Things made in China often carry a bad rep: after all, being affordable is often given as their first and foremost virtue. You can't deny that being competitive in terms of price is what Chinese companies are great at, but recently they have picked up the pace when it comes to innovation and design. Just look at the chart of the world's biggest phone makers and you will see the rise of Huawei, Oppo, Xiaomi, and many other makers of Chinese phones. This is no coincidence: the Chinese market has grown hugely, but it is also international buyers that appreciate the work done by Chinese Android phone makers. But what are the best Chinese phones right now?
There is quite a lot of exciting new Chinese phones that you should know about.
We bring you just that: these are the best Chinese Android phones in various price tiers: from the premium, top-tier phones to the affordable ones. Take a look.
High-end Chinese phones
Hot off the presses, the Huawei P40 Pro is yet to become available for purchase, but fans out there are already grinding their teeth. Its zoom levels are not as outrageous as the P40 Pro+, which we have yet to actually see, but the P40 Pro is still very impressive. Its 10x hybrid zoom looks fantastic and the phone is an absolute powerhouse to boot. Well, you will have to find a way to work around not having a Google framework on it, but hey — that can hardly stop an adventurous spirit. Definitely one of the top Chinese smartphones right now.
Up and coming Oppo sub-brand Realme has quickly gained popularity with its phones that offer great value for the money. The Realme X2 Pro is the most notable phone of the brand that you should know about.
It features a 6.5" AMOLED screen that uses a Samsung panel for better quality and even supports a 90Hz refresh rate that makes for extra fast experience, and then it also comes with the Snapdragon 855 Plus chip on board, one of the fastest you can get on a phone. Add to that USF 3.0 super fast 256 gigs of storage, high-quality loudspeakers, SuperVOOC fast charging and a large, 4,000mAh battery, and you have a winner.
We recently had some hands-on time with the upcoming Red Magic and it's a powerful little beast. Rocking a Snapdragon 865 and a 144 Hz refresh rate for the first time on a smartphone ever, it's sure to pique a phone fan's interest. Its gamer aesthetic may be a turnoff for some. But if that's not the case, you get a smartphone with an OK camera, powerful internals, stereo speakers, and a great big AMOLED screen.
Equipped with the fastest charging we've ever seen on a smartphone, with a 65W charger that fully charges up the phone in less than half an hour, the Oppo Reno Ace is a different beast. Seeing its 4000mAh battery charge so fast is just eye opening, and yes, this is exactly the kind of technology that will make overnight charging a thing of the past.
It also hits all the checkmarks: a beautiful AMOLED screen with a 90-hertz refresh rate and excellent brightness, a camera that exceeds expectations in different conditions and also capable of shooting competent 4K video with very good stabilization.
The world's first phone with a 108-megapixel camera is quite an achievement, and this phone does indeed break new ground when it comes to image quality: it captures an unprecedented amount of detail.
Interestingly, under the hood, the Mi Note 10 features the Snapdragon 730 chip and not the most powerful Snapdragon 8XX series, but it still feels plenty fast and the more affordable processor also helps keep the price where it's at, at just $550.
The phone is still built to feel premium with a glass and metal body, a beautiful AMOLED screen and minimal bezel, as well as the typical for Xiaomi huge battery, a massive 5260mAh battery in this case.
Honor is the most popular Huawei spin-off, a brand that caters to younger audiences with phones that have an incredible value-to-features ratio, and their latest hit product is the Honor View 30. The phone features Huawei's top hardware with the Kirin 990 processor on board, the same chip as on the Huawei Mate 30 Pro, and then 5G connectivity on a device sold at under $500 is also quite the achievement, plus you have a 4200mAh battery and a powerful camera setup with a 40MP main shooter, a 12MP ultra-wide camera, and a 3X telephoto zoom lens.
The only slight disappointment is that the phone comes with 6.6" LCD screen rather than an AMOLED screen. It's also still pretty hard to find, but we wouldn't let that kill our anticipation.
Another great offer by Xiaomi, the Mi 9T Pro is a flagship through and through at a price half that of the competition.
We are talking about the full set of features: a beautiful, large, 6.4" AMOLED display with Gorilla Glass 5 protection, the flagship Snapdragon 855 chip along with 6GB or 8GB RAM depending on the model you choose, and also a triple camera system with a main 48MP sensor, plus a 2X zoom telephoto lens and an ultra-wide shooter.
Spice things up with a large, 4000mAh battery, fast charging, and a beautiful design, and you have plenty of reasons to consider the Mi 9T Pro, making it a top Chinese smartphone.
If you want a quick and easy cheat to understand Xiaomi phones, just look at the names: if you have Mi, then you are talking about the company's more premium offerings, and if you have Redmi, then we are talking really affordable. And in the realm of affordable phones, the Redmi Note 8 Pro is king among the Chinese smartphones.
Priced at around $250 at launch, this phone looks like a flagship, it's really hard to make the difference based on just looks. Under the hood, the phone is powered by a MediaTek G90T chip, and you might be scared to see the MediaTek name, but this chip seriously overdelivers for the price range and does well in both daily performance and heavy workloads like gaming.
The camera is also not bad at all: you have a 64MP main shooter, an ultra-wide camera, a dedicated macro camera, and a depth sensor.
Realme, an offshoot of Chinese smartphone superpower Oppo, has really taken the world by a storm recently, but while you may have heard about its "flagship killers", its affordable phones are nothing to frown at.
The Realme XT is an excellent affordable phone. Just take a look at the specs: for just around $260 you get plentiful features such as a 6.4" beautiful AMOLED screen, the Snapdragon 712 chip with at least 8 GB of RAM. The battery is a big, 4000mAh in size, providing enough juice for more than a day of use. And then on the camera front, you get the main camera plus an ultra-wide one, a macro one, and a depth sensor.
These Chinese phones surely will change your perception of what makes a great value for money device. Stay tuned to this article that is updated continuously as new models come in to learn all about them.