Top 5 Chinese Smartphones for Under $500 – December 2018

Best Chinese Smartphones

Hello and welcome to our last Top 5 for the year 2018 which, with Christmas just around the corner, also becomes a great gift guide for those looking to buy themselves or anybody dear a brand new smartphone! This list here is specifically made for those who can spend between $200 and $500, so pretty much some the best Chinese phones on the market!

Top 5 Chinese Smartphones for Under $500

1. 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.

2. Lenovo Z5 Pro

Lenovo z5 pro

The Lenovo Z5 Pro is the latest phone to hit the market among those on this list and it earns a spot for its great value for money along with the fancy slider design.

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.

3. Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite

Mi 8 Lite

Coming with a price tag of just over $200, the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite is a great upper mid-ranger that brings a beautiful design along with a decently powerful chipset for much less than $500. Xiaomi’s handset is powered by a Snapdragon 660, 4GB or 6GB of RAM and up to 128GB of internal storage (while staying under $300).

The display on the Mi 8 Lite is 6.26-inch in size and it features a notch at the top with a 24MP selfie snapper that supports face recognition. On the back we instead find a dual camera setup with a 12MP f/1.9 primary and a 5MP secondary.

The Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite is fueled by a 3350mAh battery, runs MIUI 10 based on Android Oreo and is available in a Global variant.

4. 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.

If you’re looking for a more compact device, also check out the Meizu 16th (non Plus) coming with pretty much the same specs in a smaller 6-inch screen size.

Gizchina News of the week

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 Mentions

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.

Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro

Xiaomi Mi 8


If you’re a big Xiaomi fan and you’re fine with having a notch, then the Mi 8 Pro with its under display fingerprint scanner is probably the best phone produced by the company in the sub $500 price segment. The Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro comes a flagship Snapdragon 845 processor, along with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage.

The phone then packs a 6.21-inch display with the previously mentioned under display fingerprint scanner. Meanwhile on the back we find a transparent back cover just like on the Explorer Edition.

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.

Top 5 Chinese Smartphones for Under $500

Best Chinese Smartphones

This is it for the month of December, 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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