Kenya’s smartphone market is filled with high-end smartphones, midranges and budget phones. Due to the democratisation of this market, the best smartphones are not necessarily expensive ones. Budget phones have impressive specs with minimal trade-offs. Also, the definition of the best smartphone depends on the user’s expectations and the amount they are willing to invest in a unit.
When it comes to the decision to purchase a smartphone, different users have different needs. The basics, such as call clarity, great connectivity, and a longer-lasting battery, remain constant across all users. However, those who have a bigger budget will be comfortable to fork out more for a high-end brand, better screen solution, high-quality camera, bigger storage space, and a larger screen.
The best smartphones in Kenya in 2021
These are the best smartphones in Kenya.
1. The iPhone 12 Max
The iPhone 12 Max is the best phone on Apple’s line-up yet. It has the latest Apple A14 Bionic, which makes the phone faster and power efficient. While the 6GB RAM is quite average on a smartphone, the phone works perfectly.
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The iPhone 12 Max is the best camera phone for photographers and vloggers. It has the same camera set-up as the iPhone 11 (12MP + 12MP + 12 MP) but with TOP 3D LiDAR for better image detection. The selfies are also decent and colour-muted, unlike Samsung’s S20 Ultra.
The iPhone 12 Max price ranges from Ksh 160,000 to Ksh 203,000 at Phone Place Kenya depending on the internal storage.
2. Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is the best phone on Samsung’s S-series. The camera set-up, which has a massive 108MP primary shooter, is the best phone camera yet. Compared to the iPhone’s 12, the S20 cameras record better videos, even in darker spaces.
Away from the camera, Samsung included a 5,000mAh battery in the S20 Ultra. The battery allows you to use the phone on 120Hz without killing the battery in a day.
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However, if you manage to drain it, you can charge it through the improved Wireless PowerSharing (with another compatible phone) or charge it wirelessly. The phone is available from Ksh 109,000 from Phones Tablets Kenya Limited.
3. Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE, commonly known as the Fan Edition, is a budget version of the expensive S20. While it has some trade-offs such as a plastic back, the specs make it a perfect Android midrange phone. For example, the camera, which is 12 MP, records impressive photos and videos.
Although Samsung markets the phone as midrange phone, its super AMOLED display with 407 PPI makes it the best value for money. Also, the processor makes it one of the fastest phones under Ksh 80,000.
Unfortunately, the phone does not have an audio jack, and you will not charge it wirelessly. The Samsung Galaxy S20 goes for Ksh. 63,500 at Phone Place Kenya.
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4. The iPhone SE 2020
The iPhone SE 2020 is the best mid-range phone based on software support, camera set-up, and the processor. While the phone has big bezels and a dated iPhone 8 body, the A13 bionic make the SE a powerful phone than the iPhone X line-up.
The phone is a perfect buy if you are migrating from Android but do not want to spend over Ksh 100,000. Also, the SE is more likely to get iOS updates for the next five years. The phone is, therefore, a long-term investment.
The iPhone SE price in Kenya ranges from Ksh 49,000 to Ksh 56,000 at Gadgets LEO depending on the phone’s internal storage.
5. OnePlus Nord
OnePlus Nord is the Android’s version of the iPhone SE 2020. Like its Apple’s competitor, the phone has impressive specs but on an old body. The Snapdragon 765 G, for example, makes the Nord one of the most powerful Android phones under Ksh 80,000.
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The Android 10 device also has an impressive 6.44-inch display, better than the iPhone SE 2020. The Fluid AMOLED capacitive display also makes the phone ideal for niche usage such as gaming and watching videos.
The phone has a Li-Po 4115 mAh battery. However, due to high screen refresh rate, it may be impossible to get a full day charge. Fortunately, Nord supports 30W fast charging. The Nord goes for Ksh 45,000 to 50,000 at Avechi.
6. Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite
The Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite is the first 5G phone under Ksh 40,000. Although it is a midrange, it is one of the best phones for all types of users. The gigantic 4160 mAh battery, for example, powers the phone for a whole day, regardless of what you are doing with the Mi 10 Lite.
The quad-camera set-up captures some of the best pictures on an Android phone. The main 48MP shooter rivals a professional camera in taking decent photos, even in dark places. While the 16MP camera may take saturated selfie photos, they are great.
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The phone goes for Ksh 37,000 on Cellular Kenya. However, most retailers have it at Ksh 38,000.
7. Oppo A93
The Oppo A93 is the latest addition to the Oppo’s A- series. Thanks to its bleeding-edge specs and unmatched pricing, the phone is one of the top-rated budget phones in Kenya. For example, the 8GB RAM and 128GB internal storage makes the A93 the fastest phone under Ksh 35,000.
Besides, the A93 has a powerful Mediatek Helio P95, which is an impressive processor. Therefore, the Android 10 device is a perfect buy for professionals, photography enthusiasts and students. It is available on all Oppo affiliated stores for Ksh 30,500.
8. Infinix Note 8
The Infinix Note 8 is a camera-centred phone. With a camera set-up of 64MP+ 2MP + 2MP + 2MP, it is the best android phone under Ksh 25,000. In addition to an impressive camera set-up, the phone has a gigantic battery that can last a day without charge.
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The 6.95 inches display is impressive to look. The IPS LCD is the Infinix’s attempt to bring flagship specs on a midrange phone. While the Note 8’s screen is not the brightest on this price range, you can do most of the tasks outside without struggles. The Note 8 goes for Ksh 21,800 at Phone Place Kenya.
9. Nokia 5.3
The Nokia 5.3 is an improved version of the 5.2 which came earlier this year. Unlike the previous version, the 5.3 has a bigger battery and a more powerful processor. The key improvements make it the best selling smartphone on the Android One niche and one of the best phones by Nokia.
The camera set-up is also improved. You can take decent photos with Nokia 5.3, even in darker places. Unfortunately, the phone heats up when recording videos. Except heating, the back and front cameras are perfect for all types of shooters. The Nokia 5.3 is available from 21,000 on Jumia.
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10. Tecno Camon 16s
The Tecno 16s is the best phone you can buy under Ksh 20,000. The Android 10 device comes with the improved Media Helio P22 processor. Also, the 4GB RAM and 128GB internal storage make the Camon 16s an ideal phone for students and professionals.
The camera set-up, which has four cameras, takes decent photos. While the camera may struggle taking pictures in darker places, it records up to 4K videos at 30fps. Also, the front camera has two lenses (48MP + 8MP) which take decent photos. The Tecno Camon goes for Ksh 17,000 at Phone Place Kenya.
The ten best smartphones highlighted above are worth trying. Apart from having varying price tags, they are more likely to get up to three years of software updates. Therefore, they all ideal for buyers looking for a phone to use in the long-term.
With Samsung dominating the mid-range and high-end smartphone market in Kenya, choosing between different Samsung devices isn’t easy. This is why Tuko.co.ke has created a list of the top Samsung phones in Kenya.
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From the list, you will get to know the latest devices available and at what price. Besides, there is a short review covering what you can expect from each device.