Cheap cellphones tested

Cheap “burner” cellphones tested

When you go camping, hiking, to a concert, or any location which might involve you making hard contact with the floor, you don’t want your R12,000 smartphone getting damaged.

You still need to stay in contact with the world, though, so what is the solution?

Costing less than dinner for two at a decent restaurant, the answer is a “burner” phone.

A burner phone technically means you use the device then dispose of it afterwards, but in this case it is a cheap cellphone which can make a call and send an SMS, is relatively tough, and you don’t mind if it is kicked into a fire by a drunk friend.

We visited Takelot, found three of the cheapest phones it had on sale, and shipped them to the office. Once paired with a prepaid SIM, the trials began.

The tests were simple: send an SMS, make a call, drop it from 2 metres onto a road, and throw it into a body of water.

MobiWire Atohi – R399


The most expensive device was the MobiWire Atohi at R399.

It has a 2.8-inch screen and 1,000mAh battery, along with Bluetooth connectivity and a headphone jack.

The device takes a standard (large) SIM card, charges via Micro-USB, and supports FM radio.

  • SMS – Messaging in and out worked perfectly.
  • Call  Calls in and out worked as expected.

Mint M1 32MB 2G – R179


The cheapest device was the Mint M1.

It sports a 600mAh battery, 1.8-inch screen, and an FM radio.

Bluetooth connectivity, a headphone jack, and Micro-USB are also standard on the phone.

The standout feature: an annoying start-up tone which plays when the device is switched on.

  • SMS – Messaging in and out worked perfectly.
  • Call  Calls in and out worked as expected.

Mobicel Vibe 32MB 2G – R249


Sitting in the middle of the pack was the Mobicel Vibe.

The phone features a 1.77-inch screen, 800mAh battery, FM radio, headphone jack and Micro-USB port, and Bluetooth connectivity.

  • SMS – Messaging in and out worked perfectly.
  • Call  Calls in and out worked as expected.

Drop and Water tests

Like the phones, our tests were cheap and simple. First up, we dropped each phone from 2 metres onto a tarred road.

All the phones got a decent bounce height and were left with minor scratches, but worked fine afterwards.

Next up was dropping each device into a sink filled with cold water. Each phone was dropped in the water, while on, left for a few seconds, then removed.

Not only did the devices stay on, they were functional following the test – with phone calls working as before.

We took out the batteries to see the extent of water infiltration, and all the phones had water inside their casings.

It’s been several days since the tests, and the phones are still on and functioning. They have also not required any charging.


Compared to a modern smartphone

The images below show how the burner phones compare to the iPhone 6S.

Their screens are much smaller, while their bodies are slightly thicker. The plastic used to make the cellphones is obviously low-cost, which left them feeling like a kid’s toy compared to the iPhone.

What they lack in feel and style, however, they make up for in ruggedness. The three phones passed all the tests and kept on working – making them good candidates for that camping trip you have been planning.



Source: MyBroadBand

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