Let's face it contracts are not for everyone. Some people like the idea of being able to pay as they go without having to worry about being locked into a wireless carrier's contract. The only problem is that most high-end handsets are exclusive to the major postpaid carriers. What about mobile technology fans who are looking for a quality smartphone experience without having to sign on the dotted line?
Keeping the concept of quality in mind, I've put together a list of my current top five favorite prepaid smartphones on the market. If you're currently under contract, but considering jumping ship to prepaid, you'll definitely want to check this out.
5. Motorola Triumph (Carrier: Virgin Mobile USA, Price: $229.99)
An oldie but a goodie, the Motorola Triumph was one of the first prepaid Android smartphones to offer decent hardware. Powered by a 1GHz processor, the Triumph also boasts a 4.1-inch display, which is ideal for web browsing, watching movies, playing games and more. This prepaid handset also features a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera that captures 720p HD video for playback on an HDTV via its HDMI-out port. The only shortcoming here is that the device is stuck on Froyo. But, considering its solid build quality and reasonable price tag, the Triumph is definitely worth a look.
4. HTC EVO Design 4G (Carrier: Boost Mobile, Price: $299.99)
Running Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box, the HTC EVO Design 4G also features a 4-inch qHD display, a 1.2GHz processor, a 5-megapixel camera and a front facing 1.3-megapixel camera for video calls. As indicated in its name, the EVO Design also has 4G network connectivity via Sprint's WiMAX 4G network. If you're under the Now Network's coverage area and looking for a sturdy Android handset, then look no further than the EVO Design 4G.
3. HTC EVO V 4G (Carrier: Virgin Mobile USA, Price: $299.99)
If you're looking to get a little bang for your buck, the HTC EVO V 4G should have enough firepower for any smartphone user. Packing a 1.2GHz dual-core processor a 4.3-inch qHD display and the ability to capture both HD (720p) and 3D images, the HTC EVO V 4G holds its place among the best prepaid smartphones on the market. In addition to the aforementioned bells and whistles, the EVO V 4G also offers 4G connectivity via Sprint's WiMAX network and ships with Android 4.0.
2. HTC One V (Carrier: Virgin Mobile USA, Price $199.99)
Arguably better than most upper mid-level postpaid smartphones, the HTC One carries a budget friendly price tag. This crafty handset sports a 3.7-inch display, a 1GHz processor, Android 4.0. One of my favorite features is HTC's Sense 4.0, which offers one of the smoothest Android-based user experiences yet, as well as 23GB of free storage space from Dropbox for two years. In addition to its streamlined interface, Sense 4.0 utilizes Beats Audio in all forms of media, meaning whether you're watching a movie or listening to music, you'll be experiencing one of the best mobile audio experiences on the market.
1. iPhone 4S (16GB) (Carrier: Virgin Mobile USA, Price: $649.99)
From its razor sharp Retina display, to its potential point-and-shoot replacement-worthy camera, the iPhone 4S is still one of the best smartphones on the market… period. The biggest drawback here is its staggering price tag; but, if cost isn't an issue and you're looking for a true high-end mobile experience without any contractual obligations, then the iPhone 4S is a top choice. As Apple's current flagship phone, the iPhone 4S has already been confirmed to receive the newest iOS 6 software and supports all of the App Store's applications. Add these factors with the 4S' rock solid performance and it's easy to see why this handset is king of the prepaid hill. Virgin Mobile's unlimited data plans start at $35 a month, a feat that is unheard of on the postpaid scene.
And there you have it folks! These are my top five prepaid smartphones. I know it's somewhat cliché to name the iPhone 4S as the best prepaid handset on the market, but it's kind of hard not to. Whether you think I'm spot on or way off the mark here, I'd love to hear your thoughts about this list and the current state of prepaid.