Forum Thread

Suggestions for a Pre-paid Android phone that can be used for games etc at home and then for a few calls a month

mrspurplepeople 265 57 February 18, 2016 at 03:47 PM
I am hoping this is the right place for this question, this is my first time in the forums instead of just the deals areas.
I am looking for relatively cheap phone (or any phone I can add to my deals alert) that:

1. Can be prepaid and either allows for a very cheap prepaid amount or the minutes don't expire in one month. I would use it to give it to my kids if I drop them off somewhere that is not school, for them to call in case of an emergency. I would not need data, just minutes so they can call and maybe text (am I thinking too 90's here.... or do phone like this exist now?).

2. Has relatively good coverage (if it is a super cheap service that hardly has coverage it won't help if my kids need to call)

3. Can be used with Wifi at home for games

4. Allows for downloading both Amazon and Google store Apps.

Any ideas?
If I can't find one phone to do both, I would like to find two cheapish phones, one for items 3 and 4 and one for items 1 and 2.

4 Comments

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#2
There are some very cheap android phones that can had for $10-30, they're pretty weak spec wise and generally carrier locked. Most will be for one of the tracfone brands. Some of these phones have as little as 4gb of flash memory, the os takes 3gb of that, the the phone crashes if < 500mb is free. The really cheap ones will also choke on a lot of apps as ram and cpu are limited and run 4+ year old versions of android. These could end up on different carriers depending on where you buy, buy most likely t-mobile or att.

For a little bit more, you can do a lot better by using a BYOP plan with tracfone, you can get a better phone this way and ensure you end up on a better carrier. AT&T & Verizon prepaid 4g LTE phones should be usable on TracFone as long as you remove the sim that comes with them before you turn them on the first time, but it's possible they could force you to use it on their network for a while first. With BYOP tracfone it's also easier to switch phones. Overall prepaid AT&T phones will result in fewer hassles.

The age of your kids is fairly relevant.

Example phones you could use with TracFone BYOP:
AT&T prepaid ZTE Maven on sale for ~$30
Verizon Moto E $10 black friday <- can be unlocked for use on AT&T / T-mo, can't be used on Verizon MVNOs unless used on verizon first.
AT&T / VZW moto E often dips to $40. VZW one sold at $40+ may or may not work on VZW MVNOs.
Unlocked phones from Moto, Blu, and others. You also could get a pretty nice phone like the Nexus 5X for around $300 if you wanted.
Unlocked Moto G $180
AT&T / VZW hand me down; get your self a new phone.

On the low end tracfone is generally the best option, smart phones get triple minutes and every minute/unit = 1min talk / 1 sms / 1 mb data. Minutes don't expire, but you have a limited number of service days that you add to every time you refill. Minimum 4*$20 = 720min/720sms/720mb and 1 year of service for $6.67 / month. $200/yr -> 4500min/4500sms/4.5gb 1 yr service ($16.67/mo)

PureTalk is another option $5/80min/mo; no rollover. Also have family plans

RingPlus / FreedomPop could work, but sprint's network can be crappy.

On the extreme low end:
T-Mobile has a plan with no data and 30 sms or min of talk for $3/mo no rollover (36/yr). Too limiting in my opinion.

AT&T has pay as you go plans that are $0.25/min or $2/day, you just have to maintain a positive balance, but $0.01/5kb adds up fast if turn on cellular data. Think of these plans like portable payphones, they work in a pinch and can be cheap if they're barely used. I don't think AT&T allows smart phones on this plan. pay as you go cards on go phone expire every 90 days.

To appease the FTC/FCC TracFone is supposed to start selling phones that can be unlocked sometime this year, but they haven't yet. There may be some budget phones that run Android 6 (marshmallow) in a few months, this could be worth the wait. Data can be useful to track the phone's location.
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Last edited by jkee February 19, 2016 at 11:29 AM
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#3
Coverage depends on location. I know in my state/city Tmobile would be a poor choice but if you live on either coast it would be decent.
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Vague questions receive vague answers . . . . . .
#4
I would buy to separate devices. An verizon motorola flip phone like this for emergencies
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Motorola-...SwzhVWtYaG
Then buy a cheap amazon fire tablet for home use.
http://www.amazon.com/Fire-Displa...ire+tablet

The flip phone battery's last for days. If you get a smart phone there is a good change it will be undercharged when you need it.
Plus the larger screen on the fire tablet will be better for home and game play.
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#5
Quote from fenderman View Post :
I would buy to separate devices. An verizon motorola flip phone like this for emergencies
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Motorola-...SwzhVWtYaG
Then buy a cheap amazon fire tablet for home use.
http://www.amazon.com/Fire-Displa...ire+tablet

The flip phone battery's last for days. If you get a smart phone there is a good change it will be undercharged when you need it.
Plus the larger screen on the fire tablet will be better for home and game play.
If you want to go that route, there are cheap tracfone flip phones:
http://www.walmart.com/ip/TracFon...e/44751494
http://www.walmart.com/ip/TracFon...e/44751496 *GSM, often on sale for $5-10. Was $1 on black friday at family dollar.

Note, flip phones on tracfone don't generally get triple minutes usually double at best so your airtime doesn't go quite as far.
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