Best prepaid cell phones Android Central 2022
With so many phones becoming affordable unlocked, the best prepaid phones look a lot like the best phones in general. Technically, almost any phone can be a prepaid phone these days — that is, just about any phone can be financed or bought outright and used on a prepaid network. This includes nearly all of the best Android phones you can get. Still, most prepaid shoppers are looking for a value offering, so we've compiled some of the best phones that will work with the major prepaid carriers under $350. The Google Pixel 4a is the best prepaid phone overall thanks to its fast hardware, great camera, and consistent software updates.
- Best overall: Google Pixel 4a
- Best battery life: Moto G Power 2020
- Best with a stylus: Moto G Stylus
- Best for T-Mobile 5G: OnePlus Nord N10 5G
- Best for AT&T 5G: Samsung Galaxy A32 5G
- Best for Verizon 5G: Samsung Galaxy A42 5G
Best overall: Google Pixel 4a
The Google Pixel series of phones is the purest Android experience you can get. The Pixel 4a follows up the 3a in offering great performance and a flagship-level camera for a great price. This includes Google's great camera app with features like Night Sight. This phone supports just about every network out there and with eSIM support, it's easy to get set up on the carriers that support it like Google Fi. If you think you might want to switch carriers in the future, there's a good chance this phone can come with you.
Since this phone comes directly from Google, there's no waiting for Android updates and as a Pixel owner, you're first in line for the newest software. You get a pure Android build without a bunch of extra software you don't need. You also get a 5.8-inch OLED display as well as 6GB of RAM to keep things running smoothly.
While the Pixel 4a is far from the cheapest phone you can get, it will last a lot longer than others in its category thanks to great software support from google keeping it secure and running smoothly. It also feels like Google trimmed this phone down in all the right ways so you can have a great Android experience without paying for an array of cameras you don't need or for 5G that many of us won't be able to use yet.
- Great Pixel camera
- OLED display
- Clean software
- Guaranteed Android updates
- A little pricey
Best battery life: Moto G Power 2020
The Moto G Power is one of our favorite cheap Android phones thanks to its laser focus on the things that most of us expect from our phones. Of course, you expect the massive 5,000 mAh battery but the rest of the phone keeps up with expectations and at the price, it's hard to beat in any category.
Motorola keeps up the clean Android design with nice Moto-specific software additions such as gestures. It's worth keeping in mind that despite this clean Android appearance, Motorola won't support this phone with software updates as long as a company like Google does, so don't expect this phone's software to change much after you buy it. Still, for many people, this isn't a huge deal and for a cheap phone with a large battery, this is a great option.
- Massive 5,000 mAh battery
- Clean Android software
- Large display with tight bezels
- Expandable storage
- Unlikely to receive platform updates
Best with a stylus: Moto G Stylus
The Moto G Stylus is an appealing phone with Motorola's ability to pack in just the right amount of features. The star of the show is the stylus, which provides users with greater input precision especially when it comes to websites that haven't been optimized for touch. The stylus is simple with only one pressure level and no buttons but it can still be nice to have for taking notes. The Moto G Stylus has plenty of room to make the most of the stylus as well with a large 6.8-inch display.
Beyond the stylus, you get a solid phone with a large 4,000mAh battery, which should be plenty for a whole day of usage, and 128GB of storage ensures you won't have to worry about running out when you download albums or take a lot of photos. Speaking of photos, this phone comes with four rear cameras featuring a 48MP main rear shooter. It's all powered by the capable Snapdragon 678, which should work well for day-to-day activity.
- Stylus offers extra precision
- Large 6.8-inch display
- 128GB of storage
- Large 4,000mAh battery
- Lacks NFC
- Not expected to get many updates
Best for T-Mobile 5G: OnePlus Nord N10 5G
OnePlus has been an Android favorite for years thanks to its high-end hardware and relatively low price. The OnePlus Nord N10 5G continues this tradition with a fast Snapdragon 690 CPU, 6GB of RAM, and a 90HZ screen. This phone is fully compatible with T-Mobile's 5G network, making it a great choice for a prepaid plan on the T-Mobile network like Mint Mobile or Ultra Mobile. T-Mobile's network includes 5G access for all plans so it makes sense to be able to take advantage of this growing 5G coverage area with even a prepaid phone.
Around the back, there are four cameras including a 64MP main shooter, macro camera, ultra-wide, and a monochrome camera for focusing. A 4,300mAh battery keeps you going for the whole day and charges quickly with the 30-watt fast charger. This all comes together to create a fast and smooth Android experience in a phone that's great for trying out the best prepaid carriers available.
- Large 6.49-inch display at 90Hz refresh
- 6GB of RAM
- Fast Snapdragon 690 CPU
- Huge 64MP main camera
- Won't get many Android updates
Best for AT&T 5G: Samsung Galaxy A32 5G
The Samsung Galaxy A32 5G is a very solid Galaxy phone with great cameras, a large battery, and 5G support on AT&T. AT&T's network powers several of the best prepaid carriers including AT&T Prepaid and Cricket. This phone will also work on most other networks including T-Mobile's network. The Galaxy A32 5G features an octa-core Mediatek CPU with 4GB of RAM, which isn't the most powerful in the world but will work fine with most day-to-day activity.
It has a 6.4-inch 2400x1080 display running with a 90Hz refresh rate. The main rear camera is 48MP with an ultra-wide 8MP and a macro camera at 5MP. The battery is an impressive 5,000mAh, which can keep the phone running all day and into the next one. If you're looking for something with enough speed to do the basics and plenty of battery life this is a solid choice.
Samsung also has one of the best track records for keeping its phones up to date, and that includes years of updates for even lower-end devices like the A32 5G.
- Great 6.4-inch display with 90Hz refresh rate
- Solid camera performance with a 48MP main shooter
- Large 5,000mAh battery
- 5G support on most carriers
- Slower CPU may lead to lag
Best for Verizon 5G: Samsung Galaxy A42 5G
The Samsung Galaxy A42 5G takes things to the next level with a massive 6.6-inch display at a 720x1600 resolution. This phone also comes with support for 5G on Verizon's network, including one of our favorite Verizon prepaid carriers, Visible. This includes ultra-fast mmWave 5G. While Verizon is still building its nationwide 5G network, it's nice to know that this phone will be ready to take advantage of it when it arrives.
The A42 5G is powered by a Snapdragon 750 with eight CPU cores and 4GB of RAM. This phone is powered by a large 5,000mAh battery, which should easily last all day. The three-camera array on the back has a 48MP main shooter with an 8MP ultra-wide camera and a 2MP depth camera. This phone has a unique four-tone design on the back, which helps it look much more premium than its price tag.
- Large 6.6-inch display
- Large 5,000mAh battery
- 5G support on Verizon and Visible
- Cool design
- Screen resolution is lower than the competition
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 will work on any carrier with LTE but 5G compatibility isn't quite as universal yet. You may need to get a SIM card from Verizon or Sprint-based carriers to get activated.
If you are looking for a great android phone that will work on nearly every carrier without issue, check out the Pixel 4a from Google. It's not the cheapest phone around, but it has an excellent camera and Pixel phones are first in line for new Android updates straight from Google. These frequent updates should keep it running better for longer than many other phones of its class.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Samuel Contreras When Samuel is not writing about networking and carriers, he spends most of his time researching computer components and obsessing over what CPU goes into the ultimate Windows 98 computer. It's the Pentium 3.
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