12.5 C
New York
Saturday, October 3, 2020
Home News These are the best Chromebooks for students of any age!

These are the best Chromebooks for students of any age!

asus-chromebook-c214-hero-169.jpg

Chromebooks are great computers for a lot of different uses, but the best Chromebooks for students single out a few particular features in addition to a easy-to-use computing experience for less. Education Chromebooks are designed to withstand the use and abuse of a classroom full of students, as well as being carried around in an overstuffed backpack. Reinforced hinges and ports are the norm, as are water-resistant keyboards and all-day battery life. These lightweight laptops also have some of the easiest and most useful keyboard shortcuts to help your child get homework done quickly once they find their rhythm. There are a lot of great options to choose from, but our top pick is the ASUS Chromebook Flip C214.

Best Chromebook for Students: ASUS Chromebook Flip C214

asus-chromebook-flip-c214-adventureland-

The ASUS Chromebook Flip C214 is the best Chromebook for students because it provides an excellent experience in a compact, durable package. The 11.6-inch screen is easy to see in a wide array of angles — even in direct Florida sunshine — and the zinc alloy hinge allows you to rotate the screen around 360 degrees into tent or tablet mode as needed. A 2-in-1 Chromebook allows your student to interact with lessons and content however they want: with the keyboard and mouse or directly with the touchscreen.

There’s also the option for a C214 with a built-in stylus for those who have problems touching smaller touch targets accurately, a great inclusion. I’ve adored the usefulness of a stylus for precision tapping in tent/tablet mode and when I’m reading webcomics while eating powdery snacks, which is what I use it for most often.

I have adored the usefulness of a stylus for precision tapping in tent/tablet mode and when I’m reading webcomics while eating powdery snacks.

The C214 lasts about 10 hours on a single charge, meaning it should last the whole school day and some homework before you need to seek out a charger. Like most modern Chromebooks, the C214 uses a 45W Power Delivery charger, meaning even if your kid loses or breaks the in-box charger, you can find a replacement charger easily and affordably.

There are also USB-C ports on each side of the C214, along with one USB-A port and a microSD slot to help expand the 32GB of storage the C214 comes with. The microSD slot on the side of this model is recessed, helping avoid accidental ejection, but the edges are sculpted so that a clothespin edge is the perfect size for inserting and ejecting cards. As a nail-biter, this small joy speaks to the attention to detail ASUS has taken with the rugged, reliable C214.

Yeah, there’s only 32GB of internal storage here and only 4GB of RAM, but 4GB of RAM is enough for schoolwork, research, and Twitch streams — I mean homework!! 32GB of storage could get cramped when installing tons of Android apps, but for most elementary and middle-schoolers, it should be more than enough. The corners of the Chromebook have rubberized edges and the outer shell is covered with non-slip textures that are scratch-resistant. The keyboard is spill-resistant and the ports are reinforced, too, so hopefully, it should be able to withstand a few years of chaos with your child.

Pros:

  • Exemplary battery life
  • Stylus is nice
  • Screen is readable in full sun
  • Compact and rugged
  • Spill-resistant keyboard

Cons:

  • Only 32GB storage
  • Only 4GB RAM
  • Popular and sells out quickly

Best Chromebook for Students

ASUS Chromebook Flip C214

asus-chromebook-flip-c214-clear-angles.p

  • $500 at Amazon (Stylus)
  • $450 at Amazon (Non-Stylus)

Rugged, reliable, and ready to pull an all-nighter

With a durable shell and easy-to-read touchscreen, the C214 is a Chromebook great for the classroom and homework.

Best for High School: Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook

lenovo-flex-5-chromebook-review-geodesic

The Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook is the best value in Chromebooks today because it offers up just about all the features you’d want in a mid-size Chromebook without costing a whole semester’s worth of allowance. This laptop is physically less than an inch bigger than the ASUS C214, but it has a much larger 13.3-inch 1080p touchscreen, a backlit keyboard, and nice loud speakers. You also get a more powerful Intel Core processor instead of a Celeron and you get more internal storage for running Linux apps or downloading Disney+ movies for when you’re bored in study hall.

To quote Han Solo, “she’s got it where it counts, kid”.

This laptop hasn’t been ruggedized and life-proofed like the C214, but the Lenovo Flex 5 is as perfect for an older kid as it is for many adults. You get a comfortable, evenly-backlit keyboard for late-night procrastinated projects and a pair of big, front-facing speakers on either side to keep the tunes going while you work. The port configuration here is a match to the C214 — two USB-C ports, one USB-A port, a microSD slot, and a headphone jack — but you’ll need to be more gentle on this laptop if you want it to last you its full eight years of Chrome OS updates.

The battery here should last you a whole school day and homework, and charging it back up shouldn’t take too long with the in-box 45W PD charger. Not many families have Wi-Fi 6 routers — and even fewer schools do — but you should still get better Wi-Fi stability with it, and the same can be said of Bluetooth 5.0 for your headphones or Bluetooth mouse.

If there’s a downside to the Flex 5 besides it not being kid-proofed, it’s that it’s a brand-spanking-new model and has been very hard to find in stock. If you can find it, your high schooler will thank you for getting them one of the best Chromebooks for students and adults alike.

Pros

  • Crisp 1080p touchscreen
  • Loud upward-facing speakers
  • Great internal specs
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Wi-Fi 6 compatibility

Cons

  • Not as durable
  • Limited availability

Best for High School

Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5

lenovo-chromebook-flex-5-render.png

$410 at Amazon

Everything a teen could want

The best Chromebook for everyone is also a great model for middle or highschoolers who don’t need a kid-proofed laptop.

Upgrade Pick: ASUS Chrombook Flip C434

asus-chromebook-flip-c434-review-wood-cu

There are plenty of powerful Chromebooks out there these days, but the most ultra-powerful Chromebooks tend to sacrifice battery life for raw power that you just don’t need most of the time. The Chromebook Flip C434 is powerful enough for my full-time workload, but it can still last all day and look good doing it. With a bright 14-inch screen and premium aluminum housing, this is a machine that’s still portable enough to haul every day but big enough for split-screening your research and your paper — or your homework and your favorite Twitch streamer.

The backlit keyboard is great for long nights of cranking out term papers in dimly lit libraries. The m3 processor can keep 20-30 tabs open at a time and handle Linux and Android apps with ease, and while 4GB of RAM was more than enough for the C434 that I used, more RAM is awesome and I’m happy to see the 8GB models more available now than they were last summer.

ASUS does have a newer and beefier model in the ASUS C436, but I still recommend the C434 for students because while the C436 is more powerful, it is also twice the price. Battery life on the C436 is average again — after launching with a bug that hobbled battery life — but I wouldn’t trust it to last an entire school day on a single charge. There are still i5 models of the C434 out there to be found, and for lower prices than the C436.

Pros:

  • 8GB RAM models available
  • Bright, big screen
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Premium look and feel

Cons:

  • More expensive
  • Newer model available
  • Not quite as durable

Upgrade Pick

ASUS Chromebook Flip C434

asus-chromebook-flip-c434-render-clear.p

  • From $500 at Amazon

A great Chromebook for college and high school students

Need a bigger screen and a more powerful processor for your work? ASUS has you covered with this premium pick.

Best Chrome Tablet for Education: ASUS Chromebook Tablet

asus-chromebook-tablet-ct100-lifestyle.j

Chrome tablets make a lot of sense for younger students, as they’re lighter, easier to grab with smaller hands, and most education models have a stylus for doodling or tapping away at education games. If your child wants to play some games, watch some videos, and do some reading or drawing, a tablet is the best fit, and you can pair it with a Bluetooth keyboard once they’re old enough to need more serious typing.

I would love to point you towards the Best Chrome OS tablet on the market today — the 10-inch Lenovo Chromebook Duet — but unfortunately, the Duet doesn’t have any heavy-duty cases available at the moment and it’s not ruggedized enough to withstand the abuse a younger student would inflict upon it. Thankfully, there are a few affordable Chromebook tablets designed specifically for the classroom and younger students. I like the ASUS Chromebook Tablet because it comes with a stylus and is a more well-known brand with a better legacy of support.

It only comes with one USB-C port and no USB-A ports, not that a younger child will need to use those often, but you still have a headphone jack and a microSD slot for expanding the 32GB of internal storage, two features that the Lenovo Duet lacks. It’s not the most powerful Chromebook device around, but it’s the perfect level for younger grade-schoolers and the extensive durability standards that ASUS holds it to ensure that it should hold up to the chaos of a younger user so long as they show it a basic level of care.

Pros:

  • Includes a stylus
  • MIL-spec durability
  • Good match for younger users
  • Expandable storage

Cons:

  • Only one USB-C port
  • Modest specs
  • Expensive for what it is

Best Chrome Tablet for Education

ASUS Chromebook Tablet

acer-chromebook-tab-blue-clear.png?itok=

  • $330 from Amazon

Great for doodling, reading, and watching.

For younger users that aren’t typing much, this tablet is perfect easing children into Chrome OS.

Best Value: Lenovo Chromebook C340 (11.6″)

lenovo-c340-11-main-street-platform-befo

The Lenovo Chromebook C340 (also known as the C340-11) was our overall best Chromebook until the Flex 5 came out — and it’s still our favorite compact Chromebook. It features the same processor and RAM as our overall pick, the ASUS C214, and it even has the option for 64GB of storage, which is great news for older students who will be installing a lot of apps or downloading music and movies for offline viewing.

If you can deal with this Chromebook not being child-proofed the way the more education-focused models are, the C340-11 can be a great way to get a dependable, long-lasting Chromebook without blowing your budget.

This has been my primary computer for months now, and whether I’m trying to bang out a quick case collection on the couch or writing one of my editorials in the shade at Epcot, this little darling never lets me down. The battery will last all day unless you’re always on max brightness — and even then, you’ll usually get six hours — and while it’s not rubberized or ruggedized, it’ll take daily wear and tear in stride.

This Chromebook has proven very, very popular: Amazon can barely keep it in stock — especially the alluring Sand Pink version — and most other retailers regularly sell out, as well. If you can find a C340-11, especially a 64GB model, don’t wait too long: blink and they’ll be gone.

Pros:

  • Prettier look with two color options
  • 64GB storage options
  • 10-hour battery life
  • Great price
  • Great internal specs

Cons:

  • Not as durable
  • Not as grippy
  • Sells out frequently

Best Value

Lenovo Chromebook C340 (11.6″)

lenovo-chromebook-c340-11-platinum-stand

  • $320 at Amazon
  • $259 at Walmart
  • $320 at Lenovo

It’s not as durable, but pretty and affordable.

With double the USB ports and 64GB models available, Lenovo’s aluminum-lidded laptop is more than a pretty face.

Honorable Mention: Dell Chromebook 3100 2-in-1

dell-chromebook-3100-2-in-1-review-hero-

Dell — like Lenovo and Acer — debuted an upgraded line of Education Chromebooks early this year, the clamshell Chromebook 3100 Education, a Chromebook 3100 2-in-1, and the 14-inch 3400. While the 3400’s larger screen is nice, non-touch Chromebooks are a nonstarter in 2020, but the 3100 2-in-1 ticks almost all the boxes we like to see in a Chromebook and does it without going too far overboard in the pricing department.

The 3100 2-in-1 has two USB-A and USB-C ports — one on each side — as well as a microSD slot and headphone jack. While the extra USB-A port isn’t necessary, spares are always appreciated when they can fit in basically the same size chassis. There’s no stylus option here, which is a bummer, but performance is decent and there is an 8GB RAM configuration and a 64GB storage configuration. Oddly, you’ll have to pick one or the other; you can’t get a configuration with both. I vote for getting 8GB of RAM, but if you download a lot of offline files/movies, the extra internal storage can be helpful.

While you can indeed save a few dollars opting for the clamshell version, I recommend most users get a 2-in-1 Chromebook and for studious children, a 2-in-1 is darn near required. Tablet mode is great for using away from classroom desks or in the car, and tent mode turns the 3100 into a digital art easel. It’s absolutely worth the extra cash.

However, there’s an Achilles’ heel with the Dell 3100 line: you can’t buy it right now. Dell will let you put in a purchase order and get on the list, but delivery dates for both the 2-in-1 and clamshell models are slated for February right now, meaning that your child would be without it for over half the school year.

Pros:

  • MIL-spec durability and spill resistance
  • Plenty of USB-A and C ports
  • 8GB RAM and 64GB storage options
  • Chrome updates until June 2025

Cons:

  • No delivery dates for months
  • No stylus
  • More expensive

Honorable Mention

Dell Chromebook 3100 2-in-1

dell-3100-2-in-1-render-clear.png?itok=Z

  • From $319 at Dell

Made for the real world, but priced above the classroom

While you can get higher memory/storage than the C214, the base model starts at a higher price, but you’ll get a quality device.

Bottom line

When picking a Chromebook for a student, you may be tempted to go with a non-touch model, but fight this urge! Touchscreen Chromebooks are more expensive, but are far easier to interact with, especially for students that may be playing educational games or using artistic apps to doodle away the boredom. Styluses like the one on the ASUS Chromebook Flip C214 are great for art apps — and for people who tend to fat-finger their touch targets as I do — but it’s alright to skip it if you don’t think you need one.

The C214 can be a little hard to come by right now — honestly, most good Chromebooks are hard to find right now without price gouging — and if you can’t find the C214, I highly recommend both the Lenovo Flex 5 for older students. Between school districts clamoring for more Chromebooks and parents scrambling for laptops for their kids, 2020 has made Chromebooks a hot commodity, especially the best Chromebooks for students that are built to endure abuse.

11.6 inches is the standard size for Chromebooks — education and regular — because it’s small enough to be easily portable while still being big enough to get your work done on. While 13-14 inch laptops make sense for teachers that stay in one room most of the day, for students lugging laptops between periods, smaller and lighter is better. Quality 14-inch touchscreen Chromebooks will also strain your wallet, but if you want something larger than a standard notebook, head on over to our Best Chromebooks guide for those recommendations.

Why use a Chromebook for students in the classroom?

There are several reasons so many schools use Chromebooks in the classroom, and each one is just as important as the next.

  • Powered by Google — Google is a household name when it comes to technology and school districts know the company will be around to offer support for the life of the product.
  • Ease of use — Chrome OS is a lightweight system that’s easy to find your way around, even for younger users and parents that aren’t tech-savvy.
  • Security and administration tools — Chrome OS is designed with security at the forefront (since Chromebooks are also aimed at the Enterprise space), and a G Suite administrator can lock things down to meet the needs of a school system’s IT policies.
  • Price — Chromebooks designed for classroom use can be bought in bulk for hundreds of dollars less than other devices like iPads and Windows laptops.
  • Parents can provide a Chromebook, too Because they are inexpensive and easy to use, parents can provide a Chromebook for a child who isn’t in a 1:1 school program or during the summer recess.

School systems are notoriously cash-strapped and understaffed, yet they have the responsibility of shaping the next generation through their formative years and beyond. School officials have told me that this can be the most frustrating part of their job because sometimes they can’t provide teachers and other hands-on educators with the tools they need to teach our children. Because Chromebooks are inexpensive to buy and support, they are a welcome option for frustrated, underfunded school districts.

In the classroom itself, Chromebooks provide a gateway to everything a student needs to learn and everything a teacher needs to guide them. Little things a consumer may take for granted, like automatic updates and the ability to sign in to any device and have your profile available mean more time can be dedicated to studies instead of administration.

Chromebooks are designed to be used with Google’s educational suite of applications.

Chromebooks also work seamlessly with Google’s educational software: Google Classroom, G Suite for Education, and even Google’s consumer applications like Gmail or Google Keep. With these apps and services, students and teachers can work online or offline, seamlessly syncing with Google’s servers.

It’s very difficult to tell you’re working with an app that stores its data in the cloud because the experience is so good, but you’ll know it did when you pick up a completely different Chromebook and everything is just as you left it. This is great for students, allowing them to get back to work after they spill water all over their Chromebook and have to be issued a new one.

Chromebooks and Google’s educational application suite are simple to use, well integrated into inexpensive Chromebooks, and are the perfect foundation for education.

What’s special about an Chromebook for Education?

asus-chromebook-flip-c214-adventureland-

You’ll see a lot of Chromebooks out there branded as being Chromebooks for Education, and you may be wondering what exactly the difference is between an Education Chromebook and a regular one.

Really, to normal buyers, there isn’t one, at least from a hardware standpoint.

Any Chromebook can be used in the classroom and still have access to Google’s educational suite and work, communicate and collaborate with other students and teachers, just as soon as you log into it. What is different is the support contract. School districts that purchase through education channels can also contract various levels of support from the company that made the Chromebooks or through Google itself, such as on-site service and having a Google specialist help students and teachers get started in person.

Education Chromebooks all have one thing in common: they’re tough.

Education-focused Chromebooks models are often built with an eye on durability. You’ll find thick polycarbonate shells and rubber bumpers to withstand bumps and falls, MIL-SPEC approval for survivability in the elements, and even special features like microbe-resistant screens to cut down on spreading germs from student to student or waterproof keyboard pans — kids are messy, after all.

Google does have some standards a Chromebook must adhere to for the educational certification, but they are common-sense requirements that almost all Chromebooks follow. Ever wonder why a Chromebook has lower-case letters on the keyboard instead of capital letters like most other keyboards? That’s part of Google’s requirements. For a small child learning how to read and type, a key must be marked with what it will print on the screen when pressed. Ingenious!

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

100x100_5610553.jpg?r=1

Ara Wagoner themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she’s not writing help and how-to’s, she’s running around Walt Disney World with a Chromebook. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco. If you see her without headphones, RUN.

100x100_8918.jpg?r=1

Jerry Hildenbrand is Mobile Nation’s Senior Editor and works from a Chromebook full time. Currently, he is using Google’s Pixelbook but is always looking at new products and may have any Chromebook in his hands at any time. You’ll find him across the Mobile Nations network and you can hit him up on Twitter if you want to say hey.

Latest

41-hour training bundle is perfect for would-be software engineers, just $39

Software engineers and computer science professional are always in demand. In fact, it’s a growing field that will always have opportunities.Businesses small and large are wise to employ staff with backgrounds and expertise on programming languages. If you’re a small business owner, entrepreneur, or would-be software engineer, you’d be wise to sharpen your tools.The Super Software Engineer Bundle, just $39 in the AG Deals Store, is a great way to get started in the programming space. Moreover, it’s an excellent resource for those who may need to brush up on a few things.With 41 hours of content at your disposal, you’ll have lifetime access to education on IoT, Java, Angular, MongoDB, AI, and so much more. This package is ideal for professionals aspiring for a career in NoSQL databases and MongoDBSuper Software Engineer BundleIntroduction to IOTGet a glimpse into the ever-growing field of IoT & learn how to leverage it across business functionsJava Certification TrainingMaster web application development for virtually any computing platformHave a firm foundation in Java, the most commonly used programming language in software developmentAngular Certification TrainingDevelop robust applications for projects of any scale using AngularCreate a strong foundation on topics like TypeScript, Promises, Directives, Bootstrap Grid System & moreMongoDB Developer Certification TrainingBe equipped with the skills required to become a MongoDB DeveloperIntroduction to Robotics Process AutomationExpand your expertise in advanced intelligent applicationsUnderstand RPA concepts, the value-add it brings with relevant business use cases & toolsIntroduction to Artificial IntelligenceDecode the mystery of artificial intelligence (AI) & its business applicationsGet an overview of AI concepts & workflows, machine learning and deep learning, and performance metricsData Science with PythonHave a complete overview of techniques using PythonAcquire knowledge in Python & unlock your career as a Data ScientistGet Started!Education such as this would normally cost hundreds of dollars, if not more. AndroidGuys readers, however, are able to get it for much cheaper right now. Stop by the AG Deals Store and you’ll find it for just $39.Best SellersEarn Credits!For every $25 you spend in the AG Deals Store you get $1 credit added to your account. And, if you refer the deal via social media or an email that results in a purchase, you’ll earn $10 credit in your account.First Time Buying?If this is your first time buying, you are also eligible for 10% discount! Just be sure to subscribe for email updates.Free StuffNot looking to spend any money today? No worries. You can still visit the AndroidGuys section for freebies and pick something anyhow.

Review: Eufy Indoor Cam 2K and Indoor Cam 2K Pan and Tilt

DIY connected video devices are a great way to add a layer of security to your home. Anker’s sub-brand eufy has two new additions to its video lineup that’s worth consideration. Follow along as we take a look a the eufy Indoor Cam 2K and the Indoor Cam Pan and Tilt.DesignThe Indoor Cam 2K is a pretty standard affair. For the money you get a 2K resolution camera with a built-in stand to install in your home. The camera is housed in a rounded square frame with the camera on the front with IR and motion sensors to detect movement and provide night vision.There is a slight swivel option offered by the ball-in-joint design of the stand mount to allow you some range of motion to get the camera angle you want. However, once you’ve set the position, you are limited to just a few degrees one way or the other.To the right side of the lens, the eufy Indoor Cam 2K has a dedicated microSD slot. We’ll have more on that later, but this allows you to store your data locally on the device.Around the back is a dedicated sync button that you’ll use to set up the device and a micro-USB power supply port. This is the one hardware portion of both cameras that seems dated in the age of USB-C. 1 of 4 The bottom of the Indoor Cam 2K has an integrated anchor system for mounting the camera in numerous ways. There are rubber pads to simply sit on a desk, or you can use the mounting ring and the plastic mounting inserts, to install it on the wall or ceiling.Moving over to the eufy Indoor Cam 2K Pan and Tilt model, you immediately see how the device got its name. It’s nearly the same, but the main difference is that it will pan and rotate up to 360-degrees horizontally and up to 96-degrees vertically.This attributes to the other addition with a much larger IR array to help pick up movements. While it has the same number as eight, they are much larger and more prevalent on the Pan and Tilt.Also, you’d be remiss to not notice how much the eufy 2K Pan and Tilt looks like a robot or RT-D2 from Star Wars. I’m not sure it makes it any less jarring for users not used to having indoor cameras, but it does have more personality. 1 of 2 Setup and SoftwareOnboarding with these cameras is great. Eufy has built a very well designed, quick app to walk you through the initial setup. These steps will get you powered up, connected to WiFi, access settings, and even add internal storage via microSD card.The SD card adds to the overall experience of the eufy Indoor/Pan and Tilt 2K . With all the missteps around competitors like Ring and Nest, it’s refreshing to see an option that doesn’t sit on anyone’s server. 1 of 8 Eufy says that if you don’t sign up for its cloud offering, and all videos are only stored locally, then it never touches its servers. You have end-to-end encryption that only transfers the live stream over data to see your live or recorded feeds.The app itself is very well done. You have a default screen to see all your cameras. Clicking on them presents you with a live feed with the history below.Digging deeper into the setting allows you can control notifications, motion detection, and opt into eufy’s cloud storage. There are additional options for turning off the LED, Night Vision, watermarking, and sound detection.Recording quality and options can be adjusted as well. Recording resolution defaults to 2K , hence the name, but if you prefer to save that local storage, you can downgrade to 1080p. Streaming quality adjusts automatically based on the bandwidth available.I also found notifications to be on point. First, it has the video preview inside the notification which I think every app in this space should offer. It’s nice to glance at this thumbnail to see if you have an exception or just the standard movement around your home without fully opening the interface.The speed of the notifications and the transition to opening the app are some of the best I’ve seen as well. Many apps in the video streaming security market struggle to make that handoff from you clicking the notification and actually showing you an image. eufy has found a good balance here that allows you to be in the live view with minimal delays.Last, you get almost instant pings when exceptions are detected. Whether it was the sound, movement, or pet monitoring, I have been getting consistent alerts. I’ve been very impressed with the overall app experience eufy has built with the Security app.Price and Upgrades to CloudThe initial pricing for both cameras is pretty decent. The standard Indoor Cam 2K will cost $32 with the Pan and Tilt seeing a $20 premium for $52 total. If you have a spare microSD laying around, then that’s the entirety of your buy-in.However, if you do want to have extended backup and cloud storage, eufy offers two different options. You can add each device for $2.99 per month ($29.99 annually) or you can go all-in with a 10 device maximum plan at $9.99 per month ($99.99 a year). Both offer the same 30 days backlog of video history and just allows you flexibility depending on how many cameras you’d like to support.ConclusionThe eufy Indoor Cam 2K plus the Pan and Tilt offer users a pretty cost-efficient way to add live video to their home network. Add that to a quick and well-designed app experience and eufy has a winner in my eyes.

AT&T Prepaid Buyer’s Guide (October 2020)

Many of you are likely familiar with the so-called “Big Four” wireless service providers of Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. A lot of people might assume that this is pretty much all there is when it comes to carrier choice in the US. That couldn’t be further from the truth.Most of the top-tier carriers offer their own prepaid services with different rate plans, phone selection, and support. Let’s take a look at AT&T Prepaid.About AT&T PrepaidOnce known as GoPhone, AT&T Prepaid operates in the US using the same network as its tier-one brand and, for the most part, provides nearly identical coverage. One key difference is that there is no third party coverage in pockets of states such as Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska.AT&T Prepaid features include no annual contract, no credit check, and easy activation.READ: These dirt cheap rate plans are $20 or lessWhat are AT&T Prepaid rate plans like?AT&T Prepaid rate plans let subscribers go month-to-month with no long-term agreement or cancellation fees. Moreover, it does not charge for going over your allotted data; you receive “throttled” 2G  speeds on data for the remainder of the bill cycle.The prices shown below are with automatic bill payment, or AutoPay. Rate plans may vary based on limited-time promotions.$30/month: Unlimited Talk and Text with 2GB of high-speed data$40/month: Unlimited Talk and Text with 8GB high-speed data$55/month: Unlimited Talk and Text with unlimited high-speed data$50/month: Unlimited Talk and Text with unlimited high-speed dataWhat’s with the two unlimited plans?You’ll note that there are two plans with “unlimited” data. The $55 option normally costs $65 per month while the $50 one usually runs $75 per month.It definitely makes more sense to go with the cheaper plan as you get a lot more for your money. The main catch, however, is that it’s for new customers only.Here’s what’s notably different between the two:$55 plan: Data may be slowed in times of congestion$50 plan: Allows for access to 5G network speeds, data may be slowed in times of congestion after 22GB used, includes 10GB mobile hotspot, 100GB cloud storage, and video streams can be up to 1080pMobile hotspot/tethering is available to most of the plans as an add-on. There are other features available for the various plan, including unlimited calls and text to Mexico and Canada or usage in Mexico and Canada. Those on the 2GB or 8GB plans who do not use the allotted amount will be able to roll it over to the next month.Multi-Month PlansAT&T has three online-only offers for customers who opt to pay in advance. A 3-month plan ($99) gives users 8GB of data per month; a 6-month plan ($180) brings the price down to $30 per month; a 12-month plan ($300) equates to $25 per month.It includes unlimited talk and text within the US, Mexico & Canada, and unlimited text from the US to 100+ countries. These are limited time offers with no known expiration date.Are there any other features worth noting?AT&T Prepaid offers add-ons such as international calling and monthly data plans for tablets and hotspots. Moreover, add-on data can be purchased in the event you hit your plan’s data threshold.What about family plans?Customers interested in family plans or multiple lines can do so with discounted pricing. As of today AT&T Prepaid offers a discount on each line, when adding a line of service. Additionally, there’s also a discount for AutoPay, automatic bill payment. It’s possible to mix and match plans based off of individual data needs.Tell me about the phones at AT&T PrepaidLook at the current lineup of phones offered through AT&T Prepaid and you’ll see familiar names from brands like LG, Samsung, Apple, and Alcatel.As one might expect, the overall selection pales in comparison to the standard AT&T brand and skews toward affordability instead of power. For those looking to save money there are also a handful devices which are certified restored.A few phones have promotions which might add credit to your account or save money when paired with a particular rate plan.Can I bring my own phone to AT&T Prepaid?You can often use your current phone on AT&T Prepaid, especially if it was previously paired with the standard AT&T service. Contact your current service provider to see if you can unlock your phone for usage on AT&T.We’re also seeing a growing trend of unlocked phones with support for AT&T and its Prepaid bands sold direct to consumer. Examples include models from Samsung, Motorola, Blu, Nokia, and Alcatel.

The best phones available at AT&T (October 2020)

AT&T is one of the largest wireless network providers in the US, serving nearly 160 million subscribers. And being as big as it is, you’d expect it to offer a generous selection of phones. Indeed it does.Here, we gather up a handful of the best phones you can purchase at AT&T today. This isn’t a list of the best overall with the top-notch performance. Rather, our list aims to speak to specific users.Samsung Galaxy Note 20 UltraThe Biggest and BestIf you’re looking for the biggest and most powerful all-around device from AT&T, this is it. With a screen size (6.9-inches) that rivals early tablets, it packs an upgraded S Pen stylus and cutting-edge hardware. Oh, and then there’s a first-of-its-kind 108-megapixel camera, too.Powered by Android 10 with Samsung’s custom UI, the handset has generous battery, tons of (expandable) storage, and downright sleek design. Choose from Mystic Bronze, Mystic White, and Mystic Black.Shop Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G at AT&TSamsung Galaxy S20 Fan EditionA Flagship for EveryoneIf you’re on the hunt for a phone that you plan to own for a few years, you don’t want to cut corners. You want a flagship phone. The problem is that too many of them cost way more than we’re willing to spend.The Fan Edition of the flagship S20 is what happens when you keep the most important stuff and toss aside the frills (and extra cost).Here, you get a large screen with high refresh rate, a large battery, three rear cameras, and a modern Android and user interface. Offered in three colors, it’s the S20 you deserve.Shop Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan EditionMotorola One 5GMid-ranger with Two-Day Battery You can’t buy a Google Pixel from AT&T right now, but this Motorola phone is about as close as you’ll get. Not only does it have a clean version of Android paired with moderately powerful hardware, but it’s also easy on the eye.The One 5G ticks all the boxes for us, including a large (6.7-inch) screen, great camera experience (48MP, 8PM ultra-wide, 5MP macro, and 2MP depth), and a 5,000mAh battery that goes well into a second day.Shop Motorola One 5G at AT&TSamsung Galaxy Z Flip 5GBest Folding PhoneThe Galaxy Z Flip 5G brings back the familiar clamshell design that your parents had at the turn of the decade but with a much smarter operating system… and a heftier price tag. Fully opened, you’ve got a 6.7-inch screen that rivals other phones in size and quality. Under the hood are a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor, 5G support, and more than enough storage. Grab it in Mystic Gray or Mystic Bronze.Shop Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G at AT&TMicrosoft Surface DuoUltimate Productivity A phone built around business and productivity is far more than just giving it a digital stylus, or so Microsoft thinks. Its first Android-based phone is a a hybrid experience that is essentially a more portable Surface — that also takes calls.With two 5.6-inch displays that open to form an 8.1-inch screen, this is the sort of device you’d want for IT administration, work and school needs, and even gaming. Packed with all of the MS software you’ve come to appreciate, it’s just about as powerful as today’s flagship phones.Shop Microsoft Surface Duo at AT&T