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Best Phones Under 20K in Kenya (June 2014)

Update: There is a November list here.

This is post is mostly relevant for Kenyans. But you can still read it from wherever you are. One US Dollar is 87 Kenyan Shillings meaning all the phones below cost less than $225.

We all love phones but not every one can afford those high end (and some times stupidly luxurious) phones. We may want quality but not at an overdone price. We want something at a manageable price, something quite affordable and also quite presentable. I sat down to make a list of phones that are awesome and cost less than KSh. 20,000. I didn’t just throw you a list because there are some phones under 20K that should just be ‘free’ as they offer you nothing much for their above KSh. 10,000 price-tag, examples being the Galaxy S3 Lite and the Nokia X.

Galaxy S3 Lite. Don’t let the name deceive you!

Between you and me, the Galaxy S3 Lite would be a waste of money. Don’t get yourself another Galaxy Pocket or Galaxy Y by purchasing that phone. It is so slow and can’t run most apps plus you get very little memory to store apps. It is also heavy (no pun).

The Nokia X isn’t something so incredible as advertised. For someone who can manipulate the phone and bring in Google Play Services, then that’s alright. But for a normal user who wants a phone and not procedures, it is a misplaced phone idea. The phone though running Android Jelly Bean will not offer you Skype as you’ve seen being advertised. How will you Skype on a phone  that has no front camera? How will you Hangout on such? Nokia X is a failing gimmick. They should just throw the towel and dive in fully Android.

I wasn’t supposed to be telling you what not to buy but what to buy. I believe my list will have quality phones, the kind you won’t have to change soon. So let me just give you the list:

1. Lumia 520 and Lumia 525

Though not a personal fan of Windows Phones, my mind has slowly been changed with every new Lumia. The Lumia 520 was voted the best low end phone 2013.

Lumia 520

Though you don’t get a front facing camera for selfies and Skype, you get a good processor with incredible speed, plus a good 5.0MP back camera. The Lumia 525 further improves the 520. Read everything about the two on this post here.


2. Samsung Galaxy Trend, Galaxy Trend Plus

The Trend is a 4-inch display phone with Android 4.0 while the Trend Plus runs Android 4.2.2 with very awesome UI customisations.

The Trend offers only rear 3MP camera while Trend Plus (or Trend 2) gives you 5MP. Both have 0.3MP front camera and both give you an awesome Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM7227A S1 chipset clocked at 1GHz


3. Huawei 4Afrika

Another Windows Phone. 5MP, 4-inch display, Thin finish, light and awesome. There’s a whole post here just for this phone!


4. Samsung Galaxy Ace, S, S duos

Though some online shops place the prices of this phones at slightly above 20k, I tend to think that their prices have dropped slightly by now.

Galaxy Ace

The Ace 3 has a 1 GHz Cortex-A9 CPUand 1GB RAM plus 5MP Camera. The Galaxy S and S duos are the same but for the dual-sim functionality on S duos. The camera is 5MP with autofocus. The drawback remains RAM.


5. TECNO M3, M5, M7

TECNO is really trying hard to establish itself in Kenya. The M3 is a 3.5 inch display phone with 1GB RAM, 5MP rear camera and 1.3MP front camera. Read about the M3 here.

The M5  and the M7 are basically the same. They both have 8MP rear cameras with BSI and autofocus. The M5 however is 4.5 inches while the M7 is 5.25 inches. The M7 has 1.3GHz Dual Core processor from Mediatek. Read about the M7 here and the M5 here. All the phones run Android Jelly Bean (v.4.2.2).


6. TECNO H7, D9

Tecno D9 is a gigantic, 6-inch phablet with 8MP rear camera and 5MP front camera. Both cameras have flash. The D9 gives you a 1.2GHz Quad-core processor.


Tecno H7 is a 5-inch phone with a battery power of 4000mAh! It also gives you dual camera: 8MP rear and 2MP front.


7. Nokia X+, XL

The Nokia X as I said is a total fail. However X+ and XL try a little bit. The Nokia X+ is but a slight improvement of the X by RAM. Nothing more. And the RAM isn’t even quite there. A meagre 768 MB and 3MP camera on the back with no flash.

Nokia XL

The Nokia XL however is a 5-inch phone with IPS Display Technology. It gives you 5MP camera with flash plus a front facing 2MP camera. The RAM is 768MB making me wonder…


8.  Micromax A110 Canvas 2

And finally, the Micromax A110 Canvas 2. This is a 5 inch phone with Android 4.1.1 and 1 GHz dual-core Cortex-A9 Processor. It has 8.0MP rear camera and a VGA Camera on the front. 

A110 Canvas

Okay now you have the full list.

Before buying a phone, what are the some of things you consider? Specifications, look, company?

From the 16 phones I’ve given you which one will you choose?

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