SoyaCincau's best smartphones under RM1,200 |

SoyaCincau’s best smartphones under RM1,200

Posted:  May 11, 2017   By:    57 comments   


UPDATE: We’ve updated the guide! Now there are four brand new smartphones for you to choose from.

It’s that time of the year again. Although a whole host of new smartphones have been launched, a lot of the conversation is about the smartphones at the top end of the market. “What about those on a tight budget?”, you must be wondering, “Do tech sites even care about those of us who can’t spend a month’s salary on a device?”, you’re probably thinking.

Well, we care. So, here are some of the best phones you can get for under RM1,200.

“But wait, wasn’t last year’s list under RM1,000?”

Yes, yes it was. But the problem is that our currency is currently in a not-so-great spot and it looks like manufacturers had to adjust their prices a little bit too. Successor phones (like the Redmi Note 4 and honor 6X) have had their base prices bumped up compared to last year.

The good news is that with the slight premium, you are also getting more smartphone so things do sort of balance each other out. This year’s crop now has their base internal storage options starting at 32GB, with some going up to 64GB too. All of them also have support for microSD expansion and supports dual SIM connectivity and 4G LTE. What’s more, not a single one of these phones are completely plastic, so you also get a pretty robust build and feel for what you’re paying.

In the pages that follow, you’ll find an entry with each phone and a brief rundown of why we chose them. Then at the end, we’ve also included a comparison table so you can compare spec sheets and pick the one that ticks the most boxes for your needs.

SEE ALSO:  Samsung has three new Infinity Displays that come with a notch

Besides that, we’re also including an “Editor’s Choice” where we choose two of our favourite phones and let you know why we did so.

Ready? Let’s begin.

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57 Comments for SoyaCincau’s best smartphones under RM1,200


Oneplus 2 sd810 beats most (if not all) at this price point


    Second this.


    OP2 has worst implementation of SD810. It will not allow you to use big cores when using web browser & navigation UI. You will feel like you use Moto-E


Missing another great phone, Lenovo Vibe P1 Turbo, 3GB RAM/ 32GB storage, Snapdragon 616. ( RM679 from Lazada (


Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 — 4GB RAM/32GB storage — RM949

Above info is wrong, please correct it!

    Rory Lee

    Hi, thanks for spotting that. It was a typo, I do apologise for it. The error has been corrected.


In your Intro page, you said that you will pick three phones to be in your Editor's Choice but there are only two?

    Rory Lee

    Hi, thanks for pointing that out. The mistake has been corrected.


Huawei P10lite missing?

    Rory Lee

    Hi, Huawei P10 Lite is officially priced at RM1,299.


battle of the "wannabes"


    Avoid China import phones. No warranty and software full of malware. If spoil you have to send to China yourself.


      So far so good. I don't think phone will have any issue within a year or 2 unless dropping


Avoid non-Qualcomm chipset phones at all cost.
MediaTek is famous at not offering kernel/android updates for existing chipset. You are stucked at 1 version of android. And also good luck getting security patches, almost none at all.


    not to mention laggy core power, laggy gaming experience and rest of it all crap.


    Bought a Sony Xperia M5, powered by Helio X10, default released with Android 5.0, recently upgraded to Android 6.0. Hopefully will get the Android 7.0 near future..


      Yeap… how long you have to wait for your M5 since Marshmallow released? You are entitled with 1 version upgrade. Lets see how it goes.

      Google is hoping to change this situation by introducing "Treble", this article reveals more about current Android upgrade process issues.…


I remember it was RM600 last year. How one year of difference can mark up the price of entry level budget phones… 2018 becomes best entry level budget phones under RM2000?

    Rory Lee

    If you're referring to our list, we've actually made several including <RM600 and <RM2,000. This one is an update to the Under RM1,000 guide.


      Will there be an update for the RM600 segment?

        Rory Lee

        If there is interest from readers, and if we see a new wave of good sub RM600 phones, we will definitely update it.


          Yes pls do an updated round up for RM600 segment!


          Yes hoping to see it soon.


          waiting for below Rm600 as well


im using mi max 32gb, very satisfied with it especially the large screen and large battery.


No lenovo P2?

Aniki Tan

Redmi Note 4 is not dual nano la… if dual nano unable to do hybrid microsd…

    Rory Lee

    Hi, you are actually both correct and wrong. You are correct that the Redmi Note 4 is a Micro + Nano SIM setup so thank you for pointing that out. However, dual nano SIMs are definitely capable of supporting hybrid slots with a microSD card. With the exception of the ZenFone 3 Max and Redmi Note 4, the other phones are hybrid dual nano SIM slots.


the best phone under rm1200?

hands down is the rm1188 Apple iPhone 5s.

forget about spec. it is what you can do with the phone. it still run (almost) everything. UI still smooth running ios 10. premium build. tonnes of accessories and apps.

if you want ios platform, it is the only choice under that price.

but then off course this is Rory’s list and I respect that.


    iPhone without​ file explorer, without dual SIM, without dual App, without OTG, without fast charge, without full day battery, still consider as SMART PHONE? Sorry, rule out, further more, its famous for ridiculous price tag, funny still got sheep classified budget phone, what a bull shit.

    CK Shieh

    Apple product can never be a budget price point regardless of how much it is being discounted.. Example right now, the iPhone 5s is discounted price of RM999, but that's outdated spec and hardware. Without iTune, which a lot of people don't install and use, iPhone is just "cacat" in its own way.

    iPhone Sucks

    My iPhone 5 needs to be charged 3 times a day just to make it work from 6am to technically its not even for 24hr but merely 15 hrs. That also means, each charging will only lasts for 5 hrs (after minus 1 hr charging time)…it reminds me of the 90s when I was still using Motorola MicroTac 1950.The only different is, it has removable battery and a separate battery charger that can accomodate 2 batteries for each charging session. Confused already?


What is the meaning of "hybrid" for expandable storage?

    Rory Lee

    Hi. You can check out the more detailed explanation we gave in the "Comparison" segment of the post. But, in a nutshell, hybrid SIM slots are dual SIM trays that utilise one of the SIM slots as a microSD slot as well. That means you can only use it in a SIM + SIM or SIM + MicroSD configuration. You can't have 2 SIMs and a microSD at the same time.


      Thanks for the explanation… understand now.


      hi, how to insert the 2nd sim card for hybrid phone? im using oppo. but i cannot figure out how to insert 2nd sim since the slot seems like for micro sd size. pls help me. haha


If you like to look at spec, the highest spec under 1200 is probably Lenovo Zuk Z2, comes with snapdragon 820!

    Zulfakhry Omar

    Agree. Please do a review on lenovo zuk z2 before zuk z3 enters the market.


Lenovo P2???


    It is still officially priced at RM1,299.


Lenovo ZUK Z2 – SD 820, 64 GB base storage(the only option), 4 GB RAM,

Only RM 800+


Redmi 4 note or zenfone 3 ze520kl. Get the zenfone 3 if :
– 5.5 too big 5.2 enough
– Dun like the back button fix at the right hand side.
– Get better camera with ois as the zenfone camera same with mi5.

Of course if u r ok with imported set, there are plenty out there: mi5c, mi5, zuk2…etc

    amin kulassa

    asus is a shit phone, u can use it for 1 half year only


      nope not really, still depend on use using it. im using zen5 since 2014 and still run well and only abit lag when playstore update due to the phone memory full. i believe it will work like a new phone after done a factory reset


@soyacincau does RN4 support 4G+/LTE-A?

amin kulassa

mi max should be in the category too.. good phone with good spec n price

Mohd Aswad

Redmi note 4 still affordable..

And the most important thing is, miui is the best operating system since the developer always give ota update to miui…

HP. enthusiast

The word “budget” no longer taboo now among consumers as it is part of consumerism consciousness.

This new mentality has pushed manufacturers to introduce a new series of smartphones that is having super midrange specs for internal and superior material for their external(build quality) and design.

RM1200 and below seemed legit in this year 2017 but Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 proved to us we are wrong, RM1000 and below still rules. No longer discrimination towards Xiaomi the Chinese Mainland product. I’m impressed

Honor (sub company of Huawei) almost can’t stay in this fierce and competitive ground. Huawei not even in the list. That’s new.

Samsung J-series (2017) shall be included soon and “flush out” several phones from this list.


How about Infinix Zero 4? Any reviews on it?

Julian ong

Rewrite n update …Zenfone 4 max pro


agreed with Xiaomi Redmi Note 4. king of budget smartphone. rm 750 for original set and you get performance on par with samsung j7 pro or other rm 1500 phones out there. 4100 mah battery, snapdragon 625 with 14nm technology, got sony/samsung sensor for the rear camera, full OTA support (weekly, if you choose to use global beta rom). this phone already no.1 in indian market for 2017.


Hi, i want to ask.. what smartphone best for photography and video record.. on budget 2k below. Snapdragon or kirin better?


Why no Redmi 4X?


Under RM 1200

I am still considering between

Redmi Note 5 – year 2018 (6GB Snapdragon 636 @ RM1099)


Huawei Nova 2i (4GB Kirin 659Mhz @ RM 942)


Redmi Note 3 (6GB RM Snapdragon 660 @ RM1299)

The only extra that i look is extra storage expansion (Note 5 & Nova 2i had), Which one is better guys? Thanks

*Price from DirectD


    Sorrry under RM 1300 as Note 3 almost in that range. Thanks