Contact 6: Are you satisfied with your cell phone provider?

MILWAUKEE -- Cell phones, though they're known as "smart" phones, can make users feel not-so-smart -- when it comes to call quality and payment plans.

"With smartphones, so many things have to be lined up perfectly for you to have a good experience. You have to have a good connection, your phone has to be fully charged, the apps have to work.  It's a very complex device in and of itself," Consumer Reports Senior Electronics Editor, Michael Gikas said.

Consumer Reports just released its annual cell phone satisfaction report.  U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless topped the list, but so did young companies like Consumer Cellular - which offers no contracts - and Credo Mobile - which encourages social and political activism.  It's these smaller companies that are getting noticed for their customer service.

"When you have a problem, you're going to have an easier time to reach a person to help you, and that person's probably going to be more knowledgable and help you solve your problem," Gikas said.

Gikas said there's another factor to consider with cell phones: pre-paid plans.

"A lot of our readers are saving money by switching to pre-paid plans.  Typically about $20 a month, which over the course of two years can amount to $500," Gikas said.

Bottom line: best bang for your buck is the name of the game for today's cell phone owners.  Make sure you get what you want to pay for!

Consumer Reports: Smartphones