Product Reviews

The 5 Best No Contract Smartphones With Premium Data Features

Matt Smith 21-06-2011

Smartphones are great. They offer access to the Internet, to your email, and thousands upon thousands of apps. They’re basically pocket PCs, and for geeks, that’s only a step away from heaven.


There’s just one problem though, and that’s contracts. The phones are great. The two year contracts with outrageous pricing? Not so much. There are, however, a handful of no contract smartphones that are available. They’re not as powerful as the cutting-edge phones sold by major carriers, but they’ll get the job done, and they all have (at least) 3G support.

Samsung Galaxy Prevail

no contract smartphones

While Samsung’s Galaxy is indeed the company smartphone flagship, there’s a number of Galaxy branded phones that trickle down the lineup. One of these is the Samsung Galaxy Prevail, a 3.2” touchscreen no contract smartphone for $179.99 on Boost Mobile.

This is arguably the most stylish of all the phones on this list. I wouldn’t be surprised if many people have trouble telling the difference between it and its larger siblings at a glance.

The Prevail includes a 2 MP camera, Bluetooth, GPS, and comes with Android What's The Fastest Android Browser? [Geeks Weigh In] Performance is important when browsing the web on a computer, but your average PC has plenty of power to work with. Smartphones, however, are a different story. The hottest Android phones on the market right... Read More 2.2. The 800 MHz processor provides smooth performance, and while the 124MB of available storage is limiting, Boost Mobile does ship the Prevail with a 2GB microSD card 3 Cool Ways To Use SD Memory Cards SD memory cards are one of the most common forms of mobile storage, but they also tend to be very specific in their purpose. On their own, these cards tend to be less useful than... Read More .


Blackberry Curve

no contract touchscreen smartphones

The workhorse Blackberry Top 3 Sites To Download Free Blackberry Themes Read More Curve is far from the sexiest phone around, but it remains popular. The reasons why aren’t hard to discover upon using the phone. It fits well in your hand and the keyboard makes navigation and typing quick. The Curve’s lack of a sliding keyboard forces the use of a tiny display, but improves durability.

When it comes to features, the Curve can slug it out with other no- contract phones. It has a 2 MP camera, Bluetooth, and GPS as well as 256MB of on-board memory. While the hardware isn’t the quickest, Blackberry’s OS rendered on the low-resolution display is plenty smooth.

You’ll find the Curve on Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile for $179.99


LG Optimus V

no contract touchscreen smartphones

A clear competitor to the Samsung Galaxy Prevail, the LG Optimus V is – much like the Prevail – a downscaled Android phone that pays homage to its larger siblings. It has a 3.2” touchscreen and is smaller than many Android phones as a result, but it still offers Android 2.2.

The features are virtually identical to the Prevail, but the Optimus V does offer a better 3.2 MP camera. On the downside, the Optimus V has a slower 600 MHz processor, which is quite anemic for a modern Android phone. There’s 150MB of built-in storage, and unfortunately Virgin Mobile doesn’t seem to be shipping the phone with an SD card to increase storage.  This phone can be had for as little as $149.99.

The Optimus V has some siblings with different letters attached to their names, like S and M. Although given their own title, the changes are generally minor. Look for those as potential no-contract options as well.


Huawei Ascend

no contract touchscreen smartphones

If you’re looking for an Android phone with a lot of features on a tight budget, the Huawei Ascend may be your best bet. This 3.5” touchscreen smartphone has a nice selection of goodies including a 3.2 MP camera, Bluetooth and GPS. Inside you’ll find 512MB of flash storage, which isn’t bad, and a 600 MHz processor.

The slow processor is forgivable considering the price tag, which is just $99.99 on Cricket Wireless. What some users may have difficulty tolerating however, is the Android 2.1 operating system that ships with the phone. The Ascend does have a 2.2 update on Metro PCS, but the phone goes for $169.99 on that carrier.

Samsung Galaxy Indulge

no contract smartphones


Most no-contract smartphones offered by service providers at reasonable prices are based on older technology. The Samsung Galaxy Indulge, however, is an example. This Android 2.2 smartphone has a 3.5” touchscreen and offers all of the standard features including a 3.2 MP camera. The Indulge offers a sliding keyboard, and there’s something else that sets it apart – support for Metro PCS 4G LTE service.

Another nice bonus is the 1 GHz processor, which makes the Indulge a speed demon among no-contract options. In addition to this, the Samsung Galaxy Indulge comes with 2GB of on board storage, which puts most of the competition to shame.

You’ll have to pay for these features, however. Currently Metro PCS offers the Indulge on sale for $299, and its normal price is $399. That’s well in excess of the other phones here.


All of these phones are available without a contract. Before you go, however, there’s something you should know – any of the phones that you see advertised with major carriers can technically be  no-contract smartphones.

Yes, you can obtain an iPhone 4 or an Evo 4G without a contract. How? You pay full price for the phone. You also need to sweet-talk the customer service reps, because they generally don’t like selling smartphones without stringing a contract along with them.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Santeeaholic
    July 19, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    Can you download and install personalized ringtones with the virgin mobile Optimus V?

    • M.S. Smith
      July 24, 2011 at 3:51 am

      I don't own the Optimus V or have one available to me right now, but I don't see why not. It should work like any other Android phone. 

  2. Bluecrush
    July 16, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    The Optimus V is a surprisingly nimble phone, while it's clock speed is only 600mhz, it performs better than many other budget phones with 800 Mhz processors (speaking from experience.  

    I may need to come back after double checking my facts but the Optimus's processor is a second generation processor that is more effecient than the previous models which allows the phone to handle much more than the 600mhz would indicate.  A separate GPU doesnt hurt neither.  

  3. Anonymous
    June 25, 2011 at 6:28 am

    The Optimus V is a great phone and the plans that Virgin Mobile offers are amazing.  I look forward to the next phone that Virgin Mobile will be offering, Motorola Triumph.

  4. Kyle
    June 21, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    And the lg optimus v does in fact come with a 2 GB micro SD card and adapter.

    • Niphoet
      June 22, 2011 at 11:37 am

      In the past month I've bought 2 Optimus Vs (myself and my wife) and both came with 2gb microSD cards (unbranded, but they seem to work fine).

    • M.S. Smith
      June 26, 2011 at 7:13 pm

      I must have found wrong information then. Obviously I didn't personally buy every single phone from every single carrier, so i looked up reviews and customer comments, and saw complaints about a lack of a card. Perhaps they were simply mistaken, or this has changed at some point.

      Thanks for the heads up!

  5. Kyle
    June 21, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    The lg optimus v includes a separate CPU, GPU, Data Processor -Dual Core Processor MSM7627 - 600MHz Applications Processor and 400 MHz Modem Processor for data transfers, a floating point unit and a 320MHz application DSP, and a real dedicated GPU to perform 3D accelerations and video encoding/decoding.

    So it has much more power than your article makes the readers believe. You also failed to mention the price of the plans. Virgin mobile runs off sprints network so you get a high quality service and the price you ask? 25 dollars a month for unlimited data, texting, and 300 anytime minutes.

    • M.S. Smith
      June 25, 2011 at 5:16 pm

      I don't see your point.

      The LG Optimus V's Qualcomm processor, like all those in smartphones, is a system-on-chip processor combining numerous functions. Virtually all phones include, as part of this, various components including a "real dedicated GPU." That's nothing special at all.

      It's also disingenuous to suggest this is a "dual core" phone in the same was as, say, a HTC Sensation. The company can certainly claim that the modem processor makes this a dual-core phone, but that doesn't mean we have to respect that claim.

      So no, this isn't a particularly powerful phone. Fast enough? Sure. But hardly an award-winner.

      As far as plan pricing goes, that's really outside the scope of this article, since plan pricing can change depending on your region, the options you select and any special offers being made.