When people purchase new cell phones, the first thing that comes to mind is what type of features and functionality they can get for the price paid per month. However, for many of these people, contracts are out of the question, whether for credit reasons or otherwise and prepaid cell phones are a viable alternative. Again, the question remains; what features and functionality can someone get with a prepaid cell phone as compared to the plans that come with them? Which prepaid cell phone and plan is best?
Motorola i1 (Boost Mobile $300-$399)
The Motorola i1 was the first Android OS based phone offered by Boost Mobile and the first Push-to-Talk Android phone as well. This phone receives high ratings because of its great features. It offers everything from messaging and web to video and Bluetooth. Its great calling quality and military grade ruggedness gives it the much-needed ability to withstand dropping, rainstorms, extreme vibrations, and temperatures-well, almost anything else except direct immersion in water-it almost makes this phone worth the hefty price tag.
It runs on the iDEN network with push to talk and web features. The two downfalls to this phone include its price and the OS. One would think only the best would come with the i1, but this only offers Android 1.5, which is almost obsolete these days. Overall, this is a great feature phone for prepaid cell phone users and with the unlimited Boost Mobile prepaid cell phone plan attached, which start at $50, users get the best mileage out if it.
Motorola Debut i856 (Boost Mobile $149)
The Motorola Debut prepaid cell phone is a feature phone offering almost everything a prepaid cell phone user could want. While it does not have a full QWERTY keyboard, it does have a number pad hiding underneath a slider body and a 2.2-inch LCD display with a resolution of 176 pixels by 220 pixels. This is the first slider style phone offered by Boost Mobile and it is an obvious improvement over the usually hefty PTT phones.
According to the Boost Mobile website, the Debut i856 offers a 1.3-megapixel camera with 4x digital zoom and autofocus, video capabilities, Bluetooth, Internet access, multimedia messaging and, of course, the Push to talk feature. This prepaid cell phone makes a great entry-level phone and for only $149 with no contract on the Boost Mobile network, it is one of the cheaper full featured pre paid phones from Boost Mobile.
LG Rumor Touch (Virgin Mobile $149)
This smartphone by LG is given some of the highest reviews for a smartphone on a prepaid plan. With all the features a user could want, it is a phone for the masses on a budget. Offering a full touchscreen of 3-inches diagonal that hides a horizontally slider full QWERTY keyboard, this is a great messaging phone. Also offered is a 2-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, GPA, Wi-Fi, 3G service and, of course, great web browsing. The thing about smartphones is that even though many hive nice features, the call quality is lacking, but not so with the LG Rumor Touch.
Users and reviewers everywhere state that the LG touch has an excellent clarity and few dropped calls as compared to other smartphones. The best thing about this phone is that with the $40 plan, users can have all the web and data access they need with free nights and weekend minutes and up to 1200 anytime minutes. The completely unlimited plan costs $60-but this price includes all taxes, fees, and extras as well.
Samsung Messenger II (Cricket & Metro PCS $130-$140)
The Samsung Messenger II is one of a few phones sold by both Metro PCS and CricKet. It is a full featured messenger phone offering much more. This phone has a candy bar style, but it is hiding a horizontal slider QWERTY underneath. While the display is tiny at 2.2-inches, it does a great job displaying colors and messages. Additionally, the 2-megapixel camera takes great photos and with the great messaging features, users can upload and send them to contacts.
Also included is Bluetooth, video recording and playback and it has a decent calling quality. While this may not be a great cell phone, it is certainly a great entry-level phone and with the added unlimited calling plans, people can use it freely to do what it was meant for-texting. The plans offered by these carriers start at $30 for unlimited text and calls.
BlackBerry Curve 8530 (Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, Metro PCS, CricKet, others $249)
This phone is available on all of the prepaid cell phone carriers. It is the single most popular phone and it comes with its very own calling and data plan on each carrier, so prices and features will vary. The BlackBerry Curve 8530, offers the basic smartphone, messaging, emailing and calling functionality users would expect form a Blackberry. While it is not the greatest Blackberry to come from RIM, it is certainly a winner on a prepaid cell phone plan nonetheless.
This smartphone features everything that a BlackBerry user expects. Including a 2.5-inch TFT display with a resolution of 320 pixels by 240 pixels and a 2-megapixel camera with video recording capabilities, and a media player, this is a functional BlackBerry device. While it is compatible with CDMA, EV-DO, and Wi-Fi networks, availability depends on the carrier chosen. Its full QWERTY keyboard is of the usual size, offering users the ability to send messages and email without sliding anything out. This is truly one of the best phones on any prepaid cell phone plan available and most unlimited data and calling plans cost about $60, but again, it will vary with the carrier chosen.
RIM BlackBerry Curve 8530
Nicole Lee, “BlackBerry Curve 8530 (Metro PCS),” CNet Reviews
Kent German, “Samsung Messenger II (Metro PCS),” CNet Reviews
CricKet: All Cell Phones
Samsung Messenger II
Nicole Lee, “LG Rumor Touch (Virgin Mobile),” CNet Reviews
Nicole Lee, “Motorola i1 (Boost Mobile),” CNet Reviews
Nicole Lee, “Motorola Debut i856 (Boost Mobile),” CNet Reviews
Boost Mobile Motorola Debut i856
Boost Mobile Motorola i1
Virgin Mobile LG Touch Rumor FAQs