12 Best Smartphone deals under $190 Available now


Continue reading about details on new phones from Thunderbird and Huawei, plus old favourites from Lenovo, ZTE etc.

Thunderbird

thunderbird phone china

Like the Jelly G1 the Thunderbird is an all new phone and brand for us here at GizChina so we aren’t sure on how the availability will be. Specifications are similar to the G1 and include a 5-inch OGS IPS display but with a higher 1280 x 720 display, the rear camera is an 8 mega-pixel unit, plus there is a Qualcomm quad-core processor under the hood with 1GB RAM running a custom Android OS.

Pricing in China is 798 Yuan which is around $131, not bad at all for a 9.1mm , Qualcomm powered phone, and certainly worthy of being named one of the best smartphone devices available now.

Huawei Honor 3C 1GB

huawei honor 3C

The 2GB version of the Huawei Honor 3C has only just launched in China making it quite difficult to buy for international fans, but the 1GB model has made its way to resellers already and is well worth a look.

Like the flagship model, the Huawei Honor 3C has a 5-inch 1280 x 720 display, 1.3Ghz quad-core MT6582 processor, 8 mega-pixel rear camera, 5 mega-pixel front, but just 1GB RAM which helps keep the phone affordable and still perform very well.

Red Hot Chili Pepper

xiaolajiao red hot chili phone

The Red Hot Chili Pepper by phone maker Beidou is another device on our best smartphone list which we recently featured. Currently only available in China as a China Mobile only phone, WCDMA on the way, the Pepper packs an impressive hardware lineup in an equally impressive looking design.

On the front of the phone sits a 5-inch OGS 1280 x 720 display with 5MP front camera, on the rear a 13 mega-pixel with F2.2 aperture sits atop a cool looking holographic rear panel.

Under the hood we find the dependable quad-core power of the MT6582 with 1GB RAM, 4GB internal memory, dual-SIM support and micro SD card memory expansion option.

Take a look at the Red Hot Chili Pepper preview here.

Gizchina News of the week


Lenovo A820

lenovo a820t quad-core mt6589 leaked screen shots

With some shopping around you can find the Lenovo A820 price at around $180, the phone doesn’t offer the same level of hardware as some of the other phones listed here, but what it might lack in performance it makes up with the brand name that goes behind it.

Read Also:  From Gestures to Graphics: Inside HarmonyOS NEXT Beta 2

The A820 is one of most compact phones on the list with a 4.5-inch 540 x 960 display, which along with a quad-core MT6589WM processor and 1GB RAM allows for quite good battery life.

The jewel in the Lenovo A820’s crown is the rear facing 8 mega-pixel camera with large F2.0 aperture for improved low-light camera performance

Huawei W2

huawei ascend w2

Whether you can get the Huawei W2 Windows phone at $180 or less really depends on your geographical location, but with a little hunting around it is possible to buy this 4.4-inch phone at this price.

Huawei took a leaf out of Nokia’s book when designing the W2 which has a bright yellow Lumia style to it. The 480 x 800 display is an ultra-sensitive model supporting use with regular gloves and is an IPS panel for great viewing angles.

The Huawei W2 is less than $100 in China, and can be found at our best smartphone price of less in India, Africa and some online stores.

ZTE Geek

intel clover trail zte geek

Again you are going to have to hunt around for this one, but the ZTE Geek could very well be worth it. This 5-inch smartphone has an Intel Atom processor doing the math, 2GB RAM and an 8 mega-pixel main camera. Design is similar to the Xiaomi Mi2 and like that phone has just space for a single SIM card, but does get SD memory expansion.

The OGS panel has a resolution of 1280 x 720 which combined to the 2Ghz processor and 2GB RAM means this phone is capable of serious benchmarks!

12 Best Smartphone deals

What do you think of our 12 best smartphone options available now? Do you already own any these phones? What do you think of them? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: We may be compensated by some of the companies whose products we talk about, but our articles and reviews are always our honest opinions. For more details, you can check out our editorial guidelines and learn about how we use affiliate links.

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76 Comments

  1. mfmx
    February 7, 2014

    Why the Lenovo A820? Not a bad phone, but you can even get the Lenovo S920 for under $190 now, and the A850 is currently much more popular than A820. The only thing going for the A820 is the slightly better camera (but without flash) and that there are editions for China Telecom and China Mobile if you need that.

  2. Ivo001
    February 7, 2014

    I own the iNew V3, and am quite happy with it. However, with current prices I might think that the Honor 2C 2GB, ZTE Geek and Halopad F1 are more bang for your buck.

    P.s How do i turn off the touch vibration on the keyboard?

    • February 7, 2014

      Settings > Language and Input > press the settings icon next to Android Keyboard (AOSP) > Uncheck Vibrate on keypress

  3. $3003525
    February 7, 2014

    no Jaiyu????

  4. highwind
    February 7, 2014

    Again no Star HD5000 and no Tronsmart TS7 (MT6582) although they beat atleast 80% of the phones from this list when it comes to price/performance…

    Instead we get TDSCMA-only phones (Red Hot Chili Thing), genereally unavailable phones (Huawei Honor 3C) and eyewash phones (iNew V3) as “best sub 180$ deals”

    • Airyl
      February 8, 2014

      Relax. Personally, I prefer all the phones that Andi recommended over the two you mentioned because the Tronsmart has an older processor and the Star looks pretty cheap. I do understand where you’re coming from, I just don’t think those two phones are really the best for under $190.

      • Aeonia
        February 9, 2014

        the new tronsmart ts7 has an mtk6582 processor..and is about 149 dollars..

      • highwind
        February 9, 2014

        As mentioned, the Tronsmart TS7 is available with MT6582 as well and as I already own it, I can confidently say, that it is a very good phone for the given price tag of ~150$
        It is especially better than the iNew V3, which has bugs (OTG/NFC sometimes not working, home button sometimes not reacting) a weak battery and false declaration of dimensions (not nearly as thin as advertised) for ~180$

  5. Allanitomwesh
    February 7, 2014

    Several flaws with this list.
    1.Huawei are on the list twice with the same phone,so it is really a list of 11.
    2.Thunderbird?No model number,no additional information,and were supposed to find it?
    3.The Lenovo is a one trick pony with the camera,it shouldn’t have made the list.

    4.the Coolpad is Octacore,therefore,the rest of the list should have octacores,or similar bench-marking/hardware.Thus it is a list of two,if you count the ZTE Geek
    5.I can’t buy anything on this list except the iOcean internationally,which defeats the point.

    • February 7, 2014

      1) The Huawei is on the list twice as the 2GB is hard to get, but the 1GB is quite easily available internationally (as mentioned)

      2) The Thunderbird is called “Thunderbird” in English. A full article will be coming soon.

      3) The last time we wrote a list readers asked “why no Lenovo”. The Lenovo listed here isn’t a bad phone and is available well below the $190 price.

      4) This is a list of phones under $190, not only that but phones which international readers are actually able to buy. Not a list of Octacore phones, this will be coming soon.

      5) With an international readership we have to write about what is available regardless of location. All but the TD-SCDMA phones are available outside of China, and the others are available in locations where GizChina readers come from. The iOcean, ZTE Geek, Huawei Honor 3C 1GB, Lenovo, are all easily available, the rest are only available in certain areas.

      I’m glad you brought the points up though as I imagine many other readers have similar feelings and opinions too. Cheers 🙂

      • Allanitomwesh
        February 7, 2014

        Thanks for replying. I hold my point that the Coolpad and ZTE outshine the other phones on the list,but it is appreciated none the less that you take time to compile them.

        • February 7, 2014

          Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment 🙂

      • February 10, 2014

        Looking forward to reading Thunderbirdie’s article/post

        Keep em’ coming Andy 😉

  6. Colonel Zap
    February 7, 2014

    I miss the Zopo ZP700

    • highwind
      February 7, 2014

      Me not… there are better phones (especially in terms of the display resolution) for 10-20$ less

      • February 7, 2014

        Not a fan of the ZP700, the Huawei Honor 3C is much better for the money. If Zopo dropped the price then it would be worth it.

        • highwind
          February 7, 2014

          Agreed but check out the Star HD5000 as well

          MT6582, 1GB RAM, 8GB ROM, 5inch HD-Display, 2500mAh battery at only 139,90$ for international customers is a real bargain!

          A review would be very nice and I personally feel that it definitely deserves a spot on this list 🙂

          • February 7, 2014

            Yep, I will certainly need to give it a look 🙂

  7. mfmx
    February 7, 2014

    Why the Lenovo A820? Not a bad phone, but you can even get the Lenovo S920 for under $190 now, and the A850 is currently much more popular than A820. The only thing going for the A820 is the slightly better camera (but without flash) and that there are editions for China Telecom and China Mobile if you need that.

  8. Ivo001
    February 7, 2014

    I own the iNew V3, and am quite happy with it. However, with current prices I might think that the Honor 2C 2GB, ZTE Geek and Halopad F1 are more bang for your buck.

    P.s How do i turn off the touch vibration on the keyboard?

    • Andi Sykes
      February 7, 2014

      Settings > Language and Input > press the settings icon next to Android Keyboard (AOSP) > Uncheck Vibrate on keypress

  9. johnickz
    February 7, 2014

    When the Coolpad F1 will be WDCMA available?! Is there GPS malfunction in new 8-core chipset of MediaTek?

    • February 7, 2014

      Soon I hope, I really fancy one for myselft.

      • burnt_52
        February 7, 2014

        I agree, this is the best octacore phone I have seen but useless without WCDMA. Hopefully it will support more than just 2100MHz. Brilliant article btw Andi

        • February 7, 2014

          Thanks mate, glad you enjoyed it 🙂

      • Stefan Żeromski
        February 13, 2014

        Hi!, how do You know that WCDMA version of F1 is in works? I havent seen any simmilar information at another websites

  10. aaa
    February 7, 2014

    it those are really best from china then im removing gizchina from my bookmars and gonna buy phone from “top” manufacturers, like i did before.

    • johnickz
      February 7, 2014

      “12 Best Smartphone deals under $190” was the title..

    • Airyl
      February 8, 2014

      Good, go do that now. We don’t need negative scum who don’t know how to read like you around.

  11. Guest
    February 7, 2014

    no Jaiyu????

  12. provokanter Tabellenführer
    February 7, 2014

    Again no Star HD5000 and no Tronsmart TS7 (MT6582) although they beat atleast 80% of the phones from this list when it comes to price/performance…

    Instead we get TDSCMA-only phones (Red Hot Chili Thing), genereally unavailable phones (Huawei Honor 3C) and eyewash phones (iNew V3) as “best sub 180$ deals”

    • Guest
      February 8, 2014

      Relax. Personally, I prefer all the phones that Andi recommended over the two you mentioned because the Tronsmart has an older processor and the Star looks pretty cheap. I do understand where you’re coming from, I just don’t think those two phones are really the best for under $190.

    • Guest
      February 9, 2014

      the new tronsmart ts7 has an mtk6582 processor..and is about 149 dollars..

    • provokanter Tabellenführer
      February 9, 2014

      As mentioned, the Tronsmart TS7 is available with MT6582 as well and as I already own it, I can confidently say, that it is a very good phone for the given price tag of ~150$
      It is especially better than the iNew V3, which has bugs (OTG/NFC sometimes not working, home button sometimes not reacting) a weak battery and false declaration of dimensions (not nearly as thin as advertised) for ~180$

  13. Allanitomwesh
    February 7, 2014

    Several flaws with this list.
    1.Huawei are on the list twice with the same phone,so it is really a list of 11.
    2.Thunderbird?No model number,no additional information,and were supposed to find it?
    3.The Lenovo is a one trick pony with the camera,it shouldn’t have made the list.

    4.the Coolpad is Octacore,therefore,the rest of the list should have octacores,or similar bench-marking/hardware.Thus it is a list of two,if you count the ZTE Geek
    5.I can’t buy anything on this list except the iOcean internationally,which defeats the point.

    • Andi Sykes
      February 7, 2014

      1) The Huawei is on the list twice as the 2GB is hard to get, but the 1GB is quite easily available internationally (as mentioned)

      2) The Thunderbird is called “Thunderbird” in English. A full article will be coming soon.

      3) The last time we wrote a list readers asked “why no Lenovo”. The Lenovo listed here isn’t a bad phone and is available well below the $190 price.

      4) This is a list of phones under $190, not only that but phones which international readers are actually able to buy. Not a list of Octacore phones, this will be coming soon.

      5) With an international readership we have to write about what is available regardless of location. All but the TD-SCDMA phones are available outside of China, and the others are available in locations where GizChina readers come from. The iOcean, ZTE Geek, Huawei Honor 3C 1GB, Lenovo, are all easily available, the rest are only available in certain areas.

      I’m glad you brought the points up though as I imagine many other readers have similar feelings and opinions too. Cheers 🙂

    • Allanitomwesh
      February 7, 2014

      Thanks for replying. I hold my point that the Coolpad and ZTE outshine the other phones on the list,but it is appreciated none the less that you take time to compile them.

    • Andi Sykes
      February 8, 2014

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment 🙂

    • Multicorechina.com
      February 11, 2014

      Looking forward to reading Thunderbirdie’s article/post

      Keep em’ coming Andy 😉

  14. Guest
    February 7, 2014

    I miss the Zopo ZP700

    • provokanter Tabellenführer
      February 7, 2014

      Me not… there are better phones (especially in terms of the display resolution) for 10-20$ less

    • Andi Sykes
      February 7, 2014

      Not a fan of the ZP700, the Huawei Honor 3C is much better for the money. If Zopo dropped the price then it would be worth it.

    • provokanter Tabellenführer
      February 7, 2014

      Agreed but check out the Star HD5000 as well

      MT6582, 1GB RAM, 8GB ROM, 5inch HD-Display, 2500mAh battery at only 139,90$ for international customers is a real bargain!

      A review would be very nice and I personally feel that it definitely deserves a spot on this list 🙂

    • Andi Sykes
      February 8, 2014

      Yep, I will certainly need to give it a look 🙂

  15. ZecaMarol
    February 7, 2014

    “The 2GB version of the Huawei Honor 3C has only just launched in China making it quite difficult to buy for international fans […]”

    Andy,
    When the 2GB version of the Honor 3C will be available for international customers?

    • February 7, 2014

      I don’t believe that Huawei will launch it officially internationally, we will just have to wait for resellers to pick it up.

  16. anon
    February 7, 2014

    No Xiaomi Red Rice? Why?

    • February 7, 2014

      The Redrice will be replaced soon, plus I wanted to introduce a few new models we hadn’t covered much before.

  17. johnickz
    February 7, 2014

    When the Coolpad F1 will be WDCMA available?! Is there GPS malfunction in new 8-core chipset of MediaTek?

    • Andi Sykes
      February 7, 2014

      Soon I hope, I really fancy one for myselft.

    • burnt_52
      February 8, 2014

      I agree, this is the best octacore phone I have seen but useless without WCDMA. Hopefully it will support more than just 2100MHz. Brilliant article btw Andi

    • Andi Sykes
      February 8, 2014

      Thanks mate, glad you enjoyed it 🙂

    • Stefan Żeromski
      February 13, 2014

      Hi!, how do You know that WCDMA version of F1 is in works? I havent seen any simmilar information at another websites

  18. Guest
    February 7, 2014

    it those are really best from china then im removing gizchina from my bookmars and gonna buy phone from “top” manufacturers, like i did before.

    • johnickz
      February 7, 2014

      “12 Best Smartphone deals under $190” was the title..

    • Guest
      February 8, 2014

      Good, go do that now. We don’t need negative scum who don’t know how to read like you around.

  19. Stelios
    February 7, 2014

    Guys whats the best smartphone right now under 250$ and with CE Mark on it?

    • Airyl
      February 8, 2014

      I would recommwnd the Zopo ZP980+ (octa core). It’s supposed to be approximately $249.

  20. Guest
    February 7, 2014

    “The 2GB version of the Huawei Honor 3C has only just launched in China making it quite difficult to buy for international fans […]”

    Andy,
    When the 2GB version of the Honor 3C will be available for international customers?

    • Andi Sykes
      February 7, 2014

      I don’t believe that Huawei will launch it officially internationally, we will just have to wait for resellers to pick it up.

  21. Guest
    February 7, 2014

    No Xiaomi Red Rice? Why?

    • Andi Sykes
      February 8, 2014

      The Redrice will be replaced soon, plus I wanted to introduce a few new models we hadn’t covered much before.

  22. Guest
    February 7, 2014

    Guys whats the best smartphone right now under 250$ and with CE Mark on it?

    • Guest
      February 8, 2014

      I would recommwnd the Zopo ZP980+ (octa core). It’s supposed to be approximately $249.

  23. Samuel
    February 8, 2014

    Hello, where would the Faea 2 or {2s} fit in this list?
    Is its opensource enough advantage over these phones. i think of buying FAEA. Please recommend me.

    • February 8, 2014

      When I tested the F2S I found it to be a little on the buggy side. It is great that FAEA have opened up but by the time a fully working ROM is available for these phones they are going to be seriously out of date.

      • samuel
        February 8, 2014

        So please which one would you recommend? between $190- $210

  24. Guest
    February 8, 2014

    Hello, where would the Faea 2 or {2s} fit in this list?
    Is its opensource enough advantage over these phones. i think of buying FAEA. Please recommend me.

    • Andi Sykes
      February 8, 2014

      When I tested the F2S I found it to be a little on the buggy side. It is great that FAEA have opened up but by the time a fully working ROM is available for these phones they are going to be seriously out of date.

    • Guest
      February 8, 2014

      So please which one would you recommend? between $190- $210

  25. Melsyoo
    February 9, 2014

    Woah, thanks for including the ZTE Geek. I hadn’t heard about it yet for some reason. What do you think; should I get the ZTE Geek or the Coolpad F1, or should I wait till something better appears?

  26. Melsyoo
    February 9, 2014

    Woah, thanks for including the ZTE Geek. I hadn’t heard about it yet for some reason. What do you think; should I get the ZTE Geek or the Coolpad F1, or should I wait till something better appears?

  27. Johann von Schadowitz
    February 27, 2014

    What is a good place do buy the ZTE Geek?

  28. Johann von Schadowitz
    February 27, 2014

    What is a good place do buy the ZTE Geek?