A few days back we learned iPhone has lost position of the best-selling phone in China for the first time in 5 years. Now the most popular smartphone in the Middle Kingdom is the Oppo R9, which sold 17 million units in 2016. This is more by 5 million than all sold iPhone 6S devices. You can always say this is China, and it’s reasonable customers from this market will prefer their own products. But everyday more and more smartphone users replace their current phones with Chinese products. Just recently the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 launched in India was sold out in 10 minutes. You have to take into account we are talking about 250k units. Plus, you have to take into account Indian markets is considered to come with low incomes. Another example, Elephone officially launched in Russia today. Thus Chinese smartphone makers run aggressive campaign in three of the biggest smartphone markets. This simply means other big markets like the US and Europe will be occupied by Chinese brands in the near future. So we decided to find out which are the best Chinese smartphones.
This is not bad at all. The time has passed when Chinese brands were carrying a bad rep. Those who look for good smartphones are informed about a dozen of Chinese manufacturers coming in with great devices. Moreover, Chinese companies are pioneers in many niches. I mean they try to bring new technologies to the market. And most of them succeed. Lenovo and Huawei have been familiar to people for a while, and there are a few new brands in face of Xiaomi, Meizu, or Oppo getting popularity as well. That’s why 7 out of the top 10 biggest phone makers come from China. These brands offer handsets at different price range. Thus customers can choose any devices from any category.
Here is the list of the Best Chinese Smartphones. Actually, this list is provided by PhoneArena, but we have our insights in this case. So appreciate the work our friends at this site have done, but let’s take a peek at the list made by foreigners and assessed by us.
XIAOMI MI MIX
Not accidentally the Xiaomi Mi MIX is the best Chinese smartphone among foreigners. It has been launched in November, 2016 among with another crazy handset from this manufacturer dubbed as the Xiaomi Mi Note 2. Both handsets fill all the gaps left by the misjudged Xiaomi Mi 5S and Mi 5S Plus. Thanks to a unique design, large screen with no bezels, innovative technologies like built-in speakers under the screen and many other features the Xiaomi Mi MIX has won hearts of million users. That’s why all three bunches have been sold out in counted seconds. This phone has become popular even in non-Asian markets – I guess you remember it appeared on Time Magazine along Donald Trump. And its popularity was the main reason why the company decided to unveil the white version of the Mi MIX at CES 2017. However, this handset has a big shortcoming, as many think. Its housing is completely made of ceramic that means we are dealing with a fragile handset. But be sure it’s the way resistance than myriads of other top-end handsets.
Buy Xiaomi Mi MIX for $769,99 from Banggood
Buy Xiaomi Mi MIX for $799,99 from GeekBuying
XIAOMI MI NOTE 2
This handset was launched at the same time with the Mi MIX. But if the latter has not been known till the release day, all Mi fans have been waiting for the Mi Note 2 for a long time. I guess no one will mind if I say the Xiaomi Mi Note 2 was the last chance of the company to stay afloat after the failure of the Xiaomi Mi 5S and 5S Plus. Luckily the Xiaomi Mi Note 2 was the phone all Mi fans would like to own. But Xiaomi couldn’t predict the closest rival to its flagship will lose the game even not started. I am talking about the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. Due to exploding batteries all the units were recalled. So the Mi Note 2 stayed alone with its glory. It is considered as the best curved screen phablet. Though there are some competitors to it, but you should understand none of them can make a real competition to Xiaomi’s beast.
Buy Xiaomi Mi Note 2 for $633.99 from GeekBuying
Buy Xiaomi Mi Note 2 for $659.99 from Banggood
Buy Xiaomi Mi Note 2 for $715.99 form GearBest
When everyone is obsessed with dual-curved bodies found on top-notch smartphones Huawei decided to go further and launched the highly anticipated Honor Magic. The latter is known for a list of innovations concerning the design as well as features. First, the Honor Magic is curved on all eight sides. This handset is an ideal for symmetry. We can state if the ideal object, then the Huawei Honor Magic is an ideal smartphone at least in terms of design. But if you think this phone is perfect only externally, you are confused. The phone features a 5.09-inch AMOLED 2K display, Kirin 950 processor, and a number of innovative technologies. Say it only vibrates when holding in hand, and rings when put somewhere. However, the Honor Magic is pushed back to the third place due to a high price tag.
Buy Huawei Honor Magic for $659.99 from Banggood
HUAWEI MATE 9
Finally, the last model of the first major-league phones is the Huawei Mate 9. It can be considered as the best Chinese smartphone due to a gorgeous looking handset managed to win hearts of millions users. Huawei is the most selling Chinese smartphone brand, and it has won this title not accidentally. This company always comes with unique handsets. That’s why Huawei is a head higher than many other brands. As for the Mate 9, it looks amazing. Every detail is thought carefully. Plus, the Huawei Mate 9 packs a list of astonishing features including a 5.9-inch Full HD display, Kirin 960 own-made processor, dual camera at 20MP + 12MP with Leica optics, and many more. The latest addition to the Huawei Mate 9 family was the Obsidian Black color options. So there was only one thing some Huawei-haters could complain. Now there is nothing to mire.
Buy Huawei Mate 9 for $629.99 from Banggood
Buy Huawei Mate 9 for $688.99 from GeekBuying
This is from those smartphones that international version has been launched earlier than the Chinese version. Thus the manufacturer focus on international market with its 3 series handsets. The original OnePlus 3 was one of the best mid-range handsets competing with the Xiaomi Mi 5. If taking into account the latter is considered as the reason of Xiaomi’s success, then the OnePlus 3 and its siblings are the most dangerous rivals to all mid-range smartphones. This statement is true for the OnePlus 3T, as it comes with an astonishing design and many useful features. They include a 5.5-inch Full HD Optic AMOLED screen protected with Gorilla Glass 4, Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 CPU, 6GB RAM, 64GB / 128GB ROM, 16MP OIS cameras on the front and back, 3400mAh battery, USB Type-C and many more. And what’s amazing all these goodies you will get for only $400 or something around this.
Buy OnePlus 3T for $439.99 from Banggood
Buy OnePlus 3T for $439.99 from GeekBuying
Buy OnePlus 3T for $529.99 from GearBest
It’s a bit difficult to imagine how a mid-range smartphone can sport a dual-camera, but when it comes to Huawei, everything is possible. The Huawei P9 comes with a dual-camera at 12MP. This is the selling point of the device, so let’s focus on it. This camera features f/2.2 aperture, which is not too large, but it is still able to provide great shooting experience. There is also Leica optics, PDA, dual-LED for better capture in low-light conditions, and the sensor comes at 1.25 µm pixel size. As you see, the Huawei P9 sports a beast camera. I guess this is the main reason why it was in the first positions along with the Mate 8 of the best-selling Huawei handsets.
Buy Huawei P9 for $459.99 from GeekBuying
Buy Huawei P9 for $571.56 from GearBest
Another dual-camera handset from Huawei that has break all the records. This mid-range smartphone was sold in 1.5 million units in 50 days. This was another big step making Huawei the first Chinese smartphone maker. We even came in with an interesting article comparing this beast with Xiaomi’s monster, Mi 5. It’s very difficult to say which of them is better, but the fact we are dealing with a great handset sporting a stylish design and a list of decent features is undeniable. The Huawei Honor is equipped with a 5.2-inch Full HD screen, HiSilicon Kirin 950 CPU, 4GB of RAM, 32GB / 64GB of ROM, dual 12MP camera and many more. And you have to pay $350 or something around it.
Buy Huawei Honor 8 for $346.08 from GearBest
ZTE AXON 7
Not accidentaly the ZTE Axon 7 is considered as a ‘flagship killer’. This term simply means a phone packs high-end features at a price that challenge the status quo. I mean when we are looking for a new smartphone the pricing may play a decisive role. But for flagship killers the pricing always causes the opposite reaction. Customers may change their decision because of a low price tag. However, the ZTE Axon 7 is too popular, and these fears are not actual for the handset. It has become so popular due a decent specs of list including a 5.5-inch Quad HD (2,560 x 1,440 pixel) AMOLED screen, AKM AK4961 and AKM AK4490 dedicated audio chips supporting Hi-Fi audio playback through headphones and loudspeakers (plus, front-facing stereo speakers and sound-enhancing Dolby Atmos technology), 20MP camera with f/1.8 aperture and OIS (it is capable of recording 4K videos at 30fps), Snapdragon 820 CPU, 4GB / 6GB RAM, 64GB / 128GB ROM, and 3250mAh battery.
Buy ZTE Axon 7 for $491.21 from GearBest
LEECO LE PRO 3
LeEco has been unknown to large masses till recently. Now the manufacturer showcases stunning sales numbers, and all geeks are sure it will enter the top 10 list in the nearest future. There were 20 million sold LeEco smartphones in 2016, and I have to say the LeEco Le Pro 3 has its own investment in this deal. Thus handset got 3.57 million pre-orders once it appeared on the retailers’ sites. So it’s not surprising how this phone managed to gone in 15 seconds. All these numbers talk about the great features of the LeEco Le Pro 3. They include a 5.5-inch Full HD screen, Snapdragon 821 SoC, 4GB / 6GB RAM, 32GB / 64GB / 128GB ROM, 16MP camera, 4070mAh battery with Quick Charge and many more. Though this smartphone has no special feature to stand out among others, it totally looks and acts as a high-end device due to a great specs list.
Buy LeEco Le Pro 3 for $269.99 from GeekBuying
Buy LeEco Le Pro 3 for $319.99 from Banggood
XIAOMI MI 5S / 5S PLUS
The biggest failure of Xiaomi in 2016 concerns these handsets. Both devices are packed with astonishing features and have all the reasons to be considered as the best smartphones, but the mismatch of rumors and reality made them to fail. First, it was said the Xiaomi Mi 5S will be world’s first ‘Under Glass’ fingerprint scanner device. Latter we saw only a front-mounted fingerprint identification. Second, the phone said to come with a ceramic housing. But we saw the manufacturer had abandoned this idea, and the Mi 5S came with a metal housing. Third, all Mi fans were waiting for a dual-camera on the phone, but it came with a single camera. This list can go too long, but we have what we have. I am not talking about the Mi 5S Plus, which was launched with dual-camera and many other incredible features, but it was ignored unfairly. However, those who are good at smartphones, said the Xiaomi Mi 5S is the best handset made by the company ever. Though it’s disputable, we have to agree with this statement, as the Mi 5S features a Snapdragon 821 chipset, MX378 Sensor (the same sensor found on the Google Pixel), 3D touch display, and many more. Moreover, it was considered as the best Chinese handset by foreigners. Due to a monster camera this handset was able to compete with the iPhone 6S Plus and Samsung Galaxy S7. It was priced affordably, but many think we have to say good bye to budget-friendly flagships after it.
Buy Xiaomi Mi 5S for $269.99 / Mi 5S Plus for $359.99 from GeekBuying
Buy Xiaomi Mi 5S for $299.99 / Mi 5S Plus for $335.99 from Banggood
Buy Xiaomi Mi 5S for $339.99 / Mi 5S Plus for $389.99 from GearBest
Finally, we have the first representative of Meizu in this list. The phone was originally named as the Meizu Meilan X, but the rest of the world recognizes it as the Meizu M3X. Anyway, this phone has been sold only in China, and this is the most important reason why it has settled at the last position of this category. Generally, Meizu doesn’t run an aggressive sales strategy. It likes where it is, and seems no one can change this. Say, it was found in 2007 and all smartphone users know this company always comes with good devices at affordable prices. But it doesn’t do anything to enlarge its market. On the contrary, Xiaomi launched its first handset in 2012 and thanks to a viral marketing maneuvers it could grab users’ attention. Well, as for the Meizu M3X, it’s the actual face of many Meizu handsets. I mean it sports good features, it’s priced quite low, but nothing more can be added to them. The Meizu M3X comes with a 5.5-inch Full HD screen, MediaTek Helio P20 chipset, 3GB / 4GB RAM, 32GB / 64GB ROM, 12MP camera, 3200mAh battery and so on.
Buy Meizu M3X for $329.99 from Banggood
XIAOMI REDMI NOTE 4
The low-end smartphones market has been attractive for manufacturers since the beginning of time. It’s clear products from this category cost low, therefore they are sold in millions. But those handsets also should bring something worthy to the table. Fortunately, there is a dozen of smartphones belonging to this group and providing great performance as well as looking stylish. I guess no one will mind if I say the best representative from this niche is the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4. This handset was launched in India recently. Thus it’s the best choice for the markets with low incomes. To understand what features make this handset so popular and attractive let’s take a quick look at its specs list. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 comes in a metal housing seen mainly on high-end devices. Other than that, it features a 5.5-inch Full HD screen, MediaTek Helio X20 deca-core CPU, 2GB / 3GB RAM, 16GB / 64GB ROM, 13MP camera with PDA and dual-flash, 4100mAh large capacity battery, fingerprint scanner and many more.
Buy Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 for $159.99 from GeekBuying
Buy Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 for $179.99 from Banggood
Buy Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 for $201.72 from GearBest
HUAWEI HONOR 6X
Honor is considered as the second trusted smartphone line after Xiaomi’s Mi line. This line includes products from different categories, thus Honor handsets designed for large masses. One of them known as the Huawei Honor 6X has been made for low-end market. But many customers think this phone can compete even with mid-range smartphones. However, the Honor 6X is priced so that it makes competitions to low-end smartphones. It sports a 5.5-inch Full HD screen, HiSilicon Kirin 655 octa-core processor, 3GB / 4GB RAM, 32GB / 64GB ROM, dual 12MP + 2MP camera, 3340mAh battery and many more. And all you have to pay for this handset is $200.
Buy Huawei Honor 6X for $209.99 for Lightinthebox
Buy Huawei Honor 6X for $219.99 for GeekBuying
Buy Huawei Honor 6X for $229.99 for Banggood
LEECO LE S3
LeEco is actively working on conquering the US market. It’s difficult to say the mission is completed, because the market is occupied by top players like Apple’s iPhone, Samsung Galaxy S series phones, LG models and Google Pixel / Nexus handsets. But the Chinese manufacturer has come in with a dozen of smartphones looking quite differently. Moreover, they are designed for different markets. Thus the company is doing its best to satisfy the demand in all terms. One of the devices went to the war in the first line is considered to be the LeEco Le S3, the cheaper version of the widely popular LeEclo Le Pro 3. The LeEco Le S3 looks great, but I want you to take a glance at its key features. The phone sports a 5.5-inch Full HD screen with Gorilla Glass 3 protection, Snapdragon 652 octa-core processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal memory, 16MP camera, Dolby Atmos audio chip, 3000mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0 and many more.
Buy LeEco Le S3 for $209.99 from Banggood
XIAOMI MI MAX
The Xiaomi Mi Max is one of those phablets that require big hands to fit in. We used to call phablet all those devices that come with a display larger than 5.2 inches. But there is a big difference between 5.2 inches and 6.44 inches. As you guess, the latter is the screen size of the Mi Max, which also provides Full HD viewing experience. However, large screens require large batteries. The Xiaomi Mi Max comes with a monster-sized battery of 4850mAh capacity. The rest of features include Snapdragon 650 / 652 hexa-core / octa-core chipsets, 3GB / 4GB RAM, 32GB / 64GB /128GB ROM, 16MP camera with PDA and dual-LED flash and so on. This handset is the god of low-end smartphones, and its selling point is the display with no words. At last, the phone’s price range is under-$200. So it can be acquired by anyone literally.
Buy Xiaomi Mi Max for $189.99 from GeekBuying
Buy Xiaomi Mi Max for $191.86 from GearBest
Buy Xiaomi Mi Max for $199.99 from Banggood
MEIZU M5 NOTE
Low-end smartphone usually are called as the thousand-yuan devices. Their price tag corresponds $150. As I said at the beginning of this category, the low-end market pulls manufacturers like a magnet. But on the other hand, the competition is at the highest level in this niche. That’s why the smartphone makers should find the best combination of design, hardware, and software and set the right pricing for them. One of the best options for customers looking for such handsets is the Huawei Enjoy 6S. But as Meizu’s Blue Charm line is more popular in Chinese market, the M5 Note was able to grab the title of the best thousand-yuan smartphone from the Huawei. Thanks to a decent list including a 5.5-inch Full HD screen, MediaTek Helio P10 octa-core CPU, 3GB / 4GB of RAM, 16GB / 32GB / 64GB of ROM, 13MP camera, and 4000mAh this handset could win customers’ hearts at first sight. It is also priced affordably – only $160.