Best Low Cost Smartphones in South Africa

Today’s article is for South African users that do not have much to spend on a smartphone. There are many kinds to choose from and the best of all, they all are below R2000 cash. No contracts at all.

Yes, specs wise may be lower compared to other popular smartphones. However, the specs are enough to satisfy specific tasks for different users. Besides that, some smartphones we are going to look at have an elegant and luxurious design.

So what are we waiting for? Let get the show on the road!

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Mobile Phones under R299


As the sub-heading says, the following mobile phones are below R299 cash price:

  • MTN Smart T
  • Nokia 105

As you can tell they are more mobile phones than smartphones, but a phone none than the less. Now let us look at their specs for each one.

 

MTN Smart T:

 

The main feature that stand out for the MTN Smart T is the following:

  • Smartphone Capabilities – Even though the MTN Smart T looks like a basic old mobile phone, it has the capabilities to whatsapp, Bluetooth and other basic functions a smartphone has.

The Cons for the MTN Smart T is the following:

  • RAM – The MTN Smart T is very slow and tends to freeze which is annoying for many users.
  • Camera – The MTN Smart T does not take very good photos or videos. Thus, you can expect a lot of bad quality photos and videos.
  • Storage – There is too little storage space on the MTN Smart T.

 

 

Overall: The MTN Smart T is a good mobile phone to the basic functions like making calls and sending messages. Rest the MTN Smart T is not useful to store a lot of things on it or taking excellent photos and videos. Plus the MTN Smart T tends to freeze due to its low RAM memory capabilities.

 

Nokia 105:

 

 

Overall: The Nokia 105 is basically a mobile phone. It has no smartphone capabilities and is just used for making calls or sending SMS’s. Nothing else. Great for a user that does not want smartphone capabilities and like to be off the internet grid.

 

Smartphones under R999


The following smartphones are all below R999 cash price:

  • Itel AC13
  • ZTE Blade A3
  • Hisense U963
  • Mara S
  • Mobicel R9 Lite
  • Itel AC60

All of these are smartphones and some of them have quite impressive specs compare to price they are being sold at. Now let us see the specs of each one.

 

Itel AC13:

The main features that stand out for the Itel AC13 is the following:

  • Size – The Itel AC13 is small size smartphone. The Itel AC13 will satisfy users that prefer very small smartphones to make use of.
  • Weight – Itel AC13 is not only small, but also very light to carry and use. The Itel AC13 will attract users that prefer smartphones that are very light to carry and use.
  • Storage – The storage of the Itel AC13 is quite good in terms price the smartphone is being sold at. Most smartphones at this price point have half of this storage memory.

The cons for the Itel AC13 is the following:

  • Camera – Both the front and rear camera specs of the Itel AC13 are very low. The Itel AC13 will not take excellent photos and videos with these low camera specs.
  • RAM – The Itel AC13 have very low RAM memory on board. This will result applications to function very slowly and may cause the Itel AC13 to freeze now and then.
  • Battery Capacity – The battery capacity for the Itel AC13 is very low as well. This means the Itel AC13 will have the need to recharge its battery a lot and frequently as compared to other smartphones.

Overall: The Itel AC13 is a nice small lightweight smartphone with enough storage memory on board. However, it does not tend to handle data and applications very slowly and may even freeze. Then it also does not take good photos or videos with its cameras and it battery life does not last long. Thus, if you just want a small lightweight smartphone and you are not concerned about its cons, then the Itel AC13 is the smartphone for you.

 

ZTE Blade A3:

The main features that stand out for the ZTE Blade A3 is the following:

  • Size – The size of the ZTE Blade A3 is not too small or too big. Just the right average smartphone size.
  • Camera – The camera specs are good to take regular average photos and videos with both the front and rear camera of the ZTE Blade A3.
  • Weight – The ZTE Blade A3 is very light for an average smartphone size. Will attract users that love to have a light smartphone to carry and make use of.
  • RAM – The RAM memory is on average speed good. Is not the fastest, but it manages data and applications smoothly without causing the ZTE Blade A3 to freeze out of the blue.
  • Storage – The ZTE Blade A3 has average amount of storage memory on board. Good enough for the price the ZTE Blade A3 is being sold at.

The cons for the ZTE Blade A3 is the following:

  • Battery Capacity – The ZTE Blade A3’s battery has a very low capacity. Meaning the ZTE Blade A3 will require a big need to recharge its battery regularly.

Overall: The ZTE Blade A3 is a good average smartphone to make use of. The only problem the ZTE Blade A3 has, is its low battery capacity. Rest a good smartphone for the price it is being sold at.

 

Hisense U963:

The main features that stand out for the Hisense U963 is the following:

  • Size – The size of the Hisense U963 is the average size for any smartphone. It will satisfy most users.
  • Weight – The Hisense U963 is light smartphone to carry and make use of.
  • Rear Camera – The rear camera of the Hisense U963 is good enough to take average photos and videos.
  • RAM – The RAM memory of the Hisense U963 is good enough to run data and applications smoothly. Not the best, but good enough.

The cons of the Hisense U963 is the following:

  • Storage – The storage on board of the Hisense U963 is quite low. Users will experience they run out of space a lot and cannot store a lot of data or applications on the Hisense U963.
  • Front Camera – The front camera specs of the Hisense U963 not so good as its rear camera. Thus, selfie lovers will not like the quality the Hisense U963 offers with its front camera.
  • Battery Capacity – The battery capacity of the Hisense U963 is very low. This means users will experience the need to recharge for the Hisense U963 is quite high.

 

 

Overall: The Hisense U963 is good small lightweight smartphone that takes good photos or videos through it rear camera. However, the Hisense U963 does not have enough memory storage on board to store a lot of data or big enough battery capacity to reduce the need to recharge the Hisense U963. Plus if you are selfie lover, the Hisense U963 is not the smartphone for you.

 

Mara S:

The main features that stand out for the Mara S is the following:

  • Size – The Mara S is quite a small size smartphone. The Mara S would satisfy users that prefer using small size smartphones.
  • Rear Camera – The rear camera specs of the Mara S is good enough to take average photos and videos. Not best, good enough to use.
  • Battery removable – The battery of the Mara S is removable. Making it easier to replace.

The cons of the Mara S is the following:

  • Weight – The Mara S is quite a heavy smartphone to use.
  • Front Camera – If you are a selfie lover, the Mara S will disappoint you with its quality photos and videos it takes.
  • Storage – The Mara S cannot store a lot of data on its on board memory due to low storage memory size.
  • Battery Capacity – The battery capacity of the Mara S is very low. Meaning the Mara S’ battery will require a lot more frequent power recharge.

 

 

Overall: Even though the Mara S is a South African smartphone brand, there are more cons than positive for the Mara S. The Mara S will only satisfy users that are proud South African brand users or is happy of the small size smartphone design.

 

Mobicel R9 Lite:

The main features that stand out for the Mobicel R9 Lite is the following:

  • Size – The Mobicel R9 Lite is nice medium size smartphone.
  • Weight – The weight of the Mobicel R9 Lite is quite low. Meaning the Mobicel R9 Lite is easy to carry and use.
  • Camera – Both the front and rear camera specs of the Mobicel R9 Lite are excellent for the price you pay for the Mobicel R9 Lite. Definitely a smartphone to consider that takes good pictures and videos at a low smartphone budget.
  • RAM – The Mobicel R9 Lite has a very good processing speed.
  • Storage – The storage memory size on board of the Mobicel R9 Lite is good for the price it is being sold at.
  • Battery Capacity – The Mobicel R9 Lite has a good battery power storage capacity. The Mobicel R9 Lite requires less need to recharge compare to other smartphones that are sold in the same price range.

The cons for the Mobicel R9 Lite is the following:

  • Freezes – There has been reports that there were some Mobicel R9 Lite that tend to freeze a lot.
  • Display screen not responding – Some Mobicel R9 Lite displays tend not to respond to users touch to the touch screen. Quite annoying.

 

 

Overall: The Mobicel R9 Lite has very good specs for the price it is being sold at. MTN sells them at R799 currently The one concern is that the user may purchase a faulty Mobicel R9 Lite that may be annoying or time-wasting for them.

 

Itel AC60:

The main features that stand out for the Itel AC60 is the following:

  • Size – The Itel AC60 is a very big size smartphone. The Itel AC60 will satisfy users that love to use big screen smartphones.
  • Weight – Even though the Itel AC60 is a very big size smartphone, it is quite a lightweight smartphone to carry and use.
  • Battery Capacity – The Itel AC60 has a very big battery power capacity. The Itel AC60 battery will require less the need to frequent recharge.

The cons for the Itel AC60 is the following:

  • RAM & Storage – The RAM & storage memory size of the Itel AC60 is not bad, but the way the Itel AC60 is created a user would expect at least 2GB RAM memory and 32GB storage memory on board.

 

 

Overall: The Itel AC60 is a beautiful big smartphone that is very light to carry and has long battery life. The cons is not such an upset, especially when the Itel AC60 goes for R999 at MTN direct store. I would recommend all users to go see the Itel AC60 in person to experience this beautiful big smartphone.

 

Smartphones under R1999


The following smartphones are all below R1999 cash price:

  • Hisense U40
  • Nokia C1 2nd Edition
  • Nokia C10
  • Samsung A3 Core
  • Vivo Y1s
  • Samsung A02

We will now view each smartphones’ specs next.

 

Hisense U40:
The main features that stand out for the Hisense U40 is the following:

  • Size – The Hisense U40 is quite a big screen display smartphone. Definitely a smartphone for users that love big screen smartphones.
  • Stylish – The Hisense U40 has quite a stylish color design.

The cons for the Hisense U40 is the following:

  • Weight – The Hisense U40 is quite a heavy smartphone to carry and use.
  • Battery Capacity – The battery capacity of the Hisense U40 is quite a bit low. Will tend require to recharge the Hisense U40’s battery frequently.

Overall: The Hisense U40 is a big stylish smartphone. However, the Hisense U40 is quite heavy to use and tends require more frequent battery power recharge. Rest even though all other specs are good, a person would expect more spec improvement or something else will stand out for the Hisense U40.

 

Nokia C1 2nd Edition:

The main features that stand out for the Nokia C1 2nd Edition is the following:

  • Size – The Nokia C1 2nd Edition has an average size smartphone design. Not too big or too small.
  • Weight – The Nokia 1 C1 2nd Edition is quite light. Easy to carry and to hold.
  • Battery Removable – The Nokia C1 2nd Edition has a removable battery. Some users love this feature, especially when they need to replace the Nokia C1’s battery. It is no hard process.

The cons for the Nokia C1 2nd Edition is the following:

  • Camera – The layout of the Nokia C1 2nd edition is too basic. Not to mention, the specs of the camera specs has no improvements compare to the smartphones that are priced below R999.
  • RAM & Storage memory – The RAM and storage memory capacity of the Nokia C1 is good, but a user would expect a little more RAM and storage memory capacity like example 2GB RAM and 32GB storage memory on board.
  • Battery Capacity – The battery capacity of the Nokia C1 2nd edition has quite a low battery power capacity.

 

 

Overall: The Nokia C1 2nd Edition is a good average size lightweight smartphone with a removable battery. The other specs are similar to smartphones that are cheaper than the Nokia C1 2nd edition in cash price. Thus, users might rather go for the cheaper cash price option.

 

Nokia C10:

The main features that stand out for the Nokia C10 is the following:

  • Stylish – The Nokia C10 is quite a stylish and elegant smartphone to have and use.
  • Size – The Nokia C10 is one of the biggest smartphones in this price category.
  • Storage – There is two storage memory options for the Nokia C10 where one option has a lot of memory storage capacity.
  • Battery Capacity – The Nokia C10 has a very good battery power capacity. Plus not only that, its battery is also removable.

The cons for the Nokia C10 is the following:

  • Weight – The Nokia C10 is quite a heavy smartphone to carry and use.
  • Camera – The camera specs of the Nokia C10 is good, but does not stand out when comparing it to smartphones that has the same specs part are sold at cheaper prices.
  • RAM – The RAM memory option of Nokia C10 is okay, but could at least have some improvement or option like the storage memory on board.

 

 

Overall: The Nokia C10 is a beautiful stylish and big smartphone to have. It also has enough storage memory and battery power capacity on board. However, the Nokia C10 is quite a heavy smartphone. Even though its camera and RAM specs is the same compare to cheaper cash price smartphones, the Nokia C10 is very beautiful and definitely a smartphone to consider at a low cash price of R1399.

 

Samsung A3 Core:

The main features for the Samsung A3 Core is the following:

  • Size – The Samsung A3 Core smartphone design is quite small. Will satisfy users that love to use small smartphones.
  • Weight – The Samsung A3 Core is not just a small size smartphone, but also a very light smartphone to carry and use.
  • Rear Camera – The rear camera of the Samsung A3 Core does take good photos and videos for the price it is being sold at.
  • Battery Capacity – The Samsung A3 Core’s battery has a good battery capacity for a small size smartphone.

The cons for the Samsung A3 Core is the following:

  • Size – Even though the size of the Samsung A3 Core is acceptable for users that love small size smartphones, users that have big hands and tend to use bigger smartphones will not have a pleasant experience with the Samsung A3 core.

Overall: Samsung is good known smartphone brand. Thus, it is no surprise why the Samsung A3 Core has such good specs for such a small size smartphone which some users love. However, the size of the Samsung A3 Core is also a downside for users that have big hands and struggle to use small size smartphones. Rest the specs of the Samsung A3 Core is acceptable.

 

Vivo Y1s:

The main features for the Vivo Y1s is the following:

  • Size – The Vivo Y1s has a big size smartphone display. Will definitely satisfy users that love to have big smartphones to use.
  • Weight – The Vivo Y1s is very light to carry and use even though it is a big smartphone in size.
  • Rear Camera – One of the best rear camera smartphones in this price bracket.
  • RAM – One of the fastest smartphones in this price bracket.
  • Storage – Has the highest storage memory on board in this price bracket.
  • Battery Capacity – The Vivo Y1s has one of the highest battery capacity as compared to the other smartphones in this price bracket.

The cons for the Vivo Y1s is the following:

  • Front Camera – The Vivo Y1s front camera is not bad, but a user would expect a bit more megapixels for the price they are paying for the Vivo Y1s.

 

 

Overall: The Vivo Y1s is one of the best smartphones to look at in this price bracket. Even though it’s front camera is not the best, the other specs of the Vivo Y1s are very good and acceptable for many users. Besides that, the Vivo Y1s come in beautiful and stunning colors. Definitely a smartphone to look at when you are looking for a good smartphone at a low price.

 

Samsung A02:

The main features that stand out for the Samsung A02 is the following:

  • Size – The Samsung A02 has the biggest smartphone size out of this price bracket. Lovable for users that love to use big size smartphones.
  • Rear Camera – The Samsung A02 has the best rear camera specs out of the smartphone selection in this price bracket. Meaning the Samsung A02 will take the photos and videos as compared to the other smartphones in this price bracket.
  • RAM – The Samsung A02 has three RAM memory options to choose from. It is the fastest smartphone in processing data and applications as compared to the other smartphones in this price bracket.
  • Storage – Has the best storage memory options as compare to the other smartphones in this price bracket.
  • Battery Capacity – The Samsung A02 has the best battery capacity out of all the other smartphones in this price bracket. Will not have the need to recharge frequently.

The cons for the Samsung A02 is the following:

  • Weight – The Samsung A02 is quite a heavy smartphone to use and carry.
  • Front Camera – The same as the Vivo Y1s, the Samsung A02 has good front camera specs. However, a user would have expected a bit more megapixels for the Samsung A02’s front camera lens.

 

 

Overall: The Samsung A02 is one of the best smartphones to look at in this price bracket. Even though the Samsung A02 is quite heavy and its front camera specs are not the best, the other specs is the best in this entire price bracket. The Samsung A02 will definitely attract many users that want a good smartphone at a low price budget.

Conclusion


After viewing all the smartphones in different price ranges, we saw some excellent smartphones to choose from and some smartphones we must be careful for. Each smartphone is unique and some will satisfy one user while for another user will find the same smartphone will not satisfy their smartphone needs.

The smartphones that stand out mostly in this review is the following:

  • Itel AC60
  • Vivo Y1s
  • Nokia C10
  • Samsung A02
  • Mobicel R9 Lite

The rest of the other smartphones are also good smartphones to choose from. However, these five stand out the most in terms of specs they offer to their users. For low budget smartphone users, all these smartphones look impressive to have. It all depends on of your smartphone budget and your smartphone preferences.

 

Which of these smartphones has captured your interest to purchase?

 

 

Please let me know of your answer in the comments below.

 

 

10 thoughts on “Best Low Cost Smartphones in South Africa”

  1. Hey Burnheart,

    Great article on the best low cost cellphones in South Africa! In today’s day and age, cellphones are very important to almost every culture on the planet and people rely on them for communication and business. You had some great suggestions on this list that could work for someone on a very low budget. Great work!

    Reply
    • Hi Pat

      Thank you for your comment and compliments!

      Just want to help the smartphone users that have a low budget to spend on a smartphone by giving them insight which smartphones to look at and which to avoid completely. Hope this helps.

      Reply
  2. Thank you for giving us these options. I have always been a Nokia fan, so I think my best choice will be Nokia 105. I remember back when I was at school, I received my first phone as a present. It was a Nokia. It was indestructible, LOL. I am so glad to have Nokia back.

    Reply
    • Hi Ann

      Glad you find a phone on the list that meets your smartphone needs and thank you for taking the time comment. Hope you enjoy your phone selection.

      Reply
  3. Hey Burnheart,

    I’ve recently been looking for a new smartphone but I’m sick of this whole apple vs. android dichotomy. I was looking to find something of a different brand at a reasonable price when I stumbled onto your blog. I’m pretty impressed with how many options they have available I didn’t realize there were so many brands. I personally love the Itel AC13 the best. I’m still going to shop around a little bit but there’s a good chance I’m going to buy one of those. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Hi KyleStearns

      I understand what you mean when you refer to Apple VS Android. It is a constant battle. Just remember Android consist out of many smartphone brands, while Apple just has iPhone. There are many different kinds of smartphone brands around the world and you will see that each geographical location has specific smartphone brands that are more known or popular in their specific locations.

      I hope you find the smartphone that best meets your smartphone needs and if you need to know more about the smartphone brand you are looking at to purchase, please check on our website under brand introductions to see if there is any articles about the brand itself.

      Thank you for taking your time to comment!

      Reply
  4. Wow! You have really done your homework here and provided a lot of insight into various affordable phones available within South Africa!  I like the in depth look at each of these phones at different low price points and definitely worth everyone looking for a phone in South Africa that do not have much to spend on. I love it when I can search for information and get the detail you’ve provided here.

    Reply
    • Hi Lawless

      Thank you for the compliments and taking the time to comment!

      I just want to help all smartphone users to find the right smartphone for their smartphone preferences. Everyone has different smartphone requirements. Thus, this website has been made to assist smartphone users by providing complete reviews of different smartphones. The website helps smartphone users to make wise smartphone selections and reduce the possibility of being disappointed.

      If you want to know more how to make the right smartphone selection for yourself, please read the following post.

      Reply
  5. I will be visiting South Africa at the end of the year for an extended time to see family and friends and attend a family wedding. I have been looking at getting a second phone for the time that I am there, so find this post really helpful. I just need a basic phone so that I do not need to keep on switching sim cards, so will pick one of your suggestions. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Hi LineCowley

      I hope you find the smartphone that best suits your smartphone needs. Majority of them are dual sim smartphones that can take two sims. My suggestion would be the Itel AC60 due to its good specs at a low price. You won’t be disappointed. But end of the day it is your choice. 

      Thank you for the time to comment.

      Reply

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