Best prepaid cell phones 2024

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Prepaid carriers have come a long way over the last ten years, and now just about any unlocked phone will work with these wireless networks, from the most budget devices to feature-packed foldables. But if you’re looking to get the best value for money, Android phones under $350 below are the right place to start.

The Samsung Galaxy A25 5G has all of the right features with fast hardware, good cameras, and support for 5G. Samsung has promised years upon years of updates for the Galaxy A25, you get a lovely 120Hz Super AMOLED screen, the 5,000mAh battery easily lasts for two days, and you get Android 14 out of the box. All of that for a mere $300 is an unbeatable deal.

At a glance

Best overall

Best prepaid cell phones 2024

(Image credit: Samsung)

1. Samsung Galaxy A25 5G

The best overall phone for prepaid carriers

Reasons to buy

+

Android 14 with support for four OS and five years of security updates

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Expandable storage up to 1TB

+

Massive 5,000mAh battery

+

Headphone jack

Reasons to avoid

Only 25W charging doesn’t cut it

When most folks are trying to choose a prepaid smartphone for less than $350, they often come down to older OnePlus, Motorola, or Samsung phones. After spending a long time at the top, OnePlus has been knocked down by Samsung in the sub-$350 category thanks to the Samsung Galaxy A25 5G. The OnePlus Nord N30 5G follows close behind, thanks to some outstanding hardware and an accessible price tag.

The Samsung Galaxy A25 5G has the same Exynos 1280 processor as the Galaxy A53, which is a great phone. The Galaxy A25 sports a vibrant 6.5-inch 120Hz Super AMOLED display and a large 5,000 battery that’ll easily last a full day to two days on a single charge. It comes with 6GB to 8GB of RAM, expandable storage (to 1TB) and a headphone jack. You’ll also get the benefits of Android 14 OS with support with four upgrades, which means you could be using your A25 5G for years before it becomes obsolete.

Typically priced at $300, the Galaxy A25 5G is a bit more expensive than the OnePlus Nord N30 5G, but it’s important to note again that the phone is set to receive updates for years to come, with five years of guaranteed security updates. If device longevity is important to you, the Galaxy A25 is a great phone to pair with a prepaid carrier.

Best runner-up

Best prepaid cell phones 2024

A close runner-up

Reasons to buy

+

Beautiful AMOLED display

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Excellent cameras

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5G support

+

Great build quality

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50W SUPERVOOC ultra-fast charging

Reasons to avoid

Only one promised OS update beyond Android 13

Not great for gaming

The OnePlus Nord N30 5G feels like a return to form for OnePlus with hardware specs that exceed expectations for the price. Build quality also feels strong, with an attractive utilitarian design that makes it look like it costs more than it really does. The AMOLED display refreshes at a snappy 120Hz and has a high 1080×2400 resolution, making it look sharp and vibrant.

The Snapdragon 695 CPU feels like the perfect fit, with enough power to keep things running smoothly, although gaming isn’t the best. Still, its 5,000mAh battery lasts all day with ease and then some. Like Google’s low-cost Pixels, the N30 5G reminds us that a cheap phone can still have excellent cameras with its 108MP main shooter, 2MP macro camera, and 2MP depth sensor. We were thoroughly impressed by the photos in our Nord N30 5G review.

Even if you’re a proficient phone photographer who can put a battery through its paces, you can top up the battery in a snap with support for 50W SUPERVOOC ultra-fast charging with a charger in the box. Beyond that, this phone ships with Android 13 with the promise of an Android 14 release down the road, to keep it feeling modern for a bit longer. It supports sub-6 5G on T-Mobile’s network which includes the vast majority of its coverage including the faster band 41.

Best with stylus

Best prepaid cell phones 2024

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

Great performance with stylus input

Reasons to buy

+

The large 6.8-inch display runs at 120Hz

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Snappy Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 CPU

+

Large 5,000mAh battery

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Good image quality from the 50MP main camera

Reasons to avoid

Only one major OS update planned

Slow charging

Unimpressive selfie camera

Motorola has been one of the big supporters of 5G, with a handful of affordable 5G phones giving users the latest network tech without needing to buy a flagship phone. While the 2023 iteration of the Moto G Stylus 5G is already out, the 2022 variant is cheaper. As we saw in our Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) review, this phone has impressive performance thanks to its Snapdragon 695 CPU from Qualcomm. This extra power is helpful for showing off the Stylus 5G’s large 6.8-inch LCD with a responsive 120Hz refresh rate. Don’t forget you can control this screen with the included stylus.

Motorola has included a large 5,000mAh battery which should keep most users humming along all day without needing to find a charger. Even so, it’s worth noting that charging speeds on this phone are far from impressive with the underwhelming 10W charger in the box.

The 50MP main camera on the back isn’t going to win any awards next to a flagship phone. Still, considering its price, it’s a good package that can deliver some vibrant images, even in challenging lighting conditions. This praise, however, does not extend to the selfie camera, which was underwhelming in most situations. Overall, this is a good phone for someone looking for 5G compatibility, solid battery life, and a large responsive display.

Best under $200

Best prepaid cell phones 2024

(Image credit: Samsung)

4. Samsung Galaxy A15 5G

The best under $200

Reasons to buy

+

5G support with mid-band

+

Large 5,000mAh battery

+

Four OS updates and five years of security updates

+

Memory card slot and headphone jack

Reasons to avoid

Not great for gaming

The Samsung Galaxy A15 5G isn’t exactly under $200, but it hits the mark on nearly every spec, making it the top pick in this price range. Starting with a great 90Hz Super AMOLED display. This phone is powered by the same Mediatek Dimensity 6100+ chipset found in other phones at this price range, so it will have enough power for most Android apps outside of 3D games.

It comes with a large 5,000mAh battery though its 25W charging speed is a bit lacking. The A15 5G’s main 50MP camera can take some decent images in good lighting but will struggle in low-light conditions.

Where this phone starts to make up some ground is in software. Samsung has promised four OS updates for this device, so your A15 5G will be good for years as long as its chipset can handle the new software. Perhaps more important are the four years of security updates and the Knox security platform. Samsung Knox security can keep sensitive information safe with multi-layered security in the event of theft or loss. This cheap phone punches above its weight in software and performance and can be a great pairing for a prepaid carrier.

Best entry-level

Best prepaid cell phones 2024

(Image credit: Nokia / HMD Global)

5. Nokia C210

The best for entry-level budget

Reasons to buy

+

Massive 5,000mAh battery

+

Clean Android software

+

Three years of OS and security updates

Reasons to avoid

No 5G support

Low-resolution display

It’s nice that Nokia doesn’t get carried away with changes to Android and opts to stick much closer to a stock experience. The Nokia C210 is powered by the Snapdragon 662 and while it isn’t going to top any benchmarks, it has enough power to handle most Android apps with ease and can even do a bit of gaming if you keep your expectations in check. This CPU also sips power making the 5,000mAh battery that easily lasts all day, though the 15W charger means you’ll need a bit of patience getting it up to 100%.

This phone will have Android 13 out of the box but can and should be upgraded to Android 14 eventually. Nokia sticks to a clean build of Android and that’s a good thing. Nokia is also promising three years of OS updates and three years of security monthly security updates.

This phone does not supports 5G unfortunately. However, it’s nice to see a phone with such a large 6.3-inch display and decent battery be supported for so long software wise. The price tag sits at around $100, give or take $10 based on ongoing discounts and where you buy it from. That’s mega affordable given the cost of acquiring one.

What prepaid phone is best?

Why you can trust Android Central Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

More and more people are looking to leave contracts behind, especially if they know how to switch carriers, and prepaid carriers offer a lot of value. In fact, most of the best cheap Android phones will work on just about any prepaid carrier. Most of these phones here will work on any carrier with LTE, but 5G compatibility can be a bit less predictable. Even so, the software has gotten a big boost on cheap phones, thanks to more manufacturers committing to multiple years of updates.

Overall, the Samsung Galaxy A25 5G delivers the best overall experience with very little meaningful compromise. While it isn’t the best Samsung Galaxy A series phone, it’s still an incredible value. This phone supports 5G on all US carriers and the mix of specs beats other phones at this price. The A25 5G will get OS updates until Android 18 and five years of security updates, meaning you can keep using it with confidence.

Via: Androidcentral

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