Powerhouse

The Mi 6 is Xiaomi’s latest flagship, with excellent specs and a stylish black glass finish. Despite this, it sports a price tag of R8,999, around half of what you’d pay for devices it competes with (the latest iPhone and Samsung devices).

Xiaomi was not holding back when it put this one together — we’re talking 5.15-inch full HD display, dual rear camera, 64GB storage and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor — that’s the same chip you’ll find in the Galaxy S8 in certain territories (some countries receive the Samsung Exynos 8895).

And it’s probably the cheapest device on the market with this powerhouse processor. Paired with 6GB RAM, it is equipped for heavy lifting and multitasking. There’s also a generously sized battery that Xiaomi promises will deliver up to 16 hours of talk time.

The middle tier

The Mi A1 isn’t quite the sleek workhorse the Mi 6 is, but it’s got a few bragging points nonetheless. It’s also Xiaomi’s first Android One device — meaning it runs the pure Android operating system with no brand-specific overlay or bloatware. Besides that, the A1 includes a dual rear camera, glass-finish body, 64GB storage, dual SIM and a fingerprint sensor. The display is 5.5inches, and also full HD.

It has a less powerful processor, however (Snapdragon 625), 4GB RAM, and a smaller battery, even though the phone body is a little bigger (3080milliampere-hours compared with the Xiaomi 6’s 3350mAh).

Those are a few ways Xiaomi has cut corners to keep the price on this one down to just R4,999.

Feel frugal?

Then you might consider checking out the Redmi Note 5A.

The Redmi devices are the next tier down for this manufacturer — think cheap and cheerful.

But this is still a solid smartphone if you’re not looking for top-end capabilities.

The rear camera offers 13MP, the front 5MP — but no fancy dual lenses or telephoto functionality here. The display is HD, rather than full HD, and it has the same size battery as the Mi A1. The 16GB on-board storage is expandable to 128GB with the use of an SD card.

The Note 5A offers just 2GB RAM and a Snapdragon 425 chip that hit the market almost two years ago — what Qualcomm itself calls the "entry point for mid-tier processors".

The good news is that this device costs just R2,499. It is light and sleek, and has three card slots (for dual SIM setup and microSD).

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