Q link Wireless is one of the providers that are giving free phone service for life unlimited everything in 2023. But then, is the service worth it? How good is the coverage in my area? And most importantly, what phones are compatible with qlink if they even allow you to bring your own device?
Well, if you’re planning to get a free government phone through Q Link Wireless, this review covers some crucial details you might love to know beforehand. Of course, the main focus is on the phones you can use with the lifeline program. But wouldn’t you like to know if the Q Link signal is good in your area before you apply? Or else how fast the data speeds are on the 5G?
What’s the Best Phone Compatible with Q Link?
Basically, Q Link Wireless is compatible with most of the latest unlocked cell phones. However, the service does not accept all the devices as there are specific network requirements, as we shall see later.
In any case, the six best phones under $300 that can work with Q Link include:
- My Favorite: Fully Unlocked Samsung Galaxy S9+ Smartphone
- Best of 5G: Factory Unlocked Samsung Galaxy A13 w/ 5G
- The Best of iPhones: Apple iPhone SE (2020 Edition) Unlocked
- Best of Budget: Unlocked Google Pixel 3a Black Phone
- Best of Seniors: Cricket Unlocked Alcatel QuickFlip LTE Flip Phone
18 Crucial Things to Know About Q Link Wireless
Similar to the regular prepaid and postpaid phone services, lifeline providers have their positives and negatives as well. So, as you look for the answers on what kind of phones work with Q Link Wireless, I’d recommend you also go through their capabilities. And that doesn’t mean just the features printed on the official website, but also those not there.
Regardless, I’ve been able to put together some of these things, both good and bad, you should know about Q Link Service. They include:
Positives of Using Link Wireless
- Free to Join: similar to Access Wireless or Safelink, Q Link requires no fees to apply or activate a line. It only requires proof you participate in a government-funded program like Medicaid or have a low income.
- Unlimited everything: Q link is one of the few lifeline providers promising an absolutely free plan, with unlimited data, talk minutes, and text.
- Nationwide Coverage: Q Link was initially on the Sprint Legacy network (CDMA). However, it’s currently using T-Mobile cell towers, which have coverage in all the major towns across the nation.
- 5G & 4G LTE service: Q Link is currently enforcing the upgraded SIM cards with 5G to the existing customers. So, any new subscriber will get the new SIM
- Decent Data Speed: On normal days (without congestion), you could get up to 180+Mbps download speeds on the old Q Link SIM card. In a recent test on the new line, the phone peaked at 60Mbps and in some cases 5Mbps.
- Free WiFi Calling. Q Link charges no extra fees to use the WiFi calling feature with your phone.
- Free domestic roaming: Indeed, the lifeline provider does allow one to make phone calls while outside the host network. However, you must be within any of the carrier’s roaming partners, thereby availability isn’t guaranteed.
- Free emergency calls: You can make emergency calls to 911 and even to the Q Link customer service without using your free minutes
- Free WiFi hotspot Connections: Q Link has also teamed up with various companies so you can tap into their WiFi hotspot connection.
- Bring Your Own Phone (BYOP): Unlike Assurance Wireless, Q Link does have the option to bring your favorite phone brand to their network.
- Discounted Phone pricing: Q link also does have a retail section where you can get phones and tablets at amazingly low prices. However, the store is only accessible to registered customers.
- International calling options: Other than here in the US, you can use your free Q Link phone to call landlines and wireless phones worldwide. However, you’ll need to have either the $5 Global Connect Unlimited pass or the World Link plan of $3, $5, or $10.
Negatives of Using Q Link Wireless
- Data Throttling:: Q Link may cap your data if you “abuse” your unlimited everything privilege. In some cases, you may get throttled after 28GB or 23GB cap.
- Data Deprioritization: Similar to Ultra Mobile or Mint Mobile and other MVNOs on the T-Mobile network, you can expect reduced data speeds during congestion. In extreme cases, you can get as low as 1-2.8Mbps on downloads
- No Mobile Hotspot: unfortunately, Q Link currently doesn’t support tethering with your device.
- Spotty signal in rural: sadly, you may experience poor reception when in remote areas. However, this’s more of an issue with the carrier network of Q Link, T-Mobile, which has primarily focused on the metropolises.
- Charges incoming calls: sadly, yes, the company will deduct both the incoming and outgoing calls rate from your monthly minutes.
Last but not least, the phone Q Link sends when you apply for a free device and service is a very basic model that’s several years old. However, this is a thing for all the providers with free touch screen government phones, including the all-favorite, Safelink.
So, you’ll need to upgrade if you want to enjoy the latest tech like 5G connectivity, NFC payments, cinematic streaming, plus fast and smooth operations. But again, what cell phones are compatible with Q Link wireless? Can you bring even the latest iPhone 12 Mini or Samsung Galaxy S20 FE with 5G?
What Phones are Compatible with Q Link Wireless
To make it short, most phones that work with T-Mobile will be compatible with Q Link Wireless. After all, they both are using the same network infrastructure, only that T-Mobile will always prioritize its immediate subscribers.
That said, though, not all phones compatible with T-Mobile will work with a Q Link service. On the Q Link BYOP eligibility rules, the device you bring to the service must:
- Pass the online device ID (IMEI/ MEID) checker
- Be fully unlocked, either by the manufacturer or previous carrier
- Not be flagged lost or stolen
- Not be leased, or rather on an active payment contract with your previous carrier
If your device satisfies the four requirements, it will certainly work with a Q Link SIM card. That includes even the luxury brands like iPhone and Samsung.
The Best Features and Specs of the Various Phones Compatible with Q Link
|Phones Compatible with Q Link||Year of Release||Supported Networks||ROM vs RAM|
|Samsung Galaxy S9+ Smartphone||2018||4G LTE||64GB, 6GB|
|Samsung Galaxy A13 w/ 5G||2021||5G & 4G LTE||64GB, 4GB|
|Apple iPhone SE (2020 Edition)||2020||4G LTE||64GB, 3GB|
|Google Pixel 3a Black Phone||2019||4G LTE||64GB,4GB|
|Samsung Galaxy Note 9 w/ 128 Memory||2018||4G LTE||128GB, 6GB|
|Alcatel QuickFlip 4G LTE Flip Phone||2017||4G LTE||4GB, 512MB|
|Apple iPhone 8 4G LTE Smartphone||2017||4G LTE||64GB, 2GB|
|Motorola Moto G Play (2021 Release) Phone||2021||4G LTE||32GB, 3GB|
|Motorola Moto G Plus (2019 Edition) Phone||2019||4G LTE||64GB, 4GB|
Fully Unlocked Samsung Galaxy S9+ Smartphone
At less than two hundred, the Samsung Galaxy S9+ is definitely my favorite pick. While it doesn’t have 5G support, you can still enjoy some of the latest extra bells and whistles. The seven best features include:
- A sleek design with a wide 6.2” display
- A high-performance Snapdragon 845 processor
- You can expand storage to 400GB with MicroSD
- Can record videos in full 4K@60fps or 1080p@240fps
- Include NFC chip for contactless payments & data sharing
- Has an iris scanner and fingerprint reader for quick unlock
- It has a Sturdy aluminum frame & 1P68 dust/ water protection
Factory Unlocked Samsung Galaxy A13 w/ 5G
Would you like to try Q Link data speeds on the 5G connection? The Galaxy is an excellent cell phone under $250 that you could consider while shopping around. Some of the features I like most about the device include:
- The extra-wide, 90Hz HD+ display
- Supports both 5G and 4G LTE connections
- Has built-in NFC and fingerprint sensors
- Includes both the headphone jack and Bluetooth
- Runs on a decent MediaTek Dimensity 700 processor
- You can expand storage with up to 1TB MicroSD card
Apple iPhone SE (2020 Edition) Unlocked
Well, you can bring Apple technology to Q Link service, and the second-generation iPhone SE is a great option. It’s not only budget-friendly but also borrows some of the best features on the famous iPhone 11 Pro. They include:
- At least 64GB of internal storage
- Both Fast & Qi Wireless charging options
- Built-in NFC chip for contactless payments
- The high-performance A13 Bionic processor
- Video recording in full 4K@60fps or 1080@240fps
- The iconic True Tone feature to keep images natural
- A sturdy aluminum frame & IP67 dust/ water protection
Unlocked Google Pixel 3a Black Phone
The Pixel 3a is one of the bestsellers from the Google Store catalog, and for a good reason. Cheap qlink compatible phones, It costs under $100, yet includes more than you’d expect from a phone of its pricing range. These features include, but are not limited to:
- A fast Snapdragon 670 processor
- 64GB of internal storage & 4G RAM
- Has a built-in NFC sensor for digital payments
- Includes the standard 3.5mm jack & Bluetooth
- Also has a Fingerprint reader for quick unlocking
- It can record videos in full 4K@30fps or 1080@120fps
Unlocked Samsung Galaxy Note 9 w/ 128 Memory
If you often do heavy stuff with your phone, Samsung may have a perfect answer for you with the Galaxy Note 9. It has everything you need to take your office organization, gaming, snorkeling, or artistry in general to the next level. The features that make all this possible include:
- The wide, 6.4” display
- Comes with a stylus pen to doodle
- A super-fast Snapdragon 845 processor
- 128GB internal storage & 6GB of RAM
- Option to add up to 512GB MicroSD card
- It captures videos in full 4K@60fps or 720@960fps
Cricket Unlocked Alcatel QuickFlip 4G LTE Flip Phone
If you need a simple but reliable phone for a senior, the Alcatel QuickFlip here could be a good choice. The company initially designed it for the Cricket network, but it’s already carrier-unlocked. So, you can use it with the Q Link service.
Some of the best features include:
- Big buttons with large numbers
- An internal & external color display
- Support 4G LTE & HD Voice capable
- A sleek flip design that’s easy to carry
- Supports the highest HAC (M4/ T4) rating
- You can insert up to 32GB MicroSD card
Apple iPhone 8 Unlocked 4G LTE Smartphone
Although a little old, the iPhone 8 series is also a great Apple device you can bring to the Q Link lifeline program. And as the title suggests, you can continue to use it on the 4G LTE even after T-Mobile phases out the old bands later this year.
Some of the best features of the smartphone include:
- The A11 Bionic processor
- 4.7” display with True-tone
- Support contactless payment via NFC
- Can record videos in 4K@60fps or 1080p@240fps
- Has an aluminum frame & IP67 dust/ water protection
GSM Unlocked Motorola Moto G Play (2021 Release) Phone
The Moto G Play (2021) is another phone you can consider if you have a tight budget at hand. It’s a recently released model but doesn’t have many of the latest bells and whistles if you might be interested. There are only the features to get you going, including:
- The Snapdragon 460 processor
- An extra-wide 6.5” HD display
- Video recording in 1080p@60fps
- Rear-mounted fingerprint reader
- Up to 512GB MicroSD card support
GSM Unlocked Motorola Moto G Plus (2019 Edition) Phone
Although three years older, the Moto G Plus is slightly more advanced than the Moto G Play (2021) above. Of course, you’ll also have to pay more, but you’ll get to enjoy cool features like:
- A faster Snapdragon 636 processor
- More internal storage and operating memory
- Contactless payments through NFC technology
- Video recording in full 4K@30fps or 1080p@120fps
- A sturdy aluminum frame and Gorilla Glass both front & back
Upgrade for a Better Q Link Experience
Indeed, you’ll need to get a more decent phone if you’re to get the best out of your free Q Link service. As was mentioned, the “free” phones the provider sends you after joining are very basic brands like ZTE and BLU that have like 16GB storage and 1GB or 2GB RAM.
But again, the lifeline provider has a pretty friendly bring-your-own-phone policy. And in that case, you can get a better phone that has a faster processor, plus more memory for a smoother experience.
Well, Samsung Galaxy S9+ is still my favorite pick from its reasonable pricing yet with plenty of amazing features. Then, the iPhone SE (2020 Edition) leads on the Apple catalog, also from its decent tag and plenty of latest features.