The best value Chinese Android phones you can buy in the US right now (April)

The best value Chinese Android phones you can buy in the US right now (April)
Chinese smartphones are increasingly becoming the best value-for-money efforts in the mobile industry, offering great specs and at times even good design for their price tag. Consider that a Xiaomi, Huawei or Lenovo flagships run 20-30% less than a similar offer from Samsung, Sony, LG, HTC and other more popular names, while in the midrange scenario they might start you at half off compared to the competing brand juggernauts, and it's not hard to grasp why the Chinese brands are grabbing more and more market share from Samsung and the rest.

Xiaomi, for instance, used to be lumped in the "Others" category just in 2013, while this year it is projected to be the world's fifth, and maybe even fourth maker. Huawei is also doing pretty well, raising its market share about two percentage points in the span of two years. Lenovo's Motorola acquisition quickly catapulted it to third place with a 7.4% market share forecast for the year, and, overall, the ascend can only be attributable to the Chinese phone makers getting stronger, with Samsung getting weaker.

Well, that's market forces at work for you, but the problem with getting Chinese brands is usually accessibility and the fact that they are rarely offered on contract from major carriers - the way here in the US phones are predominantly bought. With the advent of T-Mobile's and other prepaid offers, however, buying a handset directly instead of tying yourself on a lengthy expensive contract in exchange for some phone subsidies, is becoming increasingly attractive. What better value-for-money in such scenario than the Chinese brands, that's why we have compiled a list of the best phones from Xiaomi, Lenovo, Meizu, Huawei and others, that you can buy in the US right now, pop your SIM card in, and go. These puppies all can be ordered from the linked credible stores (Amazon, Expansys, Newegg) directly right now.

Xiaomi Redmi 2 ($149)


If you aren't into big and expensive phones, the new Redmi 2 is just for you. How about a 4.7" laminated HD display, 64-bit chipset, 8 MP camera, dual SIM, and LTE connectivity - all for less than $150. Not bad, eh?


Meizu M1 Note ($229)


With a 5.5-inch laminated 1080p display, 64-bit octa-core processor, 4G + 2G dual-SIM dual standby, 2 GB of RAM, microSD slot, 13 megapixels zero shutter lag camera, 5 Megapixels front camera, and a 3140 mAh battery to back it all up, the new M1 Note is one of the best value-for-money offerings you can get in the US now. Oh, it's also available in a bunch of pastel-colored polycarb chassis variations, too.


Asus Zenfone 2 4 GB RAM/32 GB ROM ($299) 


Ever since its announcement, all gazes have been on the the decked-out 4 GB RAM model of the Zenfone 2, with the 5.5" 1080p display, and 32/64 GB of storage out of the box. Well, now you can order it from a reputable source in the US, and it will cost you just three Benjamins, against which you will also be getting a 64-bit chipset, 13 MP camera that is nothing to sniff at, and a 3000 mAh battery pack.


OnePlus One 64 GB ($349)


The OnePlus One sports Qualcomm's quad-core Snapdragon 801 (MSM8974-AC), clocked at 2.5GHz, 3GB of LPDDR3 RAM, and a 3100 mAh cell. Connectivity options include 4G LTE, 2.4G/5G Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0. Wrapped within a magnesium frame, the One is a relatively compact 5.5-incher, measuring 152.9 x 75.9 x 8.9 mm, and weighing just 162 grams. The 1080x1920 pixel resolution screen is literally slapped on top of the chassis, so the top and bottom bezels are actually recessed. At the back we have a 13-megapixel Sony IMX214 sensor with 6 lenses and a wide, f/2.0 aperture. Lastly, the OnePlus One is powered by a customized version of CyanogenMod OS, which has been redesigned with a minimal, completely flat UI.


Xiaomi Mi4 ($359)


The Xiaomi Mi 4 comes with a 5-inch 1080p, fully laminated display and top notch hardware: it runs on the quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 system chip clocked at up to 2.5GHz, and comes with a plentiful 3GB of RAM. The battery is a sizable 3080 mAh pack that can last around a day and a half according to Xiaomi, more than most other 5-inch flagship phones. The Mi 4 also supports quick charging, so you can juice it up to 60% in less than an hour. In terms of cameras, the Mi 4 boasts a 13-megapixel rear one and a high-res, 8-megapixel shooter with a Sony sensor up front. The Mi 4 comes in two versions: one with 16GB of internal storage, and another one that makes a jump directly to 64GB, skipping a 32GB model. The storage is also of the fastest eMMC 5.0 kind.


Meixu MX4 Pro ($455)


Meizu's MX4 Pro is our sub-$500 Quad HD display offering, but that's not all there is to it. It sports a large 5.5" display, fingerprint sensor, dedicated DAC, octa-core chipset, and 3 GB of RAM are on board. The device does not offer a microSD slot for external cards, but this is the price for a 32 gig model you are looking at. Furthermore, the MX4 Pro offers a 20.7 Sony Exmor RS camera, and a hearty 3350mAh battery.


Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro ($480)


The Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro features Quad HD screen that measures 6 inches, a 7.7mm-thin metal body, a quad-core 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 processor, 16MP rear camera with OIS, NFC, dual SIM slots, and an everlasting 4,000 mAh battery, all for less than $500 without a contract.

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23 Comments

1. bugsbunny00

Posts: 2265; Member since: Jun 07, 2013

zenfone 2 and lenovo vibe z2pro my choice.

2. kd5980

Posts: 4; Member since: Apr 15, 2015

which of these phones support AT&T lte in the USA? I see some varying information. Grateful for any and all help!

6. MATOZ

Posts: 74; Member since: Aug 10, 2011

Only Oneplus One and Asus Zenphone (ZE551ML; Global or US variants) get ATT's LTE

3. Rocket

Posts: 673; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

All this phones have support for US bands?(At&t)

7. MATOZ

Posts: 74; Member since: Aug 10, 2011

As I said, only Oneplus One and Asus Zenphone (ZE551ML; Global or US variants) get AT&T's LTE as well as T-Mobile's. LTE band in common, Band 4.

4. Doakie

Posts: 2478; Member since: May 06, 2009

BLU Studio Energy (Gionee Marathon 2) for $149! I put the OnePlus One in my bag and am using my Energy as my phone today. Man I love the battery life on this bastage!

5. cncrim

Posts: 1588; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

Idk, i think you get what you pay for. How is the software optimize? From pass experiences alot of these phones the OS is quite buggy and crash alot more often compare to big boy brand. Price is temp but price for peace of mind is another questions.

8. mike2959

Posts: 696; Member since: Oct 08, 2011

First of all, these are NOT readily available. Unless you're talking eBay. Also these phones are not optimized for US networks.

9. waddup121 unregistered

all these phones I want

10. electrophage

Posts: 73; Member since: Jun 17, 2011

It is a shame that most of these phone wont work in the US with our LTE. I dont know why the manufactures make them with out support for one of the biggest and most affluent markets in the world. I tried the Huawei Ascend Mate 7 twice,and its a great phone but sent them back cause they wont run AT&T LTE, and had to settle for the Mate 2 which has full AT&T bands. Id love the vibe pro, but Im not convinced it will work properly on AT&T. Shame Why even have this article if it doesnt feature phones that will fully work in the USA

11. Donbenie

Posts: 260; Member since: Aug 04, 2013

These are proven performers,brands with good rep,that's the essence of the topic..

12. electrophage

Posts: 73; Member since: Jun 17, 2011

But an article entitled "Chinese phones you can get in the US" leads one to assume that they will actually work in the US beyond 2g speeds and fringe companies

14. WakaFlakaD

Posts: 576; Member since: Apr 30, 2011

Agree completely. PA needs to make sure to list them as they are able to work under 3G or 4G for countries outside of China. In this case, the US it is.

13. jngo102

Posts: 50; Member since: Jan 15, 2015

The IUNI U2 and Gionee Elife E7 are pretty good values too at ~$163 and ~$180 respectively. Both have 1080p displays, Snapdragon 800s, at least 2 GB RAM, and 16 MP cameras. Not sure if they're Chinese phones though.

15. Neo_Huang

Posts: 1067; Member since: Dec 06, 2013

They are.

16. Robbiec4

Posts: 14; Member since: Sep 23, 2014

I hate to be Mr Technical but....Asus is Taiwanese, not Chinese. If Asus is Chinese then HTC should be too!

17. radhawnms

Posts: 11; Member since: Sep 14, 2014

Mx4 pro is using exynos 5430

18. avishekmukherjee

Posts: 362; Member since: Apr 09, 2015

Is Asus a Chinese brand?

20. Robbiec4

Posts: 14; Member since: Sep 23, 2014

It's Taiwanese

19. elimartinez7

Posts: 23; Member since: Apr 16, 2015

can anyone please help and let me know if any of these (besides zenfone/one plus) that will AT LEAST get 3G or H+ on tmobile, im in phoenix az if that makes a differance, thanks in advance

21. spza29

Posts: 4; Member since: Apr 17, 2015

Asus isn't a Chinese phones, and almost none of these phones with the exception of oneplus and maybe Asus is for sale to US markets, you would have to buy them from a third hand seller

22. Kaiser2007

Posts: 173; Member since: Nov 16, 2013

Waiting for Asus Zenfone 2 launch in US.

23. electrophage

Posts: 73; Member since: Jun 17, 2011

If you want any of them, you can get them from Amazon. Its just unfortunate that most won't work with U.S. LTE because they lack the proper bands

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