Chinese smartphones have emerged from a murky past of iPhone clones and shady software to become a new force on the global market. Chinese phones tend to be a lot cheaper than phones sold in the West but often have equally good build quality and features. Today we'll show you a few of the best Chinese smartphones you can't get (and how you might get one after all).
Honor 7The Honor 7 is boss. A £250 all-aluminum smartphone with looks to rival the HTC One M9 or Huawei Mate S, the Honor 7 also packs a punch in the specs department.
Packing a Huawei-made finger scanner, Kirin 935 chipset, 3 GB of RAM, Android Lollipop, microSD expansion, a massive 20 MP primary camera with OIS, and an 8 MP front-facing camera complete with LED flash, the Honor 7 is unbeatable. Check out our Honor 7 review for more details.
Xiaomi Mi 4cThe Xiaomi Mi 4c is one of those phones you don't expect too much from, but are then blown away by. An unassuming exterior hides one of the most capable low-cost, high-performance devices around.
At £135 it's insanely affordable but delivers a Full HD 5-inch display, USB Type-C, fast-charging, Android Lollipop, Snapdragon 808, 3 GB of RAM and a huge 3,080 mAh battery, which is impressive for such a small phone. Find out more in our Xiaomi Mi 4c review.
Huawei P8Oddly, the Huawei P8 Lite is freely available in the US but the 'full' version, the Huawei P8, isn't. Despite dropping the Ascend moniker, the P8 has pretty much hit the pinnacle anyway.
The P8 will set you back around £500 so it's not as cheap as the first two phones on this list, but it offers even better performance. The gorgeous, metallic P8 is slim, stylish and offers plenty of other goodies, which you can read all about in our Huawei P8 review.
Xiaomi Mi Note ProAnother great phone from Xiaomi, the Mi Note Pro is as premium as any phone on this list. The Mi Note Pro is available in a gold finish and packs the Snapdragon 810, a whopping 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of on-board storage, 13 MP shooter with OIS, rolled glass on the back edges and 5.7-inch QHD display on the front.
So how much would you expect to pay for a phone this good? How about £310? Yes, that little.
Meizu Pro 5The Meizu Pro 5 ups the price point to just under the £500 mark, but it is a very capable smartphone.
Packing Samsung's excellent Exynos 7420 chipset – the same as the Galaxy S6 – clocked at 2.5 GHz, a 21 MP camera, 3 GB or 4 GB of RAM, front-mounted fingerprint scanner, 5.7-inch Full HD display, Android Lollipop and solid 3,000 mAh battery, the Meizu Pro 5 is one to look out for.
ZUK Z1You may not have heard of the ZUK Z1, but you'll wish you had. Backed by Lenovo, the ZUK Z1 has outstanding battery life, a rock-solid fingerprint scanner, good performance and a very decent camera, all for the low price of £220.
The ZUK Z1 also features a 5.5-inch Full HD display, Snapdragon 801, CyanogenMod OS 12 (based on Lollipop), 64 GB internal storage, 3 GB of RAM, a 4,100 mAh battery and 13 MP Sony sensor. Not bad at all.
Lenovo Vibe P1Lenovo's Vibe P1 has one feature that will absolutely destroy what you thought was possible for a £160 phone: a 4,900 mAh battery. That's not a typo, the Vibe P1 has a battery that's double the size of many other smartphone batteries right now.
But that's not all – the Vibe P1 also delivers super fast-charging technology to get that monster battery charged pronto, as well as a fingerprint scanner, 5.5-inch Full HD display and Android Lollipop. Did we mention this thing only costs £160?
How do I get one of these phones?Where there's a will, there's a way. In our device reviews, we always provide info on the best price for a device and share links for where you can buy one (just make sure you check the phone's LTE frequencies to ensure they will work with your carrier before you buy).
There is also a bunch of excellent online retailers in China willing to ship a device globally, many of which can be found in our recent article on how to buy Xiaomi phones in the US.