Over the past five or so years, the smartphone industry has been changing at a rapid rate. Big-screen phones with close to no bezels have become the norm; dual, tri, quad, and even Penta-lens cameras are things we actually come across regularly in our smartphone coverages; removable batteries are no longer a thing; and manufacturers are ditching the much-loved 3.5mm audio jack in favor of a universal USB Type-C port, which is the subject of this post.
Today, USB Type-C is the standard for charging and data transfer on most Android phones, including a significant chunk in the budget segment. It has successfully taken down the then-popular microUSB port and is slowly killing the much-loved 3.5mm audio jack. Like seriously, you got to enjoy the latter while it lasts!
Why USB Type-C?
A USB Type-C port has a number of good stuff it brings over the traditional microUSB port. For starters, it’s reversible, meaning there is no need of flipping the charging connector over and over just to get the right alignment with the port. I’ve been a victim of this on multiple occasions during my nightfall escapades.
Secondly, a typical microUSB 2.0 charger delivers up to 2.5W of power, but a USB-C will let in up to 100W thanks to what is known as USB power delivery, although manufacturers adjust this flow to suit the specific phone in question. In terms of data transfer, USB-C can hit speeds of up to 10Gbit/s, two times the speeds of the newer microUSB 3.0 port and more than 20 times that of the older microUSB 2.0 (480Mbit/s).
Of course, like charging, manufacturers can always play around with these data transfer speeds over USB-C, but it will mostly depend on how premium the phone is. For a budget phone with a USB-C, you are more likely to come across slightly slower charging and data transfer speeds for obvious reasons.
Just so you know, Type-C ports can handle more than just the typical charging and data transfer functions. In supported cases – read premium phones – it can serve the same purpose as HDMI, VGA, or even DisplayPort are meant to, which is a cool addition over the traditional microUSB port.
The best budget Android phones with a USB Type-C port
With all these goodies at hand, you are probably wondering which Android phone has a USB Type-C port and is available in Kenya at an affordable price. We’ll try to give you some options in this post with a pick from the best 5 available at Sh 25,000 and below, a smartphone segment we consider budget.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 7
Priced at a little over Kshs 18,000, the Xiaomi-made Redmi Note 7 is our top pick in this segment. From the external design all the way to the internal performance specs, the device is marvelous. Xiaomi has also included a massive 48MP dual-lens camera, up to 128GB storage, and a huge 4000mAh battery that’s charged via a USB Type-C port.
You can check out the rest of the specs here.
Huawei Y9 Prime 2019
Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 is one of the hottest smartphones available in Kenya right now. Besides the trendy pop-up selfie camera and tri-lens main camera, the Y9 Prime 2019 also happens to come with a USB Type-C port, the first in the Y series to do so.
Other specs include an expansive 6.59-inch 1080p display, a 4000mAh battery, a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner and a promise for Android Q update with EMUI 10 on top, among others. Right now, the Y9 Prime 2019 is going for about Kshs 24,000.
Samsung Galaxy A50
Samsung Galaxy A50 is the model that offers the best value for money in the new Galaxy A series. On top of having a USB-C port, the A50 also comes with an in-display fingerprint scanner, a triple-lens main camera, and a huge 4000mAh battery to keep you going for more than a day or two on moderate usage.
Internally, the Galaxy A50 is no slouch either, coming in with a powerful Exynos 9610 chipset with up to 128GB of internal storage. Other perks include 15W fast charging, 3.5mm audio jack, a top-notch Super AMOLED display screen, and so on.
The Galaxy A50 can be had for a hair shy of Kshs 26,000.
Huawei P30 Lite
Another Huawei device on the list is the P30 Lite, the entry-level variant in the flagship P30 series. Having launched priced at Kshs 30,000, the aging factor coupled with competition has seen the price drop to about Kshs 25,000.
For this amount, you not only get a USB-C port on the Huawei P30 Lite, but also some solid performance specs that include a Kirin 710 SoC, 4GB RAM and an impressive 128GB of expandable storage. Like a few others on this list, the P30 Lite also comes with a capable tri-lens camera on the back, supports 18W fast charging, and keeps the 3.5mm audio jack.
Xiaomi Mi A3
Yes, the Xiaomi Mi A3 isn’t available locally just yet. But we all know it won’t be long before it arrives and like its predecessor, the Mi A3 has a USB-C port for charging and data transfer. Similar to Nokia phones, the Mi A3 also enjoys the support of Android One, meaning at least two OS upgrades are guaranteed, beginning with Android Q.
Unfortunately, we don’t know when Xiaomi Kenya plans to bring the Mi A3 here. Since we know everything that the device brings to the table, we’d recommend that you wait for its arrival, but if you can’t, the outgoing Xiaomi Mi A2 is still a great pick. Although it has a USB-C port, the battery capacity on this thing coupled by the missing 3.5mm audio jack might be a concern for you.
Nokia 6.1, Nokia 6.1 Plus and Nokia 5.1 Plus
As you wait for the arrival of the third-generation Nokia 6 and Nokia 5 handsets, the second-generation Nokia 6.1, Nokia 6.1 Plus and Nokia 5.1 Plus can be great alternatives for those who have prioritized the USB-C port. It gets even better especially now that they have slightly discounted price tags compared to their RRPs.
Besides the USB-C port, the other major highlight of the Nokia trio is the guaranteed software support thanks to Android One. The phones have Android Oreo pre-installed and already switched to Pie via a software update. When Android Q stable arrives, they will also be among the devices to join the party.
These three are also guaranteed to receive monthly security updates, something not every smartphone vendor is able to offer on such budget phones. The Nokia 6.1 goes for Kshs 15,999, the Nokia 6.1 Plus costs Kshs 19,999 while the Nokia 5.1 Plus can be had for Khs 14,999.
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