This week I helped my brother buy his first Android phone, this is what he bought!

My brother is a long time iPhone users, and although he still likes Apple products he had started to see he light and realised that (for phones) Android is the way to go. This weekend I helped my brother buy a new Android phone, this is what he bought!

Switching from iOS to Android

Since Apple launched the original iPhone my brother has owned each and every model from the original iPhone to the iPhone 4S. At around the time the iPhone 5 launched though, he was already starting to see the lure of Android smartphones, and when I introduced him to some of the phones which were available from Chinese manufacturers he was smitten!

20 alternative Android apps download stores

His reasons for wanting to switch from iOS to Android were a mix of performance related issues, frustration and value for money. His iPhone 4S (bought late last year) was already running slowly, crashed randomly and wasn’t holding a charge.

However, with so many amazing smartphones from Chinese phone makers he was a little overwhelmed and didn’t know which phone he should choose.


With all good purchases a bit of planning is necessary to ensure you will be happy with your purchase, so to start we sat and wrote a list of features he wanted:

  • A larger display (but no larger than 5-inch)
  • Either 720p or 1080p display.
  • Fast processor.
  • WCDMA (for use outside of China).
  • Good camera.
  • Quality build.
  • Good looking design.
  • Value for money.

The shortlist

With this in mind and a budget of up to 2700 Yuan ($444), we made a list of possible phones candidates which fit the bill. Here was his shortlist.

Xiaomi Mi3 (Snapdragon 800)

This was at the top of the list for my brother. He loved the design, the large 3050mAh battery, and he is already familiar with MIUI V5 after playing around with the various Xiaomi devices my family owns.

jiayu s1 vs xiaomi mi3

The Mi3 hit every bullet point on my brothers list, and well within his budget even if he opted for the 64GB version. The only issue was that the Mi3 S800 still hasn’t launched, and with such a demand for the phone he wasn’t willing to wait.

Meizu MX3

When I suggested the Meizu MX3 my brother laughed and pointed out all the issues I had once had with the M9. I quickly explained that the M9 was Meizu’s first Android device and they have come along way since then, plus the fact that we can walk in to an actual Meizu store, buy the phone was a great bonus.

meizu MX3 colours

My bother also like the design, quality and specifications especially the rear F2.0 camera and audio quality. The MX3 could have been a purchase is the day had panned out differently!

Nubia Z5 Mini LTE

By far the best value for money on the list (yes, better than the Mi3). The Mini Nubia phone is a very underrated device, but should really be one everyone’s list for possible next phone.

Gizchina News of the week

nubia z5 mini hands on photos

Specifications include a 4.7-inch display, Snapdragon 600 processor, 13 mega-pixel camera and stylish design for just 2300 Yuan ($378) for the 4G LTE equipped 32GB model! If you’re willing to drop LTE (as my brother was) the regular Mini is just 1499 Yuan ($246) with 16GB memory and SD card expansion!

Read Also:  Xiaomi granted a new pop-up design patent

Unfortunately for Nubia there is no store in Qingdao for the brand and the LTE model is still in pre-order. Next!

Oppo Find 5

Although the oldest phone on the list (it has been available for nearly 12 months now) the Find 5 boasts great hardware all wrapped in a very high-quality body.

oppo find 5 review hero

From the start of my brothers search I had suggested the Find 5, as I myself was tempted to get one due to the great developer support the phone has not to mention the looks and great rear camera.

The Find 5 also comes with NFC, which was a feature my brother had just been reading about and decided he quite fancied, however prices when he originally looked were still high and at 2999 Yuan ($493) were out of this price range.

And the phone he bought was….

Living in China means we can head to the local phone market, take a look at most models on sale, play around with then and make a decision. The local market in Qingdao offers official resellers, and ‘underground’ markets where prices are slightly cheaper’

Our plan was to visit Meizu, Oppo then head underground to see if there were any bargains to be had.

oppo find 5 price drop

In the newly opened Oppo store our plans went south when we discover the Find 5 had just been dropped in price from 2999 to 2499 Yuan! A quick play with the phone and I could see that my brother had the look of an Ofan in his eye’s.

After dragging him away from the Find 5 we headed to Vivo to take a look at the Xplay and X3, both of which he liked but wasn’t overly impressed with. We didn’t make it to the Meizu store before heading underground.

Chinese phone city gizchina

If you have never been to a phone market before you are missing out! Basically it is a huge hall full of various small stores selling everything from local knock-offs to the latest Nexus 5 and everything in between.

As luck would have it the first small store we stopped at told us she could sell a new Midnight Black Oppo Find 5 at an even lower price of 2300 Yuan ($378).

oppo find 5 black

My brother is now the proud owner of a Find 5 which he says is faster and more fun to use in just about every way when compared to his old iPhone! I think he is converted! Mission accomplished!

Which would you have chosen?

Do you have a similar story of converting a family member of friend to Android? Which phone did they end up with? Or perhaps you think my brother made the wrong choice? Let us know in the comments section below!

Previous Japanese manufacturer iosys churns out ioPhone5, a $150 iPhone 5c clone
Next Oppo R827T now on sale in China for $295, full specifications


  1. defcomk
    December 15, 2013

    Nubia Z5 Mini. Why: Snapdragon S600 @ 720p imo is as good as S800 @ 1080p better processor than mx3 / find 5 has expandable memory cost less than mi-3 LTE is not important heck i always have my device on edge i use wifi for downloads. Cam department mx3 has all the 13mp beat @ F2.0 / 1.4 micron

  2. Ilymon Anexonel
    December 15, 2013

    I would of took the Find 5 also. I freaking love the Oppo N1 right now, pretty much the best phone for the following months. I don’t even feel like going back to my iPhone 5s.

    • December 15, 2013

      I agree about the N1, I couldn’t hold out for the WCDMA model so getting the TD one. Really a great phone! Can’t wait to see the Find 7!

  3. Hoàng Vững
    December 15, 2013

    Could you help me to buy Xiaomi Mi3 when it available, Mr Andy 😀

    • December 15, 2013

      Haha, are you in China? 😉

      • Hoàng Vững
        December 15, 2013

        No, Im in Viet Nam, next to China, that’s the problem. In my country, there an invidual seller assure that Xiaomi Mi3 are available now, this made me so confused. He said that the 16GB and 64 GB also available.

        Do you have any comment on this, Mr Andy 😀

        • December 15, 2013

          The Nvidia Tegra 4 model has been on sale for months, pehaps he is selling that version?

          • Hoàng Vững
            December 15, 2013

            No, he confirm that is WCDMA (snapdragon 800). So I’m very confused 🙁

          • Hoàng Vững
            December 15, 2013

            No, he confirmed that it is WCDMA model (16 and 64 GB). That made me so confused 🙁

        • Kevin
          December 15, 2013

          yes it has sell in china few month ago

      • Shimon
        December 16, 2013

        I’m in China and have a f-code for tomorrow. I’m with HSBC bank and I just noticed Xiaomi don’t have them on their checkout page. If I’m getting this phone tomorrow I’m going to need your help!!

  4. Android Lover
    December 16, 2013

    Any idea about this new Goophone V92 pro
    $349.99 Out of stock
    Be the first to review this product
    * 5-inch HD display screen, 1280*720 pixel
    * Corning Gorilla Glass 2 touch screen
    * 1.7GHz MTK MT6592 octa-core processor
    * 2GB DDR3 RAM, 32GB storage
    * Support 4G FDD-LTE network
    * 13MP rear camera with LED flash light, 5MP front camera
    * Super slim body, only 6.5mm
    * Support NFC feature

  5. Frank Wu
    December 16, 2013

    Love the 5. It has a premium feel and with ColorOS v1.0.2i, the enhancement goes up a notch in the desired phone category!

    • December 16, 2013

      Agreed, latest ColorOS makes is smoooooooooth

  6. Shimon
    December 16, 2013

    My problem with the Nubia is that it only has the 2100Mhz WCDMA band. The phone has VERY limited use for travelling. It may be okay in China or main cities in Europe but that is it!

    Unless it actually supports additional bands that aren’t advertised on the nubia website?

  7. xesco1983
    December 16, 2013

    Here in spain, I bought to my mother for her birthday an amoi n828 (same phone I have right now, but I ordered a newman n2), helped my sister to buy a jiayu g4, my aunt and her boyfriend to buy a g4 advanced and they bought to his son a g3t, bbut yesterday I helped a friend to buy a moto g.

  8. Speedy
    December 16, 2013


  9. TT
    December 16, 2013

    As LTE is a must here in hong kong (3G wcdma is totaly overcrowded which you only get 2~4Mbps in the city’s commercial area on hsdpa and basicly over 10mbps all the time on lte)
    The best buy for us would be the LG Optimus G Pro only selling under hkd 3200 (with official 1 year warranty, and 500~600 hkd off for the one without )
    Nexus 5 is the next with the 32G model for 3588 hkd and 3198 for the 16G one but the downside would be only available online via google.
    Those chinese brand need to keep up the pace as 4G lte is widly being use outside China, (and within China very soon as the 4G lte pocket wifi is give out as a gift when you apply for the China Mobile 4G experiment 600 yuan/year plan in quite a few big city) a phone lack of 4G lte wouldn’t be able to attract people pretty soon unless the pricing is so attractive.

    • zaikatanox
      December 16, 2013

      We have a really good LTE infrastructure here in Canada (provided that you’re living in a big enough city), however, even I wouldn’t mind sacrificing LTE capability.

      I could really use faster speed, but unlike most of Asia and Europe, the kind of pricing we have here for our data plans really sucks. Plans with 1 GB of data cost between 40 and 50 CAD. The last thing I want is 80 or 90 dollar cell phone monthly bill due to overages. My Nexus 4 has no LTE, and I usually use up all my monthly data limit in maybe a little over 2 week. With LTE, I would, naturally, use my data more, and may go over my monthly limit in maybe 3 or 4 days.

      I agree though that eventually, these Chinese phones will need to keep up, and things are indeed changing, with China Mobile rolling commercial TD-LTE in less than a week if everything goes according to plan. Local manufactures will be following suit, with several already releasing 4G capable phones (Vivo, Gionee, etc).

  10. freedoooom
    December 16, 2013

    its good to move for chines mobiles .. this will teach greedy mobile company that price is a main factor for customers…with time we wont see big mobile name shining like before.. GOOD LUCK ( made in china )

  11. rememberus
    December 16, 2013

    Let’s convert them one iPhone user at a time lol

  12. Simon
    December 16, 2013

    Also with the official Oppo forum you can’t go wrong !

  13. Abz Choucair
    December 16, 2013

    hey bro, just want a lil help.. im keen on getting a china android phone just dont know whether to go with snapdragon 800 or mt6592
    the specs im after are
    Snapdragon 800 or Mt6592
    great camera
    preferably LTE
    if you can point me in the right direction it’ll b much appreciated

  14. GS88
    December 16, 2013

    I also helped my brother to buy his first android phone… He bought a Nokia Lumia 1520 (WP8). I sure did a good job there.

  15. Brochadinho
    December 16, 2013

    i just buy a find5 white for my girlfriend for ~270euros from the european oficial reseller. Personally i think that is a great phone. specs and Quallity built. But for my girlfriend who isn’t a ‘geek’, she values the desing(hard and soft) and the quality of the screen.

    Trully amazing phone, ‘specs people’ and ‘good looking devices people’ love him!

  16. iANDROID8.1
    December 17, 2013

    He should’ve bought Oppo N1 instead :3

    • December 17, 2013

      He does like it but not to keen on the large display, plus only the TD-SCDMA version is available in China now and he needed the phone straight away.

  17. Niko Freiher
    January 6, 2014

    Xiaomi Mi-2s has not been on the list? why?? I enjoy it very much.