If your child is leaving for college soon, it is time to look into the best smartphones that money can buy. It’s important to consider price as well as things that a student needs like battery life, special features, and accessibility. This guide breaks down your family’s options and eliminates any smartphones with poor reviews.

Best Smartphones for Students by Brand

1. Samsung: Galaxy S9

This phone is faster than any other phone on the market. It is great for students who plan on using their phone a lot at school, even for homework. It also has a water-resistant design, extra storage capability, and wireless charging. Not to mention, it competes with Apple for its facial recognition tool that unlocks the phone.

A lot of these features sound just like the popular Apple iPhone X, except this one is significantly cheaper. The iPhone X is $999, whereas the Galaxy S9 is $769. The pricing for the Galaxy S9 can change depending on the number of gigabytes you purchase, but it will still end up being cheaper than the iPhone.

It gets great reviews from users, making it a perfect option for students. The S9 definitely has all of the features that your child will need while away at school.

2&3: Apple Mania

Most people walk around with Apple iPhones these days, but there is a lot of reasoning behind this brand’s domination. Depending on your price range, there are two Apple iPhones that qualify as the best smartphones for students. These phones are technologically advanced, user-friendly, and trendy.

The iPhone 6s

This phone, while somewhat outdated to hardcore Apple followers, still gives a user the benefits of an Apple phone at the lowest retail price. It’s only slightly different from the next step up, the iPhone 7, and yet it’s $100 cheaper. The iPhone 6s retails for $449 and the iPhone 7 sells for $549. The iPhone 7 is listed to have a longer battery life, better camera, and water-resistant model. However, if saving money is important to your family, then the iPhone 6s will do the job without sacrificing too many of the technological benefits.

The iPhone X

While this is a huge jump in price ($999), this is the only phone that is really worth it. The iPhone 8 barely has any differences from the iPhone 7 other than storage capabilities, wireless charging, and enhanced video playback. So, therefore, the next jump would be to the brand new iPhone X.

This phone has been called “the best iPhone Apple has ever made.” This is because of the larger display, face ID recognition, wireless charging, water-resistant design, portrait mode camera, super long battery life, and more.

These features, especially the water-resistant design and facial recognition, add a level of security to the phone for students. This phone is expensive but less likely to get damaged or stolen. Not to mention, the longer battery life can keep them safe when away from home.

What Else?

If you already have Apple products that are old, but still work, you should consider their GiveBack program that saves you money in an upgrade.

When you purchase Apple Products, you can add on a 2-year AppleCare warranty for $149. While this seems expensive right off the bat, it actually helps you out a lot in the long run. They will replace the phone for the first two times there is accidental damage. This makes a lot of sense for students because accidents do happen. Not to mention there are Apple Stores in tons of accessible locations near most universities.

Another huge reason to send students to college with an Apple phone is to fit in. According to statistics, 43% of Americans use Apple iPhones. While this is just a little less than half of America, it still says a lot about our culture. There are certain privileges that come with an iPhone like iMessage. Any Apple user will notice the difference between an iMessage and a text message. Sometimes, it’s actually easier to send messages between Apple IOS devices than it is to send messages between Apple and non-Apple devices. So, if all of your child’s friends have iPhones and they have a different type of smartphone, it might be hard to keep up. As a student going to college, there is something to be said for fitting in and being able to communicate with friends effectively through the best smartphones.

4. OnePlus: 6

If your family is concerned about the price the most, then the OnePlus 6 or the iPhone 6s is the phone for your child. The OnePlus is only $529, which is a close second to Apple’s iPhone 6s at $449. Although, the iPhone would be more than the OnePlus with AppleCare added in.

The OnePlus 6 has most of the same features as the Galaxy S9 and iPhone X, and yet falls slightly behind them in functionality. The OnePlus 6 is usually debated against the Google Pixel 2 because they are similar and below the top two choices. However, one of its best features is that it has a better auxiliary jack for music than the Pixel 2. In terms of storage, it goes as high as 256 gigabytes, which is better than the Pixel 2 as well. Overall, you lose some brand name perks with this OnePlus phone, but it has most of the best smartphone features that are on the market.

5. Google: Pixel 2

While this phone lacks some features that the other best smartphones have, it has a camera that can compete with, if not beat, the others. If your child loves taking pictures, then this phone might be worth the money. It’s listed as $649, which is pricey compared to the OnePlus, but not as expensive as the iPhone X.

Another factor that could put this phone over the edge for your family is its battery life. While it comes in third behind the iPhone X and the Galaxy S9, it beats the iPhone 6s and the OnePlus in how long it can last.

Depending on the student, photos and battery life might be more important than cost.

That’s a Rap

To sum up, all smartphones are pretty expensive. However, as students head back to school, they might need these advanced phones in order to keep up. A lot of college campuses have apps nowadays that give information to students regarding classes, safety, and more. This list of the best smartphones in 2018 presents five great options for students in a few different price ranges. All of their features are great and so are their looks, so the decision is up to the student about what they need—and maybe, the parents too.

READ MORE: Apple Crumble Coffee Cake