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13 great phones your carrier doesn't carry

Want one of these smartphones? You won't find them at Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile or Sprint.

Josh Miller/CNET

Despite the dozens of phones to choose from every time you walk into a carrier store, there are still plenty of great phones you can't buy there. Some never make it to the US (though we wish they would), but others can be had from online stores like Amazon, Best Buy or the manufacturer's own website.

Just two things to remember:

  • You'll need to confirm that any phone you buy online will work with your carrier choice (your carrier's website will have a compatibility tool).

  • If the phone isn't locked to a carrier network, you may not be able to use features like Wi-Fi calling or HD Voice.

OnePlus 3T

Our Editors' Choice for best midprice phone, you can pick up the OnePlus 3T directly from OnePlus' site. The 64GB version will cost you $440.

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Xiaomi Mi Mix

This ceramic-backed beauty is one of the first phones to feature a nearly bezel-less design. Unfortunately, it sells in China only, in limited quantities.

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HTC U Play

The U Play brings a cheaper version of HTC's shiny, new glass U Ultra to the UK.

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Huawei Honor Magic

The Honor Magic is a beaut of a build and is stuffed with AI software that only works with services in China.

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Huawei Mate 9

Sold at retailers like Best Buy, B&H and Huawei's own website, the $600 Mate 9's two rear cameras were co-engineered with Leica, a photography great.

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ZTE Axon 7

$400 and an internet connection are all it takes to make the fifth -- and cheapest -- Google Daydream-compatible phone yours. It sells on sites like Amazon, Best Buy and ZTEUSA.com. The same goes for the ZTE Blade V8 Pro.

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Huawei Honor 6X

A lot of good features are wedged into this budget bundle, like dual-rear cameras to create an artful effect, the promise of two-day battery life, and an 8-megapixel selfie cam. You'll find it for $250 on HiHonor.com, as well as the usual online retailers.

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Oppo R9s

If you do some digging, you can get the really good midrange performer online for about $400. We loved its 16-megapixel front and rear cameras and days-long battery life.

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Vertu Constellation

Look no further than Vertu for a handmade aluminum-and-leather handset that comes with its own concierge service. Buy it from Vertu's site or drop by one of its Beverly Hills, Las Vegas or New York boutiques.

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ZTE Hawkeye

Head to Kickstarter if you want to lay hands on this $200 crowdsourced phone with a self-adhesive case and web pages that scroll when you look at them. It'll ship September 2017.

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Another mockup of ZTE's upcoming Hawkeye phone.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Asus ZenFone 3 Deluxe

Fantastic battery life and a massive 6GB of RAM are two things that make this all-metal phone interesting. Don't feel bad, though. Bloatware and lagginess hold it back from being a great buy.

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Lenovo Phab 2 Pro

Lenovo gets credit for building the world's first phone with Google's Tango software onboard. The phone itself is a clunky mess, but it gets the ball rolling for integrated AR. Developers can buy it here for $500. (The Asus ZenFone AR comes in a sleeker package.)

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Sony Xperia X Compact

It's adorably cute with a tiny screen and body small enough to use one-handed. Small-phone lovers don't have too many choices, especially if they're fond of Android software. Head to Amazon, B&H, Best Buy and Fry's Electronics for the $400 phone.

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See next: CNET's top phones

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