Safaricom’s Neon franchise presents the most affordable smartphones you could buy here in Kenya and for a good reason; Neon devices are sold locked to the Safaricom network. This is a more or less like buying a phone on contract in other countries such as the US where you could easily ask for an unlock code once its fully paid, the problem with Neon smartphones is that you wont have that option to request for an unlock code from Safaricom.
I’ve seen lots of Kenyans trying to figure out how to unlock the Safaricom Neon lineup such as the Neon Ray Neon Ray Pro and the latest sequel – Neon Kicka 5 and use other SIM cards from various networks such as Telkom and Airtel Kenya. While I don’t dispute its actually possible to unlock this phones with unlock codes from various vendors only; the trouble involved doesn’t cut-it, it’s far way more sensible to top up the amount and just buy an alternative from the likes of Xiaomi Redmi 7A which still offers value for your bang.
Reasons you shouldn’t buy the Safaricom Neon phones to unlock for other networks.
- Voiding Warranty
I understand the main motivation to opt-in for any of the Neon series is the price. They’re relatively low priced and come with a whole 1-year warranty. Whether you use the River-road technicians to alter the IMEI number or pay online vendors to have the unlock code, the Idea isn’t worth losing your warranty, unless of course you’re already out of warranty.
- Secondly, the cost involved is not worth it.
Say for example you bought any of the Neon phones such as the Safaricom Neon Kicka 5 for Ksh. 3,499 or the Neon Ray Pro for about Ksh. 6,500; you’ll probably have to spend about Ksh. 2,000 just to get the unlock code or a similar amount on the river-road guys. Also understand the process isn’t full-proof and my actually brick your device rendering it unusable. With all that trouble, wouldn’t it be easier to just get a Xiaomi Redmi 7A that can support different carriers and comes with a similar 1-year warranty? If you ask me, the answer is a definite YES.
- Presence of unlocked alternatives
If price is your main motivation, then you should probably have a look at other alternatives that cost just as less and are sold factory unlocked. I’ve already mentioned the Redmi 7A which has been further discounted thanks to Jumia’s birthday sale.
- Single SIM Support
Since the Neon brand is owned by Safaricom, you won’t get the goodness of Dual SIM support we’ve come to love on most android devices. For this reason, you can only expect to use a single SIM card at a time. unfortunately, this applies to even Safaricom, you can’t have to Safaricom SIM cards probably one for MPESA and the other one for general purposes on this device.
- Meager specifications
While the Neon lineup is technically categorized as smartphones, you won’t do as much on these devices. They come with limited amount of RAM – 512MB for the Kicka 5 and 1GB for the Neon Ray Pro that are not sufficient to run popular applications and Games.