Money no object: Best Smartphone to buy!


In China the majority of flagship Android smartphones are well priced and boast amazing hardware. These prices don’t always fend to well though once international resellers get their hands on them and have added their margins. Still China is the place for mobile tech and if money were not object one of these would be the best smartphone to buy!

Meizu MX3

meizu mx3 review

Anyone following GizChina on Facebook or who has added m3 personally on Instagram will have seen that I have been using the Meizu MX3 as my daily driver for the past month and for good reason too!

The Meizu MX3 is the 4th Android phone Meizu have produced and easily the best smartphone every to make it’s way out of Zhuhai.

I am currently using the 32GB version of the phone which boasts built-in NFC, the rest of the hardware is the same across the board regardless of your memory choice meaning all MX3 phones have a Samsung Exynos Octacore big.LITTLE processor, 2GB RAM, amazing 8 mega-pixel rear camera with f2.0 aperture and wonderful Lytro feature (if you are running the latest firmware), 5.1-inch FHD display and 2000mAh Sony battery which lasts a lot longer than you might expect.

meizu mx3 review

Meizu will officially launch the Meizu MX3 later this year in both Europe and the U.S, but if you can wait the phone can be picked up from resellers from around $480.

Xiaomi Mi3

xiaomi mi3 on sale hero

The Snapdragon version of the Xiaomi Mi3 is still in high demand across China and the world, but if you don’t mind paying marked up prices and can’t wait for stocks to settle you can pick one up on-line for around $450+, where as in China it begins at only $320.

The WCDMA version of the Xiaomi Mi3 took a lot longer than it should have to reach the market due to problems at Qualcomm and, although I do love Xiaomi, I have to say the Mi3 isn’t the best looking phone on the market and is really to big when considering it has a screen of ‘just’ 5-inch.

xiaomi mi3 unboxing

Is the Xiaomi Mi3 the best smartphone Xiaomi have made? In terms of hardware it is, as it features a 1920 x 1080 display, Snapdragon 800 CPU, 2GB RAM, up to 64GB memory, 13 mega-pixel rear camera, magnesium alloy body, NFC and a very large 3050mAh battery.

Gionee Elife E7

gionee elife e7 review

Gionee amazed us with the launch of the Elife E7, not only did they realise that it was worth launching the phone in Chinese and English at the same time (actually streaming the launch life with English translation) but they had also designed and produced a truly amazing piece of kit.

Only the 3G version with Snapdragon 800 processor is available in China right now, but a 4G LTE model will launch later in the year with 3GB RAM. It’s not just the shear power of the Gionee Elife E7 which secures itself a spot in our best smartphone choice list, but the fact that the designers have given the phone a wonderful 5.5-inch 1080p display while keeping width to a minimum and of cause that breath-taking 16 mega-pixel rear camera!

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Although a powerful and featured packed phone the Gionee Elife E7 has just a 2500mhz and some have commented that it isn’t the best looking phone on the market.

gionee elife e7 review

The Elife E7 is on sale in China and India now, but if you feel like importing one you can order one for around $600+.

Vivo Xplay 3S

Vivo xplay 3S review

The Vivo Xplay 3S is a truly stunning piece of smartphone design and ingenuity and it had being the successor of the equally impressive Vivo Xplay which went on sale earlier last year.

The all new Vivo Xplay 3S makes our best smartphone list as it quiet frankly is, on paper, the best smartphone money can buy. The large 6-inch display is a 2K QHD model with a resolution of 2560 x 1440, there is a Snapdragon 800 processor on board, 3GB RAM, advanced audio features, 13 mega-pixel main camera with F1.8 aperture and even a fingerprint scanner for security.

Vivo xplay 3S review

Pricing for the Vivo Xplay 3S in China is 3500 Yuan, there are plans to launch this beast in Asian countries later this year and there is always the option of importing the phone if you have around $600 to spare.

Oppo N1

oppo n1 review

Of all the phones I have written about in this list only the Oppo N1 is the one which you can order now from almost any country in the world and receive it from an official store. The Oppo N1 is a rather special phone and one I have spent a lot of time with and found to be great fun (until my wife took it from me).

The N1 is a huge phone, much larger than the 5.9-inch display would suggest, but you really don’t notice the size when you are enjoying the rotating 13 mega-pixel f2.0 camera and all the great camera centric features (my favourite being the slow shutter option which can stay open for up to 8 seconds).

Oppo have also given the N1 a rear touch panel and bluetooth remote which an fasten to your keys and act as a remove camera control or alarm should you ever lose the phone.

oppo n1 review front

The Oppo N1 can be officially bought from Oppo Style at $599 for the 16GB version or $649 for the 32GB model. There is also a model which ships with CyanogenMod pre-installed too!

Future phones

We are already seeing the rumours for next generation phones such as the Oppo Find 7, Samsung Galaxy S5, LG G3, Meizu MX4, OnePlus One, Xiaomi Mi4 and HTC M8 which will all be just as amazing as we could possibly hope. Even when these next-gen phones arrive though the 5 phones we listed above will still be among the best smartphones money can buy.

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25 Comments

  1. arsalan
    February 7, 2014

    My priority are dual sim, at least 5.7 inches and gorilla glass. All the above are missing one or other feature. So I am waiting for Iocean X8 or G7.

    • February 7, 2014

      You are after a high-end Mediatek phone then : )

      • toioioio
        February 7, 2014

        Which brings us to the hot issue,since this is a chinacentric site.
        What is the BEST,dual sim phone?
        Can you make another article with present and near future phones?

        • burnt_52
          February 7, 2014

          I second this. Dual SIM is the main reason I follow chinese tech!

          • February 7, 2014

            Looks like we have a topic for our next list 🙂

            • burnt_52
              February 8, 2014

              Sounds brilliant Andi. I know I have said it before but what makes this site so good is the fact that you listen to the readers! I just want to emphasize that I like the dual SIM, I disagree with the first post about >5.7inch hopefully you focus on the SIM and not just massive phablets. Personally 4.5-5inch is ideal

            • Zeca
              February 8, 2014

              Andy,
              Where is the post about the best dual sim do ​​in China (for international customers)?? Tks. 🙂

            • February 8, 2014

              Coming 😉

  2. macnick
    February 7, 2014

    why no tcl idol x+ s960?

    • February 7, 2014

      TCL Idol X+ is a great phone, and also quite affordable. Not sure if it should have a place in a “Money No Object” list.

  3. highwind
    February 7, 2014

    Xiaomi Mi3?
    Sony Xperia Z1 offers the same specs, has LTE and is waterproof!

    • February 7, 2014

      Z1 is an awesome phone and quite easy to get hold of too.

  4. February 7, 2014

    Meizu MX3! Have been wanting to own a meizu since ages never really had one! I think they make the best looking phones.

    • Xiaolu
      February 7, 2014

      Add Ubuntu Touch and got 1 for me!

  5. zaikatanox
    February 7, 2014

    If money was not an issue (and it always is for me), I would get the N1, or the Xplay 3S. Xiaomi Mi3 is a great phone, and is quite probably the most powerful of the bunch you list here (if not already currently on the planet), but with Nexus 5-like pricing (even at 450, it’s still a bargain given its specs), it doesn’t belong in this list 🙂

  6. Evgenij Nebotov
    February 7, 2014

    money isn’t an issue for me and the perfect phone seems to be the iocean x8, which i keenly wait for. dual sim is a must for me.

  7. erickr.cr
    February 7, 2014

    Forgot Lenovo that launch de Vibe Z!

  8. February 7, 2014

    If money is no object, I will have note 3 with 3gb ram and all those guys on xda to support me.

    • Airyl
      February 7, 2014

      Hahaha. Cool. 🙂

      Personally, I would go for the Xplay 3S because of the QHD display and unique look. And the advanced audio, of course.

  9. pak fai fong
    February 7, 2014

    I wish the editor (If there is one) will proof-read all the articles before they are aired. It is so painful to read those obvious English grammatical etc mistakes. Eg. objection for object……Sigh

  10. pak fai fong
    February 8, 2014

    Pardon me I meant objection not objective.

  11. Qwerty
    February 8, 2014

    I would go for the gionee elife e7, because of it’s superior camera’s and a screen size of 5.5 inch. The vivo xplay 3s is 6 inch, too big. The e7 also has an 2.5 GHz snapdragon 800, an energy efficient screen and a second processor that always listens to your voice commands or orther actions.

    • Qwerty
      February 8, 2014

      And gorilla glass 3!!!

  12. Allanitomwesh
    February 9, 2014

    The interesting bit is that Apple did NOT make the list. LOL

  13. Xiaolu
    February 9, 2014

    Nubia Z5S for about 2200 yuan, a beautiful beast!