By Patrick Miller, PCWorld Sep 21, 2011 8:30 pm
Eager to get a new smartphone but unwilling to pay full price?
Here are our tips for choosing a prepaid smartphone that fits your needs–and your budget.
If you’re paying more than $50 per month for your smartphone, you’re paying too much–unless you absolutely must have an iPhone. These days you can find full-featured, speedy smartphones with prepaid plans that offer unlimited minutes, text messages, and data, plans that cost less than half of what the equivalent ones would cost with AT&T or Verizon. Whether you’re shopping for a new smartphone or simply looking to switch to a cheaper carrier, we’ll walk you through the prepaid phones and plans to buy–and avoid.
Selecting a Prepaid Phone
Prepaid phone carriers have stepped up their smartphone game in the past year, but you still can find a handful of duds out there. For example, some of the lower-end handsets are underpowered, slow, and lacking important features such as Flash support. If you want to get a decent phone from a prepaid carrier, you’ll want to pay anywhere from $200 to $400 up front for the phone itself. The sticker shock might make you want to go back to a two-year contract with a major provider, but hang in there–you’ll be saving a lot more money in the long run.
First, you need to figure out how much you’d pay for a handset with a two-year contract. Buying the HTC ThunderBolt from Verizon would cost you $250 for the phone, plus $140 for unlimited minutes, text, and 5GB of 4G data per month, which adds up to $3610 over two years (not counting taxes and fees). A Samsung Galaxy S2 phone costs $200 from AT&T, plus $135 each month for unlimited voice, text, and 4GB of 4G data. Sprint comes in significantly cheaper for a Samsung Galaxy S2: $200 for the phone, plus $110 for the Simply Everything plan (which includes unlimited 4G data for now), totaling $2840 over two years. Continued Here
For a detailed analysis comparing smartphones like the iPhone 4 to Prepaid Wireless go HERE