X
CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

8 totally affordable prepaid 4G smartphones (pictures)

Think you can't get a 4G handset for less than $200? Think again. Take a look at some of our favorite off-contract smartphones that deliver 4G for cheap.

Lynn_La2.jpg
Lynn_La2.jpg

Lynn La

See full bio
LG_Optimus_F6_35826209-9620.jpg
1 of 9 Josh Miller/CNET

Off-contract 4G handsets under $200

Editors' Note: Prices often vary during seasonal promotions. This roundup reflects Web prices at the time of publishing.

Carriers that promise cheap (or sometimes even free) handsets often ensnare users with pricey two-year contracts. Though inexpensive on-contract devices do exist, some customers are still wary of any carrier agreement.

As an alternative, users opt for prepaid devices. Because these phones don't require a contract, however, they often carry higher retail prices.

But, there are gems out there that pack the power you need at a price you can pay. CNET rounded up some of our recent favorites that have modern and respectable specs (like 4G), and cost less than $200.

lg-mach-35484601-5191.jpg
2 of 9 James Martin/CNET

LG Mach (Boost Mobile)

Currently available for $179.99 on Boost Mobile, the stylish Mach is ideal for messaging enthusiasts looking for a QWERTY handset. In addition to its comfortable 5-row keyboard, it also has an impressive 5-megapixel camera and LTE.

35451860-4.jpg
3 of 9 Josh Miller/CNET

Samsung Galaxy Victory 4G LTE (Virgin Mobile)

Priced for a limited time at $149.99, the Victory 4G LTE for Virgin runs Samsung's TouchWiz on a compact 4-inch screen. It, too, has LTE connectivity, as well as a decent rear-facing shooter.

Nokia_Lumia_521_35660271-0085.jpg
4 of 9 Josh Miller/CNET

Nokia Lumia 521 (MetroPCS and T-Mobile)

For Windows Phone 8 users, the Lumia 521 is a solid off-contract bargain. Sure, it doesn't have LTE, but its camera packs tons of features and it's equipped with a Snapdragon S4 processor. MetroPCS users can nab it for just $29 after applying discounts and rebates, and T-Mobile customers can get it for $160.

Kyocera_Hydro_XTRM_35764859-0944_610x435.jpg
5 of 9 Josh Miller/CNET

Kyocera Hydro XTRM (MetroPCS and U.S. Cellular)

If you're looking for something with more survival tactic, the Hydro XTRM is a shock- and waterproof handset that costs $49 on MetroPCS and $99 on U.S. Cellular. It also sports a dual-core CPU, a 5-megapixel camera, and LTE.

LG_Optimus_F3_35783358-6158.jpg
6 of 9 Josh Miller/CNET

LG Optimus F3 (multiple carriers)

Available on four prepaid carriers, the Optimus F3 is popular for a reason. This LTE device has an impressively long-lasting 2,460mAh battery, a solid 5-megapixel camera, and runs Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean. Boost, Virgin, MetroPCS, and T-Mobile users can purchase it anywhere between $99 and $184 without a contract.

ZTE_Warp_4G_BoostMobile_35828241_04.jpg
7 of 9 Sarah Tew/CNET

ZTE Warp 4G (Boost Mobile)

At the time of our review, we dubbed the $149.99 Warp 4G Boost Mobile's "best, most frugal Android" phone, and we weren't kidding. The handset managed to impress us with its swift LTE speeds, excellent call quality, and clean design.

Sprint_Vital_35782636-1367.jpg
8 of 9 Josh Miller/CNET

ZTE Supreme (Virgin Mobile)

Also known as the Sprint Vital, Virgin's Supreme is an expansive LTE phone with a bright 5-inch display and a 13-megapixel camera that's capable of shooting 1080p video. Though it cuts our price budget close at $199.99, it's still a good value.

LG_Optimus_F6_35826209-9609.jpg
9 of 9 Josh Miller/CNET

LG Optimus F6 (MetroPCS)

Sporting LTE connectivity, a vivid 4.5-inch screen, and a reliable 5-megapixel camera, the Optimus F6 should satisfy MetroPCS customers looking for a bargain. Especially considering that it costs just $49.99 after discounts and rebates, it certainly aims for those on a budget.

More Galleries

2022's Best TV Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More
John Cena attends Warner Bros. premiere of The Suicide Squad, in costume as Peacemaker.

2022's Best TV Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More

95 Photos
Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More
thor4

Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

85 Photos
The Best Games on Nintendo Switch in 2022
zelda-cnet-2.jpg

The Best Games on Nintendo Switch in 2022

36 Photos
The 51 Best VR Games
astro-bot-rescue-mission-screen-02-ps4-us-18may18

The 51 Best VR Games

53 Photos
2023 Toyota Crown Is One Funky Hybrid Sedan
2023 Toyota Crown

2023 Toyota Crown Is One Funky Hybrid Sedan

48 Photos
24 things you should never, ever google
snape

24 things you should never, ever google

25 Photos
DIY scratched screen repair: Magic and myths
img9412.jpg

DIY scratched screen repair: Magic and myths

10 Photos