Welcome back to our monthly rendezvous with the best smartphones China has to offer for under $200. In our March edition we find the usual Xiaomi being the segment king, followed by some new alternatives we’ve seen launched at the last Mobile World Congress. What’s your next mid-range phone going to be?
Top 5 Chinese Smartphones for Under $200
1. Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus
Obviously, we have to start things off with the latest Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus. The smartphone is a good option for those who must have an 18:9 display aspect ratio phone and want to stick with Xiaomi’s quality and support. The handset does indeed come with a 5.99-inch 18:9 1080x2160px display and is powered by the really energy efficient Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC coupled with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage (expandable).
The Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus also packs a 12MP rear camera with an F/2.0 aperture, a 5MP selfie snapper and a large 4000mAh capacity battery.
2. Xiaomi Redmi Note 4
If having an 18:9 display aspect ratio is the least of your concerns then the older Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 might still be a great pick. Xiaomi’s budget killer comes with the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage (expandable).
The smartphone rocks a 5.5-inch FHD IPS display, a 13MP rear shooter (either a Sony IMX258 or Samsung S5K3L8) with F/2.0 aperture which can shoot videos at 120fps, and a 5MP selfie snapper.
The Redmi Note 4 also boasts a large 4000mAh capacity battery which paired with the efficient CPU delivers outstanding autonomy; in its Global Edition the Note 4 supports a large number of 4G LTE bands.
3. Xiaomi Mi A1
Still in Xiaomi’s portfolio but coming with a stock Android ROM on top, we have the Xiaomi Mi A1. The handset is basically a more premium Redmi Note 4 as it boasts the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 paired with 4GB of RAM and 32GB (or 64GB) of internal storage.
What makes the A1 a better choice (for some) over the Note 4 – other than running stock Android – is the presence of a secondary rear camera. This will allow you to snap nice professional-looking photos with a low depth of field (bokeh) effect, much like what you can do on the more expensive Xiaomi Mi 6. The two rear cameras both have 12MP resolution and they can record 4K videos or slow-motion ones at 120fps. The selfie snapper is instead a 5MP Samsung S5K5E8.
The Xiaomi Mi A1 packs a 3080mAh battery and supports a wide variety of 4G LTE networks as it comes in a Global Version.
4. Huawei Honor 7x
If you can afford to spend a little extra cash on your next phone then do it and get yourself the latest Huawei Honor 7x. Honor’s recently launched budget device comes with good performing hardware, including a Huawei HiSilicon KIRIN 659 coupled with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage (expandable), plus it features a large 5.93-inch FHD+ 18:9 display and the dual camera setup Huawei is famous for.
The rear camera combo is composed of a main 16MP shooter with F/2.2 shooter that can record 4K videos and a secondary 2MP to create photos with the fancy bokeh effect; meanwhile at the front we find an 8MP shooter with F/2.0 aperture.
The Huawei Honor 7x is fueled by a 3340mAh capacity battery and it supports 4G LTE connectivity on many networks, sadly for Europeans there’s no band 20 support.
Alternatively, check out the Huawei Honor 9 Lite coming in the same price range but downgraded to 3GB of RAM (in the cheapest variant).
5. ZTE Blade V9
Finally, ZTE launched a really affordable device that you can currently find on presale for around $159.99. The smartphone doesn’t shine for its internal hardware as it comes with a mediocre Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 CPU paired with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage (expandable).
Where the ZTE Blade V9 does better is design: the phone sports a beautiful 5.7-inch FHD+ 18:9 display with some rather thin bezels; and camera: there is a main 16MP rear shooter with F/1.8 aperture and a secondary 5MP sensor to create photos with bokeh effect, plus an high resolution 13MP selfie snapper.
ZTE’s Blade V9 also supports a wide variety of 4G LTE networks (including band 20), it packs a relatively good sized 3200mAh capacity battery and runs Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box.
Top 5 Chinese Smartphones for Under $200
The ZTE Blade V9 wraps up our top 5 list for the month of March. Let us know down below if you think any other device deserves a spot in our list under $200, or if you disagree with our picks. See you in spring!