November 21, 2016

Best Unlocked Phones for Tracfone BYOP

Best Unlocked Smartphones for Tracfone Prepaid Service

Tracfone offers a growing selection of smartphones to use with their prepaid cell service, including Apple iPhones, high end smartphones (Samsung Galaxy S6, S7), and many budget smartphones. But consumers can also choose to purchase their own unlocked phone to bring to Tracfone's BYOP program.

best unlocked smartphones
List of Best Smartphones for Tracfone BYOP
But many consumers who want to buy their own phone, have certain questions.

What's the best phone to bring to Tracfone's BYOP (Bring Your Own Phone) program? Are there any phones besides the Smartphones from Tracfone that I can use with Tracfone prepaid service? What phone should I buy as a Christmas present for my family member or friend? These are all good questions, and we will help answer them, and more, in this list of the best unlocked smartphones that can be used with Tracfone prepaid service.

Tracfone's BYOP program allows consumers to find their own smartphone, and then activate it with Tracfone's prepaid service. It is a very convenient way to get to choose whatever phone you want, while keeping Tracfone's low cost service plans. But not everyone knows all the best options, so we are here to share our top picks for phones to bring to the BYOP program.

For specific details on the requirements for activating a phone with Tracfone, visit our Tracfone BYOP page (which also has a large list of phone options).

We are choosing these phones based on a variety of factors including popularity, value and cost. These are some of our best suggestions of phones we believe will fit most user's needs. In the end, each person needs to understand what they want out of a phone, and choose a phone according to that.

Most Tracfone users decide to use BYOP because they want a phone with a little more power and performance compared to most Tracfone smartphones, plus a wider selection of devices. In our list, we only include phones priced between $100-$400 as the majority of our readers are looking for a phone in that price range.

Now let's take a look at the list!

Top 6 Unlocked Smartphones to use with Tracfone (that are Reasonably Priced)

Below are the six best phones (and a few others) to use with Tracfone based on several factors. We hope this list will act as a guide and suggestion, and allow you to choose which phone best fits your needs.

1. Motorola Moto G4
The Moto G4 is the fourth generation of a well-rounded line of phones that come at a reasonable price and offer great value. The G4 has a large, 5.5" touchscreen, 13 MP Camera, 2 GB RAM and octa-core processor. You can choose between 16 GB or 32 GB memory and it starts at $199.

Best of all the Moto G4 is compatible with both CDMA and GSM networks, so you can choose to use it with either one (depending what works best in your area). We recently activated a Moto G4 Plus on GSM network without any issues.

If you want to save a little money, and don't need such a large screen, you can go with the Moto G4 Play, which has a 5" touchscreen, 8 MP camera and quad-core processor for just $150 (on sale for $130 in many places).

Another option is the slightly more impressive Moto G4 Plus, which has an improved 16 MP camera and fingerprint reader for $250. Spend an additional $50 and you also get 4 GB RAM and 64 GB memory (for a total of $300). The additional storage and RAM on the Moto G4 Plus make it a very powerful phone, more than capable of handling whatever is thrown at it.

Since the Moto G first came out, it has been a popular choice with Tracfone users and the Moto G4 continues that trend. The Moto G4 is widely available, and we expect a possible discount on Amazon for Black Friday so stay tuned.

View the Moto G4 on Amazon
View the Moto G4 on BestBuy
Also available through many other retailers including Costco, Walmart, Target and more. Expect Black Friday discounts

View the Moto G4 Play on Amazon
Also Available from BestBuy and other retailers, expect Black Friday discounts.

View the Moto G4 Plus on Amazon
Also Available from BestBuy and other retailers, expect Black Friday discounts.


2. Apple iPhone 5S and SE
One of the main reasons many Tracfone users started switching to the BYOP program was to use an Apple iPhone with Tracfone service. Recently Tracfone has also started offering several iPhones including the 5S, 6 and 6 Plus. But there is a much wider variety of unlocked iPhones, and some lower prices.

The iPhone 5S is several years old now, but that means it can be found for around $200 and still packs a very impressive camera along with other good features. If you're looking for some improvements, the iPhone SE has improved specs, and camera, at a price of just under $400.

Look for the iPhone SE and 5S in some retail stores, but also online through Amazon or eBay. Make sure you choose an unlocked version that is compatible with the service in your area.

View the iPhone 5S on Amazon
View a Refurbished iPhone 5S on Amazon

View the Refurbished iPhone SE on Amazon

3. Samsung Galaxy S5
With a 5.1" full HD touchscreen, 16 MP camera, 2 GB RAM and Quad-core processor, the Galaxy S5 packs a lot of performance despite the fact it was released a few years ago. It runs on Android 4.4, but is upgradable to 5.1, and even 6.0 in some cases.

When it was released in 2014, the Galaxy S5 was the flagship phone for Samsung, packing in the latest and greatest performance and features that make it relevant even today.

This phone can be found for around $200, and even less if you're willing to buy a refurbished model. That's a bargain for a phone that can shoot 4K video at 30fps, and much more.

View the Samsung Galaxy S5 on Amazon
View a Refurbished Samsung Galaxy S5 on Amazon

4. OnePlus 2
The OnePlus 2 was created to give consumers a high-end phone at a mid-range price. It features a 5.5" full HD touchscreen, 4 GB RAM, 64 GB Internal memory and a 64 bit Octa-core processor. The camera is also impressive, with 13 MP photos, and 4K video at 30 fps.

Aesthetics were also important on the OnePlus 2, which has a stainless steal frame. The phone comes with Android 5.1, but is upgradeable to Android 6.0 Marshmellow

The OnePlus 2 was released in August 2015, and there is a newer model, the OnePlus 3, with improved features and specs, but also at a much higher price.

View the OnePlus 2 on Amazon

5. Asus Zenfone 2
Another phone with a large, 5.5" full HD touchscreen, the Asus Zenfone 2 was very popular when it was released partially due to the great specifications like 32 GB memory, 4 GB RAM, 13 MP camera, and quad-core processor.

It is also upgradeable to Android 6.0 and was released in 2015. It is a worthwhile option, especially since the price is a little lower than many of the other phones on this list, at $175.

Find the Asus Zenfone 2 on Amazon

6. Huawei Honor 5x 
Looking for that sleek, high-end feel? Consider the Honor 5x which comes with an Aluminium shell for protection and appearance. Inside it houses a 5.5" touchscreen, 13 MP camera, 64 bit Octa-core processor, 2 GB RAM and 16 GB Memory.

Another great feature on the Honor 5x is the fingerprint sensor (also available on the Moto G4 Plus) which allows you to securely lock the phone, and quickly unlock it. All of this is available for under $200, making it another great option.

View the Huawei Honor 5x on Amazon

Several more phones that may be worth considering include:
-Alcatel Onetouch Idol 3 - 5.5" screen, 13 MP Camera, 16 GB Memory
-HTC Desire 626 - 16 GB Memory, 5" touchscreen, $129
-Google Nexus 5x - 32 GB Memory, 5.2" touchscreen, 12 MP Camera

That concludes our list of the the best budget friendly smartphones to use with Tracfone. We hope this list serves to provide some ideas of different phones available to use with Tracfone BYOP.

We want to hear from you! Share your current/favorite phone you use with Tracfone in the comments below!

Also join in on the discussion on our Facebook page where more than 2000 followers already get the latest news and information in their feed.

Black Friday deals are right around the corner, so check out our List of Tracfone Black Friday Deals which also includes some unlocked phone options.

Also take a look at our recent Review of the ZTE ZMAX 2 which comes with 16 GB memory and other great features.

And if you need some info on activating or switching your phone to Tracfone, read our full Guide to Activating or Transferring to a Tracfone Smartphone.

Thanks for visiting!

5 comments :

Anonymous said...

You don't specify which ones work reliably with Verizon CDMA version of Tracfone.
GSM is never a problem, but there have been CDMA Tracfone issues reported with BYOP phones.

TheLanMan said...

I got a Moto G4 Plus from Republic Wireless. It was on the T-Mobile network using a GSM SIM, and I didn't get cell reception at my workplace. I tried to take the phone to Tracfone using their CDMA BYOP SIM Kit, but two CDMA (Verizon) SIMs did not work, no matter what Tracfone 'support' suggested I try. I finally gave up and was able to activate the phone using a GSM (AT&T) SIM. I know the phone is supposed to fully support CDMA, and it could see the CDMA SIMs, but the cell voice/data radios showed 'off' while the CDMA SIMs were in the phone. I'm presuming this is possibly a one-off hardware issue with my phone, since I've heard of others using CDMA with the G4 Plus. Thankfully, I get adequate AT&T cell signal at my desk now.

Paul said...

Hello Peter,
I am considering a Moto G4 or G4 Play. Do you know if it would be possible to activate a GSM line and a CDMA line (with 2 different phone numbers) in one device? I tried to contact Tracfone with this question but I don't think I was able to make myself understood.

Anonymous said...

I just bought an unlocked GSM phone from BestBuy (Thanksgiving night) that was mentioned on the Tracfone Review site under "Black Friday Deals."

I also purchased a Tracfone BYOP Activation kit for $1.00. The phone has not yet arrived but the BYOP-kit has but the box it came in looks different than the BYOP-Kit sold on the Tracfone website and mentioned here -- the kit is in a little blue box probably like the ones you see at Walmart, etc. I also noticed somewhere on or in the box there was a date stamped of "2015", as well the SIM card for GSM says AT&T on it, and it is from my understanding Tracfone throws all GSM phones onto T-Mobile towers and all CDMA phones onto Sprint towers which is why people complain that once they leave their coverage area for the towers or coverage they are stuck with, they have no service since we know Tracfone no longer allows roaming.

So my question is: Will this activation kit and GSM/AT&T SIM work for me, or do I have to buy the new BYOP Activation SIMS that Tracfone has thrown out there since their cancellation of roaming and so-on?

Thank you.
https://www.consumeraffairs.com/cell_phones/tracfone.html


Peter Vanosdall said...

In reply to Anonymous on November 26, 2016 at 1:40 PM

Not sure if the SIM kit you got will work or not, are you sure it isn't a Net10 SIM kit?

As for Tracfone, they use both Verizon and ATT cell towers, as well as TMobile.

You could always try activating your phone, and if it doesn't work, stop by your local BestBuy or Target as they usually have Tracfone SIM kits for $1.

Hope that helps