Cheaper smartphones 'match' high-end devices

Cape Town – South Africans will happily use cheaper smartphones if manufacturers can demonstrate product support.

Fin24 users responded to MTN’s [JSE:MTN] chief executive Mteto Nyati saying that the mobile operator was intent on driving down the cost of devices, though he added a significant caveat.

“What you find is that you are talking about a product that is not known. So somebody needs to make the investment in making that product known.”

Fin24 users overwhelmingly agree that cheaper handsets offer value for money.

“As long as the phone meets features that I want or my requirements. It’s really not the question of the make, but price is a factor looking at lifespan of this devices,” said Fin24 user Thabo.

“The suggestion is to look at the duration of the contract with consumers as 24 months is pretty much longer due to the latter (lifespan, fashion) we tend to change phones on yearly basis due to various reasons, one of them being, is outdated. Monthly subscription increase with affordable phone would be ideal in my view as most consumers prefer contract.”

Tony also bought a cheaper device.

“Yes, have done so, saved 50%, and left friends and family amazed that a (much) cheaper device could work as well - or better - than their ‘branded’ phones.”

The fact that most new smartphones run Google’s Android operating system levels the playing field, argued Fin24 user Pooven.

“The platform and processors do not justify the price difference. We buy Samsung and iPhone for status then use [it]. If it's the other way around, we will be using the Chinese and Indian androids that perform equally well.”

In SA, contract prices for the latest devices are trending over R500 per month.

“I've had a bad experience with a contract before, therefore I now use prepaid. I buy my phones. There are great phones out there, we're just too lazy/stupid to look around,” wrote Fin24 user Michael.

In terms of cheaper brands, Fin24 users highlighted those that sell for under R5 000.

“I’m using an AG Mobile smartphone and is good do you call a R2 000 phone cheap?” Fin24 user Tshepo wrote.

“I personally have bought several, ie AG and ZTE both of these brands have some excellent, cheap smartphones. I am using an AG Chrome Swift right now. My wife has a ZTE Maxx. Both are dual SIM and we have trouble free service. As they are cheap, they are not high spec, but for us they are more than adequate,” added Charles.

And from Christa: “I have bought three AG mobile devices and I will buy another 10 if I could. Even their cheap devices from Pep are excellent: 8 megapixel camera, dual SIM and much more. And all that for R750.”

Fin24 user Ernie insisted that well-known brands will deliver qulity products because they have a reputation to protect.

“Unfortunately, brand names count! Well-known brands have a reputation to maintain and defend, and are therefore less likely to take shortcuts for a few extra bucks.

“Many lesser known manufacturers are in it for the short term gain by getting into the market quickly with cheap products, take their cut and then disappear forever without sufficient after sales services or honouring their guarantees.

“I have bought some excellent products from unknown manufacturers, but have been bitten by their lack of support - which in the end makes an exciting purchase go sour.

“Better the devil you know, than the angel you don't.”

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