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We all want more for our money, and that includes when we are looking for our next smartphone purchase. If you don’t want to pay for the name, be aware that you can get a lot more for your money with a Chinese phone than if you buy from Samsung or the entry-level range from Sony.
We have put together some of the best budget options to get an inexpensive Chinese phone that looks and feels anything but.
Best Budget Chinese Phone reviews
1. Xiaomi Redmi Note 8T
The first Redmi 8 series phone to arrive in the UK, the Redmi Note 8T offers extraordinary value at £ 179. It is an affordable mid-ranger, offering a 48Mp four-lens camera, a 6.3-inch AMOLED screen, a 4000mAh battery and a capable Snapdragon 665 processor. It adds NFC and 18W wired load to Redmi Note 8 elsewhere. You won’t find better value for money elsewhere.
Read our Xiaomi Redmi Note 8T review.
2. Oppo A9 2020
The Oppo A9 2020 is an economical handset that succeeds in excelling in several areas – with an attractive design, a 48 MP quad camera and a massive 5000 mAh battery that outperforms even some of the most expensive phones on the market.
It is not without flaws, of course. Although the battery life is excellent, there is no quick charge. Although the night mode on the camera is stellar, the user experience of taking photos really needs to be refined to be simpler and cleaner.
For the price, however, you get a great camera smartphone that feels top-notch and one that won’t die quickly. For these reasons, we would certainly say that the 2020 Oppo A9 is a budget candidate.
Read our 2020 Oppo A9 review.
3. Xiaomi Redmi Note 7
A mid-range phone with a budget price, it’s hard to dispute the incredible value offered by Redmi Note 7 – nothing comes close even in the UK budget phone market.
Resembling more than ever the flagship line of Mi, it has a superb all-glass design and vibrates an impressive dual camera with a 48Mp lens.
With a large screen and all-day battery life, we love the Redmi Note 7’s headphone jack and IR blaster, dual SIM functionality, and microSD storage expansion, and given the low price, we can turn a blind eye. about the lack of NFC and premium features such as an integrated fingerprint sensor, wireless charging and waterproofing.
Overall performance is fine, with other Snapdragon 660 phones costing around £ 350, and even Xiaomi’s Mi 9 SE, making it a great all-rounder.
Read our Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 review.
4. Oppo A5 2020
The 2020 Oppo A5 is a great affordable option without compromising too much. With a huge 5000mAh battery, an elegant exterior design and a large screen, you’d be hard pressed to believe it only costs £ 179.99.
Of course, the quad camera doesn’t quite match its rivals – with just a 12MP main lens and limited options, especially in low light. However, at this price, compromises are expected, and these drops do not really detract from what a powerful entry-level phone is.
Read our 2020 Oppo A5 review.
5. Honor 9X
The Honor 9X manages to imitate certain elements of the flagship products but for a fraction of the price. With a geometric and shimmering exterior and a notch screen thanks to a pop-up camera, you’d be hard pressed to believe that this is a phone under £ 250 – especially if you factor in the camera that accompanies it.
Of course, it is not without flaws. The triple-lens camera is not as good as the specs suggest, and the night mode in particular does not hold, while performance at all levels indicates that it is not as high-end as it might be. appears there. But still, you get a lot for the price, and a phone that looks a lot more.
Read our review of the Honor 9X.
6. Elephone U2
A very solid competitor at a price of less than £ 250, the Elephone U2 is a beautiful phone with a cool pop-up selfie camera and a conveniently located fingerprint sensor. Under close scrutiny, some corners have been cut, including the lack of support for NFC and personal audio, a relatively slow charge, and a disappointing camera app. However, performance and design can more than make up for it.
Read our Elephone U2 review.
seven. Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite
Inexpensive Android phones don’t get any better than this. The Mi A2 Lite has a premium design with a 19: 9 screen, two rear cameras and decent performance. The storage is generous, and we love the fact that you can boost the internal space of 64 GB with microSD cards up to 256 GB capacity without sacrificing dual SIM support. A good buy on a budget.
Read our Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite review.
8. Honor 20 Lite
It’s a bit of a stretch to call it a budget phone, but it’s a quarter of the price of an iPhone XS. From this perspective, the 20 Lite offers solid value with decent cameras and performance.
It’s still built at a price and isn’t a flagship rival, but if you have that much to spend, that’s fine.
Read our review of the Honor 20 Lite.
9. Honor 8X
While it only costs £ 229.99 in the UK, the Honor 8X looks, feels and behaves like a high end smartphone in many ways. It has a magnificent scintillating glass back and a superb 6.5-inch FHD + frameless screen at the front, with a notch housing a 20Mp camera.
It offers advanced features, including facial recognition which works well in most environments, and although performance is not perfect when running demanding applications, it should be more than enough for navigation and games casual.
Read our review of the Honor 8X.
ten. UMIDIGI S2 Pro
The UMIDIGI S2 Pro offers incredible value at just over £ 200 thanks to its large 18: 9 screen, huge battery and wide internal storage. The performance and photography are adequate, making it an excellent budget choice in the medium term, and is worth considering as an alternative to the Moto G6 if you need additional storage or dual SIM capacity.
Read our UMIDIGI S2 Pro review.
Your guide to buying the best Chinese budget phones in 2020
Many Chinese phones are now officially available in the UK (in fact, all of the ones in our current table are), but you can still find cheaper prices in China thanks to tastes like GearBest. If you are buying from China rather than the UK, you will need to factor in import duties in any budget decision, which is calculated at 20% of the value printed on shipping documents, plus an administration fee about £ 11.
You will also need to accept slightly longer delivery times (although free international delivery is offered), and accept that if something goes wrong, it will be more difficult to get your money back.
One big thing to watch out for is the cell bands supported by the phone: many Chinese phones don’t support 4G LTE 800 MHz technology. That doesn’t mean they won’t work in the UK at all, but if your network only depends on that frequency for 4G, the most you’ll get will be 3G. This will affect you if you subscribe to an O2, GiffGaff or Sky Mobile tariff.
Speaking of contracts, you won’t get one for a Chinese phone if you buy it in China. Instead, you will have to buy the phone in advance and then subscribe to a SIM-only offer, but if you have the funds to do so, it is a much better option and can save you a lot of money. long-term money.
Particularly when it comes to Xiaomi phones, your smartphone may not come with Google services preinstalled (opt for a Global model or buy in the UK to avoid this). Here we explain how to install Google Play on a Xiaomi phone.
We have gathered some of these things that you should consider in our Chinese technology buying guide.
If you can live with all of these things, buying your next smartphone in China is the best way to get a great deal on a new phone. We’ve collected some of the best cheap Chinese phones below – smartphones for which you would pay two or three times the price in the UK, the United States, or Europe. If you’re happy to pay a little more and get more for your money, also check out our guide to the best Chinese phones.
If you decide you want a budget phone but don’t want it from China, also check out our guide to the best budget phones available in the UK.