Top 10 best Chinese phones 2016 / 2017

The Meizu M3 Note is a great phone, with outstanding battery life and a nice metal unibody design, but it isn’t a patch on the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, which is faster and comes with a better camera, more up-to-date software and, importantly, a cheaper price tag. That said, it’s difficult for us to recommend to UK users (particularly novice UK users) the Meizu M3 Note over other budget Chinese smartphones we’ve tested, given that Google Play is not preinstalled and so much of it has not been adapted from Chinese. The Xiaomi Redmi 3 is a very decent budget Android phone, but it isn’t intended for a UK audience and doesn’t come with Google Play installed out of the box, so we wouldn’t recommend it for those not familiar with Android. It has a plasticky but decent build, with good performance for the money. We’re seriously impressed by the Honor 6 which costs just £249 while providing specs you would normally pay a lot more for. It has a decent 5in Full HD screen, high quality cameras, good battery life, 4G support, good performance, expandable storage and wireless features like NFC and an IR blaster.

The microSD cards slot is limited to 32 GB and Emotion UI isn’t the best Android software but these don’t stop the Honor 6 being the best value smartphone around. The Z1 is a good first attempt from ZUK. It’s not a super-cheap budget phone, but we think the price is about right given the hardware inside. Standout features include the 5.5in full-HD screen, large battery, 64GB of built-in storage and USB-C port. Although there’s no removable battery or microSD card support, you could argue that you need neither. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 may not be best suited to UK users out of the box, but with some simple setup tweaks it is an excellent budget Android phone with a fantastic design and performance for the price. The OnePlus X was the best value smartphone of 2015. We love the premium design in a smaller form factor to the firm’s other phones. Software is a strong point and you get a gorgeous screen.

However, cuts had to be made somewhere and the X is lacking features such as NFC, 11ac and Wi-Fi. It also is missing the fingerprint scanner and USB Type-C port found on the OnePlus 2. Battery life isn’t great and cameras aren’t best in class but this is a great phone for the price. The lack of NFC, a microSD card slot, a removable battery, and quick- and wireless charging means the OnePlus 2 is not a flagship killer.

It does have some killer new features though, including USB Type-C, 4G dual-SIM support and some powerful hardware. At the reduced price of £249 (we don’t recommend the 16GB OP2), it’s an unrivalled deal. We’re very impressed with the Elephone P9000, which is a great all-round Android phone at an unbelievable sub-£200 price. It’s fast, battery life is good, it’s feature-packed and it even runs Marshmallow. Wireless- and quick-charging-, NFC-, USB-C-, dual-SIM- and microSD support are the icing on the cake. Recommended. A fantastic Android flagship that comes in at an outrageously low price, the Xiaomi Mi 5 has the braun and the beauty to match the greats Perhaps not a wise choice for first time Android users, but those comfortable in customising the setup will love the excellent-value, gorgeously designed Xiaomi Mi 5. The OnePlus 3 is another amazing smartphone from the Chinese company as easily its best effort yet.

It’s a little bit more expensive than its predecessor but it’s still a ridiculous price considering the design, build and hardware on offer which matches rivals but also beats them in some areas. There’s very little to dislike here unless you really need things like expandable storage and waterproofing. You don’t even need an invite any longer, either..

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