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Best Chinese phone 2021

Buying from China often gets a bad rap: we’ve all had stories of times we bought something online and we received something completely different in its place or, worse, the item didn’t arrive. But don’t tarnish Chinese technology with the same brush: Chinese phones now surpass all of our major smartphone cards.

While Huawei without Google services is no longer the attractive proposition it once was in the UK, several other Chinese brands have added to it to occupy their place. From Xiaomi to OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Vivo and others, these phones typically offer incredible value for money, with premium build quality and the set of features you would expect from higher-end Android phones, but at a price much lower.

Below we have gathered some of the best Chinese phones that you can buy in the UK today. If these prices are above your budget, also check out some of the best Chinese phones on a good budget.

The best Chinese phones 2021

  • Pros
    Best-in-class display
    Excellent battery life
    Phenomenal cameras
  • Cons
    No periscope lens
    Some limiting performance

The Truvate X3 Pro is deliriously expensive and not a shame. But if you are willing to spend this kind of money, now is exactly where we will spend it. The display is the best around, the charging speeds and battery life are both exceptional, and the core specifications are hard to beat – although hopefully the firmware updates will support a bit of the shaky thermals.

The camera will be a big part of the appeal here, and Oppo has made a smart balance. The main and ultrawide lenses excel, and although some lack the periscope, the included telephoto lens is optimal at lower zoom levels. Our only real hesitation is the microlens – fun to play with, but you have to wonder how much it adds to the overall cost of the hardware, and how often it’s really likely to be used.

Read our full Oppo Find X3 Pro review

Revisione Oppo Find X3 Pro

Xiaomi Mi 11

  • Pros
    Fast performance
    Large room
    Attractive design
    Phenomenal value
  • Cons
    MIUI has always been lucky
    No IP rating
    No camera

    The Mi 11 is a fantastic piece of hardware for the price. The fastest chipset around, a nice display and strong cameras are all packaged in one nice piece of industrial design.

    Some will lose the IP rating, although for me the biggest disadvantages are the choice of a macro on a telephoto lens, the only average battery life, and a software experience that is always lagging behind the main rivals.

    Read our full Xiaomi Mi 11 review

    OnePlus Nordu

  • Pros
    90Hz AMOLED display
    Fantastic master bedroom
    Software OS Oxygen
  • Cons
    Poor macro lens
    Plastic frame
    No wireless charging

    The OnePlus Nord is the best mid-range phone in the world right now. It looks and feels like a phone twice its price, with a display and the main camera lens to match.

    The 765G processor holds more than its own, and all of the camera’s lenses are solid except for the forgettable macro shot.

    More importantly, you won’t find better at this price, or a better selection of priority features for most users on a budget, with luxuries like wireless charging or an abandoned 120Hz OTT refresh rate. favors a focus on the fundamentals.

    The North would be a good buy at £ 100 more – at this price, it’s a steal.

    Read our full OnePlus North Review

OnePlus 8 Pro

  • Pros
    Finally add waterproofing
    30W wireless charging
    Excellent room
  • Cons
    No camera
    large construction

    OnePlus has now released its OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro, but this old model remains the best in our opinion.

    The OnePlus 8 Pro was without a doubt the company’s first full flagship, which finally incorporates long-sought-after features such as wireless charging and an IP68 waterproof rating to make it a true contender with Samsung’s flagship flagships.

    It is understandable that the price has increased accordingly, but it still represents a serious value by the high standards, and you will save at least some money choosing OnePlus for most other manufacturers. (The OnePlus costs less anyway, even if you have to give up some features and reduce the display and cameras.)

    The Camera 8 Pro is OnePlus the best ever, and although it lags slightly behind rivals in terms of hardware, the hardware is one of the best around, which has helped it cover the distance considerably. Put in 5G, great design, and the best Android skin around and the OnePlus 8 Pro is easy to recommend to anyone who can afford it.

    Read our full OnePlus 8 Pro review

ZTE Axon 30 Ultra

  • Pros
    Amazing room
    Stunning screen
    Quick conception
    Great value
  • Cons
    No wireless charging
    No microSD slot

    The ZTE Axon 30 Ultra is an amazing proposition and offers valuable insights. It’s a really exciting cutting-edge smartphone in virtually every department: it’s lightweight, feels good in the hand, the 6.67in 144Hz AMOLED display is detailed and crisp, the Snapdragon 888 allows it to act like a gaming phone and, well. , that the camera configuration is incredible.

    Composed of three 64Mp snappers and a 5x telescope lens, the Axon 30 Ultra’s rear camera offering is versatile, and unlike some, the images captured on all sensors are comparable in terms of quality, detail and color balance. .

    There are a multitude of creative shooting modes available to make the most of the system, and it serves videographers with [email protected] video recording as well.

    The results are comparable to those taken in ultra-premium smartphones like the Galaxy S21 Ultra and the iPhone 12 Pro, but with one key difference – it’s hundreds of pounds / dollars cheaper.

    The software could do with a visual tweak here and there and there’s no wireless charging, but those are minor complaints in what is otherwise a phenomenal 2021 flagship.

    Read our full ZTE Axon 30 Ultra review

    Xiaomi Poco X3 Pro

  • Pros
    Phenomenal yield
    Big display 120Hz
    Long lasting battery
  • Cons
    It’s big and bulky
    Not 5G
    Medium room

    The Poco X3 Pro is a phone designed for Android gamers or for powerful users on a budget, although it could also appeal to those who want to go big on specifications to be able to protect their phone.

    If pure performance is not your priority, then you can find phones that are thinner and lighter, with better camera performance, for about the same price.

    What you won’t find is a phone that can match this pound for pound now. It’s an almost insignificant processing power in one of the best phones on the market, and it’s almost ridiculous that Xiaomi has pulled it off.

    Read our full Xiaomi Poco X3 Pro review


    Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro

  • Pros
    Stunning 120Hz AMOLED display
    Long battery life
    Excellent cameras
  • Cons
    Not 5G
    No OIS
    Huge room bump
    MIUI not for everyone

    The Redmi Note 10 Pro is one of the best budget phones you can buy, with Xiaomi offering exceptional value for money.

    The highlights here start with the stunning screen offering AMOLED technology and a 120Hz refresh rate, and continue with an excellent set of cameras. The title is a 108Mp whopper that is backed by a reasonable ultra-wide and a surprisingly decent telemacro.

    There are smaller features as well such as the inclusion of a headphone jack, Arc fingerprint scanner, stereo speakers and even an IR blaster. Battery life is also strong (Xiaomi includes a 33W charger in the box), and the core specifications are decent with a Snapdragon 732G that ensures smooth performance.

    Our only real gripe is a lack of support for 5G.

    Read our full Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro review

    Realme X50 Pro

  • Pros
    Impressively affordable
    Amazing performance
    Charge 65W
  • Cons
    Not waterproof
    The configuration of the camera could be improved

    Realme’s first 5G flagship (and second-flagship phone) is an impressively affordable device that doesn’t exploit cutting-edge specifications and features.

    The Realme X50 Pro gives up on aspects like IP water resistance and a thin body, but in return it sports the latest and greatest Snapdragon 865, 5G chipset, up to 12 GB of RAM, fast UFS 3.0 storage and insane 65W ‘SuperDart’ fast charge, which provides 60% charge in just 15 minutes and a full charge in just 35.

    Best of all, the X50 Pro costs about half of most major Android flagships.

    Read our full Realme X50 Pro Review

    Xiaomi Poco X3 NFC

  • Pros
    120Hz display
    Battery life of 2 days
    Excellent room
  • Cons
    It is thick and heavy
    MIUI can be awkward
    Unreliable fingerprint scanner

    The Poco X3 is not perfect. The large battery makes it bulky, we don’t love the aesthetics, and not everyone will find MIUI 12 immediately intuitive. For the most part, these are small complaints though, especially when stacked against the X3’s myriad strengths: strong specifications, an excellent camera, a nice display, and an absolutely fantastic battery life.

    The fact that you can get it all for less than £ 200 is almost incredible, and makes the Poco X3 a shoo-in for the best budget phone of the year.

    Read our full Xiaomi Poco X3 NFC Review

OnePlus 8T

  • Pros
    120Hz display
    65W fast charge
    Android 11
  • Cons
    Old room
    OnePlus North is better value
    Ignore the price and the OnePlus 8T doesn’t feel like a desperately exciting upgrade from the 8 in some respects, but compared to the latest OnePlus 9 it’s definitely where we put our money.
    Once you realize that the price has dropped, the phone starts to look much more compelling. The 120Hz and 65W chargers are welcome upgrades, although they are the type of technical features that most users don’t worry too much about.
    Software changes brought about by Android 11 are also almost all welcome, not least the one always on display.
    From a hardware perspective, the camera is the only real obstacle, aggravated by the decision to include the same main lens in the cheaper North.
    And that’s really the main challenge facing the 8T: it’s good, but pound for pound the North is always better, leaving OnePlus enriched by its own firecracker.
    Read our full OnePlus 8T Review
    Today it is easier than ever to get Chinese phones in the UK, with some of the big names now being officially sold here. This means you no longer need to rely on Chinese stockists like GearBest and Geekbuying to import Chinese phones – although you’ll often find better prices when you do. (Please note that when you import phones from China into the UK you are responsible for taxing up to 20% of the value on the shipping documentation.)
    Oppo is listed on Carphone Store, while Xiaomi and OnePlus phones are often offered on contract by major UK mobile operators, but often when you buy a Chinese phone you will need to get a SIM-free model and then pair it with a SIM-only plan. This is cheaper in the long run, but it means you have to pay the full price of the phone up front.
    Down in the smartphone food chain there are countless other Chinese brands that you probably haven’t heard of, for example UMIDIGI and Bluboo, Ulefone and Elefone, Oukitel and Meizu. On paper, the specifications of their phones are impressive, but you’ll often find the corners are cut into specifications to keep prices low – they could switch to low-power MediaTek processors with large but lower-resolution displays, for example, while NFC, wireless charging and waterproofing are rare.
    On the positive side, Chinese phones almost always support dual SIM (dual-standby), and will often provide this in addition to expandable storage. While trying to imitate the market leaders, the design and construction quality of Chinese phones tend to be very high.

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