Little Gobii makes a big play - review

2014-06-03 09:26 - Duncan Alfreds
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The Gobii smartphone offers reasonable performance for the price. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)


Cape Town – The story of the Gobii is the story of the little smartphone that could – despite the odds stacked against it.

The Gobii is part of the shift in smartphones which are priced at lower levels and aimed at people who are still on feature phones.

To illustrate the speed of development in the smartphone market, the Gobii’s features would have been considered near top-of-the-line just three years ago.

That said, it still offers a unique proposition for people who are new to smartphones. You get all the features of Google’s Android operating system along with its range of applications for under R1 000.

Under the skin, the Gobii has a 1.3GHz dual core processor and 1GB of RAM which is adequate for instant messenger applications like WhatsApp, but fails at more demanding games like Real Racing 3 and CricketFever.


On the plus side, the lower end processor does help with battery life and the Gobii happily ran for more than two days on a single charge.

Digital cameras are on the way out as people shift to mobile devices as replacement cameras.

The Gobii has a 5 megapixel camera which delivers crisp shots in bright light, but users will have to be patient in low-light conditions as the Gobii’s aperture struggles to cope with unsteady hands.

The Gobii smartphone has dual SIM capability and includes a micro-SD card slot. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

The secondary VGA camera is disappointing as selfies – as self-portraits have become known – gain in popularity among people wishing to log their life experiences.

The Gobii runs Google Android 4.2 and images look bright and clear on the iPhone-sized 10cm display and the device weighs in at only 126g.

The display needs the free cover provided in the box because it is likely to scratch after a few days of use and you also get a spare battery to extend the running time of the smartphone.

The Gobii though does not endear itself to mobile operators because it has dual SIM capability.


This enables you to use one SIM for calls and another for data, as an example. Or you could switch the way you make calls to get the best rate.

The Gobii smartphone is packaged with a protection cover and extra battery. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

You won’t find tons of bloatware on the Gobii – it runs a clean version of Android and includes settings to automatically switch the phone off and on – useful if you’re going to be travelling or electricity supply is unavailable.

The Gobii is available online from for R999 and includes the e-reader app, shopping app and News24. The included Cell C SIM also comes with 200MB of data.

Check out the video review of the Gobii:

- News24 is part of, a subsidiary of Media24 which is in the Naspers stable. Kalahari is a subsidiary of Naspers.

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