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3G technology is a continuation of the older 2G EDGE technology used in many legacy cellphones. 2G EDGE technology revolutionized the way people used cellphones, as it provided bandwidth needed to not only make and receive calls, but to browse the Internet as well. While 2G certainly changed the landscape of how people use their phones, transmission speeds with the technology are relatively slow at only a few hundred kbps. Conversely, 3G technology is much faster and provides bandwidth speeds up to 3Mbps and beyond depending on the carrier network used. The latest technology is 4G and is much faster than both 3G and 2G.

Browse All Top 3G Cell Phones of 2016 »

Motorola Moto G

Motorola Moto G Smartphone


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Motorola Moto G
LG Google Nexus 5
Apple iPhone 5s
Nokia Lumia 1520
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Motorola Moto G Smartphone
LG Google Nexus 5 32 GB (Black) Smartphone
Apple iPhone 5s 16GB (Space Gray) - Unlocked
Nokia Lumia 1520 Unlocked LTE Smartphone
Samsung Galaxy Note 3(LTE)
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Release Date
Nov 2013
Nov 2013
Sep 2013
Nov 2013
Sep 2013
Phone Features
Touchscreen, Integrated FM Radio, Email, GPS, Integrated Camera, Games, Java, 3G
Touchscreen, Email, GPS, Integrated Camera, Games, Java, 3G, 4G
Touchscreen, Email, GPS, Integrated Camera, Games, 3G, 4G
Touchscreen, Integrated FM Radio, Email, GPS, Integrated Camera, Games, 3G, 4G
Touchscreen, Integrated FM Radio, Email, GPS, Integrated Camera, Games, Java, 3G, 4G
Digital Camera Resolution
5.0 MP
8.0 MP
8.0 MP
20.0 MP
13.0 MP
Installed RAM (GB)
1.0 GB
2.0 GB
1.0 GB
2.0 GB
3.0 GB
Screen Size(Diagonal)
4.5 inch
4.95 inch
4.0 inch
6.0 inch
5.7 inch
Processor Type
Quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A7, Qualcomm MSM8226 Snapdragon 400
Quad-core 2.3 GHz Krait 400, Qualcomm MSM8974 Snapdragon 800
Dual-core 1.3 GHz Cyclone, Dual-core 1.3 GHz Cyclone (ARM v8-based), Apple A7
Quad-core 2.2 GHz Krait 400, Qualcomm MSM8974 Snapdragon 800
Quad-core 2.3 GHz Krait 400, Quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex A7 & dual-core 1.7 GHz Cortex A15, Exynos 5260, Quad-core 2.3 GHz Krait 400 (N9005, N9002)/ Quad-core 1.9 GHz Cortex-A15 & quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A7 (N9000), Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 (N9005, N9002)/ Exynos 5 Octa 5420 (N9000)
Battery Capacity
2070.0 mAh
2300.0 mAh
1560.0 mAh
3400.0 mAh
3200.0 mAh
Operating System
Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean), planned upgrade to v4.4 (KitKat), Android OS, v4.3 (Jelly Bean), upgradable to v5.0 (Lollipop)
Android 4.4 (KitKat), Android OS, v4.4 (KitKat), upgradable to v4.4.4 (KitKat), planned upgrade to v5.0 (Lollipop)
iOS 7.0.1, iOS 7, upgradable to iOS 7.1.2, upgradable to iOS 8.1.2
Microsoft Windows Phone 8 Black, Microsoft Windows Phone 8, upgradeable to v8.1
Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean), Android OS, v4.3 (Jelly Bean), upgradable to v4.4.2 (KitKat)
Carrier
AT-T
T-Mobile
AT-T, Sprint
Verizon, AT-T
AT-T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint

  • You can't beat the price of the Moto G, but the more expensive and more powerful Nexus 5 remains your shrewdest unlocked Android option.


  • Sporting an outstanding outright price of $179 for the base model, it's something many people believe to be mind-boggling. Just when we thought $349 for the Nexus 5 was pretty darn good, but this obviously takes the cake. It's unlocked, there's variety with its color casings, and the Android experience is also easy to understand, so it's hard not to like it. All told, Motorola is defining what it means to be an entry-level player.


  • The Moto G is the best-built, unlocked smartphone under $200 available today.


  • Google has delivered an impressive smartphone with the Nexus 5 from LG, an unlocked powerhouse with a palatable price and solid performance, and the new Android 4.4.1 KitKat update largely fixes the phone's initial camera problems.


  • The Google Nexus 5 is the high-end Android phone bargain of the year. Aside from a slightly anaemic battery it offers everything phones costing £200 more do.


  • There's a lot packed into the Nexus 5, particularly given the £299 and £339 pricepoints for 16GB and 32GB respectively. For that money, you get a display that rivals devices that cost some £200 more, and a chipset that is, in many cases, more powerful. In addition to that, you have a Nexus device, meaning it's uncluttered by bloat and first in line for Android updates. Android's new features in v4.4 KitKat feel like the start of a movement towards something that's more exciting and the Nexus 5 showcases that with panache.


  • The iPhone 5S is not a required upgrade, but it's easily the fastest and most advanced Apple smartphone to date.


  • Obviously, it's not the most mouthwatering inducing iPhone we've seen to date, but considering that it hits the mark in the categories that matter the most, the iPhone 5s proves itself as being a feared competitor in the space. Like we said, there's nothing in the specs or hardware department that would terrify its rivals, but the updated iOS 7 experience is enough to make this iPhone look and feel different from past ones.


  • The iPhone 5s may be small, but it's packed with more power than any other smartphone on the market today. It's the best bet for anyone who wants a future-proof, forward-looking phone that runs an unbeatable array of apps.


  • Though it lacks some features found in its big phone rivals, the Nokia Lumia 1520 is a great buy for Windows Phone fans seeking a supersize smartphone with premium hardware.


  • For those who are contemplating on picking this up without a contract, its $584.99 price point still seems pretty good in comparison to other phablets - though, there's no arguing that its on-contract cost absolutely gives it more bang for the buck. At the end of the day, there's plenty to like about the 1520, as it's no doubt the best Windows Phone out right now. For a long time there, Windows Phones in general just seemed underpowered in comparison to those premier Android smartphones.


  • The Nokia Lumia 1520 is a gigantic smartphone with an excellent camera, but it's just plain too much phone for most people.


  • The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is simply one balanced performing smartphone! At $300 with a 2-year contract, there's no denying the fact that it's an expensive cost, but as we've come to learn, the hefty pricing does come with some perks. The phablet category saw some new entrants into the space this year, but the Note 3 continues to be the best in its class.


  • Samsung refines its top-tier phablet with the 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 3, a powerful, full HD phone/tablet combo that may be the only mobile device you need.

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    The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has an impressively long list of connectivity features. Let's start off with the basics - quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and quad-band 3G (AWS is missing though). The 3G connectivity is backed by HSDPA (42Mbps downlink, 5.76Mbps uplink). The Note 3 has an LTE-A-enabled version too, which uses the Snapdragon 800 chipset (the Exynos 5 Octa 5420 comes without 4G). The LTE-A speeds are 150Mbps down and 50Mbps up.


The best 3G cellphones not only provide faster bandwidth speeds than their 2G predecessor, they also support a host of modern features such as video calling, faster browsing and more reliable access to online media streaming of music and high resolution videos. Additionally, many 3G phones are fast enough that you can engage in bandwidth-hungry multiplayer games online.

Most smartphones running Android, iOS, Blackberry or Windows support 3G connections for faster browsing and Web productivity. Faster Web activities used commonly with 3G connections include: browsing, downloading of music and video files and online gaming.

In the U.S., there are various networks that support 3G technologies. Before you review the networks that support 3G, though, it's important you know the definitions of some of the abbreviations and acronyms used when discussing the platform. Some common ones are:

  • EDGE: Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution
  • GSM: Global System for Mobile Communications
  • CDMA: Code Division Multiple Access
  • EVDO: Evolution Data Optimized
  • UMTS: Universal Mobile Telecommunications System
  • W-CDMA: Wideband CDMA
  • HSPA: High Speed Packet Access
The following networks in the United States support 3G connections:

CDMA

CDMA technology uses the CDMA2000 and EVDO standards to provide 3G wireless network support. CDMA cellphones available from Verizon and Sprint provide high-speed data and voice communications to subscribers.The CDMA2000 and EVDO standards provide significantly faster throughput speeds than that of the original 2G CDMA technology. Nevertheless, when compared to other 3G platforms, those based on CDMA are relatively slow in comparison. You should note that 3G phones that run on CDMA networks usually don't have SIM cards.


UMTS

UMTS is a 3G network standard also based upon CDMA technology. In cases, you may hear UMTS referred to as 3G GSM or W-CDMA. UMTS is usually used with GSM cellphones, or those with a SIM card. GSM cellphones that connect over UMTS networks enjoy an advantage over CDMA phones in that you can use them in other countries (most don't support CDMA,)

UMTS uses CDMA technology for faster data transmission and secured data encryption. And it is called as an enhancement to the GSM because, the 3G cellphones using this standard support features like international roaming and can be deployed by GSM carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile.


HSPA

HSPA is a 3G standard that is an extension to UMTS. Manufacturers introduced HSPA for use with existing 3G networks to improve performance in terms of data throughput rates. HSPA provides bandwidth speeds of 2Mbps or more through carrier networks used by AT&T and T-Mobile.

If you find the myriad of 3G choices a little confusing, you're not alone. Fortunately, our list of the best 3G cellphones helps you compare bandwidth speeds and features to make choosing the model for you a little easier. Our list of 3G phones includes some of the best smartphones with the most advanced features.

Top 5 3g cell phone of 2016:

  1. Motorola Moto G Smartphone
  2. LG Google Nexus 5 32 GB (Black) Smartphone
  3. Apple iPhone 5s 16GB (Space Gray) - Unlocked
  4. Nokia Lumia 1520 Unlocked LTE Smartphone
  5. Samsung Galaxy Note 3(LTE)