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I know what you’re thinking.

Affordable mobiles are hard to come by in Nigeria these days – right?

Wrong. Dead wrong.

The bad news is that I’m not talking about the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge or the Apple iPhone 6S. It doesn’t take a genius to realize these devices don’t fall in the category of “affordable mobile phones”.

There are in fact plenty of smartphones with a cheaper price tag that are worth your consideration. Feel free to scroll down to the end of this article for easy-to-read profiles of each of these mobile phones.

So how do you go about choosing the perfect mobile for 2016? There are a number of important issues which you should keep in mind but we start with an obvious one – the design and appearance of the phone…

Hey, Good Looking?
According to CNet, buying a mobile phone means:

“entering into a relationship with a highly portable, physical object…you should think hard about how it’s designed, since you and it will be spending plenty of quality time together”.

For this reason, it is really important think about how the mobile looks.

Design is a question of personal taste. However, we love the look and feel of the Lumia 950 which has a sleek black and white finish and is a perfectly compact size (145mm x. 73.22mm) making it fit comfortably within the palm of your hand. As if that was not enough, the Lumia 950 will also feature a 5.2 inch QHD OLED display, making images and videos display in a sharp and vibrant way.

Although the Lumia 950 is a handsome hand set, it is at the more expensive end of the range of mobiles which we reviewed. If you are looking for a well designed mobile but want to spend a little less, we recommend the Infinix Zero 2 which has a textured back panel and comes in a wide range of colors including gold, black, white, blue, red and purple.

A Weighty Decision
Another important factor in any decision to buy a mobile will be the weight of the device. Nobody wants a phone that feels heavier than Santa’s sack as he leaves the North Pole on Christmas day, right?

From our list of 9 mobiles phones which offer amazing value for 2016, there is a clear winner in this category – the Infinix Zero which is by far the lightest of all the mobiles available at a mere 118 grams. The heaviest mobile which we reviewed was the Blackberry Passport which weighs in at a pocket busting 196 grams!

Very Selfilicous
President Buhari was taking selfies on the campaign trail in 2015. Could the Tecno Phantom 5 be the mobile for him in 2016?

Earlier this year, President Buhari hit the headlines when he took a number of selfies while on the campaign trail. However, you don’t need to be president of Nigeria to enjoy the odd selfie.
For selfie lovers, there’s one question and one question only that matters when it comes to choosing your new mobile device – how good is the front camera or the “selfie camera” as it is better known.

One of the best measures of the selfie camera is the number of mega pixels in the pictures it takes. One mega pixel (MP) represents a million pixels and is a measure of how high the resolution of your pictures will be. This is most crucial when either you want to crop your photos on your mobile or print the photos.

The mobile devices we reviewed had selfie cameras with mega pixels ranging from 2MP to 8MP. We’ve included a chart to the right hand side of this article which shows the full range of phones ranked by their selfie prowess.

As you will see, the clear winner in the “selfie category” is the Tecno Phantom 5, which boasts a selfie camera with 8MP. That’s a lot of mega pixels! Even more impressive is that the rear camera also packs a punch with 13MP. To put that into some context, the Techno Phantom 5 has more MPs than even the Apple iPhone 6S, which has a selfie camera of 5MP and a front camera of 12MP.

Affordable Mobiles Cameras

Operating Systems
You’ve probably heard advice along the lines of “All operating systems are the same these days; there’s very little difference between them”. However, nothing could be further than the truth. There are huge differences between all the operating systems on the market today and mobile phone buyers in Nigeria need to keep this in mind.

The 9 affordable mobiles we reviewed ran off the following three operating systems: Blackberry, Windows 10 and Android.

So, how do you decide which of the Blackberry, Windows 10 and Android operating systems are the best? Each operating system has its own unique design features and user flow, each of which has its own advantages and disadvantages.

99% of readers will buy a mobile phone with the same operating system as their current device. It doesn’t matter whether your roots are Hausa, Igbo or Yoruba, the real tribal loyalty these days is to your mobile operating system.

Think for a second though – you may be used to the “look and feel” of your current mobile operating system but is it giving you the best experience?

If you’re ready to take the giant leap of faith required in order to try a new operating system, the best way to distinguish between these mobile operating systems is the number and quality of apps they have available.

99% of readers will buy a mobile phone with the same operating system as their current device. It doesn’t matter whether your roots are Hausa, Igbo or Yoruba, the real tribal loyalty these days is to your mobile operating system.

According to Statistica, as of July 2015, the Google Play Store available to Android users hosts 1,500,000 apps whereas the Windows Phone Store and Blackberry World host a measly 340,000 and 130,000 each.

This means that the Android operating system is the stand out option when it comes to the number of apps available. All of the following are cheap Android phones available widely in Nigeria for 2016: Infinix Hot 2, Infinix Zero 2, Tecno Phantom 5, Innjoo Fire Plus and Innjoo Halo.

Readers who would rather stick with the Blackberry or Windows 10 operating systems need not be completely disheartened. Many of the most popular apps available in Nigeria today are also available on Blackberry and Windows 10.

Storage Space
While having a great camera for taking selfies is important, don’t forget to make sure that the mobile device you purchase has enough storage space for your snaps. There’s nothing more annoying than receiving an error message telling you “There’s not enough room on your device to take any more photographs due to lack of storage space”.

If like me, your pet hate is also running out of storage space, then check out our chart below which sets out a list of the top 9 affordable mobile phones in the Nigerian market for 2016 ranked by the amount of storage space provided.

Affordable Mobiles Storage

As you will see, the best mobile devices for storage in 2016 are the Blackberry Passport, Tecno Phantom 5 and Lumia 950 – each of these phones comes with whopping 32GB of storage. That’s a lot of storage and means you can download apps, take photos and videos without having to constantly delete items from your mobile.

Now, it is important to stress that it may be possible to buy additional memory slots for the other mobile devices though this is the probably the last thing you want to do if you’re on the hunt for an affordable mobile!

Battery Life
Last but not least, anyone looking for affordable mobiles in 2016 should take into account the battery life. A key indicator of battery life is mAh, which stands for milliamphere-hour. Each mAh is a technical term used to describe how much electrical charge a battery is able to hold. In theory, using a higher mAh battery in your mobile should in theory lead to your mobile device lasting for a longer period of time.

The results of our review were clear – the Innjoo Fire Plus (3,600 mAh) is the stand out option for those looking for maximum battery life. The Chinese manufacturers of the Innjoo Fire Plus claim that a fully charged battery could provide 330 hours on standby, 24 hours of music, 22 hours of call time, 10 hours of video watching time and 6 hours flashlight.

The chart below shows all of our top 9 affordable mobiles for 2016 in order of their battery power (according to mAh). If you use your mobile device for watching videos, playing games or any other type of energy intensive activities, we recommend you consider mobiles with an mAh of 2800 above.

Affordable Mobiles Battery mAh

If you spend a lot of time on the road without access to a charger or watch lots of videos on your mobile device, then the choice should be clear – the Innjoo Fire Plus is the mobile for you.