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Best back-to-school Android smartphones for 2015

We realize you probably don’t want to think about this yet, but the start of the school year is nigh. There’s still time to have some fun, lie under the scorching sun all day and party all night, but sooner or later, you’ll need to deal with the reality of the sweet dream coming to a bitter end.

Smartphone in school

Luckily, we know just the perfect pick-you-up. Nothing like shiny new Android gear to get you through the pains of math classes and perhaps help with homework. As you can imagine, the list of smartphone must-buys this back to school season looks radically different from last year’s index of distractions/work tools.

There’s something for everyone in our collection of student-centric handhelds, as we want to cater to all budgets, needs and preferences:

Motorola Moto E (2nd generation) – $89.99 GSM unlocked; $99.99 with 4G LTE

Our cheapest proposition is obviously the least technically gifted as well, but that’s not to say it’s a pushover. Besides, some of you more understanding youngsters may want to give old mom and dad a break from excessive spending. After all, they also have clothes, various taxes and other expenses to take care of.

Moto-E_2nd-Gen

That said, the 2015 Moto E, particularly the LTE-capable version, offers a lot for very little money. A compact and respectably sharp 4.5-inch qHD IPS panel, quad-core Snapdragon 410 power, 1 GB RAM, 2,390 mAh battery juice and 5 MP autofocus rear camera, among others.

HTC Desire 816 – $150 with prepaid Virgin Mobile plans

It’s not entirely fair to compare this robust phablet’s prepaid tariff with unlocked tags of rival devices, but at the end of the day, contractual obligations don’t enter any of the equations and Virgin Mobile’s arrangements are extremely convenient in the long run.

HTC Desire 816

As far as the actual Desire 816 goes, this definitely targets lovers of jumbo-sized phones, as well as fashionistas and shutterbugs. It tips the scales at 165 grams, measures 7.9 mm thick, 5.5 inches in screen diagonal and features a 13 megapixel main photographic unit.

Motorola Moto G (3rd generation) – $179.99

Though not that different from its predecessor on the outside, the 2015 G adds water resistance in the mix, cranks up the autonomy to around 24 hours and vastly improves both cameras, upping the sensors to 13 and 5 MP.

Moto G 2015

The pre-installed stock Android 5.1 Lollipop makes this the perfect choice for purists too, also guaranteeing extended and steady software support.

BLU Selfie – $193 GSM unlocked

We have a strict “no judging” policy here at The Droid Guy, so if selfies are your thing, even during school hours, we think it best you don’t deny your heart what it wants. You only live once, and these early formation years are some of the most precious ones.

BLU Selfie

Have fun while you still can, and take all the selfies… teachers will let you, courtesy of BLU Selfie’s unbeatable 13 MP LED flash front-facing camera.

Asus ZenFone 2 – $199 in 16 GB configuration; $299 with 64 GB ROM/4 GB RAM

The “entry-level” model isn’t half bad, with Intel inside, 2 gigs of random access memory, a 5.5-inch Full HD display and 13 MP/5 MP cams. But by all means, try to amass an extra hundred bucks and go for the 4 gig RAM champ.

Asus ZenFone 2

Juggling with various tools, apps, social media websites and games is an integral part of teenage life nowadays, so why skimp when you can score a multitasking beast for a short of prohibitive price?

Huawei Ascend Mate 7 – $449.99

Oh, noes, your phone expired again halfway through that exhausting classical Chinese poetry seminar. Why you took that course in the first place is beside the point, as you expected to have your Instagram keep you company while your parents thought you were getting a solid education.

Huawei Ascend Mate 7

Anyhoo, the fact of the matter is you need a ridiculously long-lasting gadget. Enter the 4,100 mAh cell-packing Mate 7. With a 1,080p 6-inch screen in tow, octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 925 SoC and 2 GB RAM, so not exactly energy-draining hardware. All-day battery has never been so easy to achieve.

LG G4 – starting at $469 factory unlocked; $100 with Verizon or Sprint pacts

A mainstream, universally acclaimed flagship, the G4 should nicely tickle the fancy of scholars, what with its stylish leather exterior, 5.5-inch Quad HD LCD panel, 3 GB RAM, 16 MP OIS rear camera, 8 MP selfie pro and 3,000 mAh ticker.

LG G4

It’s great for everything from watching videos on the go to playing graphically-demanding games, snapping crisp photos and surfing the web with ease, all while being perfectly capable of keeping the lights on for hours on end.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 – $544 factory unlocked

Soon to be refreshed, nay, replaced and made obsolete, the GNote 4 remains the go-to productivity powerhouse of today, thanks to S Pen support, an octa-core Exynos 5433 chip, fingerprint recognition, 5.7-inch 2K display, 32 GB internal storage space, 3 GB RAM and 3,220 mAh endurance.

Galaxy Note 4

Sure, the Note 5 will upgrade the 16 and 3.7 MP cams, not to mention it’ll swap plastic and faux leather for a premium metal-and-glass combo. But the “next big thing” is also set to ditch microSD capabilities, seal the likely smaller battery, and raise the price bar through the roof. Bottom line, don’t disregard the OG altogether.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge – $662 unlocked; $250 on-contract at Sprint, $300 with Verizon

Arguably the coolest-looking Android in the world, the S6 Edge is a lot more than just a phone. It’s a fashion statement, it’s a way of expressing your unique style and persona, and ultimately, showing the other kids you can be original and afford such an extravagant buy.

Galaxy S6 Edge

Is it tacky to purchase a gizmo because you can? Not if you truly appreciate the razzle-dazzle design, and if you’ve worked for your dough. Have you taken at least a part-time gig this summer? Then you probably deserve to spoil yourself a little.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Active – $695 outright for AT&T

Galaxy S6 Active

Wait, when did the Active become costlier than the Edge? That’s ludicrous, as the waterproof 5.1 incher looks terrible at a first glance. Then again, it’s virtually indestructible, handles drops, shocks, humidity, rain, vibration, solar radiation and the works, plus lasts a while between charges on a 3,500 mAh juicer.

A microSD card slot, and outdoorsy individuals in the market for a back-to-school slab would have had all their prayers answered.