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The best Chinese smartphones you should know about


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Some awesome Chinese phones, like the Huawei Mate 7, never make it to US shores. / © ANDROIDPIT

Huawei P9

The fourth model of the Huawei P series is dubbed the ‘Pocket DSLR’. That’s because the company partnered with German camera manufacturer Leica to make a device focused around photo capabilities. The smartphone has a dual camera system with two rear cameras.

Despite having a better camera and taking higher quality photos the device is still priced under its competitors. It’s not a cheap Chinese phone but in general is not expensive at $559. And unlike other Chinese manufacturers, Huawei has a strong presence in the US.

The Huawei P9 comes with Android Marshmallow right out of the box. The HiSilicon Kirin 955 chipset is backed up with 3 GB RAM. The device has an internal memory capacity of 32 GB and can be expanded with the microSD capabilities. The phone runs on a 3,000 mAh battery.

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The dual camera system on the Huawei P9 is a major selling point. / © ANDROIDPIT

Huawei P9

$559.99

Amazon.com

Xiaomi Mi 5 and Mi 5 Pro

Xiaomi made a big splash at MWC 2016 with its new flagship Mi 5 series. These long awaited devices are currently confirmed for the Indian and Chinese markets but Xiaomi’s Global VP said in an interview that Xiaomi has “other markets on their radar screen.” 

The design and specs of these two devices are impressive. The normal Mi 5 version has a 3D glass rear panel, 32 GB or 64 GB of internal storage and 3 GB of RAM. The Pro version comes with a ceramic back, 128 GB of internal storage and 4 GB RAM. Both come with a Snapdragon 820 processor and a new 4-axis optical image stabilization system that wowed at MWC 2016. 

The incredible prices of these devices is perhaps the most remarkable thing about them. The lowest cost (32 GB) version is set to be released at US$407.99. The 64 GB Mi 5 version is going to come in at US$459.99 and the Mi 5 Pro at US$515.99. 

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The Xiaomi Mi 5 has the specs of a premium device at a mid-range price. / © ANDROIDPIT

Xiaomi Mi 5 (32 GB)

US$407.99

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Xiaomi Mi 5 (64 GB)

US$459.99

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Xiaomi Mi 5 Pro (128 GB)

US$515.99

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Xiaomi Mi Note Pro 

Another great phone from Xiaomi, the Mi Note Pro is as premium as any phone on this list. The Mi Note Pro is available in a gold finish and packs the Snapdragon 810, a whopping 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of on-board storage, 13 MP shooter with OIS, rolled glass on the back edges and 5.7-inch QHD display on the front.

So how much would you expect to pay for a phone this good? How about US$350? Yes, that little. 

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The Xiaomi Mi Note Pro stands alongside 2015 flagships with ease. / © ANDROIDPIT

Xiaomi Mi Note Pro

$494.45

GeekBuying.com

Honor 7 

The Honor 7 is boss. A US$300 all-aluminum smartphone with looks to rival the HTC One M9 or Huawei Mate S, the Honor 7 also packs a punch in the specs department.

Packing a Huawei-made finger scanner, Kirin 935 chipset, 3 GB of RAM, Android Lollipop, microSD expansion, a massive 20 MP primary camera with OIS, and an 8 MP front-facing camera complete with LED flash, the Honor 7 is unbeatable. Check out our Honor 7 review for more details.

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For its price, the Honor 7 is unbeatable. / © ANDROIDPIT

Meizu Pro 5 

The Meizu Pro 5 ups the price point to just under the US$500 mark, but it is a very capable smartphone.

Packing Samsung’s excellent Exynos 7420 chipset – the same as the Galaxy S6 – clocked at 2.5 GHz, a 21 MP camera, 3 GB or 4 GB of RAM, front-mounted fingerprint scanner, 5.7-inch Full HD display, Android Lollipop and solid 3,000 mAh battery, the Meizu Pro 5 is one to look out for.

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The Meizu Pro 5 uses the same chipset as the Galaxy S6. / © ANDROIDPIT

Meizu Pro 5

$512.99

Amazon

ZUK Z1 

You may not have heard of the ZUK Z1, but you’ll wish you had. Backed by Lenovo, the ZUK Z1 has outstanding battery life, a rock-solid fingerprint scanner, good performance and a very decent camera, all for the low price of US$220.

The ZUK Z1 also features a 5.5-inch Full HD display, Snapdragon 801, CyanogenMod OS 12 (based on Lollipop), 64 GB internal storage, 3 GB of RAM, a 4,100 mAh battery and 13 MP Sony sensor. Not bad at all.

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The Zuk Z1 is a great all-rounder. / © ANDROIDPIT

Lenovo ZUK 1

$349.00

Amazon

Lenovo Vibe P1

Lenovo’s Vibe P1 has one feature that will absolutely destroy what you thought was possible for a £160 phone: a 4,900 mAh battery. That’s not a typo, the Vibe P1 has a battery that’s double the size of many other smartphone batteries right now.

But that’s not all – the Vibe P1 also delivers super fast-charging technology to get that monster battery charged pronto, as well as a fingerprint scanner, 5.5-inch Full HD display and Android Lollipop. Did we mention this thing only costs US$160?

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The Lenovo Vibe P1 has a battery double the size of most smartphones. / © Lenovo

Lenovo Vibe P1

$398.00

Amazon

How do I get one of these phones?

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. In our device reviews, we always provide info on the best price for a device and share links for where you can buy one (just make sure you check the phone’s LTE frequencies to ensure they will work with your carrier before you buy).

There is also a bunch of excellent online retailers in China willing to ship a device globally, many of which can be found in our recent article on how to buy Xiaomi phones in the US. 

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