When a company launches a phone, it typically prices it a little higher than what it’s worth. If you’re willing to wait, you can get it for cheaper. But every once in a while, a smartphone’s price drops drastically from its original, making it a fantastic deal.
Right now is a good time to be in the market for a new phone because you can get some fantastic flagships for a discounted price.
Samsung Galaxy S5 (R22,999)
It has been over a year since the Samsung Galaxy S5 debuted in India, and it has already dropped more than 50%. Our original review found that its pros outweighed its cons, and especially the cool features it comes with. You get a fingerprint scanner so that passwords are easier; you get a water-resistant body; and you get one of the finest cameras on a smartphone. At R23,000, the Samsung Galaxy S5 is a no-brainer purchase for anyone who wants a phone in that price range. In fact, if you planned to buy something below R20,000, we would suggest raising your budget to R23,000 instead and getting the S5.
Google Nexus 5 (R19,000)
Recently, the Google Nexus 6 got a R10,000 price cut, but what excites us more is the Nexus 5. Apart from the pure Google experience, the Nexus 5 offers the right balance in what you would look for from a smartphone—good screen, good camera, good battery life, good looks. Nothing is stellar, everything is good, and it just works. Plus, you’ll get updates to the new version of Android. In fact, the Nexus 5 is perfect to switch from BlackBerry to Android.
Lenovo Vibe X2 (R16,395)
When it launched, the Lenovo Vibe X2 got our vote for the best smartphone below R20,000. With a price tag closer to R15,000 now, you’d be a fool to overlook this. The X2 has a soft spot in our heart for the innovative smart layers. Want to play music? Snap on the JBL Bluetooth speaker extension. Want to protect your phone? There’s a rugged layer. Want to extend your battery life? There’s a snap-on cover for that too. You can change it up depending on what you expect to do that day. We really wish more phones did this.
Asus Zenfone 5 (8GB-R8,499 | 16GB-R9,999)
At R10,000, it was always a good phone. With a further 10% discount, the Asus Zenfone 5 is our default recommendation for anyone who says they want the best camera in a sub-10K smartphone. The 16GB version now costs R10,000, and there’s a microSD slot in case you want to expand that. The battery is quite underwhelming though, so be prepared for that.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (R29,000)
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3, in our books, remains the pinnacle of what Samsung can do. It introduced that faux leather back to get rid of the plasticky feel of Samsung phones. It also was an engineering marvel, as Samsung kept the overall size of the phone the same as the 5.5-inch Note 2, while increasing the actual screen size to 5.7 inches. And the Note 3 proved just how good a stylus can be on a phablet, as Samsung perfectly married its built-in S Pen with on-screen software for a seamless experience. If you like phablets, forget about the Nexus 6 despite its price drop. A phablet needs a stylus and accompanying software, and the Note 3 is arguably the best value for money proposition around at the moment.