Prepaid cell phones are a great option for you if you have little to no credit or if you only need a phone for a short time, but there are plenty of reasons to consider them even if your needs are more long-term. For example, these prepaid gadgets are ideal for senior citizens who may be intimidated by mobile phone technology, or for teenagers who must learn the responsibilities that come with owning a cell phone.
For the most part, these pay-as-you-go cell phones are easy to use. The simplicity comes not only from the phone itself, but also through the idea that you prepay for minutes, so when they expire, you can either choose to buy more minutes or quit the service altogether. You can also purchase plans on a monthly basis. No more surprise phone bills. However, if you seek the latest and greatest cell phones, have a tendency to talk on the phone for extended periods of time or just want the best value per minute, a traditional contract plan may suit you better.
In this site, the best pay-as-you-go phones we reviewed are the Samsung Vitality, Motorola Citrus and HTC Freestyle GoPhone.
Prepaid Cell Phones: What to Look For
Not all carriers offer prepaid services, so we recommend researching local carriers’ prices for prepaid plans. Keep in mind that phones supporting prepaid plans are also limited, so you will likely not have the opportunity to choose the latest and greatest hardware.
Below are the criteria we used to evaluate prepaid cell phones:
Pay-as-you-go cell phones should provide basic cell phone functions such as 3-way calling, speakerphone, voicemail, call waiting and caller ID. The best phones are compatible with a variety of networks and are easy-to-use. Text messaging is another basic feature we considered.
These prepaid gadgets need to provide users with a long battery life. Standby time on these devices can usually last for days, even weeks. However, make sure to look at the talk time of the device. Talk time battery drains when any displays are active. If the talk time is low on a device, daily charging will be required if you frequently use text messaging, phone conversations, internet connectivity or the music player.
The more multimedia features a cell phone has, the better. Most phones will offer one or more of the following features in addition to voice services: text messaging, instant messaging, camera, recording capabilities, audio/video playback, games, polyphonic ringtones and/or radio. The best prepaid phones also include internet connectivity options, email and navigation tools and access to third-party apps such as games and customizable news services.
Even though a pay-as-you-go cell phone is not as expensive as a cell phone offered with a monthly contract, its design still needs to be fun and functional. The best cell phones are small, durable and include a lasting battery. Almost all the phones we reviewed also have expandable memory slots to store additional photos, ringtones, or files, so we checked for the maximum storage capacity of each prepaid phone. Bluetooth capabilities are also available on many of the pay-as-you-go cell phones we reviewed.
Even the simplest application can help its owner become more productive, thus making the phone an investment. The best prepaid cell phones offer applications and tools such as calendars, phone books, task lists and memos/notes.