7 Best Smartphones for Under RM1K in Malaysia

Huawei is all the rage right now. The brand has been gaining traction as the ‘iPhone killer’, with Huawei’s high performance at almost half the price of an iPhone. Huawei P30 Pro for example, is selling at RM3,799 compared to iPhone XS Max at RM6,099.

However… for most of us, RM3,799 is still a lot of money. That’s a downpayment for an Axia, a one-year fee for a technical college, and 543 packs of char kuey teow biasa tambah kerang. So for those of you who still value your char kuey teow above all else, here we list down our best budget smartphone reviews for phones under RM1K you can buy in Malaysia, starting with…

1. Huawei Nova 3i – Best Budget Smartphone for Photography

Image: highlifetanzania

Huawei used to be known for their USB modem that didn’t last more than three months. But it has grown so much in popularity that in 2019, it has become the second most-searched brand on Google. And when you compare smartphones, Huawei always comes out tops.

If you’re looking for a cheap phone for photography, Huawei Nova 3i is your best choice. It boasts a 6.3-inch screen display and is perfect for photographer-wannabes thanks to its 24 megapixel and 2-megapixel dual front cameras. Its glass back gives it a very elegant look and feel but this is actually one of the Chinese brand’s more affordable models. Available in black and iris blue, the Huawei nova 3i is a dual-SIM device and uses a non-removable 3340mAh battery. Another interesting feature of the nova 3i is its face recognition feature. With this feature, you can unlock your phone using the selfie camera to scan your face.

Huawei Nova 3i Specs

  • Display: 6.3-inch
  • Camera: 16 MP + 2 MP Rear Camera | 24 MP + 2 MP Front Camera with HDR Pro Function
  • Battery: 3,340 mAh

Retail price: RM899

2. Xiaomi Mi Play – Best Budget Smartphone for Gaming

Image: miglobal_

Mi sells a lot of things including power banks, smart watches and…pillows. But the brand is always, first and foremost, known for its cheap and high-quality smartphones.

Are you a PUBG addict? Then Xiaomi Mi Play is the best budget smartphone for gaming for your money. Although its screen size is smaller than its peers in this list at 5.84 inches, the Mi Play still delivers impressive picture quality as a result of the 1080 x 2280 pixel resolution in its LCD screen. While it may be the cheapest android smartphone in this list, the Mi Play has a nice sleek look, thanks to its metal and glass body, and comes in three colours – black, blue and gold. This smartphone features the CPU Turbo intelligent acceleration technology and GPU Turbo image rendering multi-threading technology  to bring you a more powerful processor, making gaming effects way better.

Xiaomi Mi Play specs

  • Display: 5.84 inches
  • Camera: Rear Camera: 12.19 MP (megapixels), Front Camera 7.99 MP (megapixels)
  • Operating System: Android 8.1 Oreo
  • Battery: 3000 mAh, Li-Polymer

Retail price: RM779

3. Samsung Galaxy J8 – Best Budget Smartphone for Storing Photos and Videos

Image: magazineeletrusmr

Everyone has owned a Samsung smartphone at one point or another. And when smartphones first appeared in the market,  the South Korean tech giant’s smartphone was the smartphone to have.

If you’re the type that takes plenty of photos on a daily basis, the Galaxy J8 is the best budget smartphone for storing photos and videos. Samsung’s stylish Galaxy J8 boasts a 6-inch display and a 16-megapixel selfie camera and a 5-megapixel rear camera. The phone, made up of polycarbonate and weighs only 177 grammes, is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 processor with 4GB of RAM. The best part is that the Galaxy J8 comes with 64GB of internal storage (that means plenty of photos and videos!) and you can add on to the storage capacity with an external micro SD.

Samsung Galaxy J8 specs

  • Processor: SnapDragon 450 Octa-core 1.8Ghz
  • Operating System: Android 8.0 (Oreo)
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Display: 6-inch HD+ Super AMOLED
  • Camera: 16MP+5MP Rear Dual Camera, 16MP Front Camera

Retail price: RM799

4. Nokia X6 – Best Drop-Proof Budget Smartphone

Image: gbsale

In the early 2000s, Nokia was the most popular mobile phone manufacturer but at the advent of smartphones, they slowly faded into oblivion. Now the Finnish brand is back to make a name for itself with its smartphones.

The Nokia X6’s oleophobic layer on both sides gives it a dark and sleek appearance. Meanwhile, the glass at the back is super sturdy, making it the best drop-proof budget smartphone. The rugged and tough X6 has a 16-megapixel colour sensor rear camera. The front-facing camera is also 16 megapixels with face-unlocking capabilities.

Nokia X6 specs

  • Display: 5.8-inch full HD+ (2280x1080p) screen with 19:9 aspect ratio with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection
  • Operating System: Android 8.1 Oreo
  • Storage: 32GB/64GB + expandable up to 256GB
  • Camera: Rear: 16MP RGB sensor (F2.0 aperture & 1.0µm pixel size) + 5MP Monochrome sensor. Front-facing: 16MP sensor
  • Battery: 3,060mAh (3,000mAh) with Qualcomm Quick Charge 3

Retail price: RM999

5. Vivo Y95 – Best Budget Smartphone for Selfies

Image: aslimakmur

Earlier this year at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Vivo shocked the world by introducing the Vivo APEX 2019, its new smartphone without any openings ie, buttons, ports, SIM card drawers. Yeap nada! While we can’t wait to find out more about this amazing phone, this time we’re giving the spotlight to another Vivo model – Y95 Best for: Selfie Queens

The Vivo Y95 comes with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 439 processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. The device boasts a display screen that’s 6.2 inches long complete with full HD resolutions of 720×1520 pixels for awesome Netflix binge-watching. The Y95 is the best budget smartphone for selfies as it has a 20-megapixel front camera (for perfect front camera selfies) and a 13-megapixel rear camera. The device comes in two stunning colours – Aurora Red and Starry Black – and have a nice ombre effect at the back.

Vivo Y95 specs

  • Camera: Rear: 13-megapixel + 2-megapixel Dual lens Primary Camera, Front-facing: 20-Megapixel
  • Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion 4030 mAh
  • Display: 6.22 inches 720 x 1520 pixels
  • Processor: Qualcomm SDM439 Snapdragon 439, Octa Core
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB

Retail price: RM999

6. Oppo F7 Youth – Best Budget Smartphone for Social Media

Image: lisaoktavianiyy

In case you didn’t know, this Dongguan-based company manufactures blu-ray players and electronic devices and way back in 2016, Oppo’s smartphones were ranked number one in China.  But of course, its most famous for its smartphones.

Oppo’s F7 Youth comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. Kids and smartphones – they’re inseparable these days. So if you’re getting one for a teenager, you might as well get one with a good battery life. This is the best budget smartphone for social media as its average battery life of 20 hours for a single charge is perfect for hours and hours of social media stalking. Additionally, the device has a 13-megapixel rear camera and 8-megapixel front-facing camera complete with AI Beauty 2.0 technology, to make you look even more fabulous in your selfies. With two striking colours – Solar Red and Diamond Black – the Oppo F7 Youth has a 6-inch display with a screen resolution of 1080 x 2160 pixels. The F7 Youth is powered by MediaTek Helio P60 2.0GHz Octa-Core (Cortex A73+A53).

Oppo F7 Youth specs:

  • Internal storage: 64 GB, 4 GB RAM
  • External Memory: microSD, up to 256 GB (dedicated slot)
  • Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion 3410 mAh battery
  • Camera: Rear: 13-megapixel, Front-facing: 8-megapixel
  • Screen: 6.0 inches, 1080 x 2160 pixels

Retail price: RM999

7. Motorola Moto G5S Plus – Best Budget Smartphone for Watching Videos


In the early 2000s, Motorola phones were all the rage. If you had one, you were considered to be very stylish. And they did have some pretty funky ones too. Who can forget the v2088 or the very alien-looking v70. But Motorola phones slowly became less popular and for a while, they were unheard of in the mobile phone market. Now, they’re back with a vengeance and ready to show the world their offerings.

While it may be a budget phone, the Motorola Moto G5S Plus has an expensive look thanks to its full alumimium shell. In the camera department, it has a 13-megapixel rear camera and an 8-megapixel front-facing camera complete with flash. You also get 32GB of storage and a 5.5-inch, 1080 pixel LCD screen, so this is the best budget smartphone for watching videos. Once you get the Netflix app, you can binge-watch your shows until 4am every day. Another plus-point about the Moto G5S Plus is its splashproof feature. This means that you don’t have to worry about laksa gravy splashes as you’re watching Black Mirror during lunch.

Motorola Moto G5S Plus specs

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
  • Graphics adapter: Qualcomm Adreno 506
  • Memory: 3072 MB  
  • Display: 5.5 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 401 PPI, 10-point multitouch, IPS, glossy: yes
  • Storage: 32 GB eMMC Flash, 32 GB, 24 GB free

Retail price: RM999

What do you think?

Written by Gregory Basil

Greg takes joy in writing press releases and has an almost unhealthy obsession with Sydney and nasi lemak.

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