Top 5 Chinese Smartphones for Under $500 – April 2018

Best Chinese Smartphones

We’ve seen lots of flagships launched in this past month but, sadly, most of them do go for more than our $500 cap. This means we’ve to wait a little longer to completely refresh our list. That said, we still have a couple new additions you could consider getting if you’re looking for a great Chinese smartphone for under $500.

Top 5 Chinese Smartphones for Under $500

1. OnePlus 5T

oneplus 5t

Let’s begin with the still undisputed king of sub-500 price segment – the OnePlus 5T. The handset packs a flagship-grade Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor along with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage as well as the trendy 18:9 aspect ratio and “full-screen” design with very slim top and bottom bezels.

The display on the OnePlus 5T is a large 6.01-inch Full Optic AMOLED with an 80.5% screen-to-body ratio and 18:9 aspect. In the camera department, we have a 16MP main shooter with F/1.7 and a secondary 20MP sporting the same wide aperture, the latter is used in low light situations. On the front, we find a 16MP snapper for high resolution selfies.

Lastly, 5T’s battery capacity is 3300mAh and it can be fast charged at 20W through Dash Charge. The phone runs OxygenOS based on Android 8.0 Oreo and works on pretty much any 4G LTE network around the globe.

2. Meizu E3

Meizu E3The Meizu E3 is a great new option for those who would have liked to get a Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 but are put off by the lack of an USB Type-C port, present on the E3.

Meizu’s E3 is a bit pricier but still packs a more than powerful enough Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 along with a whopping 6GB of RAM and either 64GB or 128GB of internal storage.

Other specs include a large 5.99-inch 1080 x 2160 px (FHD+) display, a 12MP F/1.9 rear camera coupled with a 20MP secondary image sensor, 2.5x optical zoom and an 8MP selfie snapper with F2.0 aperture.


The Meizu E3 packs a 3360mAh capacity battery which supports mCharge 5v/4A 20W, a side-placed fingerprint scanner and expandable storage.

3. Nubia Z17S

Nubia Z17S

The latest Nubia Z17S also keeps his spot on this list as one of the best looking and powerful devices currently on the market. The handset comes with a flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, while sporting 2017’s full screen design on a large 5.73-inch panel with 1080x2040px resolution and ultra-thin side bezels.

Nubia’s Z17S comes with two rear cameras which are a 12.2MP shooter with F/1.8 aperture and OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) for the primary and a secondary 23MP snapper with a B&W sensor. The selfie camera has a resolution of 5MP and is accompanied by another 5MP secondary shooter.

The smartphone packs a 3100mAh capacity battery, with Quick Charge 3.0 support, it features NFC but there’s no 3.5mm headphone jack. 4G LTE connectivity works on pretty much any network around the world.

If the “full screen” design and the thin side bezels aren’t a priority for you, then the plain Z17 might be a better option as you can get the 8GB RAM or 128GB storage variants at around the same price.

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4. Honor View 10

honor view 10

The Honor View 10 is Huawei’s flagship running on the Chinese SoC. The handset does share a lot of the hardware present on the much more expensive ($800) Huawei Mate 10 Pro while coming at almost half the price. The Honor View 10 is indeed powered by the same Huawei HiSilicon KIRIN 970 octa-core CPU paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage (expandable).

Honor’s phone comes with a large 5.99″ FHD+ display, a main 16MP rear camera with an F/1.8 wide aperture and a secondary 20MP B&W shooter. Meanwhile at the front we find an high res 13MP selfie snapper with F/2.0 aperture and face recognition.

The View 10 is fueled by a nicely sized 3750mAh capacity battery that supports Huawei Super Charge 3.0 support, runs Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box and works on various 4G networks, but band 20 isn’t among them.

5. Xiaomi Mi Note 3

Albeit quite old at this time, the Xiaomi Mi Note 3 it still one of the best phones you can get in the $300 price range. Xiaomi’s phone does indeed come with a good performing Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 CPU along with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage (expandable).

Camera wise, the Mi Note 3 is equipped with a dual 12MP setup that has been proven to be one of the best shooters on the Android side (according to DxO Mark). The camera also comes with an F/1.7 aperture, 4K video recording, OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) and 120fps slow motion capability. Meanwhile the selfie snapper boasts a high 16MP resolution.

The Xiaomi Mi Note 3 packs a 3500mAh capacity battery and runs MIUI V9 based on Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box.

Honorable Mentions

Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S

We know the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S is slightly above our $500 ceiling but if you can afford it, then the phone is definitely worth some extra bucks.

Xiaomi’s latest flagship phone is powered by a beastly Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 CPU along with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage for an incredibly smooth user experience. Where the MIX 2S really shines though is the camera department. The smartphone does indeed sport some of the best shooters in the industry which handed a really high score on camera review site DxO Mark.

The rear shooters are a main 12MP with F/1.8 aperture and a secondary 12MP sensor with telephoto lens, the smartphone also supports dual pixel technology for super quick autofocus and OIS (optical image stabilization). Meanwhile selfies are handles by a 5MP snapper with F/2.0 aperture and 1.2μm big pixels.

Finally, the Mi MIX 2S packs a 3400mAh battery, supports wireless charging, 4G connectivity and runs MIUI based on Android 8.0 Oreo.

Top 5 Chinese Smartphones for Under $500

Best Chinese Smartphones

This is it for the month of April, hopefully you have found your next daily driver among our picks. If you didn’t and you’d have suggested other options, then let us know in the comments below!

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

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  1. Guest
    April 15, 2018

    smartisan nut 2 pro i think better than note3

  2. Guest
    April 17, 2018

    I don’t think you haven’t heard of the Elephone U pro. Sold for USD 400. Qualcomm 660 6 GB/128 GB. Real dual camera. Curved AMOLED display. Those who have one are very happy with the quality and performance.