Last updated on April 5th, 2023 at 12:39 pm
This blog post serves as a comprehensive guide for anyone looking to buy a smartphone in Kenya. It covers all the essential information you need to know before making a purchase, including factors to consider when choosing a smartphone, popular brands and models in Kenya, pricing, and where to buy. By the end of this guide, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to make an informed decision and find the perfect smartphone to suit your needs and budget.
With so many smartphones and mobile phone options available in Kenya, it begs the question; where do you start when buying a mobile phone in Kenya?
Given that every year, so many great devices are released, this makes it a bit hard to decide which one to buy. If that is your great concern, no need worry. This guide to buying a smartphone in Kenya will sort you out.
We have put together a smartphone buying guide that will help making that smartphone buying decision easier. Once you are done going through this Kenyan edition of smartphone buyers guide, you will be more than confident that you have made the right choice.
So, where do we start? That must be the question going through your mind. Well here is a list of what you need to look for when you are ready to invest in a smartphone.
Table of Contents
Have a budget for buying your phone
A budget is really important when it comes to buying your phone. How much are you really willing to pay to own a smartphone? Because the price of phone varies very wildly and there is value to be found on all ends; the cheap side, mid-range and high-end.
Here we will help you budget for all. Whether you are in the market for flagship phones, budget phones or you need a cheap phone.
When you look at flagship phones, they have become really expensive of late for example the samsung galaxy s21 and iphone 14 go for more than 100,000 KSh each. You can find flagship devices starting from 90,000 KSH.
But for most people that is not the smartest financial decision. Given that is almost the price of a piece of land or even a well-deserved holiday. So, if you want the best of the best, with no compromises and have the money to spare, then go for it.
However, 100,000 KSh is quite a substantial amount to spend on a mobile phone. Not to worry, in this day and age we have options. Here comes the budget phone category. The good news is budget phones have become really affordable and really good for example the Samsung A series.
So what is your Budget?
Phones in Kenya starting from 5,000 KSh to 15,000 KSh
This is the category where you get a fully functioning phone, but at this price range you must compromise on one thing or another.
For example, you might get a phone that has amazing battery life but the screen is not that bright, but it is usable. At the same time, amazing deals come about where you can get very well-priced phones that meet almost every criteria e.g. the Samsung A series.
Check out the best phones that you can get for 5,000 to 15,000 KSh. Also, here we have a list of phones that have amazing discounts between 5,000 KSh and 15,000 KSh.
Phones in Kenya starting from 15,001 KSh to 30,000 KSh
Here the options you get have very few compromises especially when it comes to build quality, most of the time they sacrifice the performance of the processor or the cameras.
Be prepared for some compromises. In this category, phones will come with one or two features that you need the most, but the phone will skip the other ones.
Check out the best phones that you can get for 15,001 to 30,000 KSh. Also, here we have a list of phones that have amazing discounts between 15,001 KSh and 30,000 KSh.
Phones in Kenya starting from 30,000 KSh to 45,000 KSh
This category is made up of flagship phones that are older than one year and mid-range phones.
When it comes to this budget point, phones mostly don’t compromise on anything. What makes them different from modern-day flagship phones is that the new flagship phones have either a faster processor or extra features on the camera.
Check out the best phones that you can get for 30,001 to 45,000 KSh. Also, here we have a list of phones that have amazing discounts between 30,001 KSh and 45,000 KSh.
Flagships Phones in Kenya starting from starting from 45,000 Ksh and above
These are the cream de la crème of phones. These phones make no compromises whatsoever from the build quality to the screen, the camera, the battery, and the features.
Check out the best flagship phones available in Kenya.
What we would advise when looking at your budget for the phone is to isolate and differentiate needs from wants. What happens is a lot of manufacturers push the best screen, best processor, best camera, this is great for innovation and the phone industry. But it might not be the best for you. However, if money isn’t a factor, feel free to go for the top-tier phones.
What operating system do you want to use?
There are primarily two major operating systems that are used in the mobile phone space. That is IOS for apple phones and android for the likes of Samsung, Huawei and majority of phones manufactured by other companies.
When it comes to choosing the operating here is what you need to factor in. If you are team IPhone, these phones have been traditionally more expensive but easier to use. And if you are team android, these phones are known to be flexible with more options and cheaper.
So, are you team iPhone or team android?
Size of the phone
Do you want the biggest size screen for consuming multimedia or something compact and usable with one hand? This is what you need to ask yourself when it comes to considering the screen size of the phone you are going to buy.
With recent trends in the mobile phone industry, screens have gotten bigger and bigger. Literally, the screen size of your average phone has doubled in size since 2011. So how do you decide what size screen is best suited for you?
Well, if you are a person who prefers using your phone with one hand, then you should be looking for a phone that has a screen size of 5.5 inches and below. This should be comfortable for one hand usage and only on very rare occasions will you need two hands to complete a task.
What if you are a person who is in the market for a phone with a big screen? A screen that will allow you to consume social media, videos and games in all their glory! In this case, you need a phone that has a screen size of at least 6 inches. This will give you all the screen real estate that you require.
To get a better idea of screen size and what you should be going for, check out this article on screen size, is bigger really better?
Type of Display – OLED or LCD
When it comes to display, what kind of display are you looking for? Are you looking for the best display possible? Or are you looking for a phone display that has good contrast, good colors, great brightness but not necessary amazing pixel density.
When you are buying your phone, the display is a very key thing to consider. It is what you use to interact with your phone. This is because you will notice if you are phone is not really bright outside, and also you will notice when you have ugly colors on the display. However, you won’t necessary notice a difference between 1080p and 4K.
This is a very key point to factor in. You should generally aim for a phone with pixel density of 400 ppi and having at least HD 1080p capability. When you have this in mind, it makes it easier to buy a phone that will display the content on your phone well.
To some extent, pixel density isn’t that important, unless you are going to use your phone as a virtual reality headset to consume virtual reality content such as games.
Camera – Quality of Photos and Video
The camera is one of the biggest selling points of a smartphone nowadays. But you’d be mistaken if you thought it was all about megapixels. That is just a small part when it comes to photo quality.
When it comes to photo and video quality, it will depend on the phone’s camera sensor, chipset, software processing, and aperture way more than just megapixels and actual image size.
Our advice to you would be, to get the best camera in your budget, you need to compare actual photos and videos and not specs only. If you are purposing to buy a phone that will help you up your social media game on IG, snapchat or facebook, then having a good quality camera is key.
With that said, phone cameras biggest weakness is night shots. Expensive phones are the ones that mostly have the best outcomes. Also when it comes to video, flagships have more features and pay attention to detail and good stabilization.
Battery – The size and mAH (milliampere hour)
Make sure that you will be getting the battery life that you need. Different people have different expectations when it comes to battery life on phones. Some people want a phone that can last the whole day others don’t mind walking around with their charger.
Smartphones have come a long way from when you needed to charge your phone a couple of times in a day. Now-a-days, quite a number of smartphones in the market can easily take you through the day on only one charge. Some phones can even go two days without needing a recharge.
When buying a phone, you should consider the following when it comes to the battery; size of battery, screen on time, and total battery life.
The size of the battery
Size of the battery is measured in milliamp-hour (mAh). Rule of thumb is, the bigger the battery, more often than not, the longer the phone will last. Always aim for at least 4000 mAh.
Screen on time
This is how fast your battery dies when you are actively using the phone, this differs from person to person. Be sure to check the phone description for the screen on time. A phone with screen on time between 4.5 and 6 hours is a good deal.
Total battery life
What this represents is how long the phone will last with average use including the time the phone spends in your pocket or in ‘sleep mode’.
Some phones have good screen on time but die quickly when in your pocket, while some have poor screen on time but last forever when they are in your pocket.
Oftentimes your phone will run out of juice. But luckily you will have your charger with you. So the question to ask is, how quickly does the phone charge and how many ways can you charge it?
Nowadays phones come with different types of charging systems i.e. normal charging, fast charging, and wireless charging.
This is the minimum charging requirements on a phone. It normally takes about an hour and a half to two hours to get the phone on half charge. It’s time consuming compared to fast or quick charging.
Fast / quick charging
With this technology, your phone can charge up to 50% in half an hour or maybe even more. Also, the time it takes to fully charge the phone is very short, it takes less than 2 hours.
This isn’t the fastest charging technology; however it comes with its convenience in that you don’t need to connect your phone to a charging cable.
Depending on what you are looking for in a phone, it is good to look into the type of charging system your phone comes with and what will work best with you.
What you need to observe here is the ROM memory that comes with the phone and the ability to extend the memory using an external SD card. In general, if you get a phone with less than 32GB of storage, you are going to have a hard time when it comes to phone storage.
This is because the operating system also takes up space. Always consider getting a phone with a minimum of 32 GB ROM storage.
Expandable storage is normally good for photos, videos and music that you have downloaded. Memory cards for apps are only good for android 6.0 and above.
Anything less than 32GB means you will not have a good experience especially as you continue to use your phone and data from your apps like whatsapp, Facebook and instagram continue to grow.
Can your phone survive an accidental drop to the floor?
Even if you are very careful with your phone, sometimes accidents happen. Make sure to research drop test, scratch test, underwater tests etc. to make sure your phone can survive most of the everyday accidents.
There are also other factors to consider when looking at durability of a phone, for example is the phone splash proof, dust proof and water proof. Depending on the environment you will be using your phone in, make sure you read through the phone specs to see if this is covered.
Processor and RAM
These two factors combine to dictate how fast your phone is and how many apps you can run concurrently at any one time.
For RAM, 2 GB is a good place to start, however 3 to 4 GB is the place to settle comfortably. The more RAM your device has, the more you can multitask and the more apps you can have open all at once.
When looking at the processor, having a quad core processor will be sufficient. Multiple processor cores help in speeding up data-crunching in the CPU. To be on the efficient and fast side, go for a mobile phone that has at least a quad-core processor.
Phone security and unlocking method
The security of your phone is very important. So, having a way of locking your phone when you are not actively using it so that no stranger can access your documents is important.
There are many methods of unlocking your phone from the most common one which is having an unlock pattern to using your finger print on a finger print sensor and also using you face to unlock a phone.
Unlock pattern or code:
This is the most common unlock and security method on phones. You key in a secret code, or a pattern that only you know. Using this secret code or pattern you can then unlock your phone.
Finger print sensor:
Here, you need a phone that has fingerprint sensor hardware. With it, instead of using a code to unlock, you register your fingerprint and use it to unlock your phone when you need to.
The face unlock option was made popular by iPhone X when they introduced it as the primary way of unlocking your phone. Here, the cameras on your phone scan your face and save it. By giving your phone a look, you can unlock the phone.
Given the above options, always make sure you select a phone that meets your security needs.
Find a place to buy your phone
Wow! Now that you have crossed all the checkpoints for buying your knew smartphone, it’s time to buy it. So where do you start?
Here at saidia, we will recommend the following websites:
Also, we are not hard-pressed and recommended just the above shops, if you have your favorite phone dealer shop you can also purchase from there.
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