Happy Valentine’s! And if you have someone you love and you want to get them something, I hope this list properly influences, or informs your decision. I try to always only feature smartphones I’ve used so as to give my opinion based on my experience with the device. Also, I try to have the most recent devices, so if something has been on one of this lists before, you won’t find it here today.
You’ll notice most, if not all, of these devices come with 3GB RAM, and 32GB storage. Interact with the whole list here before making a decision.
Huawei Y7 Prime 2019:
Apart from just looking great, that dewdrop notch on a 6.26 inch display is something that has quite grown on me. If you love a big screen, this is a big screen for you. But it isn’t just a big screen phone, it is manageable because software allows you to quickly use it with one hand. Also, it has the longest screen-on time of all phones in this list. I’ve personally hit over 8hrs 54mins screen-on time on a single charge. That 4000mAh battery I will say again should be the standard size going forward, because it is high time phones last thing long, and even better.
Check out the whole review where you can read about the skin EMUI and it’s baked-in features like dark modes, and gestures, that give you a lot more customisation and control. Also check out the camera review to see a whole collection of pictures taken using the AI cameras. I like that the AI Cameras are real, unlike I saw with the TECNO Camon 11, and recognise up to 21 different scenes.
If you get it in red…. it’s Valentines! The price is Ksh. 17,999 and you can pick it up from Jumia.
Infinix Note 5:
If you love Android One devices, here’s an option for you. Infinix is sending out Android Pie anytime soon. I really loved using this phone, though if I were to compare it with the Y7 Prime above I’d say the latter has way better battery life. I guess it is either Infinix’s choice of processor, or the fact that stock Android doesn’t have aggressive power saving mechanisms like EMUI that affects battery life.
The display on this device is superb. I think this is the only phone in this list that I’ve used that features a 1080p screen at this price point. I was happy with the company choosing to go Android One with this line, and I cannot wait for the next one. Read my review and see what I really like.
The price is Ksh. 16,620 and you can pick it up from Jumia.
Nokia 5.1 Plus:
I just unboxed this a few days ago. I am yet to fully interact with it as my main device. But I also really like the design especially that shiny back finish. The notch is quite huge and annoying though. It has a loooot of good things going for it: USB type-C yes. Supports Faiba4G networks, and runs Android 9 Pie Stock, yas!
I will share my full review and camera review this week, so look out for that. I quite like how it is not a huge device on the hand but manages to be 5.8 inches. The battery size is 3060mAh, and it is powered by a Helio P60 processor.
The price is Ksh. 19,500 and you can pick it up from Jumia.
Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite:
I am yet to interact with this phone. But I know a friend has one, and their pictures look quite good. It is also an Android One device running Android 9 Pie. It has a huge notch, so if you hate that, this isn’t for you. It has a 4000mAh battery, and a Snapdragon 625 processor. Being a Xiaomi phone, you expect a good experience. It is Ksh. 17,099 on Jumia.
TECNO Camon 11:
Of course this phone should be on this list. One, the design of it is quite something. Really. Two, it is quite aggressive in pricing and that’s a good thing for consumers. Three, the cameras are good even though the advertised AI features are fake. Four, it has really good battery life for a 3750mAh battery. Five, if you get it in red… it’s Valentine’s!
It has a 6.2 inch display, and a wide notch that doesn’t quite align with apps, but is easy to ignore. The performance is okay. But it really stands out because of the design and in colour red. Remember HiOS has ads and we hope this is something Transsion will be fixing, because why have those annoying ads?
The price is Ksh. 15,000 and you can pick it up from Jumia.
Infinix Hot 6x:
I am yet to interact with this device. But basing it on my interaction with the Hot 6 Pro and the Hot S3X, I am guessing it is a good phone. I loved the display on the Hot 6 Pro, the cameras were great, and the battery life was okay. This one is powered by a Snapdragon 425. If you hate ads, Infinix’s XOS will kind of annoy you, but you can find ways to disable those notifications.
The price is Ksh. 15,199 and you can pick it up from Jumia.
This is a new company. I recently unboxed it and the thing I like most about it is that despite my expectations of it being a bad looking and terrible performing device, it is actually quite decent. I’ll be having a review soon. I have the 2/16GB version that’s 12k. But there’s the 3/32GB that’s 14k, and I guess that’s the one I should recommend.
I used the Redmi 6A and it was on one of my best lists. It came with the Helio A22 processor which is looking to be quite something in both performance and battery consumption. The Z81 also has the A22 Processor. Things are smooth.
The 3/32GB version is Ksh. 13,999 and you can pick it up from Jumia.
Xiaomi recently announced Redmi would be its own line of devices. I haven’t used the Redmi 6. I don’t know how it performs, but since all Redmi products I’ve used I loved, and since I even wrote a whole article in praise of MiUI, I believe this is a good phone. It is the only phone on this list with 64GB internal storage. It is Ksh. 13,999 on Jumia.
There’s so many options for smartphones under 20k nowadays, and compiling a list is getting quite difficult. That’s why I try to stick with devices I’ve experienced and quite liked. You should check out the previous lists too because some of those phones are now quite cheap.
Despite most of the devices featuring 720p screens, I feel like this is the last time this will be the case. Next year at such a time most devices will have 1080p displays at this price range.
Which of these devices are you getting? What device would you have liked to see on the list? How would you compile your best under 20k?