Nowadays brands are being held to higher, rising standards. Consumers are looking for affordable handsets but don’t want to compromise on functionality. Manufacturers like Xiaomi and Cubot have come to the table with phones that are easy on the pocket yet feature-rich. We put the Xiaomi Redmi 4A and the Cubot Rainbow 2 under the spotlight. Coming in at R1999 and R1599 respectively these two handsets fall well within the budget range yet are still able to offer very decent specs.
Taking a look at the exterior both units play to opposite tastes. If you are looking for a clean, classic look with simple lines then the Redmi 4A is for you. The plastic back is coated with a metal looking finish giving it a premium look available in grey and gold. The Rainbow 2, on the other hand, has a funkier design available in a rainbow of cool colours (Red, Blue, Black, White and Gold). The back cover of the Rainbow has a specialized elastic painting that increases its hardness and provides scratch resistance to what would otherwise be a more plastic cover. Appearing to have a more curved but chunkier look the Rainbow 2 is 7.9mm thick compared to the Redmi 4A which comes in at 8mm thick.
Both phones come with a 5″ HD display sporting the exact same resolution. After testing it through multiple media platforms I found no real difference in the viewing experience with both offering good quality imagery.
Performance-wise the Xiaomi Redmi 4A appears more powerful in theory. Equipped with a 1.4GHz quad-core processor powered by Snapdragon teamed with 2GB RAM it outshines the Rainbow 2 which sports a 1.3GHz quad-core processor powered by Mali and 1GB RAM. However, after thorough testing, you will only notice the difference when running multiple platforms consistently or are gaming regularly.
Camera-wise although both handsets sport a 13MP rear camera the Rainbow 2 has the edge as it boasts a dual-lens camera – a trend that has recently established itself in the mobile arena and commonly only found on high-end flagship devices. It is currently the cheapest dual-lens camera phone on the market and allows users to make use of special effects not available on the Xiaomi Redmi 4A. Both sport a stock standard 5MP front camera an industry standard for entry-level phones nowadays.
With 16GB storage on both devices, the Rainbow 2 takes the cake in this category as it offers a dedicated micro SD slot whereas the Redmi 4A would require you to use one of the dual slim slots for the memory card although it does offer more onboard memory at 32GB versus the Rainbow 2 16GB. On the other hand, the Redmi 4A offers users LTE connectivity making it faster than the 3G speeds offered by the Rainbow 2.
If you are a solid user and worry about battery life then the Redmi 4A may be a better option with its 3120 mAh battery versus the Rainbow 2 2350 mAh battery. This was one of the most significant differences I found when testing both units.
Confused at which one to opt for? Well if you are concerned with battery life, want the fastest possible speed packaged in the most elegant design then go Xiaomi Redmi 4A, however it is important to note that you will need to purchase your headset separately as it does not come in the box. If however, you are wanting a funky and unusual looking handset with a better camera then opt Rainbow 2. In the box, you will receive all the usual suspects as well as a cover and screen protector which at R400 cheaper than the Redmi 4A I find to be excellent value for money.
All in all even though these are classified as budget handsets you can see a lot of thought and effort have gone into the design with the hopes of offering consumers a good quality experience.