While geeks may hype the top-end devices all they like, the battle is often fought and won in the budget sector. I decided to do a brief examination of the available budget smartphones at this time.

Battle of the Budget Smartphones

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samsung i5500
While geeks may hype the top-end devices all they like, the battle is often fought and won in the budget sector. I decided to do a brief examination of the available budget smartphones at this time.

I ran into an advert in which Samsung touts the i5500 as the most affordable smartphone in Africa. But at N37,000, the i5500 is far much more expensive than a number of competing products that I can almost rattle off my head. Nokia’s 5230 XM at N26,000 is an example.

There are also the following cheaper alternatives –

  1. Nokia C5 at N25,000
  2. Nokia 5530 at N35,000
  3. Nokia E63 at N35,000
  4. Sony Ericsson X10 Mini at N34,000
  5. Samsung Galaxy Mini at N33,000

Price competitors to the Samsung i5500 include –

  1. LG GW525
  2. Nokia E5
  3. Nokia 5800 XM

Here is a table of the cheapest smartphones from each OS/platform:

  • Symbian: Nokia 5250 – N20,000
  • BlackBerry: BlackBerry Curve 8520 – N30,000
  • Android: Samsung i5503 (a variant of the i5500) – N30,000

Top Budget Smartphone: Nokia 5250

Nokia 5250 25
The undisputed budget smartphone of the moment is the Nokia 5250, and won’t cost you more than N20,000 depending on where you go shopping.

Top Budget QWERTY Smartphone: BlackBerry Curve 8520

bb curve 8520
I’m giving the top budget QWERTY smartphone spot to the Blackberry Curve 8520. This will set you back N30,000. Also in the range is the Nokia E63, if a BlackBerry is not your thing.

If you are looking for a budget smartphone to get your mobile groove on, the above are the range of devices to look at.

As a rule, Symbian gives you the most options at the bedget level, followed by Android devices from Samung. Still, you have options, depending on how much you have available to splash.

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  1. Great post man… Didn’t mention the LG Optimus Android device. Was making the rounds on the web not too long ago as the cheapest Androiid phone so far.

    The things with budget smartphones is their dubious battery life, and their sometimes weak cameras and sound quality.

    Can’t wait for the Chinese to come into the Android device market though… Turn it on it’s head.

  2. The Nokia 5250 Sounds sweet. The best design in all the phone listed above yet the cheapest. Nokia has a thing with budget Smartlhone. That’s why Symbian should live past 2016!

    Symbian is presently like a patient with terminal CAancer that the doctor has informed that he has about 5 years left to live. Let’s hope Symbian defeats this particular brand of “Cancer”!

  3. Manufacturers and operators can be misleading with their adverts most of the time, I want to believe the advert you saw may be a couple of weeks old as I know for certain that SLOT is offering the Samsung i5500 @ #30,500 as of yesterday.
    The only downside to some of the competing touchscreen phones is the use of resistive technology for their screens, especially the Android phones.

  4. Harry,

    Yes; the draft for this article was done a couple of weeks ago.

    Also, the Nokia 5250, alongside other low-end Symbian devices, is resistive touchscreen, I believe, so its generally a low-end trait.

  5. Yomi, I love the way you’re slipping down and smiling. Great write-up.

  6. While these phones may be mild on the pocket, do they offer the consumer the satisfaction required?
    The samsung i5500 from an android standpoint shouldn’t even be in the market because gingerbread(2.3) is out and It runs on eclair(2.1)!

    The screen is a smallish 2.8 inch.
    2mp camera!!
    Yet it costs ~30k!
    Waste of money!

  7. @Ebdib: I echo your sentiment. I think the Samsung i5500 is definitely overpriced. Apart from that, the phone still needs to be in the market for people on budget that might want a taste of Android or smartphone in general. This I believe may be the target of phone makers sometimes. The only issue I have with the phone is the price tag and the advert.

  8. Yomi,

    To say the truth, I was amazed to see that we’ve got some budget friendly Android product c/o Samsung & LG.

    I am sure that as soon as more people gets to know this, there would be a surge in the amount of people using smart phones.

    Why do Nigerians like smart phones? Many, like the lady I saw in a bus on saturday, carry it for beauty & prestige. Basic function like e-mail, may not even be explored. Does anyone observe this too?

  9. Pls I need to get a good quality Android phone with stellar battery life, high quality build and Gingerbread. If it’s rootable, its a plus. Any ideas?

    Yomi, I think you should start selling ereaders. I’m out looking for a nook color. If you can get 1, I’m ready to pick it up. Keep up the great work.
    We dey ur back KAMPE

  10. Ebdib,

    The 2.8-inch screen is forgivable at that price point, as is Android 2.1. But a 2MP camera on a N30,000 smartphone?

    Still, some are not particular about camera quality on their phones. As always, I remind myself that usage patterns vary from person to person. Those devices will still sell in volumes.

  11. Jesse,

    I think that people need enlightenment as to the capabilities of these devices. From experience, I can say that many will use them if they know and have someone to put them through.

    That’s part of our job here at MobilityNigeria. We are looking at radio shows, road shows, and seminars/workshops. There is a lot to be done.

  12. Most people especially women do not know those functions on their phones that qualify them as high-end or even smart phones. All they know are the basic call and testing functions and some multimedia functions like camera audio and video play back.
    Most Blackberry user will tell you Blackberry is the best phone ever but can’t mention one function that stands Blackberry out from other smart phones apart from BBM.
    Enlightenment is very important all right only that the people that need it the most do not even know they do and/or where to go for it. What rules in this country and probably other parts of the world is vogue not value for money.

  13. @metamba
    Check out the samsung galaxy ace.
    Its got a 5mp snapper
    Samsung froyo( upgradable)
    3.5 inch screen
    800mhz processor(can be overclocked)
    Can play angry birds without lag
    And of course, its an i-phone twin
    Costs ~50k though.

    If a 2mp snapper is ok for a user then I don’t see the reason why the person cannot use a nokia c3 which IMO is easy to use and quite cheap too.

  14. Well i believe its only the nokia 5250, nokia 5230, and nokia c5 you can call cheap smartphones here..they give better value for money..nokia e5 has far better functions than samsung i5500 yet both are priced at 30k….for samsung to get their sales right they need to get their pricing right…for instance why would some1 buy samsung galaxy pro..when nokia e5 is 10k less and better multimedia!

  15. I remember when i was about to buy my N8. My initial choice was the budget LG Optimus One P500 smartphone, then going for 42k, about half the N8’s cost. The only reason i didn’t buy it was bcos the supplier kept me waiting for a week. Sometimes I wish I had waited a little longer and bought it.
    Budget phones are all well and good, but most of the compromises always annoy me. The Samsung Galaxy Ace, Pro, Mini are all no go! I still see the LG P500 as the best budget android phone, especially as LG promised it would get Gingerbread.

  16. @spacyzuma:
    For the record, I have the Optimus LG P500 and it is an excellent phone at the price of N37000. But right now, there’s an equivalent phone in terms of specs and form factor from Samsung at SLOT going for equivalent price @ N375000.
    In fact the Samsung is even better in some areas like:
    the Samsung has an 800MHz processor while the LG has 600MHz processor,
    the Samsung has 16M colours while the LG has 256K colours,
    the Samsung WIFI 802.11 is b/g/n while LG’s is b/g only.

    The LG-P500 has its on positives like superior battery of 1500mAh while Samsung’s is 1350mAh,
    video recording VGA @18fps while Samsung records only QVGA video @15fps.

    Also I would have to say that from my experience, the battery life of the LG-P500 is excellent.
    Again the promise of possible upgrade to Android Gingerbread 2.3 is a plus but that is not here yet.

    Finally, I’m using the LG-P500 and can assure you that mine works flawlessly up till now and is very easy to use (I believe that’s Android factor), but these are things I can’t say for the Samsung.
    By the way, I’m talking about Samsung Galaxy Gio S5660.

  17. Nice write up.

    Either we like it or not, its these phones that most people buy.

  18. Harry, The LG P500 has divx out of the box, the samsung GIO doesnt have that…

  19. Has anybody seen or used the Samsung Ace, though it is around 50k but I feel it is the perfect phone to break even but it is more expensive.

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