Pure Talk is one of the MVNOs to consider if you’d like to cut down your monthly phone bill. It has the basic (2GB) plan from as low as $16 or $52 for the unlimited plan with 60GB of high-speed data. All the plans also include access to both LTE and 5G networks. But then, what phones are compatible with Pure Talk if I’d want to bring my own to the prepaid service?
Well, in our recent Pure Talk vs Consumer Cellular talk, we concluded the former has one of the friendliest policies on devices. But we didn’t get to that point on device compatibility, which is what we’ll be looking at in our review today.
What Are the Best Phones Compatible with Pure Talk
Like anything else, the best phones compatible with Pure Talk vary from one person to another. For instance, you may be looking for a budget-friendly phone, but your friend needs an affordable device with a 5G modem.
In any case, some of the basic phones and smartphones you can use with Pure Talk include:
- Best Overall: Unlocked Motorola One Ace 5G smartphone
- Best of Deals: Fully Unlocked Apple iPhone 12 Mini 64GB Phone
- Best of Value: Factory Unlocked Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
- Best of 5G Budget: Factory Unlocked Samsung Galaxy A13 5G
- Best Under $100: AT&T Locked LG Phoenix 4 LTE Mobile Phone
Six Things to Know Before You Bring A Phone to Pure Talk
Apart from having budget-friendly phone plans, Pure Talk does allow you to bring your own phone to the network. You just need to make sure it’s compatible with the network, as it won’t work if it’s not.
Other things you might want to know about Pure Talk before bringing your phone include:
- It’s an MVNO
Indeed, Pure Talk is a mobile virtual network operator (or MVNO in short). And this means it doesn’t have a network infrastructure of its own.
- Runs on AT&T Network
Pure Talk has made a deal with AT&T to run on its network infrastructure. So, the phone you want to bring to Pure Talk must support at least one of the main LTE and 5G bands of AT&T. The bands compatible with the GSM network include bands 2, 4, 5, 12*, 17*, 29, 30, and 66 for LTE. Then, bands N5, N77, and N260 for the 5G connectivity.
- Have eSIM Support
Similar to MVNOs like US Mobile and Mint Mobile, Pure Talk does have eSIM support. If you have an iPhone or Android phone with the feature, you can enjoy instant activation without having to wait for the physical SIM card.
Also, the eSIM support makes it possible to activate a single-line phone with multiple lines. So, you also won’t need to be carrying two phones even if the multiple lines are from different carriers.
- Offers Deprioritized Data
Sadly, Pure Talk usually offers deprioritized data (drops in speed during congestion). So, I’d recommend having a 5G phone since you’ll still have a usable service even when the AT&T network is busy.
- Supports WiFi Calling
Pure Talk is one of the prepaid carriers you can enjoy WiFi calling while outside the network coverage area. So, I’d also recommend having a device that supports the function as it’ll be easy to keep in touch with family while away.
- International “Blacklist”
Sadly, AT&T has created a whitelist of the phones that will work with its network or through its MVNOs. And on that whitelist, you’ll notice most of the featured models are the US versions. Many of the “international version” phones will not clear the IMEI checkers.
- Doesn’t Lock Phones
Yes, indeed, Pure Talk is one of the few carriers that sell fully unlocked phones. So, you can leave them anytime with your device since the service also doesn’t tie you to any contract like the old postpaid services.
What Phones are Compatible with Pure Talk?
As was mentioned earlier, Pure Talk is pretty friendly when you decide to bring your device to its service. However, the device you plan on bringing must be compatible with the carrier, and not only on the bands but also with software.
In the software part, many carriers usually lock phones from their catalog with a unique code. The code leaves the device incompatible with other networks (apart from major carriers) until it’s unlocked.
In that case, we can conclude the three types of phones compatible with Pure Talk service are:
- Carrier-unlocked phones: these are the phones that were previously locked to other carriers but are now unlocked. For instance, you can use a Pure Talk SIM card with the unlocked phones compatible with Simple Mobile. But the devices must have the Pure Talk/ AT&T bands mentioned earlier.
- Factory-unlocked cell phones: these are devices that have no network restriction and come from the manufacturer when already fully unlocked.
- AT&T branded phones: devices locked to a major carrier are usually compatible with its MVNOs. So, AT&T phones can work with Pure Talk SIM cards without any issue.
As was mentioned earlier, Pure Talk usually sells devices that are already unlocked. Hence, the reason we didn’t have the option for “Pure Talk branded” phones.
Comparing the Specs and Features of the Various Phones Compatible with Pure Talk
|Cell Phone Brand||Cellular Technology||eSIM Support||Max. Video Recording||Built-in ROM/ RAM|
|Unlocked Motorola One Ace 5G smartphone||4G LTE & 5G||NO||4K@30fps||128GB, 6GB|
|Fully Unlocked Apple iPhone 12 Mini 64GB Phone||4G LTE & 5G||YES||4K@60fps||128GB, 4GB|
|Factory Unlocked Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra||4G LTE & 5G||YES||8K@24fps||128GB, 12GB|
|Unlocked Motorola Moto G Play (2021 Edition) Phone||4G LTE Only||NO||1080p@60fps||128GB, 4GB|
|AT&T Locked LG Phoenix 4 LTE Mobile Phone||4G LTE Only||NO||1080p@30fps||16GB, 2GB|
|Factory Unlocked Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G||4G LTE & 5G||NO||4K@60fps||128GB, 6GB|
|Factory Unlocked Samsung Galaxy A13 5G Android||4G LTE & 5G||NO||1080p@30fps||64GB, 3GB|
|Cricket Unlocked Alcatel QuickFlip LTE Flip Phone||4G LTE Only||NO||N/A||4GB, 0.5GB|
|Factory Unlocked Samsung Galaxy S22+ Smartphone||4G LTE & 5G||YES||8K@24fps||256GB, 12GB|
|Unlocked Apple iPhone XR 64GB Memory Cell Phone||4G LTE Only||YES||4K@60fps||64GB, 3GB|
|Unlocked Samsung Galaxy Note 9 512GB Android||4G LTE Only||NO||4K@60fps||512GB, 8GB|
|AT&T Locked Apple iPhone 12 5G-Capable SmartPhone||4G LTE & 5G||YES||4K@60fps||64GB, 4GB|
Best Overall: Unlocked Motorola One Ace (2021) 5G smartphone
Indeed, the Motorola One Ace here is the overall best phone compatible with Pure Talk from its perfect balance of pricing and features. The said features include:
- It comes fully unlocked
- Supports LTE & 5G networks
- Has 128GB of internal storage
- Captures crisp images & videos
- Has NFC chip for contactless payments
- Includes a fingerprint reader for quick access
- It has a powerful Snapdragon 750G processor
Best of Deals: Fully Unlocked Apple iPhone 12 Mini 64GB Phone
At four hundred bucks, the iPhone 12 Mini is definitely the best smartphone deal on the list. Some of the best features of the device include:
- It comes fully unlocked
- Supports LTE & 5G networks
- Has a fast A14 Bionic processor
- Supports digital eSIM activations
- Includes a built-in NFC chip
- Supports quick wireless charging
- It also has a sturdy, IP68 rated build
Best of Value: Factory Unlocked Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
If you won’t mind parting with a grand, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is no doubt worth every penny. It has a hyperfast Snapdragon 865 5G+ processor and other amazing features like:
- An extra-wide 6.9” display
- Up to 120Hz refresh rate
- Built-in LTE & 5G modems
- A sturdy IP68 rated design
- Built-in Digital eSIM support
- Fast & reverse wireless charging
- Video recording in up to 8K quality
- Can easily link to Windows apps on a PC
- It also supports contactless NFC payments
Best of Budget: Unlocked Motorola Moto G Play (2021 Edition) Phone
The Moto G Play (2021) is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a decent but budget-friendly phone compatible with Pure Talk. Some of its best features include:
- A Snapdragon 460 processor
- A wide, 6.5” cinematic display
- An excellent 13MP dual camera
- Dual-band WiFi compatibility
- Up to 512GB of MicroSD support
- A rear-mounted fingerprint reader
Best Under $100: AT&T Locked LG Phoenix 4 LTE Mobile Phone
If you don’t have the $150 for the Motorola device above, you can check out the LG Phoenix 4 here. Of course, it’s an AT&T branded phone, but you can use it with the carrier’s MVNOs like Pure Talk. Some of the key perks of the device include:
- It has an HD 5” display
- Supports 4G LTE network
- Includes FM radio & music player
- Runs on Snapdragon 425 processor
- Records videos in up to 1080p HD
- It also supports up to 128GB of MicroSD
Best of Photography: Factory Unlocked Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G
Indeed, the Samsung S20 Fe is an excellent choice if you need a Pure Talk compatible phone that you can use for personal photography. It has amazing features like:
- A 12MP triple camera system
- Up to 3x optical zoom lens
- Video recording in up to 4K@60fps
- A wide 120Hz, HDR10+ display
- A hyperfast Snapdragon 865 processor
- 128GB internal storage & 1TB MicroSD
- It also supports fast & reverse wireless charging
Best of 5G: Factory Unlocked Samsung Galaxy A13 5G Android
Well, the S20 FE and several of the other options above support both LTE and 5G networks. However, the Galaxy A13 5G is the cheapest of all, which is an excellent upgrade option if on a tight budget. Other features of the phone include:
- It’s fully unlocked
- Has a wider 6.5” HD+ display
- Captures vivid pictures & videos
- Supports NFC contactless payments
- Includes side-mounted fingerprint sensor
- You can insert up to 1TB MicroSD card
Best of Seniors: Cricket Unlocked Alcatel QuickFlip LTE Flip Phone
The Alcatel QuickFlip here’s one of the carrier-unlocked phones you can comfortably use with a Pure Talk SIM card. It’s also a perfect choice if looking for a good phone for seniors, as it has features like:
- It looks sleek and well-made
- Supports 4G LTE & HD voice
- Has big buttons and bold numbers
- Assumes a compact, easy to carry design
- Has colored interior & exterior displays
- Can work with up to M4/ T4 hearing aids
- You can expand storage with a MicroSD card
Commonly Asked Questions:
What carrier is pure talk?
AT&T is the carrier network of Pure Talk. So, the phone you bring to the MVNO must have at least main Band 12 or 17. Also, this means AT&T branded phones should be compatible with Pure Talk without issues.
Can I use a Verizon phone on PureTalk?
No, you can’t use a locked Verizon phone on Pure Talk service as the two don’t have any network deals. If you need it to work, you must first unlock the Verizon phone, then confirm it has the main band 12 or 17.
What is the downside of Pure Talk?
While it’s a great network operator, Pure Talk still has a few drawbacks to watch out for, such as:
- Pure Talk throttles data of all plans
- You can’t roam while overseas
- You’ll also get deprioritized data
- Pure Talk doesn’t have free calling to Canada & Mexico
Consider Factory Unlocked Phones
Many latest phones are compatible with Pure Talk as they now have an LTE modem, which has dual-band support. But I’ll recommend confirming your desired phone has the main AT&T bands, which our MVNO also uses to operate.
Also, a factory unlocked phone is a better choice if you’re buying a brand new one. Of course, you can also use a carrier-unlocked device, but in some cases, the previous operator doesn’t unlock all the functions. So, you might end up having a phone that can call and browse but doesn’t send texts.