Which Tracfones are best?
Tracfone is a Mobile Virtual Network Operator that operates nationwide. It doesn’t require contracts and has multiple prepaid phone plans available. Plus, it’s compatible with many smartphones, iPhones and basic phones. If you’re looking for a great prepaid device to use anywhere in the country, check out the Tracfone Apple iPhone 7 4G LTE Prepaid Smartphone.
What to know before you buy a Tracfone
Locked vs. unlocked
An unlocked cell phone does not need a specific carrier or phone plan to work. However, Tracfone has a strict unlock policy, so most devices are locked until activated. You can unlock one of their devices by using the associated code or contacting the company by phone.
Certain devices unlock automatically after a certain period. For instance, Apple phones activated on the Tracfone service will unlock two months after activation. Military personnel who are currently deployed can request the company unlock their device at any time.
If you find a device online that’s already unlocked, it might not work as intended or have reduced functionality.
Network and coverage
Tracfone is compatible with Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. The service you get depends mainly on the carrier. For example, Verizon provides the most coverage and works across the country. Meanwhile, AT&T and T-Mobile generally offer the fastest download speeds.
Also, the company now has 5G coverage enabled for certain modern phones. This is included in any of their phone service plans.
Tracfone has a keep-your-own-phone policy, meaning you can use your current phone when setting up the service. The following devices are compatible:
- T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon phones
- Global System for Mobile Communications unlocked phones
- Certain phones that use Code Division Multiple Access Technology
The company also sells various discount devices that work on their network, including iPhones and other smartphones such as Samsung and LG devices. They also sell non-smartphones and flip phones for those who want something basic and functional.
What to look for in a quality Tracfone device
Tracfone offers multiple phone plans, none of which require a contract. Plans include:
- Smartphone $199 Plan: 365 days of unlimited talk and text with 12 gigabytes of data each month.
- Smartphone $125 Plan: 365 days with 1,500 minutes, 1,500 texts and 1.5GB each month.
- Smartphone $50 Plan: 90-day plan with 750 minutes, 1,500 texts and 2GB of data a month.
- Smartphone $30 Plan: 30-day plan with unlimited text and talk plus 3GB of data each month.
For an additional cost, there are also add-on services, such as the global calling card that lets you make calls across the world for as little as 1 cent per minute. Other add-ons include more texts, minutes and data.
When you purchase a phone or sign up for service, you receive a SIM card with a new phone number on it. Unlike most other cellular companies, you can’t transfer an existing Tracfone SIM card to another device.
Tracfone offers unlimited data rollover. So, if you don’t use all the available data in one month, it gets automatically added to the next month’s plan. However, there are no data-only plans, meaning you’ll need to purchase minutes and texts to get data on your device.
While you can purchase a monthly plan every month, you also have the option to sign up for auto-refill. With this service, you can keep your phone constantly active without having to set up payments manually. Another incentive of auto-refill is that it also gives consumers a 5% to 10% monthly discount on their current plan. You can set up the service through your account.
As with any other mobile device, the storage in your phone varies. For casual users who don’t intend to download many apps or games, 5GB should be enough. However, if you use your phone extensively or want to have a lot of pictures, videos or games on it, you’ll need anywhere from 10GB to 50GB of storage space.
If your space runs out, you can clear the device’s cache or delete unnecessary apps. You can also upload images and videos to the Cloud and delete the ones taking up space on your phone. Alternatively, most Tracfone devices let you increase your phone’s storage by inserting a microSD card into the device.
Since it’s a prepaid service, Tracfone offers prepaid cards that specify the allowances and limitations of the plan. You can purchase these cards on the company’s website or at a local store. Some prepaid cards only add data or minutes to an existing plan, while others serve as the full plan.
How much you can expect to spend on Tracfone
The cheapest unlimited talk and text plan starts at $20 a month and goes up from there. There are also sometimes promo codes available to decrease costs. If you set up the auto-refill service, you can save more money on an existing plan.
How do you set up a Tracfone?
A. Once you have a compatible device, use the company’s online activation system. From there, follow the steps to activate and set it up. You’ll need the red activation card that comes with the phone or plan. And you’ll need to agree to the Terms and Conditions. Once that’s done, you can start using the phone right away.
Can you transfer minutes to a different phone?
A. If you’re switching from one smartphone to another, you can also roll any remaining minutes, texts or data into the new one. However, you cannot transfer minutes when switching from a smartphone to a non-smartphone.
What’s the best Tracfone to buy?
What you need to know: This locked iPhone comes with 32GB phone storage and has a fast operating system, making it ideal for mobile gamers, work use and more.
What you’ll love: It features a 4.7-inch Retina HD display that’s great for taking photos, which you can easily store on the device. This sleek, black phone comes with a SIM card and is easy to set up.
What you should consider: Since it’s an Apple product, it’s not compatible with most Android apps.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top Tracfone for the money
What you need to know: Offering either 16GB or 32GB of storage, this smartphone is best for Android users.
What you’ll love: It has a long battery life and Max Vision HD+ Display, meaning you can use it for hours taking pictures, playing mobile games and more. It operates on Verizon’s CDMA networks and comes with a SIM card.
What you should consider: The phone isn’t as fast as other devices. It’s also not constructed with high-quality materials.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This smartphone comes at a discounted price and offers competitive storage, good audio and a crisp display.
What you’ll love: This prepaid device comes with 16GB of storage, an HD display, SIM card and phone manual. It’s also compatible with MicroSD memory cards up to 2TB.
What you should consider: It takes a long time to reach full charge.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Angela Watson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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