What are the best inexpensive, unlocked Android options?
February 26, 2013 8:38 AM   Subscribe

A friend would like to switch to a cheap, unlocked Android phone and a prepaid plan within the next month.

Is this the best option in the $100-ish price point?

Is there something in that price point that can be set to stock Android and run the most recent ICS release, or failing that, is well supported with cyanogenmod?

If going for a used phone, how should that be approached, what is available for about $100, etc.

Hoping to get some wisdom dropped on me and specific product recommendations.
posted by jsturgill to Shopping (5 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Actually, broaden the scope of this: used iPhones and Windows phones are OK too. The main thing is the price point of $100.
posted by jsturgill at 8:39 AM on February 26, 2013

You can get a lot more value (with some risk) on the secondary market for used Android products. iPhone tend to keep their value as the demand for them is substantial.

I sold my HTC Desire HD (~1.5 years old) in near-mint condition, unlocked and running an ICS build via cyanogenmod for $120 recently to someone looking to run it on a prepaid plan. It was a super phone - fast, with a before-its-time large screen suitable for watching TV shows.

The only reason I sold it because my work bought me another phone and the IT provider refused to support it. Bastards.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 9:39 AM on February 26, 2013

I'm using an unlocked Pantech Burst I picked up on Ebay for $100 with Straight Talk unlimited. I see there are plenty of Pantech Bursts still being sold on Ebay around that price point.

I'd recommend it as a nice, basic, reliable smart phone. It's also a quadband so once I switched out the ST sim card to a local one, it worked for me in the UK, which was great.
posted by artemisia at 9:40 AM on February 26, 2013

I love this site, Android And Me for explaining the best plans for the various unlocked phones.

Here's what they recommended in October 2012.

Here's their #Unlocked tags.

posted by THAT William Mize at 10:08 AM on February 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

Funnily enough I'm also in the market for an unlocked android phone at that price point. Artemisia mentioned the Pantech Burst and that's the one I've been eyeing myself. My friend owns a cell phone repair shop and recommended Pantech to me. I found that model on Amazon. It has great specs and certainly worth considering.
posted by Cybria at 10:11 AM on February 26, 2013

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