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 several 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.

Huawei P20 and P20 Pro

The  Huawei P20 and Huawei P20 Pro may not be officially coming to the United States, but the rest of the world is in for a treat. These are, without a doubt, the best Huawei phones the company has produced so far, and the best prepaid phones ever made (so far). The Huawei P20 sports a 5.8-inch LCD display, while the Pro version boosts it up to 6.1 inches and a OLED panel. Yes, both phones have notches on top, but if you hate this current phone trend, the handsets do allow you to turn it off in the setting menu so it looks more like a regular phone.

The Huawei P20 has a Leica dual camera setup, with a 12MP RGB and 20MP monochrome sensor combo, but the P20 Pro is the first smartphone with a triple rear camera setup. In addition to the 20MP monochrome sensor, the RGB sensor on the Pro goes up to a whopping 40MP, and is joined by the third sensor, an 8MP telephoto lens. The Pro also has a five-times hybrid zoom feature.

Both phones have Huawei’s Kirin 970 processor, with its NPU chip that adds AI features, including ones that help improve taking pictures with their impressive cameras. These phones are not cheap, however. The Huawei P20 will be sold in Europe very soon for 650 euro (around $800), while the more powerful Huawei P20 Pro will cost 900 euro (around $1100). There’s also the Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS variant of the P20 Pro that includes a in-screen fingerprint sensor, a 6-inch screen, and you can get one with a massive 512GB amount of onboard storage for  2095 euro ($2600). That’s the price that must be paid for the best prepaid phones Huawei has ever released.

Specifications

Huawei P20

  • 5.8-inch Huawei FullView IPS LCD 18.7:9 display 2,244 x 1,080 resolution
  • Octa-core Huawei Kirin 970 processor
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • 128 GB of on-board storage
  • Dual 20 and 12 MP rear cameras, 8 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,400 mAh battery
  • Android 8.0 Oreo
  • 149.1 mm x 70.8 mm x 7.65 mm, 165 g

Huawei P20 Pro

  • 6.1-inch Huawei FullView OLED 18:7:9 display 2,240 x 1,080 resolution
  • Octa-core Huawei Kirin 970 processor
  • 6 GB of RAM
  • 128 GB of on-board storage, no microSD expansion
  • Triple 8, 12 and 40 MP rear cameras, 8 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 4,000 mAh battery
  • Android 8.0 Oreo
  • 155.0 mm x 73.9 mm x 7.8 mm, 180 g

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Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus

Following a successful launch of the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, Samsung clearly knows what users want in a smartphone. Solid battery life, high-res screens, impressive camera performance and more were all things the company achieved with its previous generation flagships, but the S8 range updated the look with a more modern design. They are are IP67 rated for water and dust resistance, which means they are among the best waterproof phones you can currently buy.

As before, Samsung included a curved screen on both the S9 and S9 Plus, with an increasingly common 18.5:9 aspect ratio that allows for a much more comfortable in-hand feel. Under the hood, these devices come with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor in the US (Samsung’s own in-house Exynos 9810 SoC is used in other parts of the world). The standard 5.8-inch S9 has 4 GB of RAM while the 6.2-inch S9 Plus includes 6 GB of RAM. Both have 64 GB of on-board storage, and both have Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box. Recently, Samsung launched unlocked versions of both phones with 128GB and 256GB of internal storage in the US.

The biggest difference in the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus, compared to both their older models and each other, is in their camera equipment. Both the S9 and S9 Plus have a primary 12 MP rear camera with a Dual Aperture feature that can switch between F/1.5 and F/2.4 modes. The S9 Plus also has a second rear 12 MP sensor and both phones have 8 MP front cameras. Both can also take super slow-mo movies at 960 fps at 720p, and both support Samsung’s new AR Emoji for animated avatars created by the cameras.

All in all, the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus are the two best Samsng phones at the moment, and among the best prepaid Android phones out there, building on the highly successful formula of the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus.

Samsung Galaxy S9

  • 5.8-inch Super AMOLED display with 2960 x 1440 resolution, 570 ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 or Exynos 9810 processor (depending on region)
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • 64/128/256 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 400 GB
  • 12 MP rear camera, 8 MP front
  • 3,000 mAh battery
  • Android 8.0 Oreo
  • 147.7 x 68.7 x 8.5 mm, 163 g

Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

  • 6.2-inch Super AMOLED display with 2960 x 1440 resolution, 529 ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 or Octa-core Samsung Exynos 9810 processor (depending on region)
  • 6 GB of RAM
  • 64/128/256 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 400 GB
  • Dual 12 MP rear cameras, 8 MP front camera
  • 3,500 mAh battery
  • Android 8.0 Oreo
  • 158.1 x 73.8 x 8.5 mm, 189 g

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Samsung Galaxy Note 8

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After a controversial 2016, Samsung’s Galaxy Note line is back in full force. With top-of-the-line specs, a stunning design, an all-new dual-camera setup, and new software features, the Galaxy Note 8 is the best Android phone you can buy right now.

The Note 8’s near-bezel-less 6.3-inch Quad HD+ Infinity Display with an 18.5:9 aspect ratio is one of our favorite parts about this phone. DisplayMate agrees with us too. It’s big, maybe too big for some people, but at least the company puts that screen to good use. There’s a new App Pairing feature that allows you to open up two favorited apps in multi-window at the same time, and there are a few new S Pen features that will satisfy the stylus users out there.

What’s more, the new dual-camera setup on the back performs incredibly well. While picture quality isn’t a huge step up from what we saw on the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, the extra 12 MP sensor with OIS allows you to take clear, concise photos and impressive bokeh shots in just about any situation.

No, it’s not perfect, but no phone is. Samsung’s fingerprint sensor placement is still super annoying, and this phone is expensive. If those things don’t matter to you though, the Note 8 might be the right phone for you. Check out our full review below!

 

Specs

  • 6.3-inch Super AMOLED Infinity Display with 2960 x 1440 resolution, 521 ppi
  • Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 or Octa-core Samsung Exynos 8895 processor (depending on region)
  • 6 GB of RAM
  • 64/128/256 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256 GB
  • Dual 12 MP rear cameras, 8 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,300 mAh battery
  • Android 7.1.1 Nougat
  • 162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6 mm, 195 g

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Google Pixel 2

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The Pixel 2 is Google’s latest flagship smartphone, and it’s great at just about everything. It doesn’t have as many bells or whistles as the Note 8, but if you’re in the market for a simple Android phone, the Pixel 2 is a great option.

This device has a 5-inch OLED 1080p display with a pixel density of 441 ppi. It doesn’t have a fancy 18:9 aspect ratio screen or a bezel-less design, though it does have front-facing speakers above and below the display. Inside, it comes with a speedy Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, along with 4 GB of LPDDR4x RAM. You can buy the phone with either 64 GB or 128 GB of on board storage, but there’s no microSD card to add additional storage.

If you like taking photos with your phone, you’ll be very pleased with the Pixel 2’s 12.2 MP camera. Not only has it been named the smartphone camera on the market according to DxOMark, we found the Pixel 2’s main camera to be incredibly impressive in most situations. There’s even a portrait mode on the front and back cameras, even though the phone doesn’t have a dual-camera setup.

You might be wondering why we haven’t mentioned the Pixel 2 XL. It’s a great phone—don’t get us wrong—but just know that the XL’s display has had its fair share of issues since launch. The LG-made pOLED 6.0-inch display on the 2 XL shows off a blue tint when the phone is tilted, it’s not tuned to be as vibrant as other OLED panels, and many early adopters have already been noticing burn-in issues. Google says it will continue to combat these issues with software updates, and it’s also extended the warranty to two years

If you want one of the Pixel prepaid phones with a larger battery and can live with a mediocre display, we’d recommend going for the Pixel 2 XL—you’ll be very happy. But if you can live with a smaller battery and a smaller screen (that doesn’t have any issues), we’d recommend the Pixel 2.

Specs

  • 5.0-inch OLED display with 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, 441 ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • 64/128 GB of on-board storage, no microSD expansion
  • 12.2 MP rear camera, 8 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 2,700 mAh battery
  • Android 8.0 Oreo
  • 145.7 x 69.7 x 7.8 mm 143 g

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OnePlus 5T

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The OnePlus 5 was a solid smartphone, but it wasn’t really up to 2017’s standards on the design front. That’s why OnePlus changed things up quite a bit with the OnePlus 5T.

The first thing you’ll notice with the 5T is its bit 6.01-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display with an 18:9 aspect ratio. This makes the device look more in line with other 2017 devices, especially because its predecessor came with a more traditional 16:9 screen. The under-the-hood specs are mostly the same as the OnePlus 5’s, but OnePlus decided to switch up the camera setup this time around. Now, in place of the OnePlus 5’s telephoto lens, the 5T sports a secondary 20 MP sensor that uses a fancy new technology called Intelligent Pixel Technology. Basically, it takes better low-light photos than before.

The other big change with the 5T is in regards to biometric security. Not only has the fingerprint sensor moved around to the back, you can also unlock the 5T using face recognition. It’s super fast, but we’ve found it to miss a handful of times for some unknown reason.

Perhaps the biggest missing feature on the 5T is an IP rating for dust and water resistance, which is a feature pretty much every other flagship device has. If you can get past that, the OnePlus 5T will be a great option for most people— especially because it costs a fraction of the price of most competing prepaid phones.

Specs

  • 6.01-inch AMOLED display with 1,920 x 1,080 resolution
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 mobile platform
  • 6/8 GB of RAM
  • 64/128 GB of on-board storage, no microSD expansion
  • Dual 16 and 20 MP rear cameras, 16 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,300 mAh battery
  • Android 7.1.1 Nougat
  • 154.2 x 74.1 x 7.25 mm, 153 g

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Razer Phone

Razer, who have already been highly successful with their wide ranging of gaming PC and console hardware and accessories, decided they wanted to make a gaming and entertainment oriented smartphone. The result is the recently launched handset that’s simply called the Razer Phone. The fact that it packs in 8 GB of RAM shows you they want to make gaming on a phone smoother and better than on a normal device.

Besides 8 GB, the Razer Phone includes a big 5.7-inch display with a 120 Gh refresh rate. That feature can be combined with the phone’s other major feature,  Ultra Motion, which syncs up its GPU with the high  refresh rate, which allows games made for the phone to have silky smooth framerates with little to no lag or graphics tearing.

Besides the display features, the Razer Phone also has a big 4,000 mAh battery, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, loud twin front speakers with Dolby Atmos support, and more to make it perhaps the best phone ever made specifically for gaming. You can purchase it now from Razer unlocked for $699, but this one of the prepaid phones that only works on GSM networks like T-Mobile and AT&T.

Specs

  • 5.7-inch-inch LED display with 1,440 x 2,560 resolution
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor
  • 8 GB of RAM
  • 64 GB of on-board storage, MicroSD slot available
  • Dual 12 MP rear cameras, 8 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 4,000 mAh battery
  • Android 7.1.1 Nougat
  • 158.5 x 77.7 x 8 mm, 197 g

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Moto G5 Plus

 

If you’re in the market for one of the afforable prepaid phones for under $250, look no further. Lenovo’s Moto G5S Plus is one of the best cheap Android phones on the market, and for good reason.

The successor to the earlier Moto G5 Plus, the new phone has a rounded all-metal design with a 5.5-inch 1080p display, and the big 3,000 mAh battery should keep you going for up to two days on a single charge. Plus, with the Snapdragon 625 processor coupled with 3-4 GB of RAM, this thing can basically handle everything you throw at it. The phone also has dual 13 MP rear camera and a 8 MP front facing camera.

And for those of you interested in a bare-bones software experience, you’ll be happy to hear that the G5S Plus runs a very slimmed-down version of Android 7.1 Nougat, with Android 8.0 Oreo coming as a software update soon. The Moto G5S Plus is reliable, sleek, and inexpensive. You can get the phone unlocked at Best Buy now with 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage for $229 and with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of RAM for $299.

Specs

  • 5.5-inch IPS LCD display with 1,920 x 1,080 resolution
  • 2.0 GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor
  • 3/4 GB of RAM
  • 32/64 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256 GB
  • Dual 13 MP rear cameras, 8 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,000 mAh battery
  • Android 7.1 Nougat
  • 153.5 x 76.2 x 8.0 mm, 168 g

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Best prepaid phones – Conclusion

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

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