Selecting the best phone for any Straight Talk mobile service plan is a loaded proposition. It’s kind of like searching for the very best web browser. Or trying to come up the world’s greatest laptop or tablet. It’s almost no different than selecting between computer operating systems.
- Purchase a Straight Talk phone from their website
- Purchase a Straight Talk phone from Walmart
- Bring your current phone, if it’s compatible
- Buy a Straight Talk SIM, and a supported phone from a third party
What matters most, however, is knowing your cellular heart’s desire. Choosing just the right handset for your Straight Talk account depends on a whole lot of factors. Are you just looking to save bucks? Will you just die without the trendiest smartphone ever? (And if it’s not a smartphone, does that make it a dumb phone?)
Whether you purchase a device from Straight Talk, bring your existing phone or purchase one elsewhere, there’s really only one way to go: you’ll have to get in touch with your inner mobile self.
Show me the money
Straight Talk is all about cheap; that’s why most people make the switch. The catch is that no-contract service providers charge full price for their phones. Don’t hold that against them — it’s not a Straight Talk thing. Check out other no-contract carriers and you’ll see that they’re all charging full-tilt for their handsets.
Companies like AT&T and Sprint can afford to discount their handsets when you commit to a two-year contract. They count, to a great degree, on those phone discounts to help lure you in. You might think to yourself, “My, but my cellphone carrier is mighty generous.” They are not in business in order to be generous. You’re really paying full price; the charges happen to be spread out over the course of your contract.
If the only factor in your handset preference is cost, you’ve got two immediate ways to go. Either you can find the cheapest available unit from Straight Talk or bring your own phone if it’s compatible.
Straight Talk freebie
Due to its hodgepodge use of nationwide networks from different carriers, Straight Talk’s phone selection varies by service area. To find what they’ve got available for your home turf, select “Shop” and then “Phones” from the links towards the top of their homepage. This will bring up an input box for your zip code. Key in your zip, verify your location, and you’ll see a display of the Straight Talk models you can buy for your coverage area. The odd thing about this process is that you won’t necessarily get a comprehensive list for your zip code. Noodle through a couple neighboring zip codes if you feel you might not be getting the full treatment.
For this article, a Chicago area code was entered, revealing 37 models. Sure enough, the list includes a reconditioned Motorola W418G for free. There’s no guarantee you’ll find a freebie for your coverage area, but it’s definitely worth looking.
The other way to do Straight Talk phones on the cheap is to bring your own. If you’ve got a GSM type phone, one that uses a SIM card, you’re in luck. Straight Talk’s networks support the GSM protocol. All you’ll need to do is purchase a $15 SIM card from Straight Talk and you’ll be good as gold, network-wise. Compared to prices for some of the ritziest phones, $15 sounds like a steal.
You can always purchase an unlocked GSM handset from a third party, but if low price is all that matters, why bother? Going back to Straight Talk phones available for Chicago, they offer several units from $19.99 up to $59.99. You might as well forgo the hassles and get a low-priced number from Straight Talk — and you might even run across a freebie.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for the smartest smartphone that ever got the smarts, your options become a bit more restricted. Of course, for example, you can buy an iPhone from Straight Talk, and you’ll pay anywhere from $450 to $850 based on the model/capacity. Those are no different than the prices you’ll find at Apple as noted on this promo code blog.
The only way to beat those high costs is to bring your current phone, as mentioned above, or shop around for sales or refurbished units. Just make absolutely sure you pick up a unit that Straight Talk supports.
A model phone
On a phone-by-phone basis, preferences are strictly subjective. Many a household is divided over the issue of Android versus iPhone. The main thing is realizing what works on Straight Talk networks, and what doesn’t work.
Taking the drawbacks first, don’t even think about tethering or unlimited streaming or non-stop calling. Any of those will likely flag your account for busting Straight Talk’s terms of service and you’ll wind up with restricted features or even cancellation.
A second limitation, and felt to a much lesser degree, should be noted by iPhone users. Apple’s visual voicemail service does not work on Straight Talk networks, and the carrier does not provide documentation when it comes to updating bring-your-own iPhones.
Beyond that, there are plenty of top models that operate just as slickly on Straight Talk networks as they would anywhere else. Samsung’s Galaxy line of handsets and iPhones 4 through 5 operate just fine.
Depending on your coverage area, all those iPhones and Galaxy handsets can be purchased directly from Straight Talk. If you’re looking for all those bells and whistles at a reduced price level, the LG Optimus SHOWTIME is another solid example of an Android Smartphone that’s’ available from Straight Talk. Of course you’re always free to shop around for a network-compatible handset from any third-party seller. (You could even arm-wrestle your buddy for his Straight Talk phone, but where would that leave him?)
The best phone for Straight Talk is ultimately in your hands, figuratively speaking. As long as it’s supported by their network and does the trick for you when it comes to price and operations, that’s the one and only best phone.