Best Nokia phones to buy in South Africa

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It may be that Nokia has switched strategies from luxury to affordability and reliability. With a reputation for making rugged phones with long-lasting batteries, Nokia phone owners are repeat who look for other reliable Nokia phones from the mobile phone brand’s other range of phones.

But, the latest Nokia phones are actually developed by another Finnish brand called HMD Global. The phones you see lately in stores are officially called Nokia-branded phones.

So, HMD Global is using the Nokia name to sell its phones. This then, some may argue, means they are somewhat different from the solid Nokia 3310s of yesteryear. But, if these new sheriffs in Nokia town stick to a similar ethos as the Nokia you know then we might have something to work with here.

Nokia phones range in South Africa

The range of Nokia phones for sale in South Africa is not as broad as in other developing nation markets, such as India. The range of Nokia smartphones that are for sale in South Africa includes these:

  • Nokia Originals and feature phones
  • Nokia budget smartphones
  • Nokia C-Series
  • Nokia G-Series
  • Nokia X-Series

Nokia phones can be categorized as feature phones, entry-level smartphones, budget smartphones, mid-range smartphones, and high-end smartphones.

The designs have been toned down from the weird and wacky phones in the 2000s that pushed the design envelope, to the now functionality-focused and straightforward designs, even in high-end smartphones.

Nokia Originals and feature phones

The cheapest Nokia phones are their feature phones. A feature phone prioritizes the call and SMS function over other features.

The Nokia Originals is a nostalgic throwback to previous successful Nokia phones, which seem to be making you pay for the nostalgia more than the actual performance of the phones.

A major benefit of having a feature phone is the ability to not be online and to have a backup phone with a long-lasting battery. What uses up your battery is the display, camera, hardware, apps, operating system, and background tasks of the phone.

If these have a camera they are usually one really small VGA camera, and if they have any smartphone apps they allow only basic use functionality.

Nokia reminds us of this every chance they get. Here is a list of the Nokia Originals and feature phones and the year of their release:

  • 105 4G (2023)Nokia 105 Africa Edition (2022), 105 4G (2021), 105 2019 (2019), and 106 (2018)
  • Nokia 02-4G
  • Nokia 120-4G
  • Nokia 9
  • Nokia 8 Sirocco
  • Nokia 1 Plus
  • Nokia 5310 (2020)
  • Nokia 6310 (2021)
  • Nokia 215 4G (2020) and 210 (2019)
  • Nokia 3310 (2017)
  • Nokia 150 (2017)

Nokia entry-level smartphones

These are entry-level to mid-range smartphones from Nokia that offer some basic smartphone experiences like a touchscreen, a selfie camera, and apps. Those higher in the range ramp up the cameras and RAM sizes to get

What consumers look for include the ability to install WhatsApp, read emails, go onto the internet, and take pictures, all at an affordable price.

Here is a list of the Nokia entry-level smartphones and the year of their release:

  • Nokia 02-4G
  • Nokia 120-4G
  • Nokia 9
  • Nokia 8 Sirocco (2018)
  • Nokia 1 Plus (2019)
  • Nokia 5.4 (2020)
  • Nokia 5.3 (2020)
  • Nokia 5.1 Plus (2018)
  • Nokia 3.4 (2019)
  • Nokia 3.2 (2019)
  • Nokia 3.1 (2018)
  • Nokia 2.3 (2019)
  • Nokia 2.2 (2019)
  • Nokia 2.1 (2018)

Notice that these budget phones are in the 5.x, 3.x, and 2.x series. So, each year or so Nokia will upgrade each 5.x, 3.x, and 2.x series.

Nokia budget high-end smartphones

Together with the Nokia X-Series phones, the 7.x and 6.x series of phones make up high-end smartphones from Nokia. These are still in the budget market, meaning their price and specifications are at the lower end of the high-end smartphones market.

Here is a list of the Nokia budget high-end smartphones and the year of their release:

  • Nokia 7.2 (2019)
  • Nokia 7.1 (2018)
  • Nokia 6.2 (2019)

The phones are quite old, but they will still do duty fine if you’re just looking for an upgraded camera and display screen. We would also rate them as an alternative to the G-Series phones.

Nokia C-Series phones

Featuring one of Nokia’s most popular 2023 phones, the Nokia C32, featuring the Android 13 Operating System. The C-Series phones are budget smartphones that slot just above the 5.X series of phones.

Here is a list of the Nokia C-Series phones and the year of their release:

  • Nokia C32 (2023)
  • Nokia C31 (2022)
  • Nokia C30 (2021)
  • Nokia C22 (2023)
  • Nokia C21 and C21 Plus (2022)
  • Nokia C20 (2021)
  • Nokia C 10 (2021)
  • Nokia C1 2e (C1 2nd Edition) and Nokia C2 2e (C2 2nd Edition) (2022)
  • Nokia C1 and C2 (2020)

Nokia G-Series phones

In this model range, you can get a phone that accesses the 5G network with the Nokia G50 and the G42 5G. A good smartphone range will little to ask for, except maybe better performance figures. But, with a purchase price just under R5,000 you don’t expect to experience fast app-switching and big cameras.

  • Nokia G42 5G (2023)
  • Nokia G50 (2021)
  • Nokia G21 (2022)
  • Nokia G20 (2021)
  • Nokia G10 (2021)

Nokia X-Series phones

Looking to give phones in the high-end market a run for their money the Nokia X-Series phones all feature 5G network capability.

With HMD Global looking to set itself apart it managed to be included in Google’s Android One program that ensures cellphones shipped under it will receive

Also quite exciting to see here are the Zeiss lenses included with the range-topping Nokia XR20. These lenses may end with the XR20, though, as it seems the partnership is no longer being listed under the ZEISS’ Brand Partnerships page, according to nokiamob.net.

Here is a list of the Nokia X-Series phones and the year of their release:

  • XR21 (2023)
  • XR20 (2021)
  • X20 (2021)
  • X10 (2021)

Nokia’s best camera phone

Nokia X20 (2021)

The Nokia with the best camera is the Nokia X20, which came out in 2021. It is Nokia’s best camera phone based on the number and quality of lenses, which number 5 and with some being from Zeiss optics.

Usually, with phone manufacturers, the most expensive or flagship phone will have the best cameras out of them all. But, the Nokia X20 has better primary and selfie camera specifications than the more expensive Nokia XR21, with two extra cameras that are used for depth and macro photography.

CamerasMain camera 64MP, 5MP ultrawide, 2MP macro, 2MP depth
Selfie camera 32MP
HDR video recording
RAM and StorageRAM Size is 8GB
Storage Size starts at 128GB
MicroSD (Up to 512GB)
Internet speed5G, Dual SIM
Screen resolutionFull HD (1080×2400) 6.67-inch screen
FeaturesFingerprint and face unlock, fast-charging
PriceR7,300 from Makro
Nokia X20 5G 128GB Dual Sim features, specs, and price.
The best Nokia camera phone is the X20 5G.

Best Nokia Budget Smartphone

Nokia C32 (2023)

An entry-level budget smartphone should fulfill the most basic smartphone needs, such as a good camera, good internet speed, and the ability to install the full version of Instagram. The Nokia G20 is a great budget smartphone that will introduce anyone to the capabilities of a smartphone at an affordable price.

The Nokia C32 smartphone was introduced to the South African cellphone market in 2023, with the most up to date version of Android at that time, Android 13. We expect you will still be able to upgrade to Android 14 and 15 with this smartphone. It’s a good thing, we expect the 2-year warranty to keep up with the Android versions.

We reckon the cash price of this device is affordable enough to buy it in cash or lay-by with Foschini for a few months.

CamerasMain camera 50MP, 2MP macro, with HDR video recording
Selfie camera 8MP
RAM and StorageRAM Size is 3GB
Storage Size starts at 64GB
MicroSD (Up to 256GB)
Internet speed4G, Dual SIM
Screen resolutionFull HD (720×1600) 6.5-inch screen
FeaturesFingerprint unlock, big 5000mAh battery
PriceR2,499 from WConnect (Woolworths)
Nokia C32 Dual Sim features, specs, and price.
The best budget smartphone from Nokia is the C32
The best budget smartphone from Nokia is the C32 (2023)

Best Cheap Nokia phone

Nokia 105 4G Dual Sim

Yes, we also thought the best small and cheap Nokia the Nokia 105 Africa Edition. But, there is a reason to avoid the Africa edition, which looks like this:

The Nokia 105 Africa edition , which runs on the 2G network. image source: instagram.com/capetownguy

The 105 Africa edition uses the 2G network band. But, South Africa is facing a 2G and 3G network switch off by 2025. So, your phone may become useless in less than 3 years’ time. A 4G-capable phone also enables you to use VoLTE (voice over LTE) telephone technology, which when connected enables you to make and receive clear sounding calls.

The Nokia 105 4G is the best cheap Nokia phone to buy, and it looks like this:

The Nokia 105 4G.

A contender for the best cheap Nokia phone is the Nokia 215, which is about R100 dearer. Worth a look, in our opinion.

Moemedi Segoje

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