A quick note: most of these phones, in South Africa at least, are rare to find on contract. These are the recommended prices for the phones and as such (especially if the phones are sold brand new), some of the phones may cost over R2000. But that’s why we wrote this guide. Fight for your rights, search the Gumtrees of this world and use our guide as a baseline for pricing.
We all love our smartphones. Packed with features, our special little devices connect you to every aspect of our digital life, from making calls and sending texts (infrequently) to social networking on Twitter and Facebook, and connecting to the internet. But let’s face it, they can be pricey.
There are alternatives if you’re not looking to go with the most popular and expensive models. If you’re like some of my friends and family members who are constantly losing phones, then you might want to go with an option that affords you the essential features of a smartphone, but without the exorbitant cost.
It’s also a good alternative for parents not wanting to spend a huge amount of money on their child’s smartphone, but are still looking to give them a fair amount of connectivity and useful features. So in order to help you make that decision, we’ve rounded up a list of worthwhile smartphones for under R2 000 (US$200).
The camera is only a 2MP but it still gives you all the Blackberry functionality of cheap internet and BBM, which is a fair compromise if you’re just looking to stay connected as opposed to become an Instagramer. Best of all, it comes in at R1 000 (US$100).
With similar features, but a slightly cheaper price tag, the Lumia 620’s little brother is the 610, and although Nokia’s ClearBlack technology doesn’t make an appearance here, it’s still a reasonably priced, decent smartphone which clocks in at around R1 100 (US$109). It has a slightly smaller screen at 3.7″, but the rubber-style finish of the battery cover makes the phone easy to hold, although at 12mm you will find it thicker than many other new smartphones.
Keeping with Sony, the Xperia U also offers pretty good value for money for those looking for another Xperia option. It runs Android Gingerbread and sports a smaller 3.5″ screen, but it does come with a 5MP camera, as well as 8GB storage. It’s thinner than phones like the Blackberry curve, and although not as speedy as some later Xperia models, you’ll still be able to do all the necessary social networking via the Xperia U. It costs R2 000 (US$199).
If you’re not interested in being ahead of the pack, and more concerned with decent functionality for a reasonable price, then you’d be hard pressed to find greater value than the smartphones on this list.