For those of you who are on a budget but want a certain freedom when choosing a carrier, we prepared a list of best unlocked smartphones under $200.
Let’s first cover the terms “locked” and “unlocked” smartphone since I’ve noticed that there can be some confusion over this. Locked smartphones have software code that enables them to work on only one network provided from a particular carrier. Unlocked smartphones don’t have this code, and can work on multiple networks and in various countries. But, things get complicated from here on. There are two systems that are used by the Big Four carriers (AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon) in the United States. AT&T and T-Mobile use GSM system which is used also in the rest of the world and requires a SIM card. Unlocked GSM smartphone enables you to use not only AT&T and T-Mobile SIM cards, but any other. If a GSM smartphone is locked, you only need to enter an unlocking code and you are ready to go. Sprint and Verizon on the other hand, use CDMA that doesn’t require SIM cards. So if you want to unlock the smartphone from CDMA carrier, you have to reprogram it. Even then, you can only switch to another CDMA carrier. Trust me, always choose GSM.
Being tied to one carrier sounds good at the beginning. You can get a high-end smartphone without having to pay big bucks up front. You just pay small portions (usually over two years), until you have paid off the phone. But, in the end, you will surely pay more when all the fees sum up. Also, if you have a bad reception, there is nothing you can do. Maybe your current plan doesn’t suit you anymore? Sorry, you have to stick with it. That’s why buying an unlocked smartphone is really a good idea. It gives you an opportunity to choose the best option for yourself, without having to worry about contracts, device payments and similar. On the other hand, if you just want your smartphone to get through all the games and Facebook browsing, check out these 7 Best Smartphones with Longest Battery Life.
We initially thought about taking recommendations for our list of best unlocked smartphone under $200, but it turns out no one recommends budget phones anymore. This is why we head out to Amazon, browsed through top 100 best sellers in the category of unlocked smartphones and singled out those that were below $200 price point. Then we compared their specifications and featured the best ones on our list of best unlocked smartphones under $200. Check it out.