$100 Android One VS $100 Chinese Phones

android one vs chinese phones

Android One is Google’s attempt to bridge the gap between components manufactures, OEM’s and themselves in the attempt to bring the very best equipment and user experience at a low-cost. So how does Android One compare to similar priced Chinese Android phones?

For the purpose of this comparison we are going to focus on the $100 Micromax Canvas A1, one of the first Android One phones to go on sale. Just like Chinese smartphones the A1 is very affordable and comes off contract.

Representing Chinese manufacturers we have phone from DOOGEE and Elephone with prices ranging from $85.99 to just $89.99, so already the Chinese phones are in the lead for price!

Micromax Canvas A1 Specs and features

With the help of Google Micromax have managed to produce a phone not to dissimilar from recent Nexus devices, well at least in terms of design and the stock Android install.

Micromax Canvas A11

At $100 the Canvas A1 is a spectacular looking deal with Android 4.4, a quad-core processor, micro SD and dual SIM, however keeping the price low we get a rather low resolution 480 x 854 resolution display (which isn’t great even on a smaller 4.5-inch display), there is only 4GB of internal memory and the removable battery is a tiny 1700mAh cell.

So that’s the Android One out of the way, now let’s see how the Chinese rivals compare.

DOOGEE Voyager 2 DG310

DOOGEE have spent this year concreting their position as one of the masters of low-cost Chinese phone. The design of the DG310 is simple but functional and isn’t dissimilar to the Xiaomi Mi2S from a few years back.

The DOOGEE is larger than the Micromax A1 with a 5-inch display, but unfortunately the same low 854 x 480 resolution. The good news is it is an IPS unit so you do get very good viewing angles.

doogee dg310

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Costing only $88.88 the DG310 is quite a chunk cheaper than the $100 Android One phone, but interestingly has very similar hardware. The processor is the familiar 1.3Ghz octacore MT6582 unit, there is 1GB RAM, 8GB memory and Android 4.4 Kitkat and we still have space for dual-SIM and micro SD card.

Although only 7.9mm thick the Doogee has a large 2000mAh removable battery, so you should be looking at a longer stand by and run time than the Android One phone.

Finally Android 4.4 Kitkat comes with Doogee’s own launcher and added features inkling the very popular quick wake options.

Elephone G4

Next up we have the Elephone G4, this $89.99 Chinese smartphone again would save you a nice slice of change of the Canvas A1, and again has a similar level of specification including a quad-core MT6582 processor and 1GB RAM. Unfortunately there is just 4GB of internal memory so like the Canvas A1 you will have to rely on the Micro SD card for storage space.

elephone g4

Where the Elephone G4 really shines though is with the 5-inch display which has an impressive resolution of 1280 x 720. The HD panel is also an IPS model so great viewing all round.

Android 4.4.2 Kitkat comes as standard on the G4, and again we get a few neat features including quick wake gestures. And Finally the battery on the Elephone is the largest of the bunch at 2050mAh.

Android One Canvas A1 vs DOGEE DG310 vs Elephone G4

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The first Android One from Micromax is a step in the right direction. It has a nice design, a stock Android install and comes at a price we can all appreciate. But it is China who win this battle! Elephone and DOOGEE both offer better, hardware, larger batteries and at a lower price too.

If you are looking for a $100 Android phone we would suggest you stick with a Chinese Android phone for now, but also keep your eyes on Android One as the future if bright especially when Chinese phone makers start producing them.

What do you think of Android One? Which $100 Android phones have you been impressed by? Let us know in the comments 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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  1. Cuerex
    October 1, 2014

    only question remains is, is android one likelier to get Android L? the elephone g4 surely is a oneplus one ripoff though 😛

    • Riccardo Benzoni
      October 2, 2014

      the g5 is almost a perfect ripoff, check it out and you will see!

  2. pa5t1s
    October 1, 2014

    Nice comparison(s) Andi 😉
    Let’s hope that the “Android One” line of products will find its place on the market: good idea, but no credibility so far. What’s the (hidden) goal? re-brand ‘chinese’ phones at a higher (somehow) price with lower specs? I don’t get it…

    • Cuerex
      October 1, 2014

      i think google said, less fragmentation on android version for everyone in the world

      • pa5t1s
        October 1, 2014

        Yep, that makes sense 😉

  3. Chico Migraña
    October 1, 2014

    Don’t get the point in make cheaper phones. But Elephone is the better choice

  4. nexusprime
    October 1, 2014

    Hongmi 1s is under 100$ in India and Cina if I remember well

  5. Allanitomwesh
    October 2, 2014

    but will the chinese phones get android L quickly? That’s a big plus for the Micromax

  6. Danny H.
    October 2, 2014

    Well, if you factor in the benefit of the quick software update directly from Google of the One platform than I say this is a tie at best. Chinese manufacturers, especially the lower tier, are notorious for abandon their devices quickly after sale.

    • Sere83
      October 2, 2014

      yeah i agree, proper updates is a big draw

    • Xhitiz Pandit
      October 2, 2014

      Plus 15 month indian warranty that is critical with low end budget phones.Plus who want to give one side shipping cost which will lie somewhere 20~30$ when phone come up some manufacturing defect which chinese phones are prone to.

  7. Andy
    October 2, 2014

    I suspect that a virtual comparison doesn’t make sense, especially if it’s true that adnroid one phones are fully optimized and, hopefully, faster phones.

  8. Squizzy911
    October 2, 2014

    Hardware is not everything! I think the Android One devices will perform better performance because of software

  9. atlman
    October 2, 2014

    If the Chinese phones do not have Google Play and other services installed, they are a bad deal. I have bought Chinese Android hardware before, and have wound up needing to install custom ROMs in order to be able to get the Google services so I could install the apps and access the features that I need. That works if A) you have the technical skills to be able to do so and B) the required hardware i.e. a PC or laptop and even C) the high speed reliable Internet access needed to download the files but for most users it is impractical.

    Android One will not come to Google if the Chinese government continues to restrict Google services. Google will just cede the Chinese market to Apple and to local Chinese companies like Xiaomi and Huwaei, and instead focus on India and other developing markets.

    • Riccardo Benzoni
      October 2, 2014

      if you are “expet” enough to order a chinese phone from internet, you’ll fullfill all the points you stated, my grandma isn’t able to flash a rom, but neither to order a smartphone from china! 😀

    • balcobomber25
      October 3, 2014

      If you buy from a reputable source most of them will load Google Play on the phone for you.

    • kostas
      October 3, 2014

      I am not an expert at smartphones. I bought my first one from china, a THL W100, it had google play, my (greek) language and works fine….

  10. Andrew Magpantay
    October 2, 2014

    Micromax usually gets their phones from China as well. Specifically from Tinno Mobile. This might have a similar release in other countries under a different name.

  11. Clinton
    October 2, 2014

    The first few reviews of the android one phones have been positive.
    But the thing that most of them applaud is that the One phones are much smoother and faster than other smartphones with near identical specs.
    So I think that even if the other phones you mentioned may have better hardware, its the Google optimized software in the Android One that will provide the better smartphone experience.

  12. October 2, 2014

    Sorry, I couldn’t disagree more on your conclusions.

    There’s some underhanded government interference with the Chinese phones. They don’t support Google apps, and the central government encourages manufacturers to “screw around” with the OS so that they block Google’s services (which is a policy due to their “feud” with Google). Alternative App stores, tight control over custom cloud services (which don’t have the benefit of Google’s huge base to test against), strange undeletable apps that you can’t get rid of. Yuck!

    By contrast, the Android One devices are “pure Google” devices, and have guaranteed software service and updates, as well as free bundles cloud services from Google.

    There is no way you could convince a Chinese manufacturer that they SHOULDN’T rebrand the OS and try to claim is as their own. In fact companies like Oppo are so screwed up on the subject that they’re even trying to port their UNWANTED OS to alien hardware. It’s pure hubris and completely anti-consumer.

    Personally, I’d like to see the death of ColorOS, Funtouch OS, Aliyun OS, and whatever “I-couldn’t-help-screwing-things-up OS” that every 2nd and 3rd tier manufacturer believes is their right to force on us.

    • M2
      October 3, 2014

      During the civic referendum in Hong Kong in June, the online voting sites were under the 2nd largest DDoS attack the net has ever seen. A big part of that attack was launched via bots installed on Chinese made Android set top boxes. I just don’t trust the Communist Chinese government to put their surveillance device / attack bots in my pocket

      • balcobomber25
        October 4, 2014

        Google (Or MSoft or Apple etc) doesn’t exactly have the best record when it comes to Government spying…

  13. David Košič
    October 3, 2014

    I think that regular updates from Google are worth the sacrifice in specs. Not to mention the software will be more bug free than from any Chinese phone out there.

  14. HasithaP
    October 5, 2014

    it’s not about hardware. it’s about 2 year upgrades directly from google. you defend chinese phones too much here.

    • pa5t1s
      October 5, 2014

      Obviously, everybody here is a chinese phones addict 🙂

    • balcobomber25
      October 6, 2014

      Really a Chinese phone site defends Chinese phones? Go figure. Next you will try to tell me a German car review site defends German cars.

      You can get a Xiaomi Redmi 1s for a little over $100 and they are excellent with updates. MIUI gets updated every Friday. Some Chinese phone companies release a product and abandon it, but not all of them do.