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Top 5 Budget Smartphones in South Africa 2019
01 Aug 19

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As much as we all want to get our hands on the latest and greatest smartphones on the market, our bank accounts often have other ideas. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as cheap iPhones, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have nice things. Phil takes us through the top five cheap cell phones to keep you connected for less, while still giving you more. Find the best cheap smartphone with Phonefinder!

Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017)

  • Screen size: 5 inches
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Resolution: 1280x720
  • Storage: 16GB
  • OS: Android 5.1 (Lollipop)
  • Battery: 2400mAh
  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 410

That’s right – there is such as thing as a mid-range Samsung. Samsung’s new S10 may be a tad pricey for most, but the Samsung Galaxy J5, which saw a facelift in 2017, gives plenty of bang for the few bucks in their pockets. This smartphone is a feature-rich device that sets itself apart from a lot of cheap smartphones with its 1280x720 display. The AMOLED screen’s contrast ratio paints with all the colours (well, 98% at least) of the sRGB pallet, which makes for rich and gorgeous images. The Galaxy J5 also boasts a speedy performance thanks to its Smart Manager system as well as its enhanced RAM and ROM. While some may snub the 16GB of onboard storage, but Samsung remedies this by allowing for the J5 to accommodate up to 256GB of additional storage thanks to its micro SD support. This Samsung middle-weight gives a pretty solid performance overall, especially when looking at other smartphones in this price range.

Huawei P8 Lite

  • Screen size: 5 inches
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Resolution: 1280x720
  • Storage: 16GB
  • OS: Android 7.0 (Nougat)
  • Battery: 2200mAh
  • CPU: Kirin 655

It may be called "Lite”, but the Huawei P8 is anything but. To start, the P8 is powered by an octa-core Kirin 655 processor, which supports ultra-fast LTE Cat4 with download speeds of 150Mbs. It also hosts 3GB of RAM, which is par for the course for many smartphones. However, if you’re downgrading to this phone, you may find yourself disappointed by the speed of this mobile phone. That said, if you’re upgrading from an older budget phone, you will be impressed by this CPU’s speed and even find it to be an improvement. If you find this Huawei to be a bit "lite” on storage, you can always make this phone go the extra mile with a microSD card. What should definitely tickle the fancy of music lovers and tech fans alike is the sound system on the Huawei P8. With an enlarged integrated sound chamber, multiple audio frequency enhancement tech and HDR noise reduction, you can experience clearer, sharper, more nuanced sound.

Nokia 6.1

  • Screen size: 5.5 inches
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Resolution: 1920x1080
  • Storage: 32GB
  • OS: Android 8.1 (Oreo)
  • Battery: 3000mAh
  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 630

In true Nokia fashion, you can count on this durable, little gem (fitted with damage-resistant Corning® Gorilla® Glass) to take life’s knocks with you, while offering top-shelf performance and the freshest Android updates every time thanks to being made part of Google’s Android One family. The Nokia 6.1 serves up fast, smooth performance with a fast-charging, one-day battery. What’s more, you get 32GB of onboard storage, which is already a step-up from most budget phones, but you can boost this phone’s storage capacity by up to 256GB with a microSD card. The camera is often a point against many budget smartphones, but this is not the case with the Nokia 6.1. Equipped with a Carl Zeiss lens and Android’s trusty camera app, you can snap many a bright and shareable shot to get your Instagram feed the attention it deserves. This Nokia is a great budget pick, if you’re looking for a cheap smartphone that still gives you plenty of bells and whistles.

Sony Xperia 10

  • Screen size: 6 inches
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Resolution: 2520x1080
  • Storage: 64GB
  • OS: Android 9.0 (Pie)
  • Battery: 2870mAh
  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 630

These days, smartphones are not just about being bigger, but also longer. Many new smartphones make use of 18:9 aspect ratio screens. Not to be outdone, Sony swooped in with their Xperia 10 range, which stretches their screens to a full 21:9 aspect ratio, which makes it the best dimensions for watching video or viewing photographs. However, although this design feature doesn’t affect the usability in any way, it can make some applications look really cramped. So, if you’re the type to enjoy gaming on your smartphone, you’re better off checking out our list of recommended gaming phones. Otherwise, the Sony Xperia 10 packs a punch with the Android Pie operating system and Snapdragon 630 chipset, which allows you to launch and switch between apps in record time.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 7

  • Screen size: 6.3 inches
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Resolution: 2340x1080
  • Storage: 64GB
  • OS: Android 9.0 (Pie)
  • Battery: 4000mAh
  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 660

Between its amazing battery life and strong performance, this is a cheap smartphone that doesn’t perform like one. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 certainly leaves an impression with its 48MP main camera, but that’s not all. Powering this budget beast is the Snapdragon 660, an octa-core chipset which offers improved heat management, performance, and power-efficiency compared to older chips. The Redmi Note 7 runs on a customised version of Android 9 Pie and includes Xaomi’s own take on some of Google’s most popular apps. This is a decent mid-range phone with a price tag that fits snuggly into your budget, while still piling on all the features you want in a great mobile phone.

Final word from Phil

When it comes to considering the latest smartphones to hit the market, the spirit may be willing, but the bank balance is weak. But that doesn’t mean we have to settle for bulky, not-smart-at-all phones. As you can see, there’s plenty on offer for the discerning smartphone shopper. Besides, a smartphone can always be made smarter with entertaining apps and value added services.

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