Prepaid cell phones have recently seen a surge in consumer interest as a recession-friendly option for mobile communication. With no contract to sign, prepaid cell phones are an attractive option for those who don’t want a large monthly bill or to be tied down to one phone or carrier for a lengthy period of time. Prepaid cell phones are also a popular option for parents to purchase for kids and teens. We’ve searched the web to find the best prepaid cell phones that run the gamut from smartphones to basic talk and text phones. Cnet has an excellent guide on how to pick the right prepaid plan for you. In the meantime, read on to find the best prepaid cell phone to fit your needs and budget.
LG Optimus V Prepaid Cell Phone
The LG Optimus V prepaid cell phone is the best choice for an entry-level smartphone. Offered up by Virgin Mobile, it runs on Android 2.2 operating system with 3G Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capability. Other features include a 3.2 megapixel camera and camcorder, app sharing from the Android market including Swype for texing, voice dialing over Bluetooth, full Qwerty keyboard, and phonebook integration with Facebook and Twitter. The design is slim at half an inch thick and a 3.2 inch color touch screen.
Best Buy reviewers have given the phone a 5 star rating with the only complaints being the battery life is too short and the inability to play flash video. You can only play flash video with YouTube or other 3rd party apps. Also, this cell phone does not support mobile hot-spot capability. Cnet reviewed the LG Optimus here, with a rating of very good. Virgin Mobile has unlimited data plans starting at $25 a month.
The LG Optimus V Prepaid cell phone is available from Best Buy for $149.99.
AT&T GoPhone Nokia 2320 Prepaid Cell Phone
The Nokia 2320 is an ideal budget prepaid cell phone for the casual user who only needs calling and texting. With a simple, user-friendly design and a nice price of $14.99, this would be a great choice for parents of a pre-teen. There is no Bluetooth and no camera. According to the review on Cnet, the Nokia 2320 has good phone quality and excellent battery life. However, as one reviewer noted on Best Buy, sometimes calls get dropped with AT&T due to competition from iPhone users. This phone does have web capability but check the data usage rates. The AT&T pay as you go GoPhone prepaid airtime cards start at $15 and one is included with the Nokia 2320.
You can get the Nokia 2320 prepaid cell phone at Best Buy for $14.99.
Motorola Renew W233 Prepaid Cell Phone
The Motorola Renew prepaid cell phone was designed to be the world’s first carbon neutral phone. All of the plastic components of the phone are made from recycled water bottles and comes in 100% recycled packaging. It’s also energy efficient with an estimated talk time of 9 hours. Another good budget-friendly cell phone for someone who only needs the basic features. Capabilities and features include texting, Mp3, speakerphone, and e-mail access with free address. Cnet said of the Motorola Renew, “even with its minimal features and low-resolution display, it offers good call quality thanks to Moto’s CrystalTalk feature.” Read their full review here. Offered by T-Mobile who has prepaid plans starting at $15 a month as well as pay-as-you-go cards with talk at 10 cents a minute.
You can get the Motorola Renew W233 prepaid cell phone on Amazon for $39.99.
BlackBerry Curve 8530 Prepaid Cell Phone
LG Cosmos Prepaid Cell Phone
The LG Cosmos prepaid cell phone provide by Verizon Wireless is a high quality slider messaging phone perfect for teens or other text enthusiasts who want something a little more than the basic budget phone. Recommended by both Cnet and PCMag as the best entry-level messaging phone with social networking capability, the only complaints were a lack of music player and video recorder and sluggish CDMA web browser, though was praised for design and call quality. Features a basic 1.3 megapixel camera, Bluetooth, Bing for Mobile, and GPS capability. Verizon offers daily access plans (pay only on the days you use), pay-as-you-go plans at 25 cents a minute and monthly unlimited plans starting at $74.99 a month.
You can get the LG Cosmos prepaid cell phone at Best Buy for $69.99.
Samsung T369 Prepaid Cell Phone
Though not the most advanced cell phone, the Samsung T369 still packs a lot of useful features into a basic compact slider phone. Features a full slide-out Qwerty keyboard, a 2-inch auto-rotating LCD screen, 1.3 megapixel camera with 2x zoom, Mp3, Bluetooth, and instant messaging access. Cnet liked the compact design of the Samsung T369 with its’ efficient use of space, though the alphanumeric keypad is slightly narrow and there’s no headphone jack for the Mp3. Bottom line, it’s a good middle of the road prepaid phone that will give you more than basic features. Amazon reviewers have given it a 4 out of 5 star rating. It’s offered by T-Mobile with prepaid plans starting at $15 a month or pay-as-you-go talk at 10 cents a minute.
The Samsung T369 prepaid cell phone sells on Amazon for $59.99.