NFC: What Is It? And What Our Smartphones Can Do With It?

a person holding a phone near a NFC terminal

NFC technology is nothing new and has been around for decades. However, it got thrusted back into the limelight recently thanks to the introduction of the enhanced Touch ‘n Go Card. It allows for easy and convenient credit reloads straight from a compatible smartphone. Do note the mention of “compatible” as not all phones are equipped with NFC. In this article, we will be taking a closer look at what exactly is NFC, while also recommending some phones with NFC if you’re looking for one.

What Is NFC?

NFC is probably not unheard of for many people. And yet most people have a limited or fuzzy understanding of the technology. Near Field Communication can be generally defined as a short-range, high-frequency wireless communication technology that enables electronic devices to communicate and exchange data in close proximity (within a distance of 4cm or less). NFC is a branch of radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology that we have grown familiar with within the last few years.

Many of us got our first exposure to NFC technology via smartphones, but you can also find the feature on other consumer electronics, including tablets, laptops, and portable speakers.

How Do I Know If My Phone Has NFC?

NFC shortcut toggle on a smartphone
Credit: Brett Jordan via Unsplash

If you’re an iPhone owner with a model released in the last seven to eight years, your phone comes with NFC. Apple has included the NFC feature in every model, starting with the iPhone 6 series. However, only the iPhone 7 series and newer models are able to read NFC tags using third-party apps. Meanwhile, the iPhone XS series and subsequent models enable the reading of NFC tags in the background without needing any app.

Android phone settings page
Credit: Shopee Blog

On the Android side of things, it would be nearly impossible to list down all the phones with NFC here. Thankfully, Android users can easily check whether their device is NFC-equipped by going into the Settings menu. While Android devices have varying interfaces, the NFC toggle—if the feature is built in—can usually be found buried under the Connected devices page (as shown in the screenshot image above). Alternatively, do a search in the Settings menu search box. If your phone has NFC, the results will show.

What Are Some Of The Uses Of NFC On A Phone?

a person holding their phone near a terminal to make a payment
Credit: CardMapr via Unsplash

NFC might not be a feature on your phone that you use frequently like the camera and Bluetooth, but some of its applications can make your life a lot easier as we live an increasingly digital lifestyle. Here are just a few examples.

Mobile payments: Services like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Huawei Pay enable smartphone users to make over-the-counter contactless payments by positioning their device near the payment reader.

Share content between phones (Android phones only): There are more ways than one to transfer files from one phone to another. With NFC, you can do a quick (and fun) way to share content directly to a recipient’s phone by tapping the back of both phones together using the Nearby Share feature. 

Scan NFC Business Card: A business card with a built-in NFC chip allows people to save the owner’s particulars straight to their phones just by tapping. This beats handling paper name cards which is a hassle for both the giver and the receiver.

Play music on a portable speaker from your phone: Some portable Bluetooth speakers come with a built-in NFC feature to make playing music wirelessly from a smartphone as painless as possible. All you need to get some music going is to bring your phone next to the speaker and tap!

7 Phones With NFC Below RM1,000 To Buy In 2022

As previously mentioned, NFC is not a standard feature found in every phone. If you are in the market to get one of the latest phones with built-in NFC but don’t want to spend big, take a look at our recommendations below.

1.   Poco M4 Pro

Poco M4 Pro phones with nfc
Credit: Poco

One of two Poco phones released in Malaysia thus far this year, the Poco M4 Pro gives users a fluid 6.43-inch 90Hz AMOLED display, a triple rear camera setup headlined by a 64MP primary camera, and a large 5,000mAh battery with 33W fast charging.

2.   realme 9i

realme 9i phones with nfc
Credit: realme Official Store on Shopee

realme’s 2022 midrange phone lineup is bolstered by the addition of the realme 9i, which offers a large 6.6-inch display with a 90Hz high refresh rate and a 5,000mAh battery featuring the company’s signature Dart Charge quick charging technology (33W).

3.   Redmi 10C

Redmi 10C phones with nfc
Credit: Mi

Unveiled in March 2022 alongside the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G and Redmi Note 11S 5G, the Redmi 10C is the latest entry in the hugely-popular Redmi line. Fans of huge displays will love this 6.71 incher! Available for under RM700, this is one of the more affordable must-haves in this list. 

4.   Redmi Note 11S

Redmi Note 11S phones with nfc
Credit: Mi

Compared to the Redmi 10C, the Redmi Note 11S is an overall better-specced phone with a higher-quality (albeit smaller) display, more cameras headlined by a 108MP shooter, a selfie camera with more megapixels, and faster-charging technology. However, it will also cost you a few hundred Ringgit more.

5.   Samsung Galaxy A23 LTE

Samsung Galaxy A23 LTE phones with nfc
Credit: Samsung

Samsung’s new midranger gives users the always-welcomed combo of a big screen (6.6-inch) plus a big battery (5,000mAh), the latter of which the company claims can provide a two-day battery experience. Moreover, the Galaxy A23 LTE also packs a four-camera array and a Dolby Atmos audio experience when listening with a pair of earphones.

6.   Honor X8

Honor X8
Credit: HONOR

Honor, post-separation from Huawei, has recently launched its new X series of midrange phones in the local market. For under RM1,000, you can get the Snapdragon-powered Honor X8 which has a humongous 6.74-inch screen and four rear cameras to play around with.

7.   vivo Y33s

vivo Y33s phones with nfc
Credit: vivo

At just below RM800, the vivo Y33s offers you specs like a 6.58-inch display, a MediaTek Helio G80 processor, a triple-camera setup, and a sizable 5,000mAh battery that not only fast charges at 18W but also does reverse charging. In addition, it has an extended RAM feature which can assign up to 4GB of idle ROM space. With the extra RAM, your phone runs even smoother.

Specs Overview

Here’s how all the seven featured phones with NFC compared to each other specs-wise.

Poco M4 Pro

realme 9i Redmi 10C Redmi Note 11S Samsung Galaxy A23 LTE Honor X8 Vivo Y33s 

6.43-inch FHD+ AMOLED 90Hz display

6.6-inch FHD+ LCD 90Hz display 6.71-inch HD+ LCD display 6.43-inch FHD+ AMOLED 90Hz display 6.6-inch FHD+ LCD 90Hz display 6.7-inch FHD+ LCD 90Hz display

6.58-inch FHD+ LCD display




Mediatek Helio G96

Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 Mediatek Helio G96 Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 Qualcomm Snapdragon 680

Mediatek Helio G80

128GB/256GB storage

128GB storage 64GB/128GB storage 64GB/128GB storage 128GB storage 128GB storage

128GB storage

Android 11

Android 11 Android 11 Android 11 Android 12 Android 11

Android 11

Triple rear cameras (64MP main + 8MP ultrawide + 2MP macro)

Triple rear cameras (50MP main + 2MP macro + 2MP depth sensor) Dual rear cameras (50MP main + 2MP depth sensor) Quad rear cameras (108MP main + 8MP ultrawide +2MP macro + 2MP depth sensor) Quad rear cameras (50MP main + 5MP ultrawide +2MP macro + 2MP depth sensor) Quad rear cameras (64MP main + 5MP ultrawide +2MP macro + 2MP depth sensor)

Triple rear cameras (50MP main + 2MP macro + 2MP depth sensor)

16MP selfie camera

16MP selfie camera 5MP selfie camera 16MP selfie camera 8MP selfie camera 16MP selfie camera

16MP selfie camera

5,000mAh battery (with 33W fast charging) 5,000mAh battery (with 33W fast charging) 5,000mAh battery (with 18W fast charging) 5,000mAh battery (with 33W fast charging) 5,000mAh battery (with 25W fast charging) 4,000mAh battery (with 22.5W fast charging)

5,000mAh battery (with 18W fast charging)

Enjoy Greater Conveniences With NFC On Your Phone

a person making a contactless payment
Credit: via Unsplash

NFC may not be a feature to die for on a smartphone. However, it offers conveniences that could make a big difference for those who use it extensively. Perhaps there will be more, and diversified, use of NFC in the future. But for now, the convenience of reloading our Touch n’ Go card wherever we are is making certain people glad that they have phones with NFC!

Related: These Phones Under RM1,500 Let You Enjoy 5G In Malaysia

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