How much should you spend on a new cellphone?

2018-09-07 14:59

If you are in the market for a new mobile phone, how much money should you dedicate to it? Angelique Ruzicka asks how much is too much

A new Apple iPhone X 256GB in silver can set you back a whopping R23 229 on, while a Samsung 128GB Galaxy Note 9, which can be pre-ordered this month on, can set you back R18 999*. If you are a brand loyalist, you may feel like you have no choice but to spend the money if you want a cellphone with the latest features.

Buying new can cost a lot of money, but when asked “how much is too much”, Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of independent technology market research organisation World Wide Worx, says it is down to how much you have in your budget and your profession.

If you are a professional blogger or photographer, Goldstuck says one of the things you would consider is the camera quality on a cellphone.

“You would look at a phone between R12 000 and R24 000, depending on what you need as well. High-end phones are waterproof and can be used underwater. The new Samsung Galaxy Note 9 doesn’t only have artificial intelligence in the camera, but a stylus (S Pen) can set up the phone from a distance and trigger selfies without you holding the phone. If those kinds of features are appealing and it’s in your budget, then that’s what you will need to spend,” he says.


If you are not a professional, the good news is that entry-level and middle-price-range phones are getting more sophisticated. “If you are looking for value for money, the best is found in the R3 000 to R8 000 range, such as Xiaomi and Huawei.

“There are also Samsung phones available in that price range. For the untrained eye they don’t look different to the really expensive ones,” says Goldstuck. At the bottom price range, Goldstuck favours the Vodafone Smart Kicka. It is currently priced at R399.90 on, has a 2MP camera, 512MB and 4GB memory.


If you are a brand loyalist, then perhaps now would be a good time to ditch your affinity with your favourite brand. “Be careful of brand loyalty as it can prevent you from seeing great options in other brands.

“Huawei and LG are great examples of phones that are right up there with the rest in terms of quality but are more affordable,” explains Goldstuck.

And if you are really passionate about your select brand but still want to save money, consider making use of buyback schemes or fixing your current phone.

The iStore, for example, is happy to take in your previously loved iPhone and give you cash back after an evaluation is conducted at their tech desk.

Alternatively, local repair specialists weFix have relaunched their i2 range of refurbished iPhones. “Preloved devices are the perfect solution for those who want a quality phone at a lower price than buying new, or for those who are conscious about the environment,” says Grant Webster, chief operating officer of weFix.


Reducing your phone time could reduce your exposure to adverts that may prompt you to buy something and cut down on your data usage. Here are three ways to cut down on your phone usage and save money in the process:

  • Delete social media apps: You are going to be tempted to use your phone whenever you get a ping that you have a new message. Delete these apps and you are guaranteed to spend less time on social media and not drain your data.
  • Block your access: We tend to check our phones in a zombie-like fashion, but if you can’t bear going cold-turkey by deleting all apps, you can download apps that can block you from using your phone at specified times, such as Freedom, Offtime and Flipd. Doing this could save you money and time.
  • Use Wi-Fi and messaging apps: “Use WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Skype on your phone wherever you can.

“Essentially, using voice to apps is going to save you a lot of money over time, especially if you are in a free Wi-Fi zone,” points out Goldstuck.

*Prices correct as at August 14 2018

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

March 24 2019