As technology advances beyond just allowing the middle and upper class people to enjoy, slightly unfortunate people have better chances on owning a decent piece of technology these days. Heck, even the extremely low-paid, human rights abused Nepali guard whom the writer has come across owns a decent piece of budget Samsung smartphone. As it turns out today (for the better), beggars CAN be choosers when it comes to the modern smartphone industry.
In this article, we’ll be making up two “sub-lists”, the former being under RM500 and the latter being under RM900. As the term “cheapest” cannot be used in its plainest sense completely as the world of smartphones is a tricky place to be at. If it were, this list would simply recommend ten fake Chinese-designed iPhones, HTC Ones and your ever funniest “NOKLA” phone, all of them costing less than RM100 and you’d spend time hoping that it doesn’t electrocute your pillow.
Seriously, some of these fake phones come with electrocuting features. Half phone half Taser. Chinese innovation FTW!
Writer’s confession: I nearly bought a fake Nokia once; it’s spelled as NOKLA, similar to the one above but older. Oh ignorant Form 2 days.
Anyhoo, let’s move on to the lists!
NOTE: We wouldn’t be recommending any phones (though branded) that is cheap but would probably damage your wallet more for being totally useless either (I’m looking at you, extremely low-end Samsung phones of 2012/13) Hence there may be cheaper phones than the ones listed here, but we wouldn’t recommend you buying them owing to the fact that no matter how cheap it is, it may not be worth even five cents for being too troublesome and showing lags of death after six days of usage.
UNDER RM500 (in no particular order)
Xiaomi Redmi 2 – RM449 (Xiaomi Malaysia – always purchase from their website at mi.com/my)
Hey, of course it’s a Xiaomi phone, what else could you be expecting?! It’s cheap, it’s good, it’s reliable. It’s also new! It comes with a 1.2 GHz Quad-Core Snapdragon 410 I don’t know if you know this, but back in 2012 and 2013 when the first few batches of proper Quad-Core smartphones were released, everyone was exploding and fantasizing of owning one as they were so fast and battery-efficient! Snapdragon-processor phones were considered to be only available in the more expensive smartphone ranges as it has always been the “premier” brand of processors in the more expensive phones only. Well, no more. Snapdragon processors, though much more reliable but more expensive, have been appearing in Xiaomi’s phones all the time these days. I’m serious, owning a Snapdragon-enabled device is probably one of the best things ever! It’s so reliable! It’s fast!
Samsung Galaxy J1 – About RM380 and below (or complimentary via some of Celcom’s and other telco’s postpaid plans)
I know what you’re thinking; weren’t you stepping on Samsung earlier for producing crappy entry level phones?! Well, this phone isn’t exactly the writer’s cup of tea as it is a really basic one and might probably last you a year or two with it, it is still cheaper than RM400 after all. When down to really no choice, guess you’re gonna have to get this. Xiaomi’s Redmi 2 is always the better choice, though. An extra 100 bucks that will save you a fortune.
ASUS Zenfone 5
This is a phone definitely worth considering. With ASUS officially releasing Android Lollipop updates to this budget-friendly phone, it can be assumed that continued support by the manufacturer and its user community is safeguarded. Featuring a 5” (huge, by the way) 720p screen, it’s a pretty sweet deal to consider. Though really.. as this point *coughs*Redmi 2 is the best *coughs* it really boils down to personal preference. It is recommended that one should test out the display units of this phone with Redmi 2 to consider which suits your palm more.
Honor 4C – RM 500 Below
Make no mistake, though absent from any of the Honor phones, they are actually manufactured by Huawei. A pretty smart marketing strategy, as anyone outside of China would automatically feel repellant towards any Chinese-sounding brand, Huawei has taken the large step in rebranding their phone lineups of Huawei Honor to just Honor these days. Anyhoo, the phone packs a decent punch. With internals almost similar than the Honor 4X, the Honor 4C is slightly smaller than the 4X, much more suitable to those who prefer normal sized phones these days. Priced just below RM500 now, one should really take this phone into consideration as well.
Under RM900 (again, 3) could be better than 2), the order of phones listed here do not indicate rank)
Xiaomi Mi4i (pay attention, there’s a subtle “i” at the back) – RM769 off Xiaomi Malaysia
Much as we’d like to keep brand variations a priority here in MyGadgets.my, it is rather hard when there are manufacturers who do such beautiful jobs in making their phones affordable and not feel cheap at the same time, Xiaomi is one of those manufacturers. With the Mi 3 being discontinued and the Mi4 somehow not being actively promoted officially by Xiaomi Malaysia (probably due to not being able to price match the Mi4’s predecessor the Mi3), Xiaomi has decided to bring in the Mi4i. The Mi4i is basically the slightly dumbed down version of the Mi4. Still worth getting though, on its current standing, it beats the Mi3 in many areas, especially design, for almost the same price, too.
Meizu MX 4 ( RM 800 to RM 900)
An extremely powerful phone with a cheaper price tag hovering around RM800~900, one might also want to consider this smartphone. With a 20megapixel Sony camera (though really, 20’s a bit of an overkill) and a very beautiful QHD display along with it, it makes it feel that life is perfect by having this phone. Well, not really… it runs on Flyme OS, a rather.. minimalistic OS compared to other smartphones, some of its core apps are still plagued with residue Chinese texts and with no option for expandable storage. Still great, though!
Lenovo P70 – RM700-ish
These days it’s really hard to give Lenovo a second chance after doing rather poorly in trying to keep their low to mid-range smartphones before this afloat. But perhaps if you’re feeling kind, do give them a second chance! It has a really long-lasting battery life with a 4,000mAh to electrify the phone. Though one qualm that the author has not been able to make peace with is that it only comes with a 720p display, something extremely subpar to the Mi4i. Still, the 64-bit octa-core processor in this makes gaming fly fantastically in performance.
Honor 4X (see what we did there?)
Asus Zen 2
Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G
If some of you are feeling…
We don’t blame you, we feel the same too. End of the day, it’s extremely hard to avoid including mostly Chinese-made phones into the list. However, we believe this to be a more than alright thing as the smartphone industry in China these days have been increasing in quality so much more than before. We hope that this will set precedence against the other big smartphone players to produce more bang for buck phones in the future.
So, what do you think of the list of phones we have listed out for you? If there’s a particular phone that you are finding “cheap” and have some doubts regarding it – do let us know and we may be able to assist you!