There was a time when prepaid was a carrier status maintained almost exclusively by young people and often the ‘credit challenged’. After all, prepaid phone plans were generally less impressive than carrier plans with too many restrictions to make them appealing, and prepaid phones were just a small step better than utter garbage.

Thankfully this situation has been flipped on its head in recent years. Nowadays, prepaid phone plans actually tend to offer the best value for consumers and generally share many of the same perks you’d find with a traditional ‘postpaid’ plan. The selection of phones have equally improved, with prepaid networks offering at least a few flagship options and plenty of respectable mid-range and entry-range devices. There’s also the ability to bring your own unlocked phone to a number of prepaid carriers, unlocking even more possibilities.

So what are the very best prepaid phones available? A lot of it will come down to what network best catches your attention, though below we’ve gathered up 5 of the best smartphones available in the prepaid world right now.

Looking for full lists of the best prepaid phones for a specific network? We have those too! Check them out below:

For those that would rather go unlocked and bring your phone to a compatible GSM network, you’ll also want to take a look at the following lists:

Editor’s note – We will be updating this list as more devices hit the market.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus

Pixel and Pixel XL accessories

See more Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus photos

Following a successful launch of the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, Samsung seemed to have a pretty good idea as to what users want in a smartphone. Solid battery life, high-res screens, impressive camera performance and more were all things the company achieved with the 2016 flagships. And while the Note 7 seemed to improve even more in those areas, overheating problems caused the device to enter total recall mode.

Now we get to see what Samsung has in store for us in 2017. It should come as no surprise that the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus feature top-of-the-line specifications, great cameras and an all-new design that’s truly futuristic.

See also:
Best Samsung phones

Best Samsung phones

May 15, 2017

This time around, Samsung included a curved screen on both the S8 and S8 Plus, as well as a unique 18.5:9 aspect ratio that allows for a much more comfortable in-hand feel. The company even ditched its famous physical home button and included on-screen navigation keys (finally). Under the hood, these devices come with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor (or Exynos 8895, depending on the region), 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of on-board storage, and one of the latest versions of Android, 7.0 Nougat.

Samsung even launched a few extra accessories alongside the S8 that you should definitely consider checking out. The new Samsung DeX dock lets you use your S8 as a desktop computer, and there’s also a new Gear 360 camera that allows for shooting video in 4K and live streaming to YouTube. Of course, there’s also a new Galaxy S8-compatible Gear VR headset, complete with a controller for easier navigation.

All in all, the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are two of the most promising smartphones launching in 2017 and a worthy choice if you are looking for a great prepaid phone.

Specs

Samsung Galaxy S8

  • 5.8-inch Super AMOLED display with 2960 x 1440 resolution, 570 ppi
  • Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 or Octa-core Samsung Exynos 8895 processor (depending on region)
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • 64 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256 GB
  • 12 MP rear camera, 8 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,000 mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 148.9 x 68.1 x 8 mm, 155 g

Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus

  • 6.2-inch Super AMOLED display with 2960 x 1440 resolution, 529 ppi
  • Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 or Octa-core Samsung Exynos 8895 processor (depending on region)
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • 64 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256 GB
  • 12 MP rear camera, 8 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,000 mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm, 173 g

Read more


LG G6

prepaid phones

See more LG G6 photos

Throughout 2016, the LG G5 struggled to take on the Galaxy S7, HTC 10 and all the other flagships released that year. It’s not a bad phone, per se, it just lacks the level of polish we normally expect from top-tier smartphones nowadays. The phone would have been more widely accepted if it nailed the modular implementation, but unfortunately the whole module-swapping process was wonky and the three “Friends” that launched with the G5 weren’t all that appealing. With the G6, LG has gone back to the basics.

Certainly the most standout feature on the G6 is its 5.7-inch Quad HD LCD display, with its interesting aspect ratio of 18:9 and rounded corners. It also comes with a Snapdragon 821 processor, 4 GB of RAM, plenty of on-board storage, an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance and dual 13 MP rear cameras. It’s worth noting that not all LG G6s are created equal. For example, the G6 that’s coming to the U.S. is the only variant that supports wireless charging, while the Hi-Fi Quad DAC is exclusive to South Korea and certain markets in Asia. What’s more, the G6 with 64 GB of storage is only available in a handful of markets.

This isn’t a prepaid phone that introduces a bunch of gimmicky features that you’ll never use. It’s simply a solid, well-built smartphone that nails the main areas users care most about.

Specs

  • 5.7-inch IPS LCD display with 2880 x 1440 resolution, 564 ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • 32/64 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256 GB
  • Dual 13 MP rear cameras, 5 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,300 mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 148.9 x 71.9 x 7.9 mm, 163 g

Read more


Google Pixel and Pixel XL

See more Google Pixel and Pixel XL photos

Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL are here, and they truly are some amazing smartphones. If you’re looking for a high-end prepaid phone that’s compatible with Verizon’s prepaid phone network, look no further. 

Not only are they the first phones to ship with the Google Assistant on board, they also come with plenty of exclusive software features and some of the best smartphone cameras in existence.

Under the hood, they sport some killer specs, too. Both devices have an AMOLED display, a Snapdragon 821 processor, 4 GB of RAM, plenty of on-board storage and long-lasting batteries. The overall design of these phones may not be the most unique, but they do feel like premium phones through and through.

There are a few things about these phones that will turn some people away, though. For starters, they only sport an IP53 rating for dust and water resistance, meaning they’re not nearly as waterproof as the Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge. There are ways around that, but none that will make the devices truly waterproof. Plus, if you buy the Verizon model, you’ll have to deal with a small amount of bloatware (though you will be able to uninstall it), you won’t be able to unlock the bootloader, and Verizon will be handling all Pixel and Pixel XL software updates (though the company swears it won’t delay them).

If you’re in the market for a new flagship Android phone and don’t mind spending over $650, you should buy the Pixel or Pixel XL… these are two of the best Android phones out there. 

Specs

Google Pixel

  • 5.0-inch AMOLED display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 441 ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • 32/128 GB of on-board storage, no microSD expansion
  • 12.3 MP rear camera, 8 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 2,770 mAh battery
  • Android 7.1 Nougat
  • 143.8 x 69.5 x 8.6 mm, 143 g

Google Pixel XL

  • 5.5-inch AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 534 ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • 32/128 GB of on-board storage, no microSD expansion
  • 12.3 MP rear camera, 8 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,450 mAh battery
  • Android 7.1 Nougat
  • 154.7 x 75.7 x 8.6 mm, 168 g

Read more


Moto Z Play

See more Moto Z Play photos

The Moto Z Play enters the market not as a top-of-the-line flagship, per se, more so as a smartphone that caters to a certain crowd. Not only is it compatible with the Lenovo’s existing line of Moto Mods, it also sports a lower price point than the flagship Moto Z and Moto Z Force devices.

Perhaps the biggest draw to this device is its insane battery life. The Moto Z Play has a 3,510 mAh unit, which we have had a tough time depleting to 0% in one day. In our Wi-Fi browsing test, it managed to put up an outstanding mark of 16 hours and 13 minutes, while its recharge time of 109 minutes using the included Turbo Charger is also respectable. Best of all, you can always expand its battery life by even more with one of those battery pack Moto Mods.

If you’re looking for a prepaid phone that’s unique and won’t skimp out on battery life, you should get the Moto Z Play. Just keep in mind that it’s only available directly from Verizon — or possibly unlocked.

Specs

  • 5.5-inch Super AMOLED display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 403 ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor
  • 3 GB of RAM
  • 32 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256 GB
  • 16 MP rear camera, 5 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,510 mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 156.4 x 76.4 x 7 mm, 165 g

Read more


ZTE Grand X Max 2

See more Grand X Max 2 photos

The ZTE Grand X Max 2 is a large-screened, exceptionally-priced budget smartphone with very few compromises. It sports a big 6.0-inch Full HD display, a Snapdragon 617 processor, microSD expansion up to 64 GB, and a giant 3,400 mAh battery. ZTE has also improved the software experience with this handset, making the user interface very user friendly.

The ZTE Grand X Max 2 prepaid phone is available now from Cricket for $169.99, or for $129.99 with an activation if you bring in your number.

Specs

  • 6.0-inch IPS LCD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 367 ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor
  • 2 GB of RAM
  • 16 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 64 GB
  • 13 MP rear camera, 5 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,400 mAh battery
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 164.1 x 83.8 x 8.9 mm

Read more


Moto G4 Play Droid

See more Moto G4 Play photos

Lenovo’s Moto G4 Play sports a low price tag, solid specifications and a familiar design language we’ve all grown to love.

It sports a 5.0-inch HD display, solid Snapdragon 410 processor, 2 GB of RAM, and an 8 MP rear camera that’s great for snapping the occasional photo. Plus, you get a removable 2,800 mAh battery, which is a feature many manufacturers have been leaving out of their phones lately.

The Moto G4 Play is a prepaid phone designed for Verizon’s prepaid network.

Specs

  • 5.0-inch IPS LCD display with 1280 x 720 resolution, 294 ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor
  • 2 GB of RAM
  • 16 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256 GB
  • 8 MP rear camera, 5 MP front camera
  • Removable 2,800 mAh battery
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • 144.4 x 72 x 9.9 mm, 137 g

Read more


ZTE ZMAX Pro

See more ZMAX Pro photos

The ZTE ZMAX Pro is definitely one of the best phones out there for kids. For just $99 you’ll get a big 6.0-inch display, a fingerprint sensor for extra security, a great mid-range processor, and plenty of internal storage. It also comes with a big battery and a great software experience.

There are a few things worth mentioning, though. First of all, to get the phone at this $99 price point, you’ll have to buy the MetroPCS prepaid phone version. It’s also available on T-Mobile’s prepaid network for closer to $200 if you don’t mind spending a little extra cash. If you have one of those two carriers and are looking for a cheap smartphone, though, the ZMAX Pro might be your best bet.

Specs

  • 6.0-inch IPS LCD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 367 ppi
  • 1.5 GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor
  • 2 GB of RAM
  • 32 GB of internal storage, microSD expansion up to 128 GB
  • 13 MP rear camera, 5 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,500 mAh battery
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 165.1 x 83.8 x 8.9 mm, 175 g

Read more


How do like our list of best prepaid phones? Is there any device you’d add or remove? Let us know your opinions in the comments!

Next: Best prepaid plans