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Best Cheap Android Phones 2014 from China

Updated on April 18, 2014

ShouId buy a Chinese branded phone?

I'm sure everyone has heard of bad quality knock-off phones from China. But this isn't 2008 anymore, and Chinese companies have really stepped up their game in the recent years. These aren't the type cheap iPhone clones you're used to seeing on the internet. In fact, you will probably mistake them as products from the big company names. Here are some of the reasons why there are a growing number of people buying Chinese Android phones:

  • Low cost
  • Great specification for it's price
  • High build quality. Especially the screen
  • Unique designs (No generic look such as phones from Apple or Samsung)
  • Runs latest Android versions

But not all things have been perfected yet. Here are some disadvantages of getting a Chinese phone:

  • GPS usually not the best quality
  • No LTE/4G on most phones (Newer models will have it, but at a higher cost)
  • Average battery life. You will never see a Chinese phone with high battery life.

iOcean X7 HD (~$160 USD)

The MTK6582 processor

The MTK6582 or MT6582 is a powerful, but low-cost quad core processor for mid-range phones. It's performance is on par with the Nexus 4 and Samsung S3.

Starting at a low cost of $160, this entry level Android device is the younger brother of the iOcean's more powerful models: iOcean X7 Youth and iOcean X7 Elite. The iOcean X7 HD still retains the original body of the high powered models, but replaces some of the inner hardware for cheaper costs.

iOcean X7 HD specifications:

  • 5.0" IPS LCD Screen OGS full lamination 1280 x 720 pixels
  • MTK6582, Cortex A7 quad core, 1.3GHz
  • Dual Cameras, 5.0MP front camera, 8.0MP back camera
  • Android 4.2.2 Operation System
  • RAM 1GB ROM 4GB
  • 2000mAh battery
  • GPS/Bluetooth/WIFI/OTG/WCDMA

Similar phones in this price range and specifications:

  • Zopo ZP780 (~$135 USD) - Lower resolution (540p), lower battery life (1800mAh)
  • iNew V3 (~$180 USD) - Better camera (13.0MP), lower battery life (1830mAh)
  • Huawei Honor 3C (~$200 USD) - More reputable company, better battery (2300mAh)

THL W200S (~$200)

The MTK6592 processor

The latest processor from MediaTek featuring 8 cores. This processor performs in par with the HTC One and Samsung S4.

The very first octa core (8 cores) was first announced back in November of 2013. The THL W200S was certainly not the first phone to feature this amazing chip, but it IS one of the first to be introduced at this price range.

This phone also features tough Gorilla Glass 3, engineered to be 3 times more damage resistant, more flexible, and 40% more scratch resistance resistant than the their previous version. For the price of $200 this phone has a TON of features

THL W200S specifications:

  • 5.0" Corning III Gorilla Glass IPS OGS 1280 x 720 pixels
  • MTK6592, Cortex-A7 Octa core,1.7GHz
  • Dual Cameras, 5.0MP front camera, 13.0MP back camera
  • Android 4.2.2 Operation System
  • RAM 1GB ROM 32GB
  • 2000mAh battery
  • GPS/Bluetooth/WIFI/OTG/WCDMA

Similar phones in this price range and specifications:

  • XiaoMi Red RIce HongMi (~$189 USD) - more reputable brand, smaller screen size (4.5"), worse CPU (MTK6589T)
  • HaiPai X3S (~$223 USD) - more RAM
  • iNew i6000 (~$226 USD) - bigger screen (6.5"), better resolution (1080p), slower CPU (MTK6589T)

ZOPO ZP980+ (~$270 USD)

720p vs 1080p

When we start getting to the $250 range, we start seeing phones with at least 2GB RAM and 1080p resolution. The ZOPO ZP890+ is the updated ZP980 with an octa-core CPU and more RAM. ZOPO has a reputation of having very high build quality, and they haven't disappointed with this model! Much like the THL W200S, this also features a Gorilla Class screen.

THL W200S specifications:

  • 5.0" IPS Corning II Gorilla Glass Screen 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • MTK6592, Cortex-A7 Octa core,1.7GHz
  • Dual Cameras, 5.0MP front camera, 14.0MP back camera
  • Android 4.2.2 Operation System
  • RAM 2GB ROM 16GB
  • 2000mAh battery
  • GPS/Bluetooth/WIFI/OTG/WCDMA

Similar phones in this price range and specifications:

  • THL T200C (~$260 USD) - larger screen (6"), lower resolution (720p)
  • iNew i6000+ (~$280 USD) - larger screen (6.5")
  • ZTE NUBIA Z5S MINI (~$284 USD) - more reputable brand, smaller screen size (4.7"), lower resolution (720p)

ZTE NUBIA Z5S (~$399 USD)

The Snapdragon 800 processor

Qualcomn's Snapdragon 800 is currently the the most powerful chip set on the market. It powers the latest premium smartphone's such as Samsung's current Galaxy Note and Tab series, the LG G2, and the Nexus 5.

The next step up from the MTK6592 CPU is either the Snapdragon 800 or the Exynos 5410. So this explains the massive price gap between this and the previous phones. ZTE have been in the Chinese phone market for a long time now (since 1995) and have gained huge popularity since 2012.

ZTE NUBIA Z5S specifications:

  • 5" FHD SHARP IGZO Corning III Gorilla Glass Screen OGS 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 APQ8974 Quad Core 2.3GHz
  • Dual Cameras, 5.0MP front camera, 13.0MP back camera
  • Android 4.2.2 Operation System with 3.0 interface Flyme
  • RAM 2GB ROM 16GB
  • 2300mAh battery
  • GPS/Bluetooth/WIFI/OTG/WCDMA

Similar phones in this price range and specifications:

  • Lenovo K910 VibeZ (~$420 USD) - larger screen (5.5") and battery life (3050mAh)
  • Xiaomi Mi3 (~$460 USD) - larger battery (3050mAh)

Would you buy a Chinese smartphone?

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