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Best phones for school: Pixel 2, iPhone X, Galaxy Note 8 and more

The start of school is just around the corner, so why not pack a sleek new phone to prepare?

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Lynn La

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1 of 10 Josh Miller/CNET

Phones for going back to school

The start of school is just around the corner, so what better way to prepare your kid (or yourself) for the lectures, studying sessions and after-class hangouts than with a new phone. To help you decide which ones to consider, CNET gathered our top picks for the season.

Disclaimer: CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of products featured in this gallery.

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2 of 10 Josh Miller/CNET

Google Pixel 2

The pocketable 5-inch Pixel 2 has a water-resistant design and a superlative camera with optical image stabilization and excellent low-light shooting. Its Google Lens feature calls up a trove of information to help you explore your surroundings (perfect for looking up historical landmarks or book titles) and it comes with free unlimited cloud storage to upload all your school memories.

For more picks, check out CNET's complete back-to-school tech guide.  

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3 of 10 Josh Miller/CNET

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Though it's expensive any way you look at it, Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 is ideal for a power user. Its embedded stylus coupled with an expansive 6.3-inch display means you can jot down lecture notes, sketches and memos quickly and easily. But it's not all business -- the phone also lets you send fun photo gifs to your friends and classmates.

For more picks, check out CNET's complete back-to-school tech guide.  

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4 of 10 Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple iPhone SE

As the cheapest iPhone model available, 2016's iPhone SE may not be the sexiest iPhone. But it's still a great phone and lots of people are actually happy with it. It has a small hand-friendly design, solid processing speeds and good front and rear cameras. Expect an iPhone SE 2 sequel soon, however.

For more picks, check out CNET's complete back-to-school tech guide.  

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5 of 10 James Martin/CNET

OnePlus 6

The affordable OnePlus 6 proves that you can get a high-performing, premium Android phone even on a student's budget. Starting at $529, the phone is blazing fast, shoots amazing portrait mode photos and has a polished design. It also comes in a bunch of colors including black, white and red.

For more picks, check out CNET's complete back-to-school tech guide.  

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6 of 10 Josh Miller/CNET

Motorola Moto G6

Priced at only $250, the Moto G6 won't break the bank. At the same time, it features a near-stock version of Android Oreo, good dual-rear cameras, fast charging and a sleek design.

For more picks, check out CNET's complete back-to-school tech guide.  

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7 of 10 Josh Miller/CNET

Samsung Galaxy S8 Active

Though it came out last year, the Galaxy S8 Active is still a great device that's more durable than your average phone. With its rugged design, it can survive the on-the-go lifestyle of any student, plus its battery life is among the longest we tested.

For more picks, check out CNET's complete back-to-school tech guide.  

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8 of 10 Sarah Tew/CNET

BlackBerry Key2

While BlackBerry may not be the hottest phone company around, its keyboard-toting Key2 has the hardware you need for the overzealous typer. Packing a four-row physical QWERTY keyboard, you can let your fingers fly while texting your friend, writing an essay on the fly or jotting down class notes.

For more picks, check out CNET's complete back-to-school tech guide.  

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9 of 10 Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple iPhone X

As one of the most expensive phones available, we'd suggest the iPhone X for someone who really deserves it (after all, it's a great motivator for good grades). So if you're ready to spoil your grad (or yourself), this phone delivers a gorgeous 5.8-inch screen, a rear-facing telephoto camera and a front-facing camera that snaps impressive portrait mode selfies.

For more picks, check out CNET's complete back-to-school tech guide.    

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10 of 10 Sarah Tew/CNET

LG G7 ThinQ

If your grad follows the beat of his or her own drum, consider the G7 ThinQ.

It sort of flies under the radar as far as flagships go, but it packs all the power and punch as much as the next guy -- all at a lower cost depending on the carrier. The phone also features a secondary wide-angle camera lens, a water resistant design and a headphone jack.

For more picks, check out CNET's complete back-to-school tech guide.  

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