The Mi-Fone smart handset released into the market late last year is no less of a smartphone than the already established high-end brands. For a phone that costs just KSh7,999 shillings (approximately US$92), it has everyday needed features plus several other capabilities.
Being one of the few Android smartphones boasting African ownership — as it is headquartered in Mauritius – it is marketed as an entry-level handset targeting low-income IT conversant consumers.
The 100-gram Mi-Fone A200 handset runs on the Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system and is only available in a black cover and a grey lining on the edges.
According to the phone’s manufacturer, Mi-Fone A200 can take up a memory of up to 32GB. It also has a 2-megapixel camera on the front and the back. The handset has a 2.8-inch screen that offers bright display in the dark.
The weight of the phone makes it easy to carry around and the fact that it is not very common among mobile users makes it a unique brand. It also has a powerful speaker that gives out clear sound even in very high volumes..
The clarity of the camera is excellent, especially in well-lit environments, while the optional LED flash at the back helps illuminate the shadows when the camera is close to the object. The large screen also makes the photos easy to view.
The handset scores best in Internet connectivity, as it responds quickly to Wi-Fi and can be used as a dependable portable hotspot. The use of the device to access the Internet also seems to be slower in draining the battery. While accessing and chatting using 3G Internet, the phone can keep working through normal office hours.
The handset also seems less overwhelmed by the high number of applications installed given the 800 MHz Qualcomm chipset.
The phone’s manufacturers and designers seem to have failed to pay attention to the design, as it is just a normal looking device. The availability in only black colour also locks out those who would prefer other colours.
The camera is less efficient at night, despite its LED flashlight at the back. The 64MB internal memory is small as much as this has compensated for with the phone’s external memory capabilities.
Lastly, though African, the handset seems to have few African attributes.
Given its target market, the handset satisfies the needs of its customers given its low cost. It is also very attractive.
Its low sales can be attributed to high smartphone competition and its less vibrant distribution network. The phone’s capabilities can be compared to the Huawei Ideos Y100 based on its positive attributes, beaten only in the camera ability.
On rating, the phones stands a chance for a seven out of 10 score.