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Motorola Moto G4 Plus

OnePlus 3

Apple iPhone SE

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Last year’s Samsung Galaxy S6 and Apple iPhone

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

Caption by / Photo by Josh MillerCNET

The Moto G4 Plus blew us away with its high value for the low price. Photos, casual gaming, 4G 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. For £199 (SIM-free on Amazon), you simply cannot find another phone that performs as well for the price.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

A stellar midprice phone, the OnePlus 3 (which costs £329 direct from OnePlus) is cheaper than a pricey flagship and brawnier than a £199 Moto G4 Plus. This is what you get when you want a great all-rounder that will happily last you the next two years. Does it have a fingerprint scanner? Of course, and a battery that outpaces many of its rivals to boot.

Caption by / Photo by Juan Garzón/CNET

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-rounder that plays well with Apple's tools and your Mac, but for less than the brand-new iPhone 7 that we expect in September.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

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 lectures, but it's great for everyday campus life.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

There's another way to go, too. Buying last year's "it" phone will save you money, and still get you a terrific device that does everything you need, and maybe more.

See all our back-to-school recommendations.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
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