Top 10 smartphones of 2014 as voted by GizChina readers


vivo xshot vs oneplus one camera shootout

Earlier this month we asked you to vote for your top smartphones of last year. The poll is now closed and the results are in. So which are the top 10 smartphones of 2014?

2014 saw the appearance of many great smartphones from China. We saw build quality and design improve, specifications increase and prices drop further than ever before.

At GizChina we have tested a lot of great phones throughout the year, and all the writers across the GizChina network have their own favourites, but we wanted you guys to vote for the phones you think were the best for 2014.

Below are the results based on our reader poll, in reverse order. There are some obvious devices as well as a few surprises. Did the phones you vote for make it in to the top 10?

Counting down from number 10 here are the top 10 phones for 2014 voted by GizChina readers!

Top 10 phones of 2014!

10. UMi Zero

umi zero

Number 10 is a surprise to the top 10 and is proof that even smaller Chinese phone makers can get things right and build a popular phone. The UMi Zero represents a big change in UMi’s design and manufacture with an all alloy body, and featuring specifications such as Texas instruments fast charging and SUPER AMOLED display. Even without 4G LTE the Zero has managed to scrape in to the top 10 above the popular Xiaomi Redmi range in 11th position!

9. Huawei Honor 6

huawei honor 6 launched

9th position is taken by Huawei’s very attractive Huawei Honor 6 smartphone. Huawei have come along way over the past 12 months, and is now one of the more interesting smartphone makers from China with great phones seemingly launching every month! It is no wonder that Huawei managed to enter your top 10 with no less than 3 devices!

8. IUNI U3

iuni u3 review

IUNI were a brand that no one had heard of at the start of 2014, but soon grabbed our attention with the surprising IUNI U2 and later the IUNI U3. The U3 slips into 8th position for it’s amazing hardware (2K display , OIS, Snapdragon 801, 3GB RAM) and Xiaomi defying low-price.

7. Vivo Xshot

vivo xshot review hero

The Vivo Xshot is my personal choice for 2014. It has been a phone that I immediately took to and have throughly enjoyed. Camera quality is what drew me to the Xshot, but battery life and build quality are also features that have continued to surprise me over the year. Only time will tell if 2015 phones manage to take the Xshot’s place in my pocket.

6. Huawei Honor 6 Plus

huawei honor 6 plus

Huawei took the Honor 6 and upgraded it to make it a stylish camera centric phone. The result is the Huawei Honor 6 Plus which launched late last year with a grand total of 3 x 8 mega-pixel cameras! One on the front and a dual camera set up on the rear. A Huawei Honor 6 Plus is currently winging its way to the GizChina offices for review so watch out for our hands on and review coming soon.

5. Huawei Ascend Mate 7

Read Also:  Huawei MateView SE Display will be revealed soon, MateBook 14 detailed

huawei ascend mate 7

The Mate 7 is a stunning looking phone, boasting a sexy all metal body and featuring a rear fingerprint scanner. Each time I look at the phablet it’s what I imagine a more up market Vivo Xplay 3S would look like.

4. Meizu MX4 Pro

meizu mx4 pro review

Meizu’s flagship MX4 Pro makes in to the top 5 for 2014. The MX4 Pro brings some firsts to the Android smartphone world including a 2K+ display, front mounted finger print ID security and “Retina Sound” (LOL).

3. Meizu MX4

meizu MX4 review

Meizu’s mid range MX4 manages to beat the flagship Pro to 3rd place by quite a margin. Meizu managed to really surprise us with the MX4, not only for its reasonable price (at least in China) but for it’s use of a flagship Mediatek MT6595 octacore processor. The MX4 is also a surprisingly comfy large screen phone with good camera too.

2. Xiaomi Mi4

xiaomi mi4 review

If this had been my personal list I believe the Xiaomi Mi4 would sit further down the field, but GizChina readers love the phone so much that it reached 2nd spot in our top 10! Xiaomi took a different approach with the Mi4 with a very slight update in hardware, but big improvement in build and design over the Mi3.

1. OnePlus One

oneplus one unboxing

I suppose there is no real surprise here! GizChina readers have voted for the OnePlus One as their top phone for 2014! OnePlus came from no where in 2014, starting the year with nothing but hype, then launching one of the most popular phones of they year! I suppose great build, Cyanogenmod, price and a few controversial marketing ideas helped them on their way.

So that’s how GizChina readers voted for 2014, you can see the rest of the list here and see where other phones came in the poll.

Looking at the results I would say that Huawei are the biggest shocker for 2014. They have 3 devices in the top 10! really quite something especially when up against Xiaomi and Meizu. I’m really happy to see the Vivo Xshot place, I have said all year it is the best phone of 2014 and it is great to see that a good majority of readers agree.

OnePlus One in the top spot is no surprise, but 2015 will be their real test. What we need from the start-up now is to become improve, and prove that the OPO wasn’t pure luck and they can do it again with future devices.

Are there any phones in the top 10 that surprise you? Do you wish another phone was number 1? Will OnePlus make it to number 1 in 2015? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Previous Mediatek’s 64bit chips: Everything you need to know about the MT6795, MT6752 and MT6732
Next Check the look of shock when Xiaomi staff meet their new flagship

44 Comments

  1. pa5t1s
    January 13, 2015

    No surprise with OnePlus One at top position: it’s an incredible device, both hardware and software (not to mention price ofc). I do enjoy it from the very beginning, and it changed (somehow) the way I look at ‘chinese’ phones, at least the ones I owned in the past ( HDC clones, then GooPhone, then Zopo and iOcean -2 of them-) : ever-growing quality and design. They are now playing in the ‘pro’ league, and that’s good news. Forget about over-priced and swag devices!
    Now, my wish for 2015 would be a OnePlus Two with even better hardware, better upgrades of Android, that said, better services around the hardware.
    PS: one phone that wasn’t mentionned is Nexus 6; incredible device too… Now, since Motorola has been acquired by Lenovo (chinese maker as well), I’m pretty sure that Motorola/Lenovo will surprise us this year, ain’t you?

    • Miko
      January 13, 2015

      “Forget about over-priced and swag devices!” – exactly my moto from now on. As much as I like all these nice companies like Apple, Samsung, HTC, or even LG (although some of their phones are really good and in a nice price like LG G3), I will never buy their flagships again if they don’t lower their price.

      • pa5t1s
        January 13, 2015

        I can’t say better 😉

  2. Miko
    January 13, 2015

    In my opinion,in the first three places we see the right 3 phones of the year and is a matter of taste on which order you would like to put these 3 phones. For example, my vote and taste took me to MX4, when I was doing my research of which phone to buy, and I would put it 1st but I am sure many disagree with me and they prefer Mi4 or as the poll showed 1+1… just happy to see that my choice wasn’t bad at all, especially for the money I gave for it (~280 euros for the 32GB device)
    These 3 phones are awesome to use and I would recommend them to anyone that wants to get involved with these “Chinese companies”.
    P.S.: I would be also interested in ViVo XShot because I believe you Andi, but the price tag ViVo’s phones have, is not for my pocket 🙂

    • January 13, 2015

      Yep the Xshot is a high priced phone (although the cost has dropped in China) but well worth it if you are considering to keep it long term.

      • TheEvilPenguinGamer .
        January 17, 2015

        The 2gb/16gb variant of the xshot is only $375 from resellers now, similar price to the 16gb mi4 but the xshot has micro sd.

    • Adam Irvine
      January 13, 2015

      My thoughts exactly regarding the Vivo XShot, they’re just silly money outside of China! But then I disagree with you on the MX4 side if things as it’s price of just the 32GB model in comparison to what OnePlus are offering doesn’t compete… (Especially with it being a Mediatek device)

      I know mediatek are good and I’m sure 2015 will be the year for them But up until now they’ve not been as prestigious as Qualcomm and the like and I’m pretty sure they’re mega cheap to use their SOCs in phones in China but with the MX4 this isn’t the case… OnePlus managed to put out a phone with what was/still is outstanding hardware for really not very much money, whereas comparatively, Meizu did a bit less hardware (RAM, Internal Storage, SOC?) (Except for the 20mp Camera which I hear is really very good…) But they didn’t put it out there with an ultra tasty price like they possibly could have!?

      Either way, good top 10 list!

      • Miko
        January 13, 2015

        We basically don’t disagree mate 🙂 As I said many people can put one of these phones 1st because of their perspective. For me, before I buy MX4 I was researching about these 3 phones and I decided for MX4.
        Reasons for my decision were the design and the fact that is almost all aluminium except the back cover, the camera, the official representatives in Russia with warranty and service here, and as for the performance I totally agree with you that Qualcomm is better overall with a great GPU but so far I haven’t noticed any lag at all in everyday use or games. Also some more little details that won me over 🙂
        The MT6595 custom version of MX4 behaves really well. This was also noted in many reviews, in this site also they said the same, and they were true. I would love to have that extra GB ram more and that awesome Adreno GPU but on the other hand I’m not a heavy gamer 🙂
        In general, is just the matter what people like more in smartphones, and I can’t blame you that you are 1+1 fan, the phone is really good… as Mi4 also.
        /cheers!

        • Adam Irvine
          January 13, 2015

          Well put, I totally agree with you there 🙂

      • January 13, 2015

        It’s a top 10 based on a poll which GizChina readers voted on. If it would have been my personal top 10 it would be very different 😀

      • TheEvilPenguinGamer .
        January 17, 2015

        The 2gb/16gb variant of the xshot is only $375 from resellers now.

  3. Zami
    January 13, 2015

    To me the best 3 is :
    Ascend Mate 7 .
    VIVO Xshot .
    Meizu MX4 .

  4. David Košič
    January 13, 2015

    Wow I must be in the minority. I just don’t like the way meizu does android. I feel that ditching the three button layout and going with just a home button in order to be more Apple like hurts the experience. I understand we should want more variety in the android space however that doesn’t mean the users should remember pointless gestures that they can’t use on any other phone. But that is just my opinion.

    • January 13, 2015

      Meizu have the smartbar which is very similar to just having on screen navigation only it adapts to the apps you are using (as long as they are supported). It’s not that bad really, but does take some getting use to.

    • Miko
      January 13, 2015

      Nah mate, I’m sure that many people think the same like you do. It’s a matter of diversity as you said and preferences.. I personally had in my life iPhone 3 and after that some Android phones and I really like Flyme that combines a bit of both.
      About Flyme: Many people that owned MX3 and used Flyme 3 were not satisfied at start but Meizu worked hard and updated the Flyme to a really nice OS for MX3.
      Flyme 4 is still very young and if they do the same job as they did in Flyme 3 then I have no doubt that it will boost the Meizu phones…. and to be honest I can’t wait! 🙂

  5. gilles
    January 13, 2015

    Hi,
    I’d
    like see the XShot on the first place… it’s better than the OPO (it’s my
    opinion).

    Expect the test of
    Honor 6, it may surprise. Mate
    7 is magnificent, but it pollutes a lot (sar 1.54)

    • SnowyCat
      January 14, 2015

      well i also like the xshot but i went vor the mx4…but to be fair..the reason the xshot didnt win is probably the price..its a community based vote and i guess not that many want to spend so much money into a phone that comes from so far away :3 just my guess.. ^^

    • Venci
      January 30, 2015

      hi gilles,
      interesting statement about the radiation levels. Where do you look this data?

  6. RRRobert
    January 13, 2015

    I’m surprised to see that none of the ZTE Nubia Z7’s made it in the top ten list. I.e., the Z7 mini is highly comparable in screen size, performance and features to the Honor 6 and the Xiaomi Mi4, but is significantly cheaper than those to flag ship phones. Yet this has not been recognized by many. Kinda weird, IMHO.

    • Alex S
      January 13, 2015

      Totally agree. I would remove the UMI zero and put the nubia mini instead.

      • Airyl
        January 15, 2015

        UMi Zero is awesome. Why would you replace it with the Mini?

        • Alex S
          January 15, 2015

          Because I trust a brand like ZTE much more than UMI

        • Metalcored00d
          March 4, 2015

          I’ve had both. The ZTE offers a more premium finish with the beautiful red home button whereas the UMI Zero gives you poorly illuminated buttons. Also, they both sport a 5″ screen and I know the UMI had better colours thanks to the Amoled, but it’s bezel is huge compared to the Z7 mini. I personally found the phone too big for its 5″ screen. However, I did really like UMI’s choice for the awesome dual sim/SD card combo. In the nubia you have to remove the back cover, something I’m not a big fan of. Last but not least, the snapdragon in the z7 mini is way more energy efficient and actually lasts longer than the UMI Zero. And come to think of it; UMI’s support on the phone is really amazing. But then again, the z7 mini came preloaded with the Nubia UI which is in my opinion way nicer than the stock android experience of the Zero. Recently the Zero has EMUI 3.0 available which is awesome, but again, compared to the Huawei Ascend P7 and the Nubia z7 mini, it’s too robust and huge. Last thing, opening the sim card tray too much will damage your Sim cards in the Zero…

    • January 13, 2015

      Nubia Z7 was in the poll, just didn’t make it to the top 10. Pretty surprised myself

    • Richard
      February 11, 2015

      Well I believe that there hadn’t been enough sales to Europe / USA. I got the z7 max and it’s a great phone. The hardware is basically the same with the One Plus One BUT it’s got a microSD slot too.
      Perhaps the big advantage the One Plus One had were the international editions (no flashing, root, gapps and so on required)

  7. Muhammad Yasir
    January 13, 2015

    HAHA ~! no oppo 😀
    i do hope jiayu s3 and other SUB $180 flagships DOMINATE next year’s list!

  8. Airyl
    January 13, 2015

    I’m not surprised the OPO is at the top. While I do have some not too nice things to say about the company behind the device, the device itself is solid. While I don’t think the OPO is the best phone of the year, I do think it was one of the major factors in bringing Chinese smartphones out of obscurity, and for that it deserves the spot. Same goes for the Mi4, which has become so big that Apple and Samsung fanboys have taken notice and started mocking it. That rarely ever happens to a Chinese phone.

    Another smartphone that did amazingly well this year was the Meizu MX4. Meizu have finally moved on from their old boring selves into a brand that people are actually becoming really excited about. The MX4 is a testament to this, with great hardware and useful software to back it up. Well done Meizu. IUNI also deserve a pat on the back. The U3 is a fantastic device, and while I still haven’t managed to get my hands on one, the amount of features you get for the price is fantastic.

    And my favourite, the Xshot. The best thing I’ve ever used since, ever. Amazing camera, SD card slot, thin bezels, good battery life, top class sound quality, fantastic build, wonderful design, and great specs. Never change this combination, Vivo.

  9. balcobomber25
    January 14, 2015

    My top 3:

    Mi4
    Mx4
    Honor 6

    The OPO is a very good phone but for me it just can’t compete with any of these especially when it comes to the OS, I hate Cyanogen. But this is the beauty of Android there is always another option.

  10. SnowyCat
    January 14, 2015

    i switched from oneplus to meizu a week ago after using the oneplus for 3 months..the oneplus one is awesome in terms of battery life but i prefer the mx4 way above it in terms of design, camera and more comfortable to hold

  11. MaxPower
    January 15, 2015

    When you compare Vivo with MI4 we are pretty much there except for the camera. But you can buy two MI4 at the price of Vivo. People into Chinese phones cares a lot about price, that’s what pushed at least me into this world. Otherwise I wouldn’t bother and go with HTC or Samsung. 600$+ for a good phone but still no warranty when you buy from resellers doesn’t make any sense. And you can’t even plan on keeping for good because this technology goes so fast. This is the reason why OPO is on top of the list, because you can get a flagship at 1/3 of the price of regular phones.Not surprised about MI4 as well. It might not be the very best phone, but at that price is a winner. I guess people voted in this direction, considering the quality/price ratio. If Nubia didn’t make it it’s only because of poor software support

    • Witty
      January 15, 2015

      About the Vivo xshot, i would say their Ultimate version (3GB RAM 32GB ROM) is overpriced, but the Elite version (2GB RAM 16GB ROM) is quite fair, i got it for $365 usd from aliexpress.

      • MaxPower
        January 16, 2015

        Snapdragon 800? Really dude?

        • Witty
          January 19, 2015

          its snapdragon 801 MSM897AA
          43k in antutu

  12. January 15, 2015

    Glad to see UMi Zero among such a good company 🙂

  13. tweetycontrabajo
    January 15, 2015

    what about thl? what are they doing?

    • watalee
      January 21, 2015

      THL has good quality but really bad design.

  14. Ibrahim Zahra
    January 16, 2015

    Although I bothat isv IUNI U3, I think
    Huawei Honor 6+ is no. 1: DualSim FA that is super, 5.5 FHD screen is optimum performance/Appearance, 3G RAM octa biglittle CPU is great and of course 3x8MP cameras, dual back with dual flash is unique in addition to 32G memory with addition of microSD. Really WOW.
    Looking to price IUNI U3 was my choice, it is really terriple to get support from chinese forums, but performance, quality of radio modems, display, quality of build,GPS sensitivity, camera and the powerful single LED flash surprised me

  15. watalee
    January 21, 2015

    i like iuni u3, it has 2k screen.

  16. Ruby
    January 25, 2015

    Love my OnePlus One! Hopefully, OnePlus will hit another home run in 2015 with the OnePlus 2!

  17. Venci
    February 1, 2015

    Hi, Andi Sykes,
    just wondering, what are yours top smartphones ?

  18. Ivan Budiutama
    February 2, 2015

    retina sound? really? did they even know what “retina” actually means?

  19. Freediver007
    February 9, 2015

    I’m a bit surprised that the Oppo Find 7 did not make the Top10. From both a technical and design point a view the Find7 is very comparable to the OPO..(not taking into account the difference in price and operating system)

  20. Shahzaib
    March 11, 2015

    where is ZTE Z7 or Z7 MAX???????????????

  21. shekhar shirali
    July 23, 2015

    The IUNI U3 is a Plastic body phone. Otherwise it is a very good phone with high end specifications. But the UMI Zero is a much better full metal body phone with high end specifications.