      • rfranken

        Before I would just transfer my upgrade to another line. They took that away. $10 line access becomes $40 and $40 activation. In fact all upgrades put that change/charge in motion.

        My Verizon bill just went up by $2,000 a year. (if I upgrade the phones)

        • Jeremy Wray

          Keep your current plan and buy new phones off contract. Last contract phone I got was the 2013 Moto X through that weekend loophole to keep my unlimited data. Last year I bought a Moto X 2014 through Motomaker when Moto had their $150 off or whatever it was. And I just got the Nexus6 a couple of weeks ago on sale for $250. And its not like the current Nexus phones are expensive. It’s more and more common you get great hardware at cheaper prices off contract now compared to a few years ago, unless you like a phone with a fruit on it that is haha

          • vkmanchi

            Same here. Got [email protected] for $249. And happy so far. I am paying +20 for my unlimited since November but worth it. I spoke to 2 agents ([email protected] [email protected]) and both suggested not to lose unlimited 🙂

      • ck125

        Seems anymore only way to go is payment plan, or best buy loop hole

    • Christopher A Ryan

      I buy used phones. It’s cheaper and it works.

    • QLR

      You can also finance a phone while on the unlimited data. Yes, you are still paying retail pricing, but if you are able to combine it with a trade in or discount it isn’t bad.

      I financed a Note 5 and kept my plan. I didn’t trade anything in, though.

  • Brian

    Droid Turbo 2 does have wireless charging, just not wireless fast charging.

    • Franklin Ramsey

      After reading that it didn’t have wireless charging I came straight down here to ask “Then how can I wirelessly charge my Droid Turbo 2?” but you already corrected them. lol

      • Brandon

        Yep, same! Just used it today actually.

  • Butane87

    I have a Note 5 and a 6P and honestly I find myself using the Note 5 more often. Not sure if it’s the size or just some of the functionality that the Note 5 offers over the N6. Still love the N6 but I think if I had to choose….I’d go Note 5.

  • JoYu

    What put the Turbo 2 over the top for me was the available discounts. Trade in any phone and get $200 (go find a Droid 1 for $5 with a cracked screen and trade that in). And they have the buy 1 get one half off deal, combined makes a awesome price.

    • krubby

      You stole my post (ha ha…). I was basically going to say the exact same thing. Yes the Regular price between Turbo 2 and Note 5 are close, but went with Turbo 2 about a month ago because they had $100 off sale AND $200 credit for a trade in of any working smartphone. $324 end price for Turbo 2 was hard to beat. (ps I traded in my 5 + year old HTC Incredible… I was actually sad to because of the fond memories of my 1st smart phone, but oh well)
      A month into it, I LOVE my Turbo 2. Depends on what you need but my biggest issue over the last few phones has been battery life. I just always seemed to be trying to find a charger by mid afternoon. No more, I easily get a full day and evening. Not 48 hours, but easily 6am – 11pm without a need for a charge

  • rodney11ride

    1. 6p
    2. Note5
    3. N6
    4. S6

    • Jared Denman

      Edit: you can buy the 6p. Just not from Verizon.

      • rodney11ride

        Thanks Mr. Obvious. That’s what I meant lol.

    • Dominick White

      You can buy the nexus 6 from Verizon

      • rodney11ride

        Its number 3

        • Dominick White

          My mistake. I thought you were counting the nexus 6 has a great phone, that wasn’t sold by Verizon

  • TypoCorrecto

    FYI…You can’t buy a Nexus 6P from VZW, hence it is not on this list.

    • rodney11ride

      Title says this “Best Android Phones ON Verizon: January 2016” so i read it as best phones that can be on verizon

      • TypoCorrecto

        “Note: This post focuses on the Android phones you can buy at Verizon. This post isn’t touching on the unlocked options out there, like the Nexus 6P or Moto X Pure Edition. We know those fully work on Verizon, but they aren’t sold at Verizon stores.”

        • rodney11ride

          I know bro. He added that after thanks!

          • TypoCorrecto

            No problem. After going through the list and not seeing certain phones on there, I was guessed common sense would check in as to what Kellen was getting at.

          • rodney11ride

            Yep. Yep.

  • TSY87

    Wait, why isn’t the 6p number one then? Or is this “phones you can purchase from Verizon” because I am on VZW (unlimited) and running the 6p.

    • Yep, phones you can buy at Verizon and that isn’t one. Added note to clarify that before 20 more people ask. 😛

      • TSY87

        I re-read it a couple times to make sure I wasn’t jumping the gun. Glad you clarified! lol

        • rodney11ride

          i jumped the gun 🙂

      • rodney11ride

        too late :/

      • You’d think if it wasn’t there that should be enough of a clue as to what the list is, but…stupid people.

      • TylerChappell

        Well, the title IS afterall “The best phones ON Verizon” Not “The Best Phones FROM Verizon”, so the 5X and 6P are still valid contenders. ;]

      • michael arazan

        Nexus 6 still on sale at verizon– Best Phone on their Network

    • TechTinker11

      The Moto X Pure would be number one then. 😛