Top 5 Chinese Smartphones for Under $500 – August 2017

Big Chinese companies seem to be resting in these warm months of summer so we won’t see many new entries on August’s top list. Nonetheless if you’re looking for the best Chinese smartphone money can buy, this list may come in handy. So, let’s go ahead and see what are the top 5 best Chinese smartphones for under $500!

Top 5 Chinese Smartphones for Under $500

1. OnePlus 5

OnePlus 5

Just as you probably expected, the OnePlus 5 is yet again among the top 5 smartphones you can get from China. The flagship killer does sport flagship-killing hardware going from the beastly Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor to the 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage.

OnePlus’s latest handset now features a dual camera combo on the back composed of a 16MP Sony IMX398 with F/1.7 aperture and a secondary 20MP shooter with telephoto lens; the selfie snapper at the front is also high res at 16MP and has a wide aperture of F/2.0.

The handset comes with the same 5.5-inch Full HD Amoled display from the past year, a 3000mAh capacity battery with Dash Charge 5V 4A support, it runs Android 7.0 Nougat and works on pretty much any 4G LTE network around the world. The OnePlus 5 is now available in a new Gold variant as well!

2. Xiaomi Mi 6

Xiaomi Mi 6 Black

Next on the list, we have Xiaomi’s flagship for 2017 — well, until they release the next, the Xiaomi Mi 6. The handset features the same powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 CPU we saw on the OnePlus 5, as well as 6GB of RAM and a whopping 128GB of internal storage, for less than $500.

Xiaomi’s smartphone is slightly smaller at 5.15-inch screen size and below it we find a fingerprint scanner beneath a layer of glass. The Mi 6 also comes with two cameras on the back of the phone, with a primary 12MP shooter with F/1.8 aperture and OIS, accompanied by another 12MP telephone camera. Using the two of them you’ll be able to create photos with a shallow depth of field effect when in portrait mode.

The Xiaomi Mi 6 packs a 3350mAh battery which supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 technology and it supports 4G LTE networks, except band 20.

3. Nubia Z17

Gizchina News of the week

The Nubia Z17 is another of those smartphones which has hard to take off from this list, as it packs really impressive hardware, a nice design and the trendy dual rear camera setup. The smartphone is indeed powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 together with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage.

The two rear cameras are a 23MP shooter with F/1.8 aperture and OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) for the primary and a secondary 12MP with 2X optical zoom. The selfie camera can snap 16MP photos, sports a BSI sensor and F/2.0 wide aperture.

The Nubia Z17 comes with a big 5.5-inch Full HD IPS display coated in 2.5D glass, a 3200mAh battery (compatible with Quick Charge 4.0) and 4G LTE connectivity with band 20 support.

4. Huawei Honor 9

Huawei Honor 9

If you prefer a smaller device you really don’t like the Xiaomi Mi 6, then the Huawei Honor 9 with its 5.15-inch is probably your second best option. The Chinese smartphone is powered by a really good performing Huawei HiSilicon KIRIN 960 CPU coupled with 6GB of RAM and a whopping 128GB of internal storage (expandable).

Following the trend Huawei have been pushing for more than a year now, the Honor 9 comes with a fancy dual camera setup composed of a 12MP primary camera with F/2.2 aperture and a secondary 20MP black and white shooter, which will capture more details and add the to the photos; the front-facing camera has a resolution of 8MP and a wide F/2.0 aperture.

The Huawei Honor 9 features a good sized 3200mAh battery, supports 4G LTE but no band 20 and runs Android 7.0 Nougat OTB.

5. Meizu Pro 7

Meizu Pro 7 Meizu Pro 7 Plus

To spice things up we have decided to add a very unique device recently launched by Meizu — it’s the Meizu Pro 7. We only suggest this device if you are one of those people who like to try new and gimmicky gadgets first, indeed Meizu’s phone comes with a rear mounted Super AMOLED 1.9-inch Samsung-made display with 240×536 resolution.

This secondary display can be used to check out notifications, weather, switch songs but more importantly as a viewfinder for your selfies. Which is quite dandy since it will allow you to snap them with the two cameras on the back, creating great looking selfies with a shallow depth of field. The two shooters are 12MP Sony IMX386 with F/2.0 aperture; meanwhile at the front we still have a 16MP camera.

Other than this gimmicky feature, the Meizu Pro 7 sports mid-range hardware. We have an under-performing MediaTek Helio P25 (there’s also an Helio X30 variant but it’s over $500) paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.

The Meizu Pro 7 comes with a 5.2-inch FHD Super AMOLED display, a 3000mAh battery with mCharge fast charging and works 4G LTE networks, but no band 20 support.

Top 5 Chinese Smartphones for Under $500 – Conclusion

So this is it for the month August, a bit underwhelming we have to admit, but we hope to see some big phones come out in the following month, which will hopefully make it on the list next time. Let us know in the comments below if you would have added any other phone!

If you want to spend much less than $500, check out our under $200 and under $100 buying guides!

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  1. August 15, 2017

    I like compactness in phones of all sizes, so the weight of the Honor 9 appeals to me over the heavy Mi 6 but then the Honor 9 is 147.3 mm long compared to 145.2 for the Mi 5. Can’t understand why such a small display needs such a long body. Neither of these phones should be more than 143 mm in length. The Redmi 3 series which has only a slightly smaller display is only 139.3 mm long. Now that’s my definition of compactness! The Mi 5 was only 129 grams in weight, incredibly light, while the Mi 6 is 168 grams – same weight as the Mi 5 Plus with its 5.7 inch display!

  2. Sansa
    August 15, 2017

    This Nubia z17 is cheaper than O5, has OIS, yet nobody talking about it.

    • NextHype
      August 16, 2017

      And Z17 has every LTE bands possible and solid camera performances, 2 things Mi6 doesn’t have.

      The only problem is it doesn’t have 3.5mm jack -_- or else I’d have already bought it

      BTW latest update brought OIS on O5. You should check the results on youtube, that’s a game changer.

      • Sansa
        August 16, 2017

        What’s wrong with using the 3.5mm > type c adapter? I don’t understand all these rants about the 3.5mm hole. Even more, you can use a bluetooth receiver on your earphones and use them wireless! That’s 4€ on aliexpress. Some are really light.

        • NextHype
          August 17, 2017

          Sound quality is the result of 2 factors : DAC (digital to audio converter, the chipset that convert a numeric output into audio stream) and headphones quality.

          To ensure a nice experience when listening to music, I only buy phones with an integreted DAC, to which I plug some good headphones.

          That’s not possible with an USB C connexion atm, and deported BT/DAC solutions is another device to carry and charge, which is annoying.