Top 5 Chinese Smartphones for Under $500 – July 2018


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Welcome back to our monthly rendezvous with the top 5 best smartphones you can currently get out of China in the month of July! Yes, we know, there are probably better phones out there, but why would you spend more than $500 on a phone when you can get some really impressive handsets for less than that? With that in mind, let’s check out one of the best selection of phones we’ve ever seen in this category!

Top 5 Chinese Smartphones for Under $500

1. Xiaomi Mi 8 SE

Xiaomi Mi 8 SE

Let’s begin with the mid-range Xiaomi Mi 8 SE, which took the place of its bigger brother – the Mi 8. We believe the Mi 8 SE is a better bang for the buck and it’s an overall better purchase for under $500. Xiaomi’s more affordable high-end phone does indeed come with an 5.88-inch FHD+ AMOLED display sporting a smaller notch (compared to the Mi 8), and it’s then powered by a great performing Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 paired with up to 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage.

In the camera department we find a 20MP selfie snapper with 2um really large pixels. On the back we instead have a 12MP + 5MP setup with 1.4um pixel size, dual-core focusing technology and an f/1.9 aperture.

The handset is powered by a decently sized 3120mAh capacity battery that paired with the more power efficient CPU, should provide some good SoTs.

2. Honor 10

honor 10

Another great option for under $500 is the latest Honor 10. The handset comes 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. Meanwhile at the front we have 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.

3. Asus ZENFONE 5

If you’re willing to put your ego aside and be fine with an under 150k AnTutu score, valuing the camera hardware and software over raw performance, then the Asus ZENFONE 5 is a pretty decent option for under $500. The smartphone is indeed just outside of the top 10 best camera phones on the notorious DxOMark site, near devices the likes of the iPhone 8 or Samsung Note 8 that come at twice the price.

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The Asus ZENFONE 5 is powered by a good Snapdragon 636 CPU, along with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, which is also expandable. This very energy efficient hardware combo fuels a large 6.2-inch 1080 x 2246 (FHD+) top notched display that is coated in Corning Gorilla Glass 5.

The camera department is where we find the apparently excellent 12MP Sony IMX363 image sensor with 1.4µm big pixels, a wide F/1.8 aperture, OIS and Dual Pixel PDAF. On the front we instead a nice 8MP selfie snapper with an F/2.0 aperture.

The smartphone packs a good 3300mAh capacity battery, a rear fingerprint scanner, Face ID and runs Android 8.0 Oreo.

4. OnePlus 6

Coming at around $500 we have one of the best handsets you can get out of China if you love an almost stock Android experience – the OnePlus 6. OnePlus’ latest handset is equipped with the flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 along with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, which fuel the large 6.28-inch 2280 x 1080 19:9 AMOLED display.

On the camera front, we find a 16.0MP + 20.0MP rear camera combo with optical image stabilization, and a 16MP selfie shooter.

The smartphone packs a good sized 3300mAh capacity battery and runs OxygenOS based on Android 8.1 Oreo.

5. Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S

Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S

The Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S has been slowly dropping in price, finally going under $500 and making it one of the best phones in this price range. Xiaomi’s tri-bezel-less 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.

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 July, 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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