These are the Best Cricket Wireless phones to buy in Summer 2021: Samsung, Apple, and more!

These are the Best Cricket Wireless phones to buy in Summer 2021: Samsung, Apple, and more!

Flagships are amazing, but they aren’t always the practical choice for a lot of people. Smartphones are goods with a rapidly depreciating value, so for a lot of people, it just doesn’t make sense to put in thousands of dollars every year or two. Luckily there are carriers like Cricket Wireless which offers phones and cellular plans at a more affordable price.

But just because most of these devices are considered entry-level or mid-tier phones doesn’t mean they are bad phones. Far from it — they’re all very capable smart devices. And of course, if you really want to splurge, Cricket offers the most premium phone Apple has to offer too.

Navigate this guide:

Best Overall: Apple iPhone SE

iPhone SE

The iPhone SE tops our list of the best overall phone on Cricket Wireless purely from a price-to-performance scenario. Essentially an iPhone 8 body with iPhone 11 internals, it’s more than powerful enough for anyone (that Apple A13 Bionic holds up very well even today), and its relatively small size has proven popular for those who dislike the trend of large phones.

If you can get over the bezels, Cricket Wireless right now has a crazy good deal. If you activate a new account with Cricket and sign up for the $60/month plan, you can get a 64GB iPhone SE mostly for free (there will be minor service charges and taxes).

    iPhone SE
    The iPhone SE is Apple's most interesting phone in a while, presenting older-looking bezels but bringing an Apple A13 Bionic SoC on its guts.

Best High-End (iOS): Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

Black iPhone 12 Pro Max

You know how Cricket Wireless has a reputation for being a carrier for only budget phones? Well, throw that notion out the window because it carries the iPhone 12 Pro Max — the most premium flagship phone from the most valuable company in the world. With a huge 6.8-inch screen and 5nm A14 Bionic chip, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is easily the most capable and powerful phone on this list.

There are no offers for switching over to the iPhone 12 Pro Max — or most iPhones for that matter — on Cricket Wireless. You’ll have to fork out the full price, which starts at $1,099 for the 128GB model. You can however enjoy Cricket’s cheaper service plans.

    iPhone 12 Pro Max
    The iPhone 12 Pro Max is currently the most premium phone out of Apple's lineup, bringing an Apple A14 Bionic SoC, a triple rear camera with a LiDAR sensor, and up to 512 GB of storage.

Best High-End (Android): Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

Galaxy S20 FE 5G in various colors

When it launched last year, the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE presented a value proposition we haven’t seen from Samsung in several years — it’s basically almost as good as the original S20 flagship but with a plastic body and weaker haptics, but in return Samsung shaved several hundred off the price. You still get a 120Hz OLED screen, Snapdragon 865 and 5G connectivity.

Well, now the phone is almost a year old, Cricket has managed to slash the price even more. You can get the Galaxy S20 FE now for just $399, down from the original $699 price.

    Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE is Samsung's best value proposition in years with a Snapdragon 865 and a 120Hz display, and now the price is lower than ever, it's the best time to go and get one.

Best Mid-Range: Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

Samsung Galaxy A52 in Awesome Blue

It’s easy to see why we called the Samsung Galaxy A52 the king of budget 5G phones in our review, because you’re getting a lot of good stuff at a relatively low price. Let’s start with the all-screen design, a 90Hz Samsung Super AMOLED panel that offers excellent contrast and punchy colors. Flip the phone around and you have a visually distinctive design that comes in a variety of bold colors. The main camera, a 64MP, f/1.8 shooter, is capable day or night, and the Snapdragon 720G processor is more than powerful enough to handle any task you throw at it.

Even at its retail price of around $420, this phone was a good deal, now that Cricket Wireless is offering it for $299? An easy win in this category.

    Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
    The Samsung Galaxy A52 5G is one of the most affordable 5G phones, and it comes in lively colors with an awesome screen too.

Best Budget: Samsung Galaxy A02s

SamsungA12A02s

The Galaxy A02s, unlike all of the other options in this list, is not really a phone you should be looking up to if you care about specs, camera, or performance. But if you’re looking for just the essentials because you don’t want to pay much, this is a valid option. It’s got a Qualcomm Snapdragon 450, a 6.5-inch IPS LCD display, and a 13MP camera that can capture decent still photos.

The best part of all? When you bring your number to Cricket Wireless and activate a plan, you can grab the 32GB version of the phone for free.

    Samsung Galaxy A02s
    Samsung's Galaxy A02s is a budget phone through and through, but if you only need a device for calls and basic web surfing and apps, then this can do the job.

Best Android Go: Cricket Icon 2

Cricket Icon 2

Looking into maybe getting an Android Go phone? Android Go is the lighter flavor of Android that includes slimmed-down Google apps for sub-$100 smartphones, and the Cricket Icon 2 is actually a decent Android Go phone. It’s powered by a MediaTek Helio A22 SoC that doesn’t particularly scream “fast”, but it’s also one of the most widely used options when it comes to budget devices.

The Cricket Icon 2, just like the Galaxy A01, is free on Cricket as long as you bring your own number and get a plan, making it one of the best Cricket Wireless phones available.

    Cricket Icon 2
    The Cricket Icon 2 is a Cricket-branded smartphone with a MediaTek Helio A22 SoC and very low-end specs, and running Android Go, the slimmed-down flavor of Android 10.

Honorable Mention: Samsung Galaxy A32 5G

Galaxy A32

The Galaxy A32 5G brings 5G to the lower tier of Samsung A-series phones, and you can actually expect to have a fairly good experience with this phone as well. We have a MediaTek Dimensity 720 for its guts, the same system-on-chip that powers phones like the Realme V5 5G, and also comes with up to 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a beefy 5,000 mAh battery. It also comes with Android 11 out-of-the-box based on One UI 3.0, and features a quad rear 48MP camera setup.

While it’s currently available on Cricket Wireless at a slightly higher price point than the Galaxy A51 5G, it still deserves a mention because it’s a purchase you definitely won’t regret, and one of the best Cricket Wireless phones on this list.

    Samsung Galaxy A32 5G
    The Galaxy A32 5G is part of Samsung's 2021 midrange lineup, featuring a MediaTek Dimensity 720, 5G connectivity, up to 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and more.
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Conclusion

Cricket Wireless’s catalog is fairly limited, and if you’re looking for high-end devices, there’s not much to look at other than some great iPhones. Apple’s entire current lineup is available on their website, but we have highlighted the iPhone SE and the iPhone 12 Pro Max because they’re both the cheapest and most premium options respectively in their lineup. I think for Cricket customers, the iPhone SE is a really good option.

As for the Android side, the best you can get is the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE, a phone from last year that actually managed to provide a decent bang-for-the-buck, even when it came out.

About author

Ben Sin
Ben Sin

I'm a senior editor at XDA Developers. I have been a journalist for a decade, the last five years covering the mobile tech scene closely, reviewing just about every phone and attending trade shows and launches. I also run a gadget review channel on YouTube.