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Best Chinese Android phones (December 2018)

We take a look at some of the best Chinese Android phones that are currently available to buy, from budget handsets to the latest flagship devices.
December 5, 2018

Over the last few years, we’ve not only seen the number of Chinese OEMs increase dramatically, but their global presence has been expanded. The explosion in Chinese OEMs is due to a few things, but largely it’s because these brands offer many of the same specs and features as more expensive flagships at more aggressive price points. In this article, we pick our choices for the best Chinese Android phones currently available.

What are some of the best Chinese Android handsets you can buy in 2018? Let’s take a closer look.

Editor's note – We will update this list as more devices hit the market.

HUAWEI Mate 20 Pro

HUAWEI Mate 20 back

The HUAWEI Mate 20 Pro is one of the most anticipated phones of the year, and for good reason. The Mate 10 Pro won Android Authority’s Best of Android 2017 award, and the Mate 20 Pro was a major finalist for the 2018 award

The Mate 20 Pro features an all-glass design, with HUAWEI’s popular gradient color scheme. You have your choice of five color options, but we really prefer the emerald green model.

Elsewhere, the device comes with the Kirin 980 SoC, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a fancy new Nano Memory slot for expandable storage. Oh yeah, and it has three rear-facing cameras — one 40MP standard sensor, one 8MP telephoto lens, and one 20MP ultra wide-angle sensor.

It’s blazing fast, has great battery life, and some of the best cameras you can get on any smartphone. What more could you want?

The one downside to this phone is availability. This is the best Android phone, by far, not coming to the United States. HUAWEI doesn’t have the best relationship with the U.S. government, so Americans who want one these bad boys will have to import it.


  • 6.39-inch AMOLED display with 1,440 x 3,120 resolution
  • 2.6GHz octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 980 processor
  • Mali-G76 MP10 GPU
  • 6/8GB RAM
  • 128/256GB built-in storage, up to 256GB of expandable storage
  • 40MP, 20MP, and 8MP triple rear cameras, 24MP front-facing camera
  • 4,200mAh battery
  • Android 9 Pie
    157.8 x 72.3 x 8.6 mm, 189grams


The HUAWEI P20 Pro triple camera housing.

Dual rear camera setups have become standard in the smartphone space, having found its way to mid-range and even some low-end devices. So of course, HUAWEI had to push the boundary and tack on a third camera with their latest flagship, the P20 Pro.

This is more than just a gimmick and makes the P20 Pro one of the best smartphone cameras around, offering a DSLR-like experience and quality. Each camera serves a different purpose. The main 40MP sensor captures rich color, the 20MP secondary monochrome sensor captures additional details, and the third 8MP telephoto lens is used for zoom and additional focal length.

A bunch of software features are available, and the camera also has HUAWEI’s new AI-assisted stabilization (AIS), which lets the P20 Pro take long-exposure shots without a tripod. You also get a great 24MP shooter up front.

It’s not all about the camera, even if that is more than enough reason to buy this phone. You get excellent performance courtesy of its flagship hardware, and an impressive battery life because of the large battery and a Full HD+ display.

The HUAWEI P20 Pro is undoubtedly one of the best Chinese Android smartphones out there. It is also one of the most expensive options on this list but is worth every penny. The HUAWEI P20 Pro is priced at around $900 in the various markets it is available which include China, the U.K., Germany, Australia, India, and others.


  • 6.1-inch AMOLED display with 2240 x 1080 resolution
  • 2.4GHz octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 970 processor
  • Mali-G72 MP12 GPU
  • 6GB RAM
  • 128GB built-in storage, not expandable
  • 40MP, 20MP, and 8MP triple rear cameras, 24MP front-facing camera
  • 4,000mAh battery
  • Android 8.1 Oreo
  • 155 x 73.9 x 7.8mm, 180grams

OnePlus 6T

Despite being almost half the price of the competition, the OnePlus 6T is one of the best Chinese phones of the year, and one of the best phones of 2018 period.

The 6T doesn’t provide the ultra-luxurious experience of the Galaxy Note 9 or iPhone XS, but it has 90 percent of what those phones offer for about $550. You get the most top-of-the-line specs out there, fantastic build quality, and decent cameras. The OnePlus 6T is also the first smartphone in the U.S. to include an in-display fingerprint sensor.

If you happen to hate notches, the 6T is probably the closest you’ll get to a notch-less display without going the Samsung route. OnePlus included super sexy waterdrop notch on the 6T that makes it looks like Google didn’t even try with the Pixel 3 XL.

If you’re trying to boycott all of the $1,000 phones out there, or you just want a solid smartphone that works well, buy the OnePlus 6T. We don’t think you’ll regret it.


  • 6.41-inch AMOLED display with 1,080 x 2,340 resolution
  • 2.8GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor
  • Adreno 630 GPU
  • 6/8GB RAM
  • 128/256GB built-in storage, not expandable
  • 16MP and 20MP dual rear cameras, 16MP front-facing camera
  • 3,700mAh battery
  • Android 9 Pie
  • 157.5 x 74.8 x 8.2 mm, 185grams

Xiaomi Mi 8 / Mi 8 Explorer Edition

The Xiaomi Mi 8 and the Mi 8 Explorer Edition have received a lot of flak since their launch back in May this year — The Mi 8 for being an iPhone X clone and the Explorer Edition for showing off a non-functional extra circuit board under its transparent back. Controversies aside, Xiaomi continues to offer what its known for with its latest flagships, incredible value for money.

The Mi 8 comes with all the latest specifications and features you could hope for. This includes the Snapdragon 845 processor, 6GB of RAM, and up to 256GB of built-in storage. The Explorer Edition goes even further by featuring 8GB of RAM, an in-display pressure-sensitive fingerprint scanner, and 3D face unlock capabilities.

The accusations of these devices being iPhone X clones are not unfounded. But where these smartphones are nothing like the Apple flagship is the price. Starting at 2,699 Yuan (~$395) for the Mi 8 and the 3,699 Yuan (~$542) for the Mi 8 Explorer Edition, these are far more affordable than not only the iPhone X, but other high-end Android smartphones as well.

Unfortunately, the Mi 8, and particularly the Mi 8 Explorer Edition, aren’t the easiest to get your hands on. The Mi 8 has released in some markets outside of China like the Middle East, Spain, France, and a few others. The Explorer Edition seems to be limited to China for now. They can be imported, but you’ll have to check network compatibility first. Controversial they may be, but the Xiaomi Mi 8 and the Mi 8 Explorer Edition or some of the best Chinese Android smartphones currently available.


  • 6.21-inch AMOLED display with 22848 x 1080 resolution
  • 2.8GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor
  • Adreno 630 GPU
  • 6GB RAM (Mi 8) / 8GB RAM (Explorer Edition)
  • 64/128/256GB built-in storage (Mi 8) / 128GB (Explorer Edition)
  • 12MP and 12MP dual rear cameras, 20MP front-facing camera
  • 3,400mAh (Mi 8) / 3,000mAh (Explorer Edition) batteries
  • Android 8.1 Oreo
  • 154.9 x 74.8 x 7.6mm, 175grams (Mi 8)
  • 154.9 x 74.8 x 7.6mm, 177grams (Explore Edition)


Honor has made a name for itself in the entry-level and mid-range market. The company is hoping to bring that success to the affordable flagship category as well with the HONOR 10 to take on the likes of Xiaomi and OnePlus.

You can expect flagship performance with the HONOR 10 given the fact that you get the same processing package, RAM, and built-in storage as the HUAWEI P20 Pro. There are obvious differences between the two of course, but if performance is what you’re looking for, the HONOR 10 delivers at a flagship level but at half the price. The device comes with the now expected dual rear camera setup of 16MP and 24MP shooters. Up front is an impressive 24MP unit as well.

The HONOR 10 is not only in direct competition with the likes of the OnePlus 6 and the ASUS Zenfone 5Z, but with one of its own devices – the HONOR View 10. The View 10 also comes with the same processing package, but the cameras aren’t as good. That said, the View 10 has a more standard design (no notch) that some may prefer.

Both devices are available in most markets around the world, but the View 10 has also officially been released in the U.S. as well. The international version of the HONOR 10 can be found on Amazon though, priced at around $450 which is similar to its price point globally.


  • 5.84-inch IPS LCD display with 2280 x 1080 resolution
  • 2.4GHz octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 970 processor
  • Mali-G72 MP12 GPU
  • 6GB RAM
  • 128GB built-in storage, not expandable
  • 16MP and 24MP rear cameras, 24MP front-facing camera
  • 3,400mAh battery
  • Android 8.1 Oreo
  • 149.6 x 71.2 x 7.7mm, 155grams


Ever since the launch of infinite displays and the 18:9 and beyond display aspect ratio, OEMs have seemingly been working towards the goal of a bezel-less smartphone. We’ve seen devices with notched displays and devices like the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S that puts the camera below the display.

But none have managed to do as much as OPPO has with its latest flagship, the OPPO Find X. The phone features an impressive screen-to-body-ratios of 92.5 percent and offers an unique implementation to address the front-facing camera issue that an all-screen design creates.

Both the front and the back of the OPPO Find X are completely plain. All the cameras are housed in a moving window at the top that pops up whenever the camera is needed. There is no fingerprint scanner though, with OPPO utilizing 3D mapping and face recognition software to let you unlock the device. Yes, this means that every time you want to unlock the phone, the window pops up, which I have to admit, looks really cool.

Of course, you get the latest and greatest in hardware with this smartphone, so you aren’t compromising on performance just get a unique looking phone. The OPPO Find X a very refined looking device that manages to successfully hide the fact that this is a first generation concept. Having the top pop up every time you need to unlock it may be problematic in the future and only time will tell how well the device survives.

The OPPO Find X qualifies as one of the best Chinese Android smartphones, and certainly one of the more innovative options, among everything that is currently available. The Find X is available in China, certain markets in Europe, and India, and is priced at around $850. If you do plan to import, don’t forget to check network compatibility first. 


  • 6.42-inch AMOLED display with 2340 x 1080 resolution
  • 2.8GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor
  • Adreno 630 GPU
  • 8GB RAM
  • 256GB built-in storage, not expandable
  • 16MP and 20MP rear cameras, 25MP front-facing camera
  • 3,730mAh battery
  • Android 8.1 Oreo
  • 156.7 x 74.2 x 9.4mm, 186gram

Pocophone F1 aka Xiaomi POCO F1

Front side of the POCOphone F1 held in hand

Xiaomi introduced a new sub-brand called POCOphone (or POCO in India) with its first device being the F1. The name promises speed, and Xiaomi certainly delivers in that department with the POCOphone F1 being the only smartphone priced at between $300 and $400 to feature the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor.

Backing the fast processor is 6GB or 8GB of RAM, with up to 256GB of built-in storage available. While featuring the specs sheet of a far more expensive flagship, the POCOphone F1 starts at just 20,999 rupees (~$299.5) in India and 329 Euros (~$380) in select European markets.

The underwhelming design does betray the flagship specs though. The polycarbonate backing is simple, and the large notch and relatively thick bezels undersell the excellent performance you get with this device. For those hoping for a more premium look, the highest-end variant comes with a kevlar back that looks and feels much better.

Aside from the design, the POCOphone F1 delivers in other departments. The phone absolutely flies and the large battery ensures impressive battery life. If performance and battery life are key factors, the POCOphone F1 is one of the best in this price range. The software experience is also good, with Xiaomi aiming for a more stock-like feel with the new POCO Launcher (based on MIUI 9.6 based on Android 8.1 Oreo).

This is a good smartphone that becomes a fantastic option because of its unbeatable price point. Xiaomi is known for its incredibly aggressive pricing strategy, but the company truly outdid itself this time around by basically jumping into the price category of mid-range phones.

Best Chinese Android phones – Conclusion

So, there you have it for this roundup of some of the best Chinese Android phones! Of course, there are numerous other Chinese OEMs with great devices out there, and we will be sure to keep this list updated.

If you’re considering any of these smartphones, don’t forget to first check about network compatibility, as you may have trouble getting access to 4G LTE networks with these devices depending on your home market.

If that isn’t an issue, all of the smartphones listed above are fantastic options from OEMs that have been flying under the radar, and are definitely good choices to make.