Johannesburg - South Africans love smartphones. In fact, it’s estimated that 18.5-million of us own one. And as the cost of both devices and data continue to fall, demand will keep growing.
It’s pretty likely therefore that plenty of South Africans will be out to buy a smartphone this festive season, either as a gift, or for themselves.
But if you’re one of those people, what should you be looking out for? Which are the stand-out budget, mid-range, and premium devices currently on the market? And what makes them so special?
Xiaomi Redmi 4A
Coming in at under R2 000, the Xiaomi Redmi 4A offers plenty of bang for your buck. Packing a Snapdragon 425 processor, it’s unlikely to handle serious mobile games, but is good for pretty much everything else. The phone also features 2GB of RAM, a 5-inch 720p display, 3120mAh battery and 32GB of expandable storage.
Devices like the Redmi 4A have put Xiaomi on a serious growth curve in recent years, so you can rest assured in the knowledge that this a great device for anyone who just wants a smartphone that does the basics right.
Yup, Nokia’s back. Sort of. The Nokia devices on the market today are actually built under license by Finnish company HMD. Don’t worry though, they still come with the distinctive Nokia design aesthetic we all love. These days, they also run Android, meaning it’s much easier to get your hands on the apps you need.
This year a range of new Nokias entered the market, including the Nokia 3. Also coming in at around R2 000, it’s very much on the budget side of the market, although you wouldn’t guess so from the looks. The Nokia 3 features a 5-inch 720p screen, a 2630mAh battery, an 8MP camera on the front and back and 16GB of expandable storage.
Huawei P8 Lite 2017
It’s rare for a device manufacturer to update an existing model from one year to the next, but Huawei’s P8 Lite 2017 shows that it can work when done correctly.
The P8 Lite was already a decent device and did pretty well on the South African market. This year’s updates include a fingerprint reader on the back, a bigger battery, and an improved front camera. With 3GB of RAM and 16GB of internal memory (expandable up to 256GB), this really is a great device for around R3 000.
LG has often produced much better phones than its sales suggest. In part, that’s because the Korean company has always had to play second fiddle to Samsung.
As the Q6 shows, however, that’s no reflection on quality. Retailing for around R5 000, the Q6 features a 5.5-inch 1080p screen, a 13MP rear camera, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal memory, and a 3000mAh battery.
Perhaps the only really strange aspect of the Q6 comes from LG’s decision to eschew a fingerprint scanner in favour of facial recognition. It might be faster, but it does come with safety concerns.
Samsung Galaxy S8
After a tough 2016, Samsung’s fought hard to come back strong in 2017, as evidenced by the launch of the S8.
Taking everything that was good about the S7 and making it better, the S8 more or less eliminated the borders between the screen and the rest of the device.
As well as looking and feeling expensive, the S8 comes with some great specs and its proprietary assistant Bixby. Retailing for around R10 000, it’s not the most expensive premium device you can buy either.
We couldn’t have compiled this list without including the iPhone X. Its launch earlier this year was probably the single biggest tech story of 2017, with speculation about what it might look like starting months earlier.
While the X includes some of the best features seen on an iPhone to date, perhaps one of the most notable things about it is the price. If you choose to go for Apple’s premium phone, it’ll set you back more than R20 000.
Amangile is currently senior content editor (onsite product and search content) at PriceCheck and a resident product specialist.
* Sign up to Fin24's top news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO FIN24 NEWSLETTER