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Huawei Mate 9, Oppo R9s, more great cellphones available only online

CNET has picked Huawei Mate 9 as one

CNET has picked Huawei Mate 9 as one of the best phones you can't buy in a store. Credit: CBS Interactive

Although there are dozens of phones on display every time you walk into a carrier’s store, there are plenty of other great phones you can’t buy there. Here are four that can be purchased only online from stores like Amazon and Best Buy, or from the manufacturer’s own website.

The following CNET staff contributed to this story: section editor Jessica Dolcourt; senior associate editor Lynn La; associate editors Patrick Holland and Luke Lancaster; and senior editors Laura K. Cucullu and Andrew Hoyle. For more reviews of personal technology products, visit cnet.com.

Huawei Mate 9

CNET rating (Out of 5)

4 stars (excellent)

THE GOOD The Huawei Mate 9 has more power than you’ll need, a camera that’s great for artsy shots and a battery that won’t quit on you by dinner.

THE BAD Its screen is only full HD, and its design is utterly forgettable.

THE COST $604.99 to $657.06

BOTTOM LINE It doesn’t have the flame-prone Note 7’s beautiful lines and curves, or its stylus, but if you’re after a high-performance, big-screened phone that won’t set your pants on fire, the Mate 9 is a great option.

Oppo R9s

CNET rating (Out of 5)

4 stars (excellent)

THE GOOD The Oppo R9s’ 16-megapixel front and rear cameras are all-star performers. It will go for days on a single charge and has custom gesture controls.

THE BAD You’ll feel the phone’s midrange design in its sharp-edged aluminum body and some clunky software navigation.

THE COST $529

BOTTOM LINE Oppo R9s’ battery life and camera make it a great mid-priced buy, even if it isn’t as buttery-smooth as more upmarket phones.

ZTE Axon 7

CNET rating (Out of 5)

3.5 stars (very good)

THE GOOD The sophisticated and affordable ZTE Axon 7 benefits from a zippy processor, expandable storage and loud speakers.

THE BAD The phone is heavy, and power users won’t appreciate the nonremovable battery.

THE COST $399.99

BOTTOM LINE The Axon 7 is ZTE’s best phone to date, but the OnePlus 3 is a far better phone at the same price.

Sony Xperia X Compact

CNET rating (Out of 5)

3.5 stars (very good)

THE GOOD The Sony Xperia X Compact is a small, 4.6-inch phone with a beautiful display, an excellent camera and good battery life.

THE BAD Only the Japanese model is waterproof, and the fingerprint sensor is disabled in the United States. There’s a bit of lag when editing pictures or taking low-light photos.

THE COST $399.99

BOTTOM LINE This small phone has an excellent camera, but it lacks some creature comforts.

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