Top 5 Chinese Smartphones for Under $500 – November 2018


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Hello and welcome to November’s edition of our top 5 Chinese smartphones for under $500 roundup! This month, we have a couple new interesting additions to go along with some already solid phones which have kept their spot on the list. If you were looking for the best phone money can buy – yes, we aren’t spending more than $500 on one, then keep reading!

Top 5 Chinese Smartphones for Under $500

1. Lenovo Z5 Pro

Lenovo z5 pro

Let’s kick things off with one of the most recent phones to get unveiled, the Lenovo Z5 Pro. Lenovo’s successor of the much disappointing Z5 is indeed a really great option in the sub $500 price range – heck you can even find it for less $400.

While the Lenovo Z5 Pro doesn’t pack the most powerful hardware, with a Snapdragon 710, 6GB of RAM and up to 128GB of internal storage (expandable), the handset from Lenovo comes with a rather interesting sliding mechanism which sets it apart from the competition in its price range.

The smartphone then sports a large 6.39-inch AMOLED display with FHD+ resolution, a 16MP main rear camera with f/1.8 aperture paired with 24MP secondary, meanwhile on the front we find another dual camera setup of 16MP and 8MP res.

The Lenovo Z5 Pro packs a 3350mAh capacity battery and runs Android 8 Oreo out of the box.

2. Xiaomi Pocophone F1

Xiaomi Pocophone F1

With its insane specs to price ratio, the Pocophone F1 will hardly ever be taken off the list, or at least until its successor is announced. The handset does indeed pack the flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 along with either 6GB of RAM (8GB for Armoured Edition) and 64GB, 128GB or 256GB of internal storage (expandable).

On the Pocophone F1 we then find a large 6.18-inch Full HD display with a high res 20MP selfie snapper above it, meanwhile on the back we find a dual camera setup comprised of main 12.2MP and a secondary 5MP shooter.

Finally, the smartphone is powered by a large 4000mAh capacity battery and runs MIUI 9.5 based on Android 8.0 Oreo.

3. Meizu 16th Plus

Meizu 16th Plus

If you really don’t like the notch and you’d rather have slim bezels around the phone, then the Meizu 16th Plus might be the right choice for you. The smartphone packs a large 6.5-inch Super AMOLED panel with FHD+ resolution and is powered by a flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 CPU, paired with either 6GB or 128GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB of internal memory.

In the camera department we find a good 12MP shooter with F/1.8 aperture in the back along with a 20MP sensor to snap photos with a shallow depth of field effect. At the front we have another 20MP to snap selfies at ultra-high resolution.

The Meizu 16th Plus packs a 3640mAh battery which supports mCharge 4.0 (12V2A 24W) and runs FlyMe 7.5 based on Android 8.1 Oreo.

4. Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro

Xiaomi Mi 8

Xiaomi’s Mi 8 flagship phone gets replaced by its slightly improved successor – the Mi 8 Pro. The Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro comes with the same Snapdragon 845 processor of the older brother along with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage.

Xiaomi’s phone then packs a 6.21-inch display and – here’s the upgrade – an under display fingerprint scanner. Meanwhile on the back we find a transparent back cover just like on the Explorer Edition previously launched.

Another selling point for the Mi 8 Pro are its great cameras. Coming with two 12MP rear cameras and a large F/1.8 aperture, the phone is able to snap some impressive photos. We then also find an high-res 20MP shooter on the front for high quality selfies.

The Xiaomi Mi 8 comes with a good sized 3000mAh battery with Quick Charge 4.0+ 18W support, an infrared face scanner to unlock the phone and runs MIUI 10 based on Android 8 Oreo.

5. Nubia Z18

Nubia Z18

We haven’t heard a lot about this phone online but Nubia’s latest flagship – the Z18 – is yet another device with top hardware and a price tag under $500.

The design of the Nubia Z18 resembles the one of the first Essential Phone, with a camera at the top of the display which is 5.99-inch in size and sports ultra-slim side bezels. Beneath the screen we then find a powerful Snapdragon 845 along with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage

Cameras on the Nubia Z18 are a main 16MP snapper with a very large f/1.6 aperture and a 24MP secondary sensor. Meanwhile at the front we find an 8MP selfie shooter.

Finally, Nubia’s phone packs a 3450mAh capacity battery, supports a good number of 4G bands and runs Android 8 Oreo out of the box.

Honorable Mention – Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S

Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S

With the Mi MIX 3 launching last month, the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S got even cheaper and can now be found for less than $400. So, if you don’t care about having the latest and greatest – not that the MIX 2S is any less great – then add Xiaomi’s tri-bezel-less phone to your wish list. The Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S 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 November, 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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