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*** SPREADSHEET IMAGE IN QUICK SUMMARY *** 

Hello all again.  Given the positive response from my thread last year ( https://www.fatwallet.com/forums/expired-deals/1467808 ), I decided to do this another year even though I already have around 10 un-activated Android devices laying around from the last couple years.  

The purpose of this thread is simply to gather all of the pre-paid Android cell phone deals into a single thread and sort them based upon value given price and detailed specs  I will be adding to the list as new ads get released and doing the research on various sites to dig out the actual specs of the phone.  Initially I'm starting this as a textual list, but as the list grows I will publish it in a colorized spreadsheet format like last year to help aid in your shopping needs.

Why do this?  Well in case you don't know, any Android pre-paid phone device basically will act as a mini-tablet. It costs you nothing more than the device (no air time, cellular signal, no activation, etc..) to own a device that can do everything a 7" tablet can do (and often more like GPS, FM Radio, higher resolution cameras, etc..)  ALL these devices will work with all non-phone/text functions over a Wi-Fi connection. Think of them as cheap $15-$30 mini tablets, iPod/MP3 players, gaming / video devices for the kids in a car, etc..

New this year: More retailers are requiring purchase of an airtime card in order to receive the super cheap price of the phone. Prices below are listed with the most inexpensive airtime card that was advertised added in. You do not need to use the card, and may possibly be able to return just the card or resell it to recoup some/all of that money, but no guarantees.

------ DETAILS ------
Please note: This "ordering" is my best attempt at highlighting both the tech specs (better/faster/bigger/more at the top) as well as taking into account pricing for those features. It's a tough call to judge whether someone would prefer 518K pixels with TFT over 384K Pixels with IPS screen. 

Unless otherwise stated assume the following:
* Rear cameras have flash
* Front cameras do not have flash
* Batteries are removable (replaceable)  Average = 2,000 mAh.
* CPU's are Quad core (1.xQ)
* Screens are TFT and will shift brightness/color off-angles

Abbreviation/Formatting notes:
* vX.X = Android version number
* ###K=###x###/### = Pixels (in thousands)=Screen resolution / ppi (Pixels per inch) density
* CPU GHz/Ram GB/Storage GB(user storage GB)
* Camera: r# = Rear camera, f# = Front camera (in Megapixels)
* Battery size (in mAh)
* Any significant notes to call out

------ THE LIST ------
-- HIGH MID RANGE --
$90 @ BestBuy Boost Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016) 4G LTE 16GB
    v6.0 5.5" AMOLED:921K=720x1280/267, 1.4Q/2/16(10.8u), r13/f5, 3000, HIGH RES/DENSITY AMOLED screen, 50% BIGGER battery

$60 @ BestBuy Boost LG Stylo 2 4G 16GB
    v6.0 5.7" IPS:921K=720x1280/258, 1.2Q/2/16(?u), R13/f5

$50 @ BestBuy Unlocked Alcatel POP 4 Plus 4G LTE 16GB
    v6.0 5.5" IPS:921K=720x1280/267, 1.1Q/1.5/16(9u), r8/f5, 2500, 25% HIGHER battery

$29 @ Dollar General Verizon Moto G Play {Assume G4? and minimal configuration (1GB/8GB) at this price}
    v6.0 5.0" IPS:921K=720x1280/294, 1.2Q/1/8(?u), r8/f5, 2800, HIGH RES/DENSITY IPS screen, 40% BIGGER battery

$30 @ K-mart Simple Mobile Samsung Galaxy On5 LTE
    v6.0 5.0" 921K=720x1280/294, 1.3Q/1.5/8(4.3u), r8/f5, 2600, HIGH RES/DENSITY, 30% BIGGER battery

$40 @ BestBuy Cricket Alcatel OneTouch Flint 4G 16GB
    v5.1 5.5" 921K=720x1280/267, 1.1Q/1.5/16(?u), r8/f2, 2500, 25% BIGGER battery

$60 @ BestBuy Virgin Samsung Galaxy J3
    v6.0 5.0" 8GB AMOLED:921K=720x1280/294, 1.2Q/1.5/16(?u), r5/f2, 2600, HIGH RES/DENSITY AMOLED screen, 30% BIGGER battery

$49 @ WalMart StraightTalk Samsung Galaxy Sky 6.0 5.0" 4G LTE 5/2
    V6.0 5.0", AMOLED:921K=720x1280/294, 1.2Q/1/16(9u), r5/f2(5?), ?

$49 @ WalMart AT&T Huawei Ascend XT 6.0 6.0" 4G LTE 8/2
    v6.0.1 6.0" IPS:921K=720x1280/245, 1.5Q/2/16(?u), r8/f2, 3000 NON REMOVABLE, HIGH RES/DENSITY screen, 50% BIGGER battery

$89 @ BJ's Wholesale Samsung J3 (Get $45 Verizon GC with purchase)
    5.0" 8GB  AMOLED:921K=720x1280/294, 1.2Q/1.5/8(3.6u), r5/f2, 2600, HIGH RES/DENSITY AMOLED screen, 30% BIGGER battery

-- MIDDLE MID RANGE --
$30 @ BestBuy Simple Mobile Samsung Galaxy On5 4G LTE 8GB
    v6.0 5.0" 921K=720x1280/294, 1.3Q/1.5/8(4.3u), r5/f2, 2600, HIGH RES/DENSITY, 30% BIGGER battery

$30 @ BestBuy AT&T LG Phoenix 2 4G LTE 8GB
    v6.0 5.0" 921K=720x1280/294, 1.3Q/1.5/8(?u), r8/f5, 2125 

$20 @ BestBuy Boost LG Tribute HD 4G LTE 8GB
    v6.0 5.0" IPS:921K=720x1280/294, 1.3Q/1.5/8(1.9?u), r8/f2, 2100

$39 @ WalMart Verizon Samsung Galaxy J3 6.0 5.0" 4G LTE 5/2
    v5.1.1 5.0" AMOLED:921K=720x1280/294, 1.2Q/1.5/8(3.6u), r5/f2, 2600, HIGH RES/DENSITY AMOLED screen, 30% BIGGER battery

-- LOW MID RANGE --
$29 @ Dollar General Verizon HTC Desire 526 LTE
    v5.1 4.7" S-LCD:518K=540x960/234, 1.1Q/1.5/8(3.4u), r8/f2, 2000
 
$15 @ Dollar General AT&T Alcatel Ideal
    v5.1.1 4.5" 410K=480x854/218, 1.1Q/1/8(4.0u), r5/f2, 1780, NO REAR FLASH, 10% LOWER battery

$20 @ K-mart Tracfone LG Rebel LTE
    v5.1 4.5" 410K=480x854/218, 1.1Q/1.5/16(3.3u), r8/f2, 1940

$29 @ Dollar General Net10 Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
    v4.4 4.5" 384K=480x800/207, 1.2Q/1/8(5.1u), r5/f2, 2000

$34 @ Dollar General Net 10 
 LG Rebel LTE ($9 but requires purchase of Net10 airtime card=min addl cost: $25)
    v5.1 4.5" 410K=480x854/218, 1.1Q/1.5/16(3.3u), r8/f2, 1940

$37 @ Shopko Tracfone LG Rebel
    LG Rebel LTE ($17.99 but requires purchase of Tracfone airtime card=min addl cost: $18.99)
    v5.1 4.5" 410K=480x854/218, 1.1Q/1.5/16(3.3u), r8/f2, 1940

$29 @ Dollar General Net10 LG Treasure LTE
    v5.1.1 5.0" IPS:410K=480x854/196, 1.1Q/1.5/8(2.9u), r5/f5, 2045

$29 @ Dollar General Net10 Alcatel Pop Icon
    v4.2 5.0" IPS:518K=540x960/220, 1.2Q/1/4(2.0u), r5/f0.3, 2000, LOW USABLE STORAGE / LOW VGA RES FRONT CAMERA

-- LOW END --
$10 @ BestBuy AT&T Alcatel Ideal 4G 8GB
    v5.0 4.5" 410K=480x854/218, 1.1Q/1/8(4.0u), r5/f2, 1780, NO REAR FLASH, 10% LOWER battery

$20 @ BestBuy TracFone LG Rebel L44VL 4G LTE 8GB
    v5.1 4.5" 410K=480x854/218, 1.1Q/1.5/16(3.3u), r5/f2, 1940

$20 @ WalMart StraightTalk Samsung Galaxy Luna 6.0 4.5" 4GLTE 5/2
    V6.0 4.5", 384K=480x800/???, 1.2Q/1.5/8(?u), r5/f2, 2050

$20 @ BestBuy Verizon Samsung J1 4G LTE 8GB
    v5.0 4.3" 384K=480x800/217, 1.2Q/1/8(?u), r5/f2, 1850

$30 @ BestBuy Virgin LG K3 8GB
    v6.0 4.5" 410K=480x854/218, 1.1Q/1/8(3.1u), R5/f0.3, 1940

$29 @ Dollar General Net10 Alcatel Sonic Smartphone
    v4.1 4.63" 410K=480x854/212, 1.4dual/1/4(1.7u), r5/f0.3, 2200, ONLY DUAL CORE / VERY LOW USABLE STORAGE / LOW VGA RES FRONT CAMERA

$29 @ Shopko Tracfone ZTE Citrine ($9.99 but requires purchase of Tracfone airtime card=min addl cost: $18.99)
    v5.1 4.0" 384K=480x800/223, 1.1Q/1/8(?u), r5/f0.3,1650, NO REAR FLASH, 17% LOWER BATTERY

 

Member Summary
Attached is the current spreadsheet with best deals highlighted in each feature/price range
Staff Summary
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rated:
-- RESERVED FOR FUTURE EXPANSION --

Unless/until we have specific phone models and prices, I will NOT be listing the Target phones since they were generically listed at 50%-65% off all Samsung Prepaid phones.

 

rated:
Started with:
Dollar General 

Friday 11/4 - added:
BJ's Wholesale
Shopko 


Note: It appears more retailers this year are going to be requiring purchase of an airtime card in order to receive the low price of the core device. If you already have other phones that use the same airtime cards this is not much of a hindrance. But if you do not have use for them it will add $19 to $35 cost onto the cheap phone prices. So far it appears to only be affecting the Net10 and Tracfone models, not any of the other carriers.  

I have listed the cheapest "with card purchase" price, not the low phone only price and arranged the list with that in mind. Therefore if you have use for the cards there MAY be ones lower in the list that are better deals.  Once I get everything into a spreadsheet I'll try to color code and add columns for both prices.

rated:
Wednesday 11/9:
Added 2 decent deals at K-mart.  

The Dollar General ones though slightly have the edge still but they will be randomly distributed -- don't expect any one store to have all the options. Therefore K-mart surprisingly looks to hold a very close second place; especially since they are not requiring purchase of airtime cards like Shopko and BJ.  Unfortunately Sears did not have duplicates of any of K-mart's phones this year, so the dwindling list of still open K-mart stores are your only option.

Of course we're expecting to see some great deals at BestBuy and possibly Wal-Mart and a couple at Target if history is a guide.

I'm expecting to convert this to a spreadsheet and double check specs a second time once the big 3 ads (BB, T, WM) come out after this weekend.

rated:
Friday 11/11:
Added BestBuy
Added WalMart

And created the first ordered list with colorized spreadsheet details. I will sync back and double check specs. Many are different between the store's site, and PhoneArena.com and other spec sites so need to resolve yet, and could impact value ordering.

Did not add any from Target as they were only listed as 50-65% off all Samsung prepaid. Until I have specific models and prices will not add them.  Also only added those below $100

rated:
You can double the ROM in the $20 BestBuy Boost LG Tribute HD 4G LTE 8GB - [v6.0 5.0" IPS:921K=720x1280/294, 1.3Q/1.5/8(1.9?u), r8/f2, 2100]
at Virgin Mobile - 16GB version for just $99.99, less if have a promo code.

rated:
Quick bump --

For those actually looking at these for a real option for a prepaid phone and not just an unactivated mini tablet device ---- Given the fact that RingPlus just dramatically changed their plans and policies today (IMHO decimating their service and going back on promises but that's not really for this thread) -- people may be looking for a replacement phone from this list with a real carrier without the questionable issues with R+. 

I know that Family Dollar added 3 phones as well (LG 21 or LG 22, or a Simple Mobile ZTE Midnight).  I will try to get those added to the list above, but don't think they significantly impact the overall sorting or 'value' identifications I had earlier.

The cheapest with 'real' service will be the TracFones, and will average a minimum of around $70 a year if you buy 90 day cards at a discounted (~$18) price.   I'm not very familiar with the prices/details of any of the other prepaids, but think most are going to run at least $35 a month for the most basic plans. Those with more knowledge as to the value of any of these for real phone use please chime in and make this thread better!

rated:
Thanks for the round-up! Which one of these (GSM) are good candidates for unlocking and using in other networks?

rated:
Can I buy a simple mobile prepaid phone and stick my at&t sim card in it?

rated:
missus wants smaller phone 4.5 to 4.8 inches, android, any good deals out there today?

rated:
Thanks, OP, for a very detailed and helpful post !!

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