Top 5 Chinese Smartphones for Under $500 – May 2018

Best Chinese Smartphones

The month of May comes with a couple new addition to our top 5 list, which is great to see, and we expect more to arrive in the next 30 days. Nonetheless, if you need a new phone right now, here are the best handsets you can currently get out of China for less than $500!

Top 5 Chinese Smartphones for Under $500

1. Honor 10

honor 10

While most of the eyes were aimed at the fancy new Huawei P20 Pro, not too many people have talked about the latest launch from Huawei’s daughter company – the Honor 10. The handset is an incredibly interesting option coming with a really powerful Huawei HiSilicon KIRIN 970 along with 6GB of RAM and either 64GB or 128GB of storage (both expandable and at less than $500).

The Honor 10 then features a 5.84-inch FHD+ IPS display, a Leica Dual camera 3.0 composed of a main 16MP image sensor with F/1.8 aperture and OIS, plus a secondary 24MP shooter. On the front we find another 24MP selfie snapper with F/2.0 aperture.

Honor’s phone is fueled by a 3400mAh capacity, sports NFC and runs Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box.

2. OnePlus 5T

oneplus 5t

Albeit somewhat old now and soon to be replaced by the upcoming OnePlus 6, the OnePlus 5T is still a great phone for the price. The handset packs a still 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.

3. Meizu E3

Meizu E3The Meizu E3 is a great new alternative 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.

Gizchina News of the week

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

4. 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.

5. 360 N7

360 N7

The recently launched 360 N7 is one of the most interesting devices on the list. The handset is indeed a good mix between specs, build quality and price, coming with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 CPU paired with 6GB of RAM and 64GB or 128GB of internal storage (expandable).

The smartphone also features a large 5.99-inch IPS display with FHD+ (1080 x 2160 px) resolution, a 16MP+2MP rear camera setup (with OIS) and an 8MP selfie shooter.

The 360 N7 is powered by a massive 5030mAh capacity battery with QC 3.0 support and runs 360 3.0 OS based on Android 8.1 Oreo 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 May, 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. Freeje238
    May 12, 2018

    I chose the V10 over the Honor 10 to replace my partner’s V8. Basically, the same and cheaper. She’s happy with it as it takes great pics.

  2. Mitch McCrimmon
    May 12, 2018

    The Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 is now only $399, can’t beat that for an under $500 phone unless you have to have only the very latest releases.

  3. rumpeltizkin
    May 12, 2018

    The article’s title is confusing, $100 is less than $500, so it’s under $500. Virtually any phone from 0 to 499 could appear here, but you only show the ones close to $500. So, imho it would be better to change it into “$500 range” 🙂

    • Mitch McCrimmon
      May 12, 2018

      Most readers understand that the title means phones that are close to, but less than, $500. Not many are confused by this.

  4. Yves van der Mast
    May 13, 2018

    where can we buy the 360 N7?