Weekend Rants: Why you shouldn’t buy cheap Android phones from popular brands

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It’s another weekend, a time we pick up an erring part in mobile tech and thrash it out. This article was inspired by a comment from Mobilista Surajudeen, and we explore reasons why you shouldn’t buy low-end smartphones from popular phone brands.


There’s a general misconception people have with mobile phone makers. OK, for instance, If I asked, “What are the best Android phone brands?” The reply I expect to hear would be answers like Samsung, LG, Sony, and HTC. This is true. These aforementioned brands make the best Android phones you can see in the market, but then, there’s a limit to their greatness.

These popular brands make phones people love, but the great experience ends with their high end (and a few mid-range) phones. When it comes to low end devices, the likes of Samsung , LG, HTC and Sony are useless. Yes, you read it right. People buy them with the belief they’re getting something great, but trust me, the reverse is the case here.

If you want to buy a cheap Android device, look away from these popular brands because their low end devices are under specced and over priced. An experience with them may leave a bad taste in your mouth. If you must buy any of these popular brands, then save up and buy the very expensive models. That’s when you know you’ve bought something worth celebrating.

There are many instances: Let’s pick out the Samsung J1. This is a phone released in 2015 but it comes with measly 512 MB RAM, and the price (at the time of writing this) is N20,330. It’s funny when you know you can get a 2 GB RAM Infinix Hot 2 for less or same price. Another case is the Galaxy Star 2 Plus, which Samsung used as a Hero deal during the Jumia Mobile Megathon. The phone has no 3G, carries just 512 MB RAM, 4GB internal memory and was priced at N17,000.

Outside Samsung, there’s a mid-range Sony device, Xperia M4 Aqua. You can imagine, the 8 GB version of this phone has just 1.26 GB usable memory. Even rooting and hacking cannot save the situation. Imagine shelling N40,000 and being faced with this problem. LG, and HTC are also culprits, when you look at their low-end devices, you see that they’re expensive compared to the offerings of Chinese brands.

If your budget for a new smartphone is at the region of N30,000, then stay away from big name brands. Rather look towards the likes of TECNO, Gionee, Innjoo etc. They offer way better value for money compared to those popular brands you know.

Oya, rant your own 🙂 Happy Weekend folks!!


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  1. You are right. With a low budget, it took me a long time to select a smartphone to purchase.
    Finally, about two months ago, I settled for the Gionee M2 for about 24k. It was a good decision. I am really enjoying the phone now as it is giving me great experience and user satisfaction.

  2. Pretty much spot on. The low range models of most big brands offer almost no value for money. Thats why I always advise people to buy their old flagships instead.

  3. this is normal
    in any market approaching saturation, tiers and niches become distinct. these distinct tiers/niches become sub markets with different competing entities focusing on different tiers. you wouldn’t expect to find a cheap offering from brands like Benz or Lexus that offer powerful and exclusive machines, or an expensive, premium car from brands like Kia or Tata that provide practical cars with bang for buck appeal. all brands have their key sub markets, their offerings outside these key sub markets are usually sub par. if you flip the coin, it would be equally valid to say if you wanted a premium flagship smartphone you wouldn’t or shouldn’t be looking at TECNO, Gionee, Infinix, InnJoo etc

  4. It’s more of a bragging right mentality in my opinion,many go for these relatively expensive junks from the established brands just so they can tout their Galaxys to their acquaintances,never minding the crappy experience..

  5. You couldn’t have said better. This post got me smiling to my phone after reading. Hey guys, I expected you to profile the Gionee f103 which am hoping to buy anytime soon. Though not yet launched in Nigeria but in the coming months. #Applaudise to MisterMobility.

  6. At the end of the day, when you buy a low end, under spec’d and overpriced phone from the likes of Samsung, LG etc, you are paying for the brand name on the device more than anything else.

    Better to buy an Infinix Hot 2, Tecno Boom J7 for the equivalent money. For the same price you get a better device – it’s that simple.

  7. You may be right..except for one thing though…I dont think any of these flagship devices from major brands really have crappy experiences.

    Right now, you want the best from samsung and u can drop the bucks…go for tthe note edge plus; from htc, m9; blackberry, passport ;iphone and so on. I believe you get the drift…same thing 3rd world techie was trying to explain.

    Even iphone wanted to make a relatively ‘cheap’ device people could afford and they ended up making a silly phone with a C badge. I dont think they will ever repeat that mistake.

  8. Exactly @3rd world techie. You just nailed it bro.
    all brands have their key sub markets, their offerings outside these key sub markets are usually sub par. if you flip the coin, it would be equally valid to say if you wanted a premium flagship smartphone you wouldn’t or shouldn’t be looking at TECNO, Gionee, Infinix, InnJoo etc

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