Before diving into this list, stuff your expectations of feature-rich powerhouses like the iPhones and Galaxy S-anythings. I mean, it’s right there in the title, right? You don’t expect to see “10 Budget Phones” in the same sentence as those phones (unless you’re crashing people’s castles in the sky the way I just did).
But that doesn’t mean the end of the world. Every experienced bargain hunter will tell you, it doesn’t have to cost an arm, a leg and two portions of your soul, to buy a good looking, even functional phone. All the budget phones in this list cost under N20,000 which is just a tenth of the price you’ll pay for flagships such as the iPhones, Galaxys and HTC Xs.
1. Nokia X
What happens when Nokia makes an Android phone? The Nokia X of course. Even though this was a phone that was several years late, Nokia still managed to push out a decent android phone. But for the battery, early users didn’t have a problem using the phone. If you don’t mind rooting your device, you can even eke out more functionalities out of the device via extra apps not available on its Nokia marketplace .
The Nokia X is well built and designed and Nokia knows it. That’s why the body and finish are pretty-pretty (see what I did there?).
Specs: 4″ screen (480 x 800 pixels), 1.0 GHz Dual-Core Processor, 512MB RAM, 4GB Internal, 3.15MP Rear Camera, Android v4.1.2, 1500mAh Battery, Dual Micro Sim
2. Gionee P5 Mini
Studded with amazing features and an appealing design, the Gionee P5 mini is a top contender for the finest phone on this list. Going by its features alone, it’s enough to make you shell out the money needed to buy it. But that’s the good thing about the P5, it’s also a sub 20K phone if you know where to look.
Specs: 4.5″ display, 1.3GHz Quad-core processor, 1GB RAM, 8GB Internal, Dual SIM, 5MP Camera (with 2 MP selfie camera), 1800 mAh battery, Android 5.0
2. Nokia 520
If you need an excuse to never buy a new phone, the Nokia 520 is your best bet. This phone is as durable as a rock.
If you’re squinting your nose at that Windows Phone OS, don’t let that fool you. While nobody was paying attention, Microsoft kinda, sorta built its app store into something pretty decent.
The Nokia 520 isn’t too much of a looker, but with a solid build like this, who cares? Side note for those with butter fingers: I don’t know what they added when making the screen of this phone, but I lost count of how many times it fell from my hands, yet, the screen remained intact. And no, I wasn’t using a screen protector or guard. This phone is the 21st century 3310.
I could keep going. But I think you get the idea already.
If I was nitpicking, I’d say the lack of a front-facing camera is a bit uncomfortable, which betrays this phone’s budget origins.
Specs: 4.0″ IPS LCD touchscreen, 5MP camera, 8GB internal, 512 RAM, Single SIM, WiFi, Bluetooth v4.0, Micro SD card (up to 64GB), 3G ready
3. Tecno Y4
You know and I know, and all our uncles know, that nobody does/did budget phones like Tecno. If I had to call it, I’d say Tecno and Microsoft are the heavyweights of the budget phone division. No other competition, by a mile. The Tecno Y4’s spec sheet shows you, you can get a beautiful, compact smartphone at a budget price.
Specs: 1.0 GHz Dual-Core Processor , 8GB Internal memory, 1GB RAM, 5MP Camera (0.3 MP “selfie” camera), Dual SIM, Android 4.4.
4. Huawei Ascend Y511
Huawei knows their budget phones. Ever since the android OS got released nine years ago in 2007, Huawei has been coating the insides of their tablets and smartphones with it. And those devices have been pretty good bang for the buck.
So it’s good to know Huawei still has some of that budget mojo in them.
The Ascend is another decent smartphone, ticking all the right boxes. The only thing that causes me to frown is that 512MB RAM. But the dual sim brings back the smiles quickly.
Specs: 1.3GHz Dual-Core processor, 512MB RAM, 4GB internal (expandable to 32GB via a microSD card), 3 MP (and 0.3MP), 1730mAh (removable) battery, Android 4.2,
5. Fero V 505
An unknown manufacturer on this list but that’s expected on a budget phone list. Fun fact: Tecno which was once an unknown, built its brand in the budget section of the smartphone market before venturing out into more premium sectors.
Despite its price point, the FERO V phone comes in a premium looking back cover and sleek, front facing exterior. Peek under the hood, and you’ll realize, this is a decent 5” phone with a decent interior.
Specs: 8.0 MP camera (1.3MP front facing camera), 2,200 mAh battery, Android Lollipop, 1.3GHz Quad-Core processor,1GB RAM, 8GB (ROM) Memory.
6. Numa Ruckr5
Numa what? Yeah, that’s what I said too, the first time I heard the name. But what do you know? Numa knows their budget phones. Or maybe someone in the factory forgot this was supposed to be a midrange budget phone. The phone’s hardware is impressive, to say the least. What caught my eye was the camera. It’s not the best phone camera in the market, but with a sub 20k price, it delivers some really good images, especially when there’s decent lighting. Then that 5” screen and quad core processor, wow! Are these Numa guys sure this is supposed to be a budget phone? Anyways, it’s available under N20,000. Go grab one before they change their minds.
Specs: 1.3GHz Quad Core Processor, 1GB RAM, 8GB internal storage, 8MP (2MP secondary camera), Dual SIM, Android 4.4.
7. Itel 1503
Itel entered the budget range market with a vengeance. Seriously, look that spec sheet. The hardware makes the phone capable of pulling way above its weight. The only let down is the 512MB RAM which makes it get hot and slow during extensive use. That said, it’s still a looker and a doer by any standard.
Spec: 1.2 GHz Quad Core Processor, 512MB RAM, 8GB Internal, Dual SIM, Android 4.4, 8MP Camera(with 1.3 MP selfie cam)
8. Lenovo A328
You probably know Lenovo, not for their smartphones, but their computers. Well, you can expect the same level of hardware integrity in the mobile devices. Lenovo’s A328 expertly threads the line between performance and style. The phone’s curved edges make the phone look more expensive than it is. The 4.5″ screen is compact enough for one-hand usage, yet big enough for comfortable viewing of websites and videos. You’ll have to settle for Android 4.4.2 though, which isn’t a bad idea at all.
Specs: 1.3 GHz Quad-core Processor, 1GB RAM, 4GB internal, 5MP Primary Camera (and a 2MP selfie camera), 2000 MAh Battery, Wi-Fi, Dual SIM, Android v4.4.2 (Kitkat)
Honestly, without even trying, I could fill this list with Tecno and Nokia phones. Such is the depth of options those two manufacturers have when it comes to cheap, affordable yet functional smartphones. The Lumia 430 is a windows phone trying to walk in the shoes of its 520 elder brother. Lightning rarely strikes the same place twice so it’s understandable that Nokia didn’t quite hit the same heights they did when the 520 came out. Still, the Lumia brands have a sense of style and compactness to them that makes this a pretty decent first smartphone, or the workhorse phone, if you’re looking for a decent and cheap second phone.
Specs: 1.2 GHz Dual-Core Processor, 1GB RAM, 8GB internal, 2MP Primary Camera (0.3MP second camera), Dual SIM, Microsoft Windows Phone 8.1
My hats off to these phone manufacturers who have been able to squeeze out great value for money, even at that price point. Our pockets are eternally grateful.
Did we miss a good under-20K phone you know? Tell us in the comments.