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Make the right choice

Your phone is your lifeline. And whether you're splashing out or keeping costs low, our current favorites will take you from the first day of school to the last.

Published:Caption:Photo:Josh MillerCNET
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Motorola Moto G4 Plus

The Moto G4 Plus blew us away with its high value for the low price. Photos, casual gaming, LTE speeds...the Plus adequately handled whatever we threw at it, and it has a fingerprint reader, which is handy for Android Pay's mobile payments. You simply cannot find another phone that performs as well for the price.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
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OnePlus 3

A stellar midprice phone, the OnePlus 3 is cheaper than a flagship and brawnier than the Moto G4 Plus. This is what you get when you want a great all-arounder that will happily last you the next two years. Does it have a fingerprint scanner? Of course.

Published:Caption:Photo:Juan Garzón/CNET
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Motorola Moto Z

The superslim Motorola Moto Z doesn't just look good, its magnetic backing makes it the ultimate school-life tool. Snap on a JBL speaker attachment (a Motorola Mod) to throw an impromptu party in a dorm room or on the quad, or slap on a projector to take movie night anywhere.

Published:Caption:Photo:James Martin/CNET
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Apple iPhone SE

A terrific, affordable phone, the smaller iPhone SE is so easy to use one-handed, you could practically operate it in your sleep. It's a great all-arounder that plays well with Apple's tools and your Mac, but for less than the brand-new iPhone 7 that we expect in September.

Published:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET
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Samsung Galaxy Note 7

A phone that comes with its own built-in digital pen, the forthcoming Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was made for jotting down notes, or doodling. It promises to be a pricey one, and it probably won't replace your laptop for class, but it's great for everyday campus life.

Published:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET
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Last year’s Samsung Galaxy S6 and Apple iPhone

There's another way to go, too. Buying last year's "it" phone will save you money (up to $100 or more through bundled deals) and still get you a terrific device that does everything you need, and maybe more.

Published:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET
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