General Question

gambitking's avatar

What's the best option for a prepaid smart phone?

Asked by gambitking (4151 points ) August 10th, 2011

I’m moving from Texas to Colorado shortly, and I’ll soon be needing a new smart phone before I make the drive at the end of August. Here’s what I’m looking for:

I need a good, reliable phone, it doesn’t have to be a droid or iphone, just a solid dependable phone. I need to have web/data access and mapping apps, google, etc. It needs to be affordable (about $120 or so is my range, preferably much lower). Most importantly, it has to be a prepaid deal, with no contract. I’d also prefer the activation and refill to be affordable (not more than $50 each time).

I know there’s great deals out there but I haven’t shopped for a phone in forever, and I have no idea where to start.

Also, I’ll need to be able to pick it up in a store, unless it’s free shipping and gets to me quick. And I need to know I’ll have service both here in TX and in CO.

Any ideas?

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12 Answers

YoBob's avatar

I use Tracfone and pay around $8.00 per month for my service and the phone itself cost < $20.

They do have models that support web access. However, I don’t really need/use any of the bells and whistles so I can’t speak for how usage goes up if you are constantly surfing the web.

For me, all I do is make a handful of voice calls per month so the basic $20 refill card that gives you 60 minutes plus 60 days of service works for me, and since unused minutes roll over I very rarely have to purchase additional time.

gambitking's avatar

@YoBob – My wife has that type of phone, but it’s a StraightTalk phone, and it’s 45 bucks a month for unlimited everything, and the phone cost only 20 bucks but included a month of airtime, so it was basically free. I recommend you try StraightTalk (get it at walmart), it’s a lot cheaper than TracFone…. but it’s not what I need. I have to have a prepaid smartphone.

YoBob's avatar

Thanks for the recommendation @gambitking. However, I find my current ~$8.00 service pretty darned hard to beat from a price/usage model perspective.

YoBob's avatar

You got me thinking about fancier phones that my current service offers. This model features a touch screen with tons of bells and whistles including mobile web (which will give you mapping apps, etc..). The phone itself is < $80. The monthly charges, of course, will depend on how much you use it. For someone like me who rarely uses the phone more than an hour a month the service will run about $8.00/mo.

the100thmonkey's avatar

@YoBob – “Tracfone Site Session Expired”.

What’s the manufacturer/model?

YoBob's avatar

It’s a Motorola EX124G

Try this link instead…

sophiesword's avatar

I’ve heard the android smart phones are doing well.
check out this link
http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/leaderboard-the-10-best-android-smartphones-of-2011/46835

Sunny2's avatar

@gambitking Thank you for asking this question. I’ve been trying to compare different cell phones and not having a clear picture. My only question here is about the range of calls. Some don’t get as far as 30 miles away.
I had a cell phone for 2 years and only used it 3 times before it was stolen from my car. Now I need one only so my husband can reach me in case of emergency. Giving myself a 30 mile range is probably safe. @YoBob Do you know about that?

YoBob's avatar

@Sunny2 – Not sure what you mean by range. In the US cell phone coverage is pretty much everywhere. It’s not tied to a particular physical location. With the exception of a river bottom in a very rural property in North Texas, I have not had any problems getting a signal with my service.

gambitking's avatar

Yeah I live in East Texas and spotty service is a problem in rural areas, like this one stretch of about 100 feet of road that for some reason seems to be a complete dead zone to all phone service, it’s weird. But other than that, you’ll have service pretty much everywhere.

the100thmonkey's avatar

@YoBob – I don’t think that’s a smartphone; no mention is made of 3rd party apps, nor Android or any other mobile OS.

YoBob's avatar

@the100thmonkey – No, it’s not a “smart phone”, but there are plenty of apps available.

For folks like me it will do everything I want a phone to do (and more) with a pretty darned attractive price tag for ongoing service. (your mileage may vary, of course)

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