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These are the best Chinese phones
There is quite a lot of exciting new Chinese phones that you should know about. They often a ton of bang for your buck, often undercutting the competition while having the same class of hardware inside. On the software side, some Chinese manufacturers definitely like to go crazy with re-skinning the stock Android, making their phones look and feel unique. Be warned that some of these do not ship with Google Play Store or any type of Google framework on the device (ahem, Huawei and Honor).
Huawei Mate X2
Foldable phones are pretty much the pinnacle of technological achievement in the smartphone space right now. That is not to say that they are good enough to warrant their sky-high pricing, no. But they are certainly a marvel to admire from afar.
Such is the case with the Mate X2, which costs an arm and a leg, while it itself is crippled by the lack of Google services on the phone. Well, at least to us westerners — Huawei is still doing well in China.
Huawei Mate 40 Pro
The Mate series is Huawei’s “camera-centric” smartphone line and it’s not shy to show it. The design of the phone is definitely… an acquired taste, but one can not argue that it is unique.
The phone itself is a fantastic performer. Being a 2020 model, its refresh rate tops out at 90 Hz, but it’s still decidedly smoother than the 60 Hz experience of times past. The camera itself is fantastic — certainly capable of rivaling your traditional iPhones and Galaxies. It’s just a bummer that it doesn’t come with a Google framework and it’s actually a bit hard to obtain in Western markets.
ZTE Axon 30 Ultra
ZTE just launched its latest flagship in April. The Axon 30 Ultra pulls no stops, with a massive camera module, all the top-shelf hardware, and an interesting “satin-like finish” on its back. It aims to be a main contender and it will probably not shy away from having a high price-tag once it starts shipping.
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra
You can buy a global version (with Google Play) Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra from some international resellers for a price between $1,100 and $2,000, depending on store, memory option, and choice of finish.
Xiaomi Mi 11
OK, this is the actual “Xiaomi flagship” right now — not the super-charged Ultra and not a money-saver like the Mi 11 Lite. The Xiaomi Mi 11 has top-tier hardware and performance, a fantastic screen (though the rounded corners are a bit distracting), and a striking “industrial design” look.
Its camera is not the best out there, but it gets the job done. Also, it comes in a global version, with Google Play pre-installed.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro
Realme 8 Pro
The Realme 8 Pro is an excellent affordable phone. Just take a look at the specs: for just around $400 (minus shipping) you get plentiful features such as a 6.4″ beautiful AMOLED screen, the Snapdragon 720 chip with at least 8 GB of RAM. The battery is a big, 4500mAh in size, providing enough juice for more than a day of use. And then on the camera front, you get the 108 MP main camera plus an 8 MP ultra-wide one, a macro one, and a B&W sensor.
Xiaomi Poco X3 NFC
Poco is Xiaomi off-shoot brand that focuses on budget phones. Of their current portfolio, the Poco X3 NFC sits squarely in the middle — it offers an upper midrange processor and a 6.7-inch 120 Hz screen, albeit it’s an LCD panel. The X3 NFC is the global variant and is most easily obtained for a very good price. The software on board is Xiaomi’s MIUI, slightly modified to fit the Poco brand.