Budget phones have been saving lives for a very long time, and one should actually appreciate the Chinese for this. They contributed a lot to making the world more connected with dead-cheap smart devices, forcing bigger players to reconsider their pricing. OEMs like Tecno took advantage of the growing African market, creating devices that made lots of Nigerians dump their Blackberry devices for smarter Android phones.
Infinix came in, so did iTel, Innjoo, Opsson, Solo, Mi-Fone and many other brands who want to sell their devices to Nigerians. However, some terrible things have happened, the country has become some sort of a dumping ground.
Have these guys suddenly gone greedy?
It appears so. Infinix Hot Note sold for about ₦24,000 last year and it was hailed as one of the best budget phones in that price range. It’s true that the current exchange rate is affecting a lot of things, but it seems everyone is capitalizing on this to extort. Taking that same phone to Carlcare this year, a friend was told the board has to be replaced and the repair fee was ₦21,000. Does it make any sense repairing a phone you bought for ₦24,000 with ₦21,500? ₦16,500 for the board, ₦3,000 for a brand new charger, and ₦2,000 for a new battery.
Some OEMs also intentionally sell devices without making provisions for spare parts. If it gets damaged, it’s all over. If you ever damage the outer glass too, even with the digitizer still working perfectly, you may be asked to pay over ₦20,000.
By the way, an iPad Air outer glass screen costs only $15 on Chinese websites if your digitizer still works fine. I was also able to find Huawei Honor 6 Plus outer glass for just $10. If it were one of these OEMs, I would have to withdraw every penny in my bank account to get them repaired.
What about the better variants sold everywhere else except Nigeria?
If you’ve ever been frustrated looking for the 2GB RAM or LTE version of a device on Jumia or Konga, only to find the 1GB RAM or 3G version, you should know how painful it feels when you realize these models are only being sold in Pakistan and other countries.
Lots of missing sensors
Modern technology won’t even work on most of these devices. The other day I introduced virtual reality to a friend and we decided to put his Tecno Phantom 5 into my Homido VR headset, but the guy ended up disappointed. This is a device selling for over 100k on Jumia right now with no gyroscope. Not only that, lots of other sensors like magnetometer are missing.
This means 360 degree videos won’t work, VR apps for learning and games are totally useless on this rather expensive device.
This is an article written in less than 20 minutes straight out of anger.
Featured image via Jacquelicious.