Smartphones are supposed to make our lives easier, but let's face it, a lot of times they can be a big headache. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. So we wanted to find out which ones work the best in our area.

We found that different carriers have their strengths and weaknesses, but one stood out as the best. And one was the worst.

You pay the big bucks so that they work - all the time - but many here in the Jacksonville area complain the cellphone carriers don't hold up their end of the deal, with bad reception, dropped calls, and no Internet.

We put the four most used carriers to the test: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless. Those in the experiment had both iPhone and Android phones.

Gathering a group of friendly folks to help with our experiment, we loaded onto what else, but a pink party bus, thanks to JaxPartyBus.com.

We hit the road, and tested reception, download and upload speeds around northeast Florida. Remember the "Can you hear me now?" commercials? It was a lot like that.

The first stop was downtown Jacksonville.

We tested the signals and speeds with an app, made by RootMetrics.

Sprint and AT&T had some problems.

"It failed," said participant Amanda Castillo, who has a Sprint Android phone.


"Oh yes," said Kari Wells, who has an AT&T Android phone.

Everyone else was dandy.

On the Westside of Jacksonville, things were pretty good for everyone.

"My download speed and my upload speed were far better here," said Kelly Crawford, a Verizon Wireless iPhone user.

Mandarin was also a great spot for most carriers.

"My download speed increased four-fold," said Chris DiFiore, an AT&T iPhone user. "And my upload speed increased five-fold."

"Mine went up dramatically," said Nicole Lora, talking about her upload speed on her AT&T iPhone.

In this test, only Sprint lagged behind.

"It failed again!," said Castillo. "I know I have Sprint. It doesn't work anywhere around town."