November 27, 2012, 4:23 PM — You've decided you want to live in the fast lane, and embrace LTE. But which phone do you choose?
For this story, and the accompanying slideshow, we looked at customer rankings and reviews posted at the carriers' sites, to assess what these users thought about the LTE phones they had bought. Rankings typically use five stars to indicate "best" or "highest satisfaction."
The slideshow lists the top five user-ranked LTE smartphones, giving the carrier, make and model, operating system version, current price based on the carrier's website, ranking and number of reviews as of Tuesday, Nov. 27, and the percentage of reviewers who would recommend that phone. Each model summarizes some representative quotes from a selection of the reviews.
This story looks at some of the overall patterns that emerged from this review. For this story we've also included T-Mobile's "4G" offerings, but only for its fastest service, its HSPA+ 42 network. (For details on "who has the most '4G' coverage," check out our recent overview.)
The good news is that you have a lot to choose from for LTE smartphones, and a wide range of prices. Of the Big Four U.S. carriers, three of them -- AT&T, Sprint and Verizon Wireless -- have LTE service in some areas; they offer from nine to a dozen smartphone models at least (Verizon has nearly 30), and the number is growing almost monthly. They are typically priced from $50 to $370, a mix of high-end, mid-range and budget smartphones, with a two-year service contract. With the holiday season underway, carriers are slashing prices for selected models, and some are free or nearly free with a two-year contract.