The halls of MWC are full of cheap Android phones, and some of them are stunningly bad. Flimsy plastic builds, terribly outdated software, and bottom-rung components make these anonymous phones a bad choice for consumers. Yet people who can’t afford brand names still end up buying them – and quickly regretting it.

Not all affordable phones from small brands are a bad choice however. Take the new General Mobile 9 Plus from the Turkey-based manufacturer of the same name. Everything about it seems solid, from the Android One software, to the component stack, and the sleek metal-and-glass construction.

General Mobile (GM) is one of the few phone companies that doesn’t make its devices in China. The company claims to operate the largest phone manufacturing facility in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, with a production capacity of 2.5 million units per year. The location of the factory has no impact on the quality of the products, but General Mobile’s phones stand out in this regard in a sea of Chinese competitors.

The General Mobile 9 Plus design is pretty generic-looking, but I actually quite liked it. It’s definitely on par with mid-range devices from Nokia, Xiaomi, or Oppo in this regard, even if it lacks flourishes like two-tone paintjobs.

The phone features an aluminum frame with a glossy glass back. I only played with the black model, but all three color versions (black, white, and gold) feature red buttons as an accent. The phone felt nice in hand, thanks to the rounded edges and 7.7mm profile. A fingerprint reader is located on the back. My main criticism in terms of design would be the General Mobile and Android One logos, which are a bit too large probably.

Up front, the GM 9 Plus features a fairly small notch, jutting into a 6.23-inch Full HD+ display. It looks fairly modern and the colors on the LCD panel were quite good.

General Mobile 9 Plus specs

 General Mobile 9 Plus
DisplayIPS incell LCD, 6.23-inch, 82.5% screen-to-body ratio, Full HD+ (1920 x 2280), 19:9, 405 ppi
SoCMediatek MT6771 Helio P60 (12 nm)
Octa-core (4x2.0 GHz Cortex-A73 & 4x2.0 GHz Cortex-
GPUMali-G72 MP3
Storage32GB, card slot up to 256GB
Cameras12MP+5MP, AF, f1.7 with Flash, Portrait, HDR, AI Scene Detection, Night Shot, Panorama Modes

Portrait, AI Face Beauty, HDR, Wide Selfie Modes
Audio3.5mm audio jack
IP ratingNo
NetworkGSM 850 (GSM800), GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900
WCDMA FDD Band I (2100), FDD Band II (1900), FDD
Band V (850), WCDMA FDD Band VIII (900)
ConnectivityWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi Display,
Hotspot, 5Ghz and 2.4 Ghz dual band support
Bluetooth v5.0, A2DP, LE
Type-C USB 2.0
UL 3+3
DL 3+3,3+7,3+20,7+20
SIMNano + Nano SIM or Nano SIM + TF Card
SoftwareAndroid 9.0 Pie
Dimensions and weight157.06x75.52x7.70mm
ColorsSpace Gray, Silver, Gold

The General Mobile 9 Plus is no powerhouse, but it’s competent enough for a mid-ranger. The RAM and storage are probably the areas that leave most to be desired, but some high-end phones shipped with similar specs not that long ago.

General Mobile has been one of the early adopters of Android One, having introduced some of the first Android One phones in Europe. The program has changed focus considerably since then, and General Mobile has put out more advanced phones with stock Android, as opposed to the basic fare from a few years ago.

The General Mobile 9 Plus runs Android 9 Pie, which is nice. The company leans heavily in its marketing on features of stock Android, like Digital Wellbeing, Adaptive Brightness, or ARCore. While you don’t get anything unique, it’s still great to see a clean, lean operating system that’s up to date.

A virtual assistant called General Mobile Assistant is just about the only piece of extraneous software we saw on the 9 Plus. It’s not clear why GM felt the need to put out its own AI assistant – from what we’ve seen, the software doesn’t do anything that Google Assistant can’t already do.

The General Mobile 9 Plus will be available in the 34 countries where the manufacturer has a presence. We weren’t able to track down a price for it unfortunately, but it sounds like it will be fairly affordable.

Read: Hands-on: The Nubia Alpha is so weird it’s cool

Thoughts on this phone? Let us know in the comments.

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