It’s pretty amazing to think that only 20 years ago, there’s a good chance that when you left the house, you might not be carrying a phone with you.
What you definitely weren’t carrying was a smartphone: The iPhone, generally considered the first modern smartphone, only came out in 2007 – 16 years ago. So if you went to the shops, or the movies, or out with friends, you were at best taking what we’d now call a feature phone, with call and text functions, and maybe a fun ringtone if you knew the right sites, and that’s about it.
Today, of course, things are totally different. Smartphones have become the defining feature of modern society. They’re how we keep in touch, sure, but they’re also our map when we’re lost, a note-taking device, a high-quality camera, a music and media device, a global encyclopaedia, and so much more. You can even use them to pay when you get to the till.
With all that in mind, choosing the right phone is a big deal. So here’s our guide to the best smartphones for every budget.
A testament to the fact that basic isn’t the same as bad, this wallet-friendly phone still has plenty going for it.
A sizable 6.5 inch screen, 50MP rear three camera setup, and 32GB of storage makes the A04s a capable companion. Meanwhile, the 5000 mAh battery combines with its other specs to offer all-day power. Smart decisions on where to compromise (LCD screen) and where to go big (the cameras) means this phone punches well above its weight.
But the best part? It can be yours from only R290 a month with a Rentoza subscription.
A distinct step up from the Galaxy A04s, but still well under a grand, the Oppo Reno 7 DS offers upgraded specs that make it a nearly ideal daily driver.
The most obvious improvement is to memory – where the A04s only carries 32GB of storage, the Reno 7 offers a roomy 256GB. But it doesn’t stop there: The Oppo brings a 6.4 inch AMOLED screen along for the ride, offering HDR10+ and a 90Hz refresh rate. That makes it much easier to see the awesome photos you’ll be taking with the three camera setup on the back, which includes a 64MP main camera, alongside ultrawide and macro lenses. And 65W charging means you’re able to get this little stunner up and running just about instantly when you’re low on power.
The Oppo Reno 7 256GB DS is yours from R730 on a monthly Rentoza subscription.
Whoever’s in charge of Samsung’s naming department needs a raise, because they nailed it with this one. The Fan Edition range has proved to be a winning formula for the Korean tech giant, cheered by enthusiasts and snapped up by everyone wanting a great deal on smartphone tech.
The S21 FE is essentially a more budget-conscious variant of Samsung’s Galaxy S21 flagship phones. That means there are a few corners cut, but not where you’d notice. The chip and screen is the same as the more expensive phone, offering plenty of power and a Dynamic AMOLED 2X, with 120Hz refresh and HDR10+. Translation: Super smooth scrolling and motion; popping colours; deep blacks. Where the rear camera is slightly downgraded to 12MP, the front-facing camera is a selfie king at 32MP.
Get the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE from R950 monthly through your Rentoza subscription.
It’s a big jump from our last entry, but the P60 Pro makes up for it by being a total spec-monster.
A 6.67 inch LTPO OLED with a ridiculous one billion colours and 120Hz adaptive refresh rate. Top-of-the-line Snapdragon CPU. Two 48MP rear cameras (and an ultrawide), plus a 13MP selfie snapper. Plus 88W charging wired, and 50W wireless – that means its wireless charging is faster than most phones plugged in, no mean feat. This phone does it all without breaking a sweat. And it looks damn good while it’s doing it.
Want it? The Huawei P60 Pro is yours from R1 680 a month with a Rentoza subscription.
If the Huawei P60 Pro is king of the hill, then the iPhone 15 Pro Max is in outer space. It’s the ultimate expression of the phone that started it all.
This phone isn’t built, it’s crafted. From ultra-strong, super-lightweight titanium, ceramic, and glass. It’s got the most powerful chip ever put into an Apple smartphone in the A17 Pro. It’s got a 48MP main camera. It’s stuffed so full of AI trickery it won’t let you take a bad photo, able to perfectly execute on-the-fly editing and instant, practically magical adjustments. It’s got an incredible, bright 6.7 inch screen with variable refresh and unbelievable dynamic range. It’s even got USB-C now.
It’s R2 590 on a monthly Rentoza subscription. It’s worth it.
Find Your Smartphone Happy Place
OK, we might have gotten a little carried away with the iPhone. The truth is, not everyone needs a singing, dancing, AI-powered beast of a phone. Sometimes, a wallet-friendly little charmer is exactly right. There’s nothing wrong with that.
The beauty of Rentoza is that you don’t have to have it one way or another. Try the phone that catches your eye. If it turns out that the reality doesn’t quite match up, you can upgrade or downgrade. And we won’t charge you any penalties when you change your mind.
Because we get it. Commitment is messy.
Just Rentoza it.