Smartphones under R3,000 in South Africa

As smartphone technology improves and the devices’ capabilities increase, you no longer have to spend over R10,000 to get a top-quality handset.

Vodafone, Huawei, Redmi, and Samsung all sell great devices for under R3,000 – which means the phrase “cheap smartphone” is no longer a euphemism for “rubbish”.

These devices all run on Android, offer high-resolution displays, and support LTE connectivity.

The best phones you can buy in South Africa for under R3,000.



Vodacom Smart Prime 7 – R1,799

Vodacom’s branded devices offer solid value for money.

Unfortunately, the Prime 7 features lower hardware specifications compared to similarly-priced rivals. It also comes with a lot of Vodacom shovelware.

However, it does run the latest available version of Android.

SpecificationsSmart Prime 7
MakerVodafone
Dimensions144 x 72.1 x 8 mm
Weight128g
Operating systemAndroid 6.0 Marshmallow
Display5″ 720p (720 x 1,280)
Rear camera8MP
Front camera5MP
Storage, internal8GB
Storage, expandablemicroSD
RAM1GB
Processor1.3GHz quad-core
Battery2,540mAh
Cellular dataLTE, HSPA+

Redmi 2 Pro – R1,999

This dual-SIM, LTE-capable smartphone is under R2,000. Even though it runs an older version of Android, better value than this is difficult to find.

Just ensure the model you buy supports LTE bands 1 (2,100MHz) and 3 (1,800MHz) – those are the ones Vodacom, MTN, and Cell C use. Telkom also recently started using LTE band 3.

SpecificationsRedmi 2 Pro
MakerXiaomi
Dimensions134 x 67.2 x 9.4 mm
Weight133g
Operating systemAndroid 4.4 KitKat with MIUI
Display4.7″ 720p (720 x 1,280)
Rear camera8MP
Front camera2MP
Storage, internal16GB
Storage, expandablemicroSD
RAM2GB
Processor1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 410 (MSM8916)
GraphicsAdreno 306
Battery2,200mAh (removable)
Cellular dataLTE
SIM typeDual SIM

Huawei P8 Lite Dual SIM – R2,499

Huawei’s LTE-capable dual-SIM smartphone from 2015 is selling at compelling prices currently. Cell C offers the dual-SIM version for just under R2,500.

A single-SIM variant is available through Vodacom for R3,199, and MTN for R3,299.

SpecificationsHuawei P8 Lite
Dimensions143 x 70.6 x 7.7 mm
Weight131g
Operating systemAndroid 5.0 with EMUI 3.1
Display5″ 720p (720 x 1,280)
Rear camera13MP
Front camera5MP
Storage, internal16GB
Storage, expandablemicroSD
RAM2GB
ProcessorHisilicon Kirin 620 (8x 1.2GHz)
Battery2,200mAh
Cellular dataLTE, HSPA+
SIM typeDual SIM

Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) – R2,999

While Samsung offers a number of decent low-cost devices, the Galaxy J3 is one of the standouts.

Grey imports of the Galaxy J3 are also available from the Orange Store for under R2,500.

SpecificationsSamsung Galaxy J3
Dimensions142.3 x 71.0 x 7.9 mm
Weight138g
Operating systemAndroid 5.1.1
Display5″ 720p (720 x 1,280)
Rear camera8MP
Front camera5MP
Storage, internal8GB
Storage, expandablemicroSD
RAM1.5GB
Processor1.5GHz quad-core
Battery2,600mAh
Cellular dataLTE, HSPA+

Redmi Note 2 – R2,999

The Redmi Note 2 is priced at the same level as the Samsung Galaxy J3, but trounces it on the spec sheet.

SpecificationsRedmi Note 2
MakerXiaomi
Dimensions152 x 76 x 8.25 mm
Weight149g
Operating systemAndroid 5.0 with MIUI 7
Display5.5″ 1080p (1,080 x 1,920)
Rear camera13MP
Front camera5MP
Storage, internal16GB
Storage, expandablemicroSD
RAM2GB
Processor2GHz MediaTek Helio X10 octa-core
GraphicsPower VR G6200 GPU
Battery3,060mAh
Cellular dataLTE, HSPA+
SIM typeDual SIM

Honourable mention: Vodacom Smart Ultra 7 – R3,099

The Smart Ultra 7 just missed the R3,000 cut-off, but is included to show that powerful devices are available at around our price point.

SpecificationsSmart Ultra 7
MakerVodafone
Dimensions152.2 x 78.12 x 8.68 mm
Weight150g
Operating systemAndroid 6.0 Marshmallow
Display5.5″ 1080p (1,080 x 1,920)
Rear camera13MP
Front camera5MP
Storage, internal16GB
Storage, expandablemicroSD
RAM2GB
Processor1.8GHz Mediatek MTK6755M
Battery2,960mAh
Cellular dataLTE, HSPA+
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