The best prepaid phones for 2022


Mobile phone shoppers often misperceive prepaid phones as being cheap and low-budget. However, these days any smartphone can be used on a prepaid plan with talk, text, and data paid for in advance. Prepaid phones free you from multiyear contracts and long-term commitments. To help you keep your smartphone plan flexible, we put together a list of our favorite phones that are often available on the prepaid market.

samsung galaxy s22 review price specifications should you buy angled shot

Samsung Galaxy S22

Pros

  • Pleasingly compact and sturdy build
  • A gorgeous flat OLED screen
  • Best-in-class Android OS upgrade policy
  • Reliable cameras
  • Fluid performance

Cons

  • Small battery that drains quickly
  • Charging speeds really need a boost
  • Ultrawide camera has a distortion quirk
  • Runs hot quickly under load

The Samsung Galaxy S22 is a classic Android handset, featuring a comprehensive feature set that includes a fast processor, excellent build quality, reliable cameras, and multi-year updates.

The S22’s construction is top-notch, featuring a glass sheet protected by a layer of Gorilla Glass Victus and a 6.1-inch HDR10+ Super AMOLED display with an FHD+ (2340 x 1080 pixels) resolution and 120Hz refresh rate. That is addition to an upgraded 50-megapixel main camera, assisted by a 12MP ultrawide snapper, and a 10MP telephoto with 3x optical zoom. Selfies are handled by a 10MP main camera.

The Galaxy S22 runs One UI 4.1 based on Android 12. The look is familiar, but the support for Android 12’s Material You theme represents a fresh aesthetic. The Galaxy S22 has a relatively small 3,700mAh battery — one of the smallest batteries in a modern smartphone, so be prepared.

Samsung Galaxy S22

Dan Baker/Digital Trends

Apple iPhone 13 Pro

Pros

  • Packs lots of power into its size
  • Incredible camera and video performance
  • Very long-lasting battery
  • Smooth and responsive 120Hz screen
  • Comes with 1TB storage option

Cons

  • No fast charging
  • No USB-C

Yes, you can have an iPhone 13 with a pre-paid plan. The iPhone 13 Pro is the best iPhone for most people who want a brand new Apple handset. It has everything you could wish for including a powerful A15 Bionic processor, 120Hz ProMotion display, nearly two days of continuous battery life, and excellent camera performance. The iPhone 13 Pro measures 5.78 x 2.81 x 0.3 inches and weighs 7.2 ounces.

The 6.1-inch Super Retina OLED screen has superlative color accuracy, 2532 x 1170 resolution, and 460 pixels per inch. Its sharp, bright viewing angles can hit 1,000 nits brightness, and punch up to 1,200 nits for HDR content. Outdoor visibility is excellent even in direct sunlight, and the screen also supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision. The ProMotion variable display lets Apple boost the refresh rate from 60Hz to 120Hz for different kinds of content.

The iPhone 13 Pro has an excellent camera array composed of three 12MP sensors: A 12MP wide-angle, a 12MP telephoto, and a 12MP ultrawide that can take 120-degree snaps.

Apple iPhone 13 Pro
iphone se 2022 review

Apple iPhone SE (2022)

Pros

  • Future-proof A15 Bionic chip
  • Affordable price point
  • Excellent image processing
  • Compact form factor

Cons

  • Dated bezels and design

  • Unexciting LCD panel

With its 4.7-inch Liquid Retina display and 60Hz refresh rate, the iPhone SE 2022’s design may look a bit dated, but don’t let that stop you. This small handset packs a huge punch. Under the hood, you get Apple’s latest A15 Bionic chip with the same performance as the iPhone 13 Pro. There’s also 4GB of RAM, 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB of storage, and a decent battery. You’ll be up and running quickly with the SE’s 18W fast charging and Qi wireless charging.

The camera department is simple — with a single 12MP rear sensor and 7MP selfie camera. It’s Apple’s software that makes a difference here, with Deep Fusion technology, Smart HDR 4, and Photographic Styles, as well as improved Portrait Mode, but no Night Mode. Add 5G connectivity, iOS 15 out of the box, and five or six years of iOS updates, and it’s easy to see why the iPhone SE (2022) rates high on our list of preferred smartphones.

Apple iPhone SE (2022)
google pixel 6a review

Joe Maring/Digital Trends

Google Pixel 6a

Pros

  • Compact, lightweight design
  • IP67 water resistance
  • Flagship-grade performance
  • Excellent cameras
  • Clean software
  • Years of guaranteed updates

Cons

  • Display is only 60Hz
  • Tensor chip runs hot
  • Lacking battery life

Google’s Pixel 6a, measuring 152.5mm high and weighing 178 grams, is remarkably easy to handle and especially comfortable for one-handed use. The Pixel 6a’s petite form factor is derived from its screen, a 6.1-inch OLED panel with a Full HD+ 1080 x 2400 resolution, 60Hz refresh rate, and covered with Corning Gorilla Glass 3.

The camera is 12.2MP has an f/1.7 aperture, optical image stabilization (OIS), and phase detection autofocus. It features a 12MP ultrawide camera with a 114-degree field of view, plus an 8MP selfie camera. Where the Pixel 6a falls somewhat short is the 4,410mAh battery, which is lightweight for a phone of this quality.

Google Pixel 6a
moto g power 2022 review motog back

Erika Rawes/Digital Trends

Moto G Power (2022)

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Amazing battery life
  • Accurate biometrics
  • Decent amount of ROM
  • Good camera system and software
  • Water repellent

Cons

  • No 5G connectivity
  • Comes with Android 11
  • Plastic backing
  • Slow responses at times

The Moto G Power (2022) is an excellent phone for your prepaid plan. Packing a huge 6.5-inch 90Hz display, 4GB of RAM, a MediaTek Helio G37 chip, and 64GB or 128GB of storage, you get a massive 5,000mAh battery which lasts around three days.

With Android 11 out of the box, upgradable to Android 12, the phone features a 3.5mm audio jack — a rarity these days, IP52 rating, and a decent camera setup of 50MP main, 2MP macro, 2MP depth sensor, and 8MP selfie camera.

The body is plastic, the screen’s colors look a bit muted and dim, and you may notice lag if you’re creating content, multitasking for work, or playing the latest demanding games. There’s also no 5G or wireless charging. But for those looking for a great phone for everyday web browsing, emails, calls, and social media, the Moto G Power (2022) is all there, at an affordable price.

Motorola - Moto G Power (2022) 64GB (Unlocked) - Dark Grove
motorola edge 2022 review

Digital Trends / Andy Zahn

Motorola Edge+ (2022)

Pros

  • Beautiful appearance
  • Great display
  • Fast and powerful
  • Excellent speakers
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Mediocre camera
  • Relatively poor cellular reception
  • No water resistance

The Edge+ is packed with the latest tech and features an attractive design. Its blue hue shifts as it catches the light so nicely that it seems like a shame to cover it with a case. The 6.7-inch OLED FullHD+ display looks great, with rich colors and deep blacks, and has a high 144Hz refresh rate that makes scrolling through articles and apps smooth and fluid. The processer features the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 CPU, Qualcomm Adreno GPU, and up to 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM.

The vertical array of cameras is designed so that it doesn’t protrude as much as many other smartphone cameras do, which makes the Edge+ easier to set on a flat surface. The wide and ultra-wide camera perform well, portrait mode works great, and selfie camera performance is respectable. However, the macro mode functions less well. The build quality is somewhat on the cheap side, however, and it’s only rated as IP52, meaning you’ll have to be more careful about dust, plus it’s not water-resistant.

Motorola Edge+ (2022)

Editors’ Recommendations








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