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Handsets target middle ground

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The ZTE Axon 7 Mini features Dolby front-facing stereo speakers.
The ZTE Axon 7 Mini features Dolby front-facing stereo speakers.

Mid-range smartphones seem to be all the rage at IFA, the consumer technology trade fair under way in Berlin. A number of large players have announced new additions to their ranges, ahead of the festive season rush.

Tech companies are taking notice of the growing mid-range market. These devices are priced under R10 000 and normally have one stand-out feature, like the camera or sound, as opposed to flagship smartphones which tend to pack in as many features as possible.

Mid-range smartphones are aimed at younger generations and users who do not need a smartphone for business.

Sound focus

ZTE launched a smaller version of its flagship phone. The 5.2-inch Axon 7 Mini has the same Dolby speakers as the larger Axon 7 launched earlier this year. The audio experience is the highest quality available on smartphones at the moment, the company claims.

It has a Snapdragon 617 processor, 3GB of RAM, a 2 705mAh battery, a fingerprint reader, a 16MP rear-facing camera, and a microSD slot. The phone runs Android Marshmallow and uses a USB Type-C to charge.

The recommended retail price is R3 267.

Let it shine

Alcatel has made another play for the millennial market with the launch of the SHINE LITE smartphone. The company says the device will appeal to the "price-conscious twenty-somethings with an eye for style and a need for functionality".

The Alcatel SHINE LTE has a front-facing flash.
The Alcatel SHINE LTE has a front-facing flash.

It features fingerprint recognition, a 13MP rear camera and a flash on the front-facing camera for "brighter selfies".

The 5-inch phone has glass on both sides and is encased in a metal frame. Alcatel says it will sell for under $200 (R2 935).

Expensive add-ons

Lenovo-owned Motorola unveiled a 5.5-inch device, the Moto Z Play, with the option to buy a Hasselblad True Zoom Moto Mod add-on that turns the phone into a fully functioning high-end camera.

The smartphone will cost in the region of R9 000 and the Hasselblad add-on will be an extra R4 000 or more.

The Moto Z Play has a 3 519mAh battery that the company claims will last up to 50 hours.

The Moto Z Play allows for a Hasselblad add-on, which turns the phone into a camera.
The Moto Z Play allows for a Hasselblad add-on, which turns the phone into a camera.

Huawei announced a new mid-range series, called Nova, which also features large batteries for the price.

It is not yet known if and when these products will be available in SA.

New experiences

Sony did not follow the mid-range trend, and instead launched two high-end additions to its flagship X series, the 5.2-inch Xperia XZ and 4.2-inch Xperia X Compact.

The smartphones are differentiated by the camera software on the devices. The company says the phones incorporate 23MP and new "triple image sensing technology", which allows for sharp images in any lighting condition, even when the subject is in motion.

The devices are powered by a Snapdragon 820 processor and is water-resistant. They will be available locally next month and will cost R10 999 and R12 999.

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