One in ten South African tertiary students uses a feature phone, compared to 7% who use Windows and just under the same number who use an iPhone, according to new research from World Wide Worx.

The technology market research firm teamed up with Student Brands and Standard Bank to conduct surveys with over 2 300 students from various tertiary institutions to examine the local student technology landscape.

The study found that 38% of respondents reported using an Android device, toppling BlackBerry (32%) off the number one spot it previously held. However, because Android mobiles are spread over different brands, BlackBerry still remains the most used single cellphone brand among students, followed by Samsung at 27% and Nokia at 21%.

It was also revealed that the biggest determining factor in what brands students use is affordability. While most use Android, feature phones and BlackBerry, the iPhone emerged as the most preferred cellphone brand, Samsung came in second at 29% and Sony in third place at 9%.

When asked what smartphone brand they will buy next, 43% of respondents mentioned Samsung, 17% the iPhone, 11% said Nokia and only 10% said they would buy a BlackBerry.

“There is a vast affordability gap between what students wish they could get and what they intend to get,” said Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx.

Facebook remains the most popular social network with no less than 97% of respondents saying they use it, followed by Twitter at 67%,  YouTube at 44% and Instagram at 40%.

Mxit, which once dominated the instant messaging game before bigger international competitors came onto the scene, was reported as the least popular IM service with only 17% of respondents saying they use it. WhatsApp (92%), Facebook Messenger (55%) and BBM (48%) hold the top three spots.

According to students, smartphones are not only useful for communication but for assisting in school work as well. 89% said smartphones and social media helped them research better, 67% said that it helped them increase their knowledge of the subject they were studying, 60% said it helps them with sharing information and 38% said it gives them a channel for discussions with lecturers.

“Technology delivers both the positive and negative for students,” said Goldstuck. “The overwhelming finding of the survey, though, is that it enhances their academic and social lives and their lifestyles in general.”

[Source – World Wide Worx, Image – Nokia]