Friday, July 2, 2010

Best prepaid cell phones for saving money

I'm willing to bet that most cell phone users are paying more than they should, but those pesky contracts keep them locked in.  I decided to do some research to determine which are the best prepaid cell phones for saving money. When it comes to cell phones there is a dizzying array of choices.  Once you decide on the phone the next step is to pick out a plan to go with it.  There is also an insane amount of choices to be made when picking out a contract.  How many minutes?  How many texts?  Do you want web access?  Then if your needs change, forget about it.  You either pay a whopping early termination fee that costs more than the phone or get stuck paying for something you no longer need.

Based on my research, I was able to come up with  two really fantastic inexpensive prepaid phones with features that are similar to the phones you find on the more expensive contract plans.  I originally started out with a list of ten phones and narrowed it down these two. 

1. Nokia 2320 Prepaid cell phone 4.5 stars  9 reviews
Nokia 2320 Prepaid GoPhone, Silver (AT&T) with $15 Airtime Credit
Nokia 2320
If you are looking for a pre-paid cell phone where the primary use is talking, then the Nokia 2320 is your best choice.  It is a solid, inexpensive phone with features like 56 Mb memory, phonebook, and speakerphone.  Also, the phone does support texting, email and web access. Since this is a 2G phone, data access will be slower than on 3G phones.  Another great feature is its 360 minutes of talk-time made possible by a powerful lithium-ion rechargeable battery.  If you use this phone with AT&T there will be no annual contract or credit check and no domestic long distance or roaming charges.  You have two choices for buying minutes:  Either pay a flat 25-cents per minute; or $1.00 per day of use and get unlimited mobile-to-mobile minutes and 10-cent anytime minutes.

2. Samsung Mantra Prepaid Phone  4.5 stars 3 reviews
Samsung Mantra Prepaid Phone (Virgin Mobile)
Samsung Mantra
 The Samsung Mantra is a sleek, stylish flip phone.  This is the best prepaid cell phone if you want to do everything - talk, surf the web and access social networks.  This is a feature-rich phone that includes a VGA digital camera, bluetooth connectivity, external caller-id, bi-lingual English/Spanish menus, speakerphone, simple user interface and large keypad.  There is also a calendar, alarm clock and calculator.  If you use this phone on Virgin's network you will only pay for the minutes used.  The cost per minute varies between 5-cents and 10-cents per minute.  The more minutes you buy, the lower the cost per minute.  Virgin also offers a $29.99 monthly plan without an annual contract.  The cost for web access on the pay-as-you-go plan is $5 per month for 5Mb and $20 per month for 50Mb. Texting adds another $5 per month for 200 texts.

You're probably wondering how did the Samsung Mantra make the list with only 3 reviews?  First, the reviews are very good.  Second, Virgin Mobile offers very good choices for the budget-minded mobile consumer.  Finally, Samsung makes a great phone and Virgin Mobile offers great service.  That's how I came up with the two best prepaid cell phones for saving money.

Want more?  Click here for additional prepaid cell phones without annual contracts or read more of our cell phone reviews.

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