Purchasing a prepaid cell phone is a good choice for users who don't want to be bothered with mobile phone contracts, termination fees, overage charges and credit checks. These handsets are also suitable for occasional or short-term users who do not need a complicated billing plan. Parents who are trying to keep their kids on a budget have also found a solution by turning to prepaid mobile phones.
Let's compare three of the best prepaid phones from different non-contract carriers to help consumers find the best option in the market.
Design Form Factor:
LG Rumor 2 from Virgin Mobile: this prepaid phone features an elongated candy bar shape with smooth lines and rounded corners. It's a good messaging phone as the front face slides to the left to expose the full keyboard. the Rumor 2 measures (4.4 inches tall by 2.1 inches wide by 0.7 inch deep and weighs 4.2 ounces.
Sanyo Incognito from Boost Mobile: this stylish handset sports a horizontal flip design with a flap that opens to show the internal display at a slight angle. The shiny face of this handset acts as a large alphanumeric touch pad and navigation array but it's also a magnet for smudges. The Incognito measures 3.7 inches tall by 2.2 inches wide by 0.7 inch thick and weighs 4.3 ounces.
Samsung Caliber from Metro PCS: this touchscreen phone features a long and lean bar design with smooth curved corners and rounded edges. It's body is made of plastic but it feels sturdy. The Caliber measures 4.55 inches long by 2.23 inches wide by 0.47 inch thick and weighs 3.59 ounces.
Non Contract Price:
LG Rumor 2: $99.99
Sanyo Incognito: $129.99
Samsung Caliber: $249.00
The Rumor 2 sports a 2 inch display with 262,144 colors and 240 x 320 pixels. The colors on this screen are bright and vibrant and the graphics are sharp. Users can adjust the font size and the backlighting time according to their preference.
The Incognito features dual color displays with the main display measuring 2.6 inches and supports 262,000 colors (320x240 pixels). The screen is bright and vibrant with sharp colors and graphics and the comes with a landscape orientation for easier messaging. Unfortunately, the external display isn't very useful due to its miniscule size.
The Caliber boasts a 3.2-inch touch-screen display with support for 262,000 colors and 240x400 pixels. The screen has haptic feedback and users can adjust the length and intensity of the vibrations. The touch sensitivity can be adjusted to fit a use's need and a touch calibration wizard helps to ensure accurate tapping. The backlight time and the brightness on this display can be altered but the display font size is permanent. However, it also needs to be mentioned that the resistive touchscreen takes some acclimation.
Virgin Mobile's LG Rumor 2 sports a simple 1.3-megapixel camera that does not record or shoot videos. It can take pictures in three resolutions and three quality settings.
Editing options: three color tones, adjustable brightness and white balance controls, nine fun frames, self-timer, digital zoom, night mode, four shutter sounds, silent option
Boost Mobile's Incognito is equipped with a 2.0-megapixel camera that takes pictures in four resolutions: from 1,600x1,200 pixels down to 320x240 pixels. The camcorder shoots clips with sound in two resolutions (176x144 and 128x96)
Editing options: adjustable image quality, brightness, sharpness, contrast, white balance, color tone, digital zoom, fun frames, multi-shot mode, night mode, self-timer, three shutter sounds,"scene" modes like beach/snow
Metro PCS' Caliber features a 3.0-megapixel camera with flash and a built-in camcorder that can record in 320x240 and 176x144 resolution in either MMS or recording mode. Photos can be taken in six resolutions, from 2,048x1,536 to a small "picture ID" size.
Editing options: four shooting modes (single, multi, mosaic, frame), three quality settings, self-timer, adjustable brightness, five white balance presets, six color effects, adjustable ISO up to 400, three exposure metering settings, three shutter sounds with an additional silent option, choice between auto focus or a macro focus mode
The LG Rumor 2 is equipped with a basic player that supports MP3, MIDI, WAV, AMR, and QCP files. The music player interface is intuitive but the features are limited to repeat and shuffle modes. Music can be loaded on the phone using a microSD card.
The Sanyo Incognito sports a music player that supports MIDI, QCELP, MP3, AAC and AAC+ files. Features include album art, repeat, shuffle, airplane mode and 3G support allows users to access mobile TV with live and on-demand programming. The music player can be sent to the background while other features are being used.
The Caliber Caliber's music player supports MP3, WMA, and AAC files. Users can categorize songs by artists and albums as well as create and edit own playlists on the fly. Features include repeat, shuffle and music can be added via a microSD card. The music player can be delegated to the background while using other phone functions.
Rumor 2: phone book with up to 600 contacts, 33 polyphonic ringtones, text and multimedia messaging, voice dialing, wireless phone book backup, PC syncing, USB mass storage, a memory card manager, GPS stereo Bluetooth, and instant messaging.
Incognito: 600-contact phone book, 37 (72-chord) polyphonic ringtones, multimedia and threaded text messaging, Bluetooth with a stereo profile, instant messaging, speaker-independent voice commands and dialing, USB mass storage, and PC syncing, POP3 and IMAP4 e-mail accounts.
Caliber: 500-entry phone book, text and multimedia messaging, voice command support, stereo Bluetooth, GPS, email, PC syncing, a voice recorder, USB mass storage, full HTML browser, Flash Lite.
The LG Rumor 2 has a rated battery life of 5.5 hours talk time and tested talk time of 5 hours and 50 minutes.
The Sanyo Incognito has a rated battery life of 5.1 hours talk time and tested talk time of 4 hours and 56 minutes.
The Samsung Caliber has a rated battery life of 5.1 hours talk time and tested talk time of 4 hours and 56 minutes.
The LG Rumor 2, Sanyo Incognito and Samsung Caliber are three of the best prepaid phones on the market. However, each of these handsets come with attributes that suit the specific needs of different consumers.
The Rumor 2 comes with a roomy QWERTY keyboard, strong battery life and an affordable price. Users can own this device without signing a contract for only a hundred bucks. However, users looking for a good camera may not be satisfied with the Rumor 2's mediocre 1.3-megapixel shooter. This phone also lacks 3G support.
The Sanyo Incognito comes with a stylish design and a useful QWERTY keyboard. This phone is a good choice if one wants to have a unique and attractive handset with an attractive full price of $129.99. It also comes with a solid 2 MP camera and a large internal display. However, the fashionable design comes with a price because the Incognito is not very user-friendly.
The Samsung Caliber is a good choice if one wants a prepaid phone with a touchscreen. It also comes with a good 3.0 MP camera with flash and other advanced features like the full HTML browser with Flash Lite. However, it's a bit expensive at $249 and its resistive touchscreen is not very responsive.
Choosing among these prepaid phones boils down to one's priorities be it the affordable price, good camera or a touchscreen display. Each of these handsets come with strengths and weaknesses so it's up to you to pick one the fits snugly with your needs.
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