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Best Chinese phone | Best Chinese phones you can buy in the UK in 2017: Why you should (and should not) buy a Chinese phone  August 14, 2023 – 03:32 am
Top ten mobile phone brands
Best Chinese phone Price Key specifications
OnePlus 3T £329 OxygenOS (Android 6.0), Snapdragon 821, 6GB RAM, 64GB storage, 5.5in Full-HD, 3400mAh
Xiaomi Mi5s £282 MIUI 8.0 (Android 6.0), Snapdragon 821, 3/4GB RAM, 64/128GB storage, 5.15in Full-HD, 3100mAh
Xiaomi Mi Note 2 £472 MIUI 8.0 (Android 6.0), Snapdragon 821, 4/6GB RAM, 64/128GB storage, 5.7in Full-HD, 4070mAh

Chinese phones offer excellent value for money, with specs to rival flagship phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S7 and iPhone 7 and often at less than half the price. So if you want a great deal on a smartphone, look no further than our round-up of the best Chinese phones 2017.

You've probably heard of brands such as Huawei/Honor, ZTE and Lenovo, although you might not be aware that the latter makes phones as well as laptops. Xiaomi, too, is becoming increasingly popular worldwide, and is known as China's Apple. Also see: Best kids' phones 2017

But the problem with many Chinese phones is that they can be difficult to get hold of in the UK. To buy a Chinese phone in the UK you'll either need to look on a site such as eBay or Amazon, or go through a grey-market importer such as Geekbuying, GearBest or Coolicool. Be sure to read up on our grey-market tech buying advice before you do so.

Should you buy a Chinese phone in the UK? Why you should and should not buy a Chinese phone


• Excellent value for money

• Competitive specification

• Usually dual-SIM

• None of your friends will have the same phone


• Without an official channel through which to purchase you may unintentionally buy a counterfeit product

• Faulty devices may be difficult to return

• You may incur import duty (charged at 20 percent of the value on the shipping paperwork plus an admin fee)

• Google Play may not be preinstalled (as is the case with some Xiaomi and Meizu phones)

Best Chinese phone specifications: What to expect from a Chinese phone

The majority of Chinese phones we've reviewed have been dual-SIM dual-standby. We've found this to be a standard feature of Chinese phones at any price point. However, in the case of Huawei/Honor phones, which are among those that are officially sold in the UK, the UK variant is often not dual-SIM. You should also check whether the second SIM slot is in addition to or replacing the phone's microSD slot. Also see: Best dual-SIM phones 2017 and dual-SIM buying advice.

4G is a common feature even at the lower price points. An increasing number of phones will support 4G on both SIM slots, but dual-standby phones will ask you to select one or the other for data. And while we're used to seeing phones that standardise on nano- or Micro-SIM, Chinese phones can occasionally still feature full-size SIM slots (though this is now becoming much less common). Of course, you can pick up an adaptor from somewhere like Amazon for as little as a pound. Also see: What is 4G? Complete guide to 4G.

The fact that a Chinese phone supports 4G doesn't necessarily mean it will work on your UK network, mind. Always check a phone's frequency bands before purchase. In the UK we use LTE bands 3, 7 and 20, or look for 800-, 1800- and 2600MHz. EE operates on all three, Three on 800- and 1800MHz, O2 on 800MHz, and Vodafone on 800- and 2600MHz. Also see: How to tell if a phone is supported by your mobile network.


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