Your guide to the new low-cost smartphone models
Leading Kenyan telecoms operator Safaricom sells the entry-level Neon at a retail price of KSh4,999 ($49). The handset, which is a rebrand of the Vodafone Smart Kicka, runs on Android version 4.4 and sports a 3.5-inch screen and 2GB of internal memory. Customers also get 20MB of data and 20 SMSs daily for 30 days. The telecoms giant has also launched smartphones such as the Huawei Ideos and the Huawei 4Africa in partnership with the Chinese manufacturer.
Consumers can download YouTube videos and play them back without an internet connection for up to 48 hours
Alcatel OneTouch Fire E
At the launch in April, MTN South Africa became the first telecoms operator to launch a Firefox-based phone in Africa. The Mozilla-powered smartphone comes packed with 4GB of expandable memory, a dual-core 1.2Ghz processor, 512MB of RAM and a 4.5-inch 960 × 540 display. The device is available in Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans and English and can be purchased for prepaid service for R1,699 ($125) and on contract for R89 per month.
Vodacom Smart Speed 6
Fresh on the market in September was the Smart Speed 6, a 4G-capable device designed by Vodacom and manufactured by China’s ZTE. Considered one of the cheapest 4G smartphones available in South Africa, the 4.5-inch device hit stores in September at a retail price of R1,199 ($95). The Android-powered handset has a 1GHz quad-core processor, 8GB of built-in memory, a 5MP camera and 480 x 854 pixels resolution. The device is one of four new products – three low-cost smartphones and a tablet – that were unveiled by the operator in September.
Alcatel Orange Klif
In May, Orange and Mozilla launched the 3G, Firefox-OS-based smartphone at the Mobile World Congress in Spain. The Alcatel-manufactured handset retailed at $40 in Senegal and Madagascar, where it first went on sale. Operators offered a package including voice, text and data for six months. The affordable price goes hand-in-hand with its low-quality specifications: a 1GHz dual-core processor, 512MB of internal memory and 320 x 480 pixels resolution.
The Infinix Hot 2
This version of Google’s Android One phone – built in partnership with Hong Kong-based hardware manufacturer Infinix – made its African debut in Nigeria in August. It has since launched in Ghana, Kenya, Egypt, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt and Morocco. Branded as the Infinix Hot 2, the smartphone is made specifically for the African market and runs Android version 5.1, which provides better performance, multiple SIM-card support, high-definition voice calling and a device protection system for lost or stolen phones. According to Google, the handset boasts a 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek processor, dual SIM slots, front- and rear-facing cameras, an FM radio tuner and 16GB of internal memory. In terms of battery capacity, it holds 2,200 mAh, higher than the 2,000 mAh battery capacity of an average smartphone. Customers can also enjoy a brilliant view with its five-inch 720 x 1,280 pixel resolution.
Users can opt for the standard version – which has 1GB of RAM and is available in black, white, blue and red – or the gold-coloured 2GB premium, both sold via Nigerian online retailer Jumia at recommended retail prices of N17,500 ($88) and N19,500, respectively. In Kenya, the standard one can be purchased for KSh8,999 ($87). Another highlight of this 3G-enabled smartphone is the new offline feature for the YouTube app. Consumers can download YouTube videos and play them back without an internet connection for up to 48 hours.