Some of us have used or at least seen some of our friends and family use Safaricom’s Neon series of smartphones. The smart handhelds have been around for a couple of years now, and the carrier, which stocks them at its official retail stores and authorized dealers, sells them at a steal considering good smartphones often cost more than KES 10,000 or more.
This year’s campaign by the mobile operator christened Maisha Ni Digital has already kicked off. The promotion is marked by the launch of the successors of earlier Neon smart gadgets that are equipped with 4G radios for faster data connectivity. The cheapest of the trio is Neon Storm with a 4-inch screen, 512 MB of RAM and 4 GB of onboard storage. With an 1800 mAh juicer, the phone should last long enough considering its footprint is quite small. The carrier asks for KES 3,500 for this baby, which is quite a deal, to say the least. Similar to other phones sold by Safaricom, the Neon Storm only has a single SIM card slot. The rest of the specs can be checked here. Also, it is the only model with no 4G but at that price, who will really fault it?
Customers can add KES 500 and buy the Neon Ray LTE that doubles the RAM and internal memory. As its name suggests, the Ray LTE has 4G connectivity, which effectively makes it the single cheapest phone in Kenya that can take advantage of the carrier’s extensive LTE coverage. More specifications can be read here as well.
The most feature-packed of the new Neon phones is the Neon Nova LTE that keeps the memory configuration of the Ray, but stretches the screen to 5.2 inches and bumps the resolution to HD. It costs KES 6,000.
The Storm and Nova LTE are supplemented with a gig of free Safaricom data. They also run Android 8.1 Oreo Go Edition, which is a stripped-down version of Google’s mobile OS that is less demanding in terms of resources that keep the phones running. This, theoretically, makes the phone run leaner, albeit their pedestrian specifications. The OS is also complemented by Android Go apps such as Maps Go, YouTube Go and Giles by Google, to mention a few.
Safaricom targets to sell these phones to 2 million Kenyans. The number is a bit ambitious, but locals are always looking for mobile phone deals to get access to internet services. Handhelds that cost less than KES 6,000 should appeal to folks on a budget, and they should be satisfied considering their purchases have 4G access, a feature that is sometimes dropped for phones that cost double the price.