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Best Phones Under Ksh 20,000 in Kenya (April 2021)

Shopping for a device under 20K? We got you


Budget phones often come with their shortcomings, but there are great phones available under Ksh 20k in Kenya. If you’re shopping for a phone under Ksh 20,000, you’ll bump into a myriad of options. But not every device in this segment is great. Most phones under Ksh 20,000 are so-so, but some are exceptional, offering a bang for your buck.

These exceptional phones are what we’ll look at in this list.

These are the best phones under 20k in Kenya:

  1. Xiaomi Redmi 9A – Ksh 8,999
  2. Xiaomi Redmi 9 – Ksh 12,999
  3. Realme C12 – Ksh 14,299
  4. Xiaomi Redmi 9T – Ksh 16,499
  5. Nokia 5.3 – Ksh 16,999

Xiaomi Redmi 9A – Best Under Ksh 10,000

Xiaomi Redmi 9A
Xiaomi Redmi 9A

Xiaomi’s Redmi 9A is one of our favorite devices under Ksh 10,000. With its 6.53-inch HD+ display, it doesn’t offer the best panel you’d wish for, but for the price, it works just fine.

On the optics, Redmi 9A has a single 13MP and a 5MP selfie camera. Battery life is one of the phone’s strong selling points, with the 5000mAh battery providing as much screen time. The downside is the lack of a USB Type C port, but again, all things considered, you shouldn’t complain.

Redmi 9A also includes 2GB RAM, 32GB of internal storage, Android 10 with MIUI 12 atop, and runs on an Octa-core MediaTek Helio G25 processor.

Xiaomi Redmi 9

Xiaomi Redmi 9
Xiaomi Redmi 9

Under Ksh 15,000, the go-to choice is yet another phone from Xiaomi, the Redmi 9A. Xiaomi’s value for money proposition lives prominently among its devices, and this one is no exception.

Apart from the gigantic 5020mAh battery, it has a USB Type C port that permits 18W fast charging. A major caveat is the inclusion of a 10W charger out of the box, so getting an 18W charger separately will fully utilize the faster charging speeds supported by the device.

The display is a  6.53″ FHD+ Dot Drop Display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. Its display resolution gives it an advantage over many phones from Infinix, Samsung, Vivo, Nokia, Huawei, and TECNO.

The camera department is another strong point for this device. You get a quad-camera setup led by a 13MP main camera. It is aided by an 8MP ultrawide, 2MP depth, and 5MP macro lens. On the front is a single 8MP camera in a dewdrop notch. You also get 4GB of RAM paired with an Helio G80 processor and 64GB of onboard storage.

Realme C12 – Massive Battery

realme C12
realme C12 in coral red

Realme C12 doesn’t provide some of the bells and whistles provided by the Redmi 9. But it’s a suitable device for battery junkies. You’re getting a 6000mAh battery, but the downside is the lack of fast charging support – it charges at a typical 10W. That should provide longer screen time with the 6.5-inch 720p bright(480 nits peak brightness) display.

Realme C12 has 3GB of memory, 64GB of onboard storage, a triple rear camera setup(13 MP + 2 MP + 2MP), and a single 5MP selfie camera.

It also ships with Android 10 out of the box but with Realme UI 1.0 on top. There is also a rear-placed fingerprint sensor. Other table stakes available include Bluetooth 5.0, a headphone jack, and 4G LTE support.

Xiaomi Redmi 9T – Best Overall

Xiaomi Redmi 9T
Xiaomi Redmi 9T

Xiaomi Redmi 9T is the latest device from the company to land in Kenya – and it offers pretty solid specs. Starting with the 6.53-inch 1080p display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 662 powers the device, paired with 4GB of memory.

A 48MP camera spearheads the optics department with three other lenses – an 8MP ultrawide, a 2MP depth, and another 2MP lens for macro shots. On the front is an 8MP selfie camera. A 6000mAh battery powers the phone, and charging shouldn’t be an issue with the 18W fast charging capability via USB Type C.

You get a side-mounted fingerprint sensor, and the back of the phone has tiny treads to deal with fingerprint smudges. Redmi 9T is splash-proof as well, according to the company, which is a plus.

The device comes in two memory variants, 64GB and 128GB. The former retails at Ksh 16,499, while the 128GB variant goes for Ksh 17,999 at the time of writing. The additional advantage of picking the 128GB variant is that it has faster UFS 2.2 storage than UFS 2.1 on the 64GB model.

Nokia 5.3 – Best Software Experience

Nokia 5.3
Nokia 5.3

HMD Global’s Nokia 5.3 wins it on the software department, like other Nokia phones. It offers a clean and pure Android experience courtesy of Google’s Android One program.

Apart from software, it has 6GB of memory paired with a faster Snapdragon 665, which trumps the 662 running the Redmi 9T. You get a quad-camera setup on the back – 13 MP (f/1.8) wide, PDAF + 5 MP ultrawide + 2 MP macro + 2 MP depth – and an 8MP wide selfie camera on the front.

Nokia 5.3 has a relatively larger 6.55-inch HD+ panel with a dewdrop notch and Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. The maximum brightness is 450 nits, but don’t expect things to be crisp compared to a 1080p panel. The phone draws power from a 4000mAh battery with a USB Type C port, but the lack of fast charging support is a bummer.

N.B: Nokia 5.4 was announced in December going at Ksh 23,000, but it has some minor upgrades, which doesn’t really justify the price increase. The main downgrade includes an older Snapdragon 662 chipset instead of the snappier 665 on the 5.3. A 48MP lens replaced the 13MP main sensor, and the selfie camera is a new 16MP lens.

Wrapping Up

There are many phones under 20k in Kenya, but there are many bad apples than you’d like to think. But budget phones are slowly getting better.

Xiaomi is undoubtedly winning the value proposition race. If the likes of Infinix, TECNO, Vivo, Oppo, Samsung, etc., don’t wake up, the company is seriously giving a run for their money.

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Alvin Wanjala

Alvin Wanjala has been writing about technology for over 2 years. He writes about different topics in the consumer tech space. He loves streaming music, programming, and gaming during downtimes.

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