Did you know the modern smartphone’s forerunner was already introduced to consumers in 1994? The IBM Simon Personal Computer was equipped with a touchscreen and capable of sending and receiving emails and faxes, but failed to become a commercial success, mostly due to its bulky build and limited battery life.
Almost three decades later, smartphones have truly taken over the planet, with Statista reporting close to 15 billion in use in the world today. In our modern era, smartphones have also become significantly cheaper and far more accessible to Joe Public.
’Tis the season to be jolly, and if you’re looking for mobile stocking fillers that won’t break the bank, consider spoiling yourself or those near you with a brand new device at a fraction of the price.
Here are some of the best budget smartphones currently available in SA.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 9
Consistently ranked one of the best budget devices on the market, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 boasts a 6.53-inch display – one of the biggest among budget smartphone models – and runs on a MediaTek Helio G85 chipset. The device has a multi-camera set-up (a 48MP camera, 8MP ultra-wide lens, 2MP macro lens and 13MP selfie camera) that will delight photography lovers. What really distinguishes the Redmi Note 9 is its 5020mAh battery, which promises a few days of lighter use, or at least a full day when used constantly.
The African-made smartphone brand’s X1 packs a punch for its price, offering a triple rear camera set-up featuring a 16MP (main camera), 8MP (wide-angle) and 2MP (depth blur) cameras, while integrated AI helps you to put your shots in the very best light when editing them. The phone’s NFC system helps you to do everything from making mobile payments to transferring files and saving electronic boarding passes. 16GB of onboard storage and 1GB of RAM round out this proudly African device.
Samsung Galaxy A11
The South Korean brand has become the first choice for many mobile users, and the Galaxy A11 doesn’t disappoint. The phone’s 6.4-inch HD Plus display is bright and brilliant, and the device comes with storage options of either 32GB or 64GB, along with 2GB or 3GB of RAM. The Galaxy A11 sports a 4000mAh battery, ensuring long usage. If you’re a music lover, you’ll be thrilled to know that this device has a headphone jack, unlike many of its flagship counterparts.
Huawei’s mid-range brand Honor brings cheaper smartphones to the masses, while still offering the same tech that is used in the parent company’s devices. The Honor 8S has a 5.71-inch LCD display, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. A 3020mAh battery powers the device, while you can capture special moments with the 13MP rear camera or 5MP selfie camera. The phone’s beauty mode will help you to touch up portrait shots.
Xiaomi Redmi 9A
This budget device from the world’s third-largest cellphone brand reinforces just why Xiaomi has become so popular among consumers. Its 6.5-inch HD display also offers a night reading mode to reduce eyestrain. The Redmi 9A features a MediaTek Helio G25 octa-core processor, 2Gb of RAM and 32GB of storage – this can be expanded by purchasing a microSD card. A 5000mAh battery will give you ages of usage, while photography buffs can make use of the 13MP rear camera, or snap a selfie with the 5MP front camera.