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In an ideal world we would all buy an iPhone X or the new Samsung Galaxy S9. The truth though is that some of us cannot afford these wondrous devices. This means we will have to make do with mid range and budget devices instead. It does not however mean us getting some of the rubbish no-brand phones that seem to be on offer on most stalls.
Xiaomi the king of budget phones
Xiaomi is a Chinese company that, via its subsidiaries, makes everything from toothbrushes, towels, awesome phones, cameras, notebooks, drones and even air purifiers and vacuums. In December last year they released their budget Redmi 5A series.
Redmi 5A are meant to cater for the budget market ($100) and come in several versions and colours. Like all things from Xiaomi this range features beautifully crafted devices with specifications that offer a bang for each buck you spend. This includes 13 MP camera, infrared, the usual Bluetooth and depending with the version a fingerprint reader. At the heart is a very respectable Snapdragon 425 and battery life that will carry you through out the day.
This version comes with 2GB RAM, 16GB ROM, 13.0MP Rear Camera 3000mAh Battery, Dual SIM and an infra red blaster for use with remote apps in addition to the usual sensors. The phone runs MIUI 8/MUI 9 which is a skin on top of Android 7.1/8.0. The phone can record 1080p videos. And this awesomeness comes at a discounted $89. Click here to check it out or buy.
The above device comes with a 5.0″ screen with 720p resolution. If you want a slightly larger screen then you will want the phablet version which comes with a 5.5″ screen. I am a fan of this form factor myself since my fingers tend to be a little big. This version will cost you $7 more with a price tag of $96. You click here to buy or check it out.
This is the one I am getting and it doesn’t come with just more RAM and ROM space. It spots a faster Snapdragon 435 CPU, an upgraded 16MP selfie camera in addition to the rear 13MP camera which will allow you to record 1080p videos. There is also the rear fingerprint scanner which none of the 2GB versions have. This version ranges between $120-$130 depending on the day. Click here to view the phone or buy it.
Which to buy?
I would strongly recommend the 3GB version for memory reasons alone. All these phones of course come with 4G (LTE duh) so expect blazing speeds on WhatsApp, Facebook and when browsing; your bundles and service provider permitting of course.
Also despite what the product page on Gearbest says you are likely to get a device that’s running Xiaomi’s latest MIUI 9 OS which is based on Android 8. In any case you can always upgrade to MIUI 9 just be mindful to use a fixed internet connection instead of data bundles for this. All devices can take a memory card with up to 128GB storage.
Still not convinced? This phone can literary withstand hammer strikes. If you drop it you can pick it up and continue your chat. Add a case and screen protector and you have yourself one tough phone.
It’s not officially water proof or anything but here is what happens when you get caught in a little rain or drop it in a puddle. This is the $89 version mind you! This phone does have superpowers.
A duty of 25% plus VAT of 15% are levied on phones. While you will need to a MasterCard/Visa card to make the purchase VAT and Duty can be paid using swipe/Ecocash when you collect the phone from the Post Office. Expect the price to pay duty of around $40 for the 2GB versions and $60 for the 3GB versions. You will likely pay less but it never hurts to be prudent.