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!

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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.

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!

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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!

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