Latest Phones (2020)

Cheapest Phones for Texting – Top 10 Best Cheap Phones

June 4, 20203:09 pm By

If you are looking for the cheapest phones for texting in 2020, you came to the right place. I made a list of the best and cheapest phones that can send text messages.

You don’t need to spend a lot if you only need the simplest functionality. You just need a very simple phone that can do the job. But before we jump into the list, there a few things that you need to consider when choosing a phone for texting today.

Contents
I. Things to Consider When Choosing a Phone for Texting in 2020
II. Top 10 Cheapest Phones for Texting in 2020
III. Summary

Things to Consider When Choosing a Phone for Texting in 2020

Feature Phone vs. Smartphone, which type is better for Texting?


Consumers usually buy feature phones if they need the cheapest phone for texting. What are the advantages of a feature phone over a smartphone?

A feature phone can be very cheap because it only has basic features like text messages, voice calls, simple games, and basic utility apps like calendar and calculator. It can be very durable. You can also easily replace it if you lose it because of the low price tag.

The basic functions of a feature phone don’t consume too much battery life. This can be very beneficial to those who need longer battery life.

Parents may also prefer this type of phone for their kids because it prevents the latter from spending too much time with their phones.

Feature phones have a simple form and a smaller screen. These phones usually have a physical T9 keypad for typing. This type of keypad has 9 number keys with assigned characters. Once you’re used to it, you can even type messages with your eyes closed.

On the other hand, a smartphone is what we see most of the time. It has more functionalities, bigger storage, and a touchscreen display for texting. It usually has a higher price tag.

Can a smartphone be cheap enough just for sending text messages?

Yes. The price gap between a feature phone a smartphone can be very minimal if you know the cheapest smartphone to buy. I added those very cheap smartphones with good quality on the list to help you make a good decision.

Both types of phones have their share of advantages and disadvantages and you have to weigh those factors based on your preference.

Avoid “2G Only” Feature Phones – When is 2G going to be Phased Out?


2G is short for second-generation cellular networks. A lot of feature phones that are sold online right now only uses 2G only network. These feature phones are very cheap, however, most buyers are not aware that 2G technology is already (generally) obsolete. If you can’t use the phone to send text messages in the coming months because it’s 2G only, don’t buy it.

Various network carriers in the United States already decommissioned their 2G network so that they can reclaim their radio bands and use those for faster networks like 4G/LTE. For example, AT&T in the United States already shut down its 2G network back in 2017. Verizon (US) will shut down its 2G network by December 31, 2020. And T-Mobile will also end its 2G network in 2020.

Also, many network carriers in other countries either already decommissioned or are in the process of decommissioning their 2G network in the year 2020.

Should I avoid all feature phones?

No. There are a few cheap feature phones that can use 4G LTE instead of 2G technology and I included those phones on the list.

Very Cheap Phones for Texting are usually Carrier Locked


Another detail that you should pay attention to when buying the cheapest phones online for texting is the available carrier network (e.g. Tracfone, AT&T, etc.) of the phone.

Most feature phones or smartphones can be very cheap and one of the reasons is because they can only be used with a specific network carrier.

These phones are called “Carrier Locked” phones. It also already comes with a SIM card that will work with a specific carrier. You won’t be able to use a SIM card of a different carrier network.

But you don’t have to worry because these very cheap phones are not tied up to contracts. And even though they are locked to a specific carrier, they can still be unlocked after you met certain conditions in a carrier’s Unlocking Policy.

For example, Tracfone has an agreement with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding handset unlocking. The policy conditions include provisions that allow Tracfone locked handsets to be unlocked if the phone was activated on Tracfone service for no fewer than 12 months. You can find more details about their Unlocking Policy here.

Top 10 Cheapest Phones for Texting in 2020


The phones on the list are sorted from the lowest to the highest price.

Updated on: June 4, 2020

#1 – Alcatel MyFlip (4G LTE)


Type: Feature Phone
Display: 2.8″ screen
Keypads: T9; physical keypad
Hardware: 1.1 GHz Quad-Core Processor; 512MB RAM
Storage: 4GB Internal Memory, supports microSD (up to 32GB)

Price:  USD 19.75 (Tracfone); USD 19.88 (Total Wireless); USD 24.99 (Simple Mobile); USD 25.99 (Net10)

If you are looking for a feature phone for texting that will give you the best bang for the buck, the Alcatel MyFlip is the best choice. Even though it’s a feature phone, it can connect to 4G LTE network so you don’t have to worry about the 2G phase-out.

The user menu is simple and very easy to navigate. It also has a colored display. It has a T9 keypad with wide buttons that are easy to press. It only weighs around 118 g. It’s even lighter than the iPhone SE (2020) which is a small iPhone and weighs around 148 g.

When it comes to delivering the other essentials like sending e-mails, checking your calendar, or basic web browsing, this phone will be very useful.

The battery life is also amazing. It can last up to 6.5 hours of talk time or 12 days of standby time.

This phone is carrier-locked. If you buy a unit online, you can only use it with one carrier network like Tracfone, Total Wireless, or Simple Mobile. It also comes with a SIM card when you purchase it.

#2 – ZTE Blade T2 (4G LTE)


Type: Smartphone
Display: 5.0″ HD screen
Keypads: Touchscreen Keypad
OS: Android 8.0
Processor and RAM: 1.1 GHz Quad-Core Processor; 2GB RAM
Storage: 16GB Internal Memory, supports microSD (up to 256GB)

Price:  USD 29.99 (Tracfone)

ZTE Blade T2 by Tracfone is one of the cheapest smartphones for texting that you can get right now. Since it’s a smartphone, you will be using a touchscreen keyboard for texting. It can also connect to 4G LTE network.

The long battery life is the best feature of this smartphone. You can use it for up to 12 hours of talk time and up to 12 days of standby time. The disadvantage of the battery is that it takes a little longer to charge. But for the very low price, this is still worth it.

The size of the display of ZTE Blade T2 is very close to the display size of the iPhone SE (2020). It’s very portable to carry around.

It already comes with a SIM card. It’s locked to Tracfone, but you can request for unlocking once you met Tracfone’s Unlocking Policy.

#3 – Alcatel TCL LX (4G LTE)


Type: Smartphone
Display: 5.3″ HD screen
Keypads: Touchscreen Keypad
OS: Android 8.1
Processor and RAM: 1.1 GHz Quad-Core Processor; 2GB RAM
Storage: 16GB Internal Memory, supports microSD (up to 32GB)

Price:  USD 29.55 (Tracfone); USD 29.88 (Total Wireless); USD 29.99 (Simple Mobile)

Alcatel TCL LX is another very cheap 4G LTE smartphone for texting. You will also use a touchscreen keypad on this phone when typing text messages. The price of this phone is very worth the value.

It already comes with a SIM card. Like most locked phones on the list, you need to buy your plans separately. For example, Tracfone has a non-contract individual plan with Unlimited Talk and Text and 1 GB of data for 30 days. You can also carry over the unused data to the succeeding months.

The good thing about these plans is that it’s prepaid and you will have no contractual obligations, hidden fees, or overages.

The battery life is great and can last for up to 12 hours of talk time and up to 12 days of standby time. Just try not to install power-hungry apps that also run in the background so that the battery life will last long.

#4 – AT&T Cingular Flip 2 (4G LTE)


Type: Feature Phone
Display: 2.8″ screen
Keypads: T9; physical keypad
Processor and RAM: 1.1 GHz Quad-Core Processor; 512MB RAM
Storage: 4GB Internal Memory, supports microSD (up to 32GB)

Price:  USD 39.95 (AT&T)

The Cingular Flip 2 is a feature phone for AT&T users that can connect to the 4G LTE network. It’s cheaper if you get it online on Amazon compared to the AT&T store.

If you will notice, this phone is the same Alcatel MyFlip feature phone, except that the Alcatel logo was replaced by the AT&T logo and it’s twice the price. The design and hardware are the same.

There are advantages of getting this AT&T phone for existing AT&T users. For example, if you already have an existing US AT&T family plan, you can swap the AT&T SIM card that comes with this phone.

#5 – BLU Advance A4 2019 (3G)


Type: Smartphone
Display: 4.0″ screen
OS: Android 8.1
Keypads: Touchscreen Keypad
Processor and RAM: 1.3 GHz Quad-Core Processor; 512MB RAM
Storage: 16GB Internal Memory, supports microSD (up to 64GB)

Price:  USD 39.99 (All GSM networks)

The BLU Advance A4 2019 is a smartphone and you can use the touchscreen keypad for sending text messages. It is a 3G only phone and it is great for texting while traveling because it can connect to GSM networks worldwide with the following 3G network bands: 3G (850/1700/1900).

In the US, it is compatible with GSM networks such as AT&T, T-Mobile, Cricket, Metro PCS, Straight Talk, and others. It is not compatible with CDMA networks like Verizon, Sprint, and Boost mobile.

The screen is only 4.0 inches which makes it easy to carry in your pocket as well.

The battery life can last up to 10 hours of talk time and 16 days of standby time. Just remember not to run background apps to avoid draining the battery faster. This phone is also not capable of fast charging but I think it’s still worth the price.

#6 – BLU Advance S5 HD (3G, 4G LTE)


Type: Smartphone
Display: 5.0″ HD screen
Keypads: Touchscreen Keypad
OS:
Android 8.1
Processor and RAM: 1.3 GHz Quad-Core Processor; 1GB RAM
Storage: 16GB Internal Memory, supports microSD (up to 64GB)

Price:  USD 49.99 (GSM networks)

The BLU Advance S5 HD is a cheap smartphone that can also connect to GSM networks worldwide with the following network bands:

  • 3G: (850/1900)
  • 4G: (4/5/7/28)

It has a touchscreen keypad for texting and the battery life is very decent.

Make sure to contact the customer service of your preferred GSM network if the bands are compatible. For example, it may not work with Straighttalk but can work with other GSM networks. It is also not compatible with CDMA networks like Verizon, Sprint, and Boost mobile.

#7 – BLU View (4G LTE)


Type: Smartphone
Display: 5.5″ HD screen
Keypads: Touchscreen Keypad
OS:
Android 9.0
Processor and RAM: 1.5 GHz Quad-Core Processor; 2GB RAM
Storage: 16GB Internal Memory, supports microSD (up to 32GB)

Price:  USD 49.99 (Tracfone)

If you want a cheap smartphone that has a larger touchscreen for texting, the BLU View is perfect. It also has decent battery life.

Usually, the kids will like this smartphone because aside from texting, it has a larger screen for playing games and watching their favorite shows.

BLUE View is locked to Tracfone but you can still request for unlocking after meeting the requirements in Tracfone’s Unlocking Policy.

#8 – Samsung Galaxy J3 Orbit (4G LTE)


Type: Smartphone
Display: 5.0″ HD screen
Keypads: Touchscreen Keypad
OS:
Android 8.0
Processor and RAM: 1.35 GHz Quad-Core Processor; 2GB RAM
Storage: 16GB Internal Memory, supports microSD (up to 256GB)

Price:  USD 46.39 (Tracfone); USD 32.91 (Net10); USD 49.84 (Total Wireless)

Samsung Galaxy J3 Orbit is a smartphone and you can use the touchscreen keypad for texting. The size of the display makes it very portable. If you like Samsung phones, this is the most decent brand new Samsung unit that you can get for a very low price.

It is also very easy to use. The battery life is great. The battery is also removable, unlike the expensive Samsung phones. You can also use the 8 MP camera which is very decent.

It already comes with a SIM card and it’s either locked to Tracfone, Net10, or Total Wireless only.

#9 – LG Rebel 4 (4G LTE)


Type: Smartphone
Display: 5.0″ HD screen
Keypads: Touchscreen Keypad
OS:
Android 8.1
Processor and RAM: 1.4 GHz Quad-Core Processor; 2GB RAM
Storage: 16GB Internal Memory, supports microSD (up to 32GB)

Price:  USD 45.19 (Tracfone); USD 37.72 (Net10); USD 39.88 (Total Wireless); USD 36.20 (Simple Mobile)

Considering the overall phone performance, the LG Rebel 4 is the highest-rated phone on the list if you look for it on Amazon US. It has a 4.3 out of 5 rating from over 550+ reviews. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t go for the other cheaper phones on the list if your primary purpose is texting.

The LG Rebel 4 also has 4G LTE connectivity and it’s locked to either Tracfone, Net10, Total Wireless, or Simple Mobile only.

Like the other phones on the list with 5.0″ display, it is also very easy to carry. As long as a phone has an Android OS, the user interface will be very easy to use.

#10 – Nokia 3310 (3G)


Type: Feature Phone
Display: 2.4″ screen
Keypads: T9; physical keypad
OS:
Java
Storage: 128MB Internal Memory, supports microSD (up to 32GB)

Price:  USD 45.19 (AT&T/T-Mobile/MetroPCS/Cricket/Mint)

If you miss the old days of Nokia, why not go for the Nokia 3310 (3G). Note that there are different 3310 models that were released after the oldest 3310 from 20 years ago.

There’s a 3310 model that was released back in 2017 which is 2G only and you should avoid that model. There’s a 3310 3G model that was also released in 2017 and it’s on the photo right now. And then there’s a 3310 4G model that was released last February 2018.

The new 3310 models all look very similar so you have to be very careful by looking at the model description when buying online.

The 3310 is great for sending text messages and it retained its widely-acclaimed durability from its old model. It’s popularity, the feeling of nostalgia that it brings, and the durability compared to the other phones may have contributed to the slightly higher price.

The battery life is regarded as the best on the list because with so little to do on the phone and the lack of distraction, you are not going to use it very often except for texting and calling. Thus, it can even last for almost two days with moderate use without charging.

Summary


If you are looking for the cheapest feature phone for texting, I recommend the Alcatel MyFlip because it gives the best bang for the buck. For a very low price, it has a very nice design for a feature phone, can connect to 4G LTE, and has a long battery life for texting.

If you are looking for the cheapest smartphone for texting, I recommend the ZTE Blade T2 or Alcatel TCL LX. The price is definitely worth it for a smartphone that will be primarily used for texting.

Also check out my post about:

Which cheapest phone for texting did you like? I would like to hear from you.

Just leave your comment in the comments section below. 😀

20 thoughts on “Cheapest Phones for Texting – Top 10 Best Cheap Phones

  1. Now you have saved many the time and stress of knowing the difference between a feature phone and a smartphone and also their advantages and disadvantages to texting. 

    Your advice to avoid 2G only feature phone was of great importance knowing that it will be phased out in no distance future.

    Your lists of Top 10 Cheapest Phones for Texting in 2020 is a great insight too to anyone intending to buy a budget-friendly feature phone and to have an eye to Alcatel MyFlip while ZTE Blade T2 or Alcatel TCL LX will be good for cheap smartphone texting phone.

    Thank you for this great job.

    1. Hey Adam, I’m glad I was able to help. Yes, Alcatel MyFlip is really cheap or ZTE Blade T2 if you want a smartphone instead.

  2. Amazing! this post was very helpful. I can easily choose among basic phones the best so far since my husband just love the T9 keypad. I dont even know its called T9 until I read this post. Thanks for sharing and Thanks for the heads up about 2G phasing out. Great job!

  3. Hi Cris, I love your website. It’s so informative especially when it comes to phones about their pricing and the features.
    I good to know that online pricing is not the same as a regular store. The overall design of the website is also very nice. Thanks.

    1. Hey Tshepiso, I hope you were able to find a good phone for texting. That’s right, there are instances when the local store doesn’t have time to reevaluate the prices for phones that are cheap in their shops. They usually focus more on their plan pricing and offering expensive phones with their plans. Going online allows you to compare prices easily between online stores with a few clicks to find the cheapest offers.

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