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Super cell phones

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Buying a new phone? There's no end to the smart things the devices can do! Apple's iPhone 5s can scan your fingertip to unlock the screen. The Samsung Galaxy S 4 lets you just wave your hand to answer calls. And the Sony Xperia Z can survive a dunk in water. Consumer Reports says those are nice features, but its testers have identified what's really important in a cell phone.

A high-quality display is a must-have. It makes surfing the Web, reading an e-book, or watching a video a pleasure. Displays of 4-1/2 inches used to be the exception. But now there are more phones with even bigger screens squeezed into cases that fit in your hand.

And no phone should be without a really good camera. Cameras keep improving. And a lot of new phones have controls and editing tools that make your pictures even better. Also important is battery life. What good is a phone that can't keep up with you? There are some that actually let you talk for more than 24 hours on a single charge.

If you're shopping for a phone, Consumer Reports found many to recommend. Among Androids, Samsung's Galaxy S 4 is top-rated, and it has a high-quality display, a great camera, and long-lasting battery life. Also consider the LG G2 for its excellent display and super battery. And if you prefer Apple's operating system, Consumer Reports says the iPhone 5s is the best iPhone yet.

Consumer Reports also tested Apple's new iPhone 5c—that's the one that comes in fun colors such as blue, green, and pink. It's a chunkier and less costly alternative to the 5s, but they share a lot features, including a top-notch camera and an excellent 4-inch display.

Sarah Panko

Sarah is the anchor/ producer for News Three First Edition at 5/4 central time. She also brings you the latest Consumer Reports on the Nightwatch at 11/10 central. More>>

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