Great prepaid Android phones you can buy right now (roundup)

No contract? No problem. CNET rounds up some of the best prepaid handsets in recent months for Android users; all of them let you talk and surf the Web without any carrier commitments.

Two years is a long time. In that number of years, you can finish a master's degree or, uh...raise a baby into a 2-year-old child. OK, that latter example wasn't the most illustrative, but what I'm trying to say is that for some mobile phone users out there, two years is too long to be locked down in a carrier agreement. That's why I've gathered a few top-notch, recently released Android devices on prepaid carriers that are ideal for those who want to be contract-free.

Editors' note: This post was originally published November 6, 2012, and has been updated on July 2, 2013, with additional handsets.

Samsung Galaxy Amp (Aio Wireless)
The Samsung Galaxy Amp from Aio Wireless. Josh Miller/CNET
Samsung Galaxy Amp (Aio Wireless), May 2013
Available on AT&T's nascent prepaid network, Aio , the Galaxy Amp is an excellent Android phone for beginners since it runs Jelly Bean right out of the box. It also has clear call quality and a respectable 5-megapixel camera. But be warned: You're going to need a microSD card because you won't get much internal memory with this one. Read the full review.


Huawei Premia 4G (MetroPCS)
The Huawei Premia 4G from MetroPCS. Josh Miller/CNET
Huawei Premia 4G (MetroPCS), March 2013
MetroPCS has a wide selection of good midlevel Android handsets, and the Premia 4G is one of the better ones in recent memory. Not only does it sport a dual-core processor and 4G capabilities, it's also currently tagged with a reasonable $100 price. Read the full review.


Boost Force
The Boost Force. Josh Miller/CNET
Boost Force, March 2013
The Boost Force -- also known under its carrier-bound moniker, the Sprint Force -- is one of the prepaid carrier's first 4G LTE handset next to the HTC One SV (which is also a great prepaid phone). Though its 4-inch display is difficult to view in sunlight, we dig the fact that it runs a nearly skinless version of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Read the full review.


Kyocera Event (Virgin Mobile)
The Kyocera Event from Virgin Mobile. Josh Miller/CNET
Kyocera Event (Virgin Mobile), February 2013
Don't be fooled -- although the Event from Virgin sports a paltry 3.2-megapixel shooter, it surprisingly takes decent photos. What's more is that it has solid call quality and is now available for $50. However, you'll need to be a patient soul to own this handset, as it's only 3G capable. Read the full review.


LG Spirit 4G (MetroPCS)
The LG Spirit 4G from MetroPCS. Josh Miller/CNET
LG Spirit 4G (MetroPCS), January 2013
Scoring high marks with its bright 4.5-inch touch screen and 4G LTE speeds, the stylish Spirit 4G is a superb prepaid device. Its 2,150mAh battery also lasted impressively long, running video for a little over 8 continuous hours. Read the full review.


Compare these phones head-to-head.

Read the full CNET Review

Samsung Galaxy Amp (Aio Wireless)

The Bottom Line: If you're within newbie Aio Wireless' tiny network and looking for an affordable Android phone, the Samsung Galaxy Amp is a good buy. / Read full review

Read the full CNET Review

Huawei Premia 4G (MetroPCS)

The Bottom Line: Although the price and features are right, MetroPCS sells a better Android phone. Skip the Huawei Premia 4G in favor of LG's Motion 4G. / Read full review

Read the full CNET Review

LG Spirit 4G (MetroPCS)

The Bottom Line: Despite its ho-hum call quality, the LG Spirit 4G is an affordable smartphone that performs reliably and runs Android 4.0. / Read full review

Read the full CNET Review

Kyocera Event (Virgin Mobile)

The Bottom Line: Though you won't get blazing data or processing speeds on the Kyocera Event, as an affordable smartphone it's an excellent choice. / Read full review

Read the full CNET Review

Boost Mobile Force

The Bottom Line: With its already spotty camera and call quality, the Sprint Force can't outpace the number of other Sprint handsets that are just as inexpensive. / Read full review

About the author

Lynn La is CNET's associate editor for cell phone and smartphone news and reviews. Prior to coming to CNET, she wrote for the Sacramento Bee and was a staff editor at Macworld. In addition to covering technology, she has reported on health, science, and politics.

 

ARTICLE DISCUSSION

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Don't Miss
Hot Products
Trending on CNET

Hot on CNET

CNET's giving away a 3D printer

Enter for a chance to win* the MakerBot Replicator 3D Printer and all the supplies you need to get started.