Having already highlighted the entry level devices with the new full screen display, namely Infinix S3 and the Tecno CM, it’s time to focus on the midrange offerings. These are the devices that are blurring the line between flagship and affordable by pushing optics and overall specifications to the next level.
This is OPPO’s most affordable device at below Sh25,000 with a full screen display to date. It scales at 5.7 inches HD+ (1440*720) 18:9 aspect ratio and a fancy 2.5D slight glass curvature. The screen has very small bezels around it effectively making it easily fit in one hand. The IPS display produces decent colors and is bright enough to view under direct sunlight.
Screen aside, the OPPO A83 comes with the same AI beauty mode first introduced in the F5. The 8MP front camera produces very good selfies, best within the price range. The rear camera tries to keep up as well. It incorporates a 13MP sensor that maintains natural color of subjects. However, taking photos directly against the sun will lead to overexposure.
The rest of the specifications include an energy efficient Helio P23 processor which works with the 3180mAh battery to push you easily through a whole day of normal to heavy usage. The charging is a bit quick but no fast charging technology is incorporated. Face unlock has been implemented instead of a fingerprint sensor which is a shame due to its hit or miss operation. Lastly, the device comes in Android 7.1 Nougat under the Color OS 3.2. The OPPO A83 is only available in 3GB RAM and 32GB expandable storage.
Huawei P Smart
This device sits right between the Huawei P10 Lite and the Mate 10 Lite. It comes with the new full screen display at 5.65 inches and Full HD resolution, hence sharper than the OPPO A83. Huawei made the device bezels so small that you can use it the same way as a 5 inch device with one hand.The display also outputs 530 nits of brightness which is beyond the industry standard of 400 nits, hence sunlight legibility is assured.
The 3000mah battery power will last you through a whole day. The processor is also slightly faster than the Helio A83 on the OPPO and blazes swiftly through the phone operation. Unfortunately, just like OPPO A83, no fast charging has been built in, but the battery fills up with decent speed.
It packs a 13MP+2MP, the second camera designed for portrait mode. The pictures produced have good level of detail, vibrant colors and a HDR mode that brings more saturation. Pro mode is available as well. The selfie, on the other hand, comes with an 8MP snapper which also makes portrait photos comparable to those of the rear dual camera.
Other specifications include a super loud speaker, a rear mounted fingerprint scanner (missing on the OPPO A83), a choice between 3GB RAM, 32GB expandable storage and 4GB/64GB version
Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)
In case you want a full screen display which is OLED, this is the device for you. It looks like the Galaxy S8 or the new S9 but comes at a lower price point. The screen spans over 5.6 inches, Full HD resolution and is even slightly curved on the sides. In auto mode, it can shine up to 590 nits under direct sunlight without losing the rich colors synonymous with Super AMOLED Displays.
Under the hood is the blazing fast Exynos 7885 which is also very efficient on battery life effectively making the 3000mAh last the longest among the other devices discussed above; fast charging is present as well. You get 4GB RAM and a choice between 32GB and 64GB. The Samsung Experience 8.5 UI running on Android 7.1.1 Nougat has all the Galaxy S8 software features.
The front shooter comes in dual cameras, 16MP +8MP. The 16MP produces very detailed and color rich solo shots while the 8MP has warmer toned group photos. The rear 16MP camera has similar results as the first one but images are sharper.
Other specifications include water resistance, incredibly loud speaker and rear mounted fingerprint scanner whose design is similar to the new Galaxy S9. Due to the superior specifications, its price is higher; however, at around 40,000, it might be reasonable for those looking for a Galaxy S8 or S9 experience on a budget.