SoyaCincau's best smartphones under RM1,200 (2018 edition) |

SoyaCincau’s best smartphones under RM1,200 (2018 edition)

Posted:  April 27, 2018   By:    40 comments   


UPDATE: Good news! We have updated and published a brand new Best smartphones under RM1,200 guide! It includes the new devices that have launched since this guide was published as well as the new discounted prices thanks to zero-rated GST. You can check it out here.

We’re back! This year, we’ve got another juicy new selection of budget-friendly smartphones under RM1,200. So, what’s new in 2018? Quite a lot, actually. This year’s crop of smartphones may be among the best ones we’ve seen especially if you’re looking at the amount of goodies you can get for your money.

2017 was the year of shrinking bezels, dual cameras and the pursuit of even more selfie goodness in the mid-range market so this year’s compilation was an interesting set of devices. Across the board, you’re getting bigger screens — closer to 6″ than 5.5″ — but in a form factor that isn’t a whole lot bigger.

As usual, there are some rules. The first one is that these have to be relatively new smartphones, having been launched within about six months to a year from the day this list was first compiled. What’s more, none of these phones made an appearance on our previous list so you can still look at that one if you don’t mind picking up older phones.

Unfortunately, this year, Sony’s Xperia XA2 smartphone didn’t make the cut because that device’s RRP is RM1,299, pushing it just out of this list. That said, we will continue to update this list with more phones — like the promising Nokia 6 (2018) — as they launch so be sure to keep an eye out for that.

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In any case, let’s get into the meat and potatoes of it all. For those who are new to our smartphone guides, you will find an entry for each smartphone in the following pages. Each entry will contain a brief rundown on some of the specs and some other features we think you should know about that particular smartphone.

In each entry, we will also provide links to where you can buy these phones online. However, keep in mind that we will not be responsible for any purchases you make, so do so at your own discretion. We would generally advise users to make purchases from reputable sellers or official stores. We also advise users to purchase devices with official Malaysian warranties to avoid any complications should problems arise with that particular device. Sure, there may be instances where imported sets are more affordable, but the risks associated with it are also higher.

Then, on the second last page, you’ll find our massive comparison table so you can see how each phone stacks up against each other at a glance. Finally, on the last page we will have an “Editor’s Choice” list where we will pick the best handsets from this list based on a particular category, including an overall “best budget phone” award.

Ready? Let’s get things started.

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40 Comments for SoyaCincau’s best smartphones under RM1,200 (2018 edition)


You might want to correct the fact that Xiaomi Mi A1 DOES have micro SD card slot. It uses the Sim 2 slot


    Yup. We've updated the post. Thanks!


Should NOT have included:
– Huawei Nova 2 lite (Honor 9 lite is a better choice)
– Wiko View Prime (Overpriced)
– Wiko View (Overpriced)
– Neffos N1 (Outdated)
– Asus Zenfone Max Plus M1 (Lots of bugs, Battery Drain)
– Moto G5s plus (I own one. It does not have a compass so GPS performance is terrible)

Should have included the following :
– Moto E4 plus (Sub-RM500, Stock Android, 5000 MaH battery)
– Nubia M2 lite (Sub-RM500)
– Nubia M2 (Comparable to Redmi Note 4)
– Meizu M6 note (Best budget phone of 2017)
– Vivo V5 plus (Last year's Vivo flagship)
– Oppo R9s (Last year's Oppo flagship)


    nice suggestion!


No Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 with Snapdragon 636 and 5,000mAh battery?


    Not available in Malaysia yet.


      any idea when will come here?


        Malaysian launch is happening next month.


    I agree, I am waiting for that

Dave Chapman

Redmi note 5 ftw! Too bad the marketing campaign almost non-existent here unlike oppo f7 and vivo v9. I hope they can catch up tho.

    Steven Lo

    They don’t do marketing, that’s why they’re so cheap, according to another soyacincau post they only profit for like 5%. Their specs are mostly superior to the other two too. Sadly people see them as the inferiors.


      A mediocre phone can be seen as good if they spend a lot of marketing. Consumer got confidence if see expensive ads with actor and singer endorsement. If no marketing, people don’t know about your brand and have to rely on word of mouth. People that never follow tech news will never hear about their brand. Xiaomi knows their limit and that why they have to open shops so that people can see their brand. Even Xiaomi China have to hire singer and bands to promote their phones.

Umi S.

Is Neffos N1 the only phone that has a secondary monochrome camera?


Xiaomi Mi Note 3 is also a good bargain. For RM1100+ you get Snapdragon 660, 4GB of RAM, Dual 12MP camera, 16MP front camera, and lots more.


    Damn right bro.. happy MiN3 user. No lag n sailing smoothly

    Mi Fan

    Its actually 6GB of RAM. I'm surprise it was not in the list!


So much choice and there are a lots of better models just slightly over rm1200 can buy with online discounts. But if the title was best smartphone over rm4000 then no need scratch head, only 1 nominee and 1 winner: apple iphoneX.


What about Meizu M6 Note? These phone also have a good features and they have big battery too. The camera also good too and price is reasonable (below RM1000 for 64gb & 4gb RAM).


    yup,M6 note with SD625, 4GB ram,64GB internal,sony imx 362 sensor,4000mah with QC 3.0 for Rm999,nothing can beat that.


    Still can't beat the RN5


I feel the cutoff point should be RM1,000 not RM1,200. If there are smartphones that cost more than RM1,000, they should not be included in this comparison test


    Agrrr !

    Maybe soyacincau can make new article, Best phone under rm1000

Ivan Wong

May I check with you is the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 native OS already Android 8.1 with MIUI?


I just bought a new Moto Z @ RM 950. Although it was a 2016 flagship phone, it still beats most of the phones suggested

In the list with snapdragon 820 and 4gb ram and running in Android 8.0 oreo!


    Good phone but end of sw support. Also battery life for Moto z not so good.


Should always look for flagship phones launched 1- 2 years ago with discounted price…There are much better than new mid range phones.


Great article all in all, but you should include headphone jack in the comparison table, which is personally the deal breaker for me. The difference in battery, software and camera performance are getting more marginal each year, and it’s even more evident in mid-range category, so you can expect phone makers to deliver at least the minimum expectation for average consumers. What is more important, to me, is the “binary” feature (i.e. whether they have it or not) in the phone: jack, NFC, gyroscope etc.


Many people buy chinese phones thinking that it can save a lot of money.

What people don’t know is Samsung Pay Rewards you get RM1 to RM2 worth of cash rewards for every transaction made and in a year you can easily collect rewards up to RM600 to RM1,200

They have no idea




    How much do you have to spend to get RM600 to Rm1200 cash back. What percentage of cash back are we talking about. All merchants give you cash back.

    Also it’s only beneficial if these are part of your normal spending cos it’s not worth to spend on things that you don’t need just for sake of cash back


    How much do you have to spend to get RM600 to Rm1200 cash back. What percentage of cash back are we talking about. All merchants give you cash back.

    Also it’s only beneficial if these are part of your normal spending cos it’s not worth to spend on things that you don’t need just for sake of cash back


Which are these phones good with playing games?


    iPhone plays a lot of games. They will keep giving you updates to slow your phone down and then make you buy new battery if you want your phone back at original speed.


      when youre stupid but u think youre dead smart.

      RIP human.




So far, as a Mi Note 3 user .. @ RM1198 price with Snapdragon 660 + 6GB RAM
This beast still the best.. Hooraahh


    Well, it has no mircro sd expansion and no headphones jack. And not a 4,000 mAh battery. Deal breaker for me.


      enuff with the headphone jack for God's sake

Latest and Greatest

When will we see an update to this list?

Zenfone Max Pro (M1) is out!

I’ve bookmark this page, but still no updates.