A few years ago, having a decent mobile phone was easy enough for everybody. This was because phone companies gave you a cell phone for free provided signing a long-term contract. However, mobile devices have evolved, now they are not used just for calling or sending SMS. They are now like little complex computers with which you can take photos, listen to music, send emails and chat with your friends, among several features. Besides, phone companies do not give mobiles for free anymore, even when you sign a long-term contract you still have to pay for your device month by month unless you get it from another source.
This "another source" is now the Chinese phone market. People usually relate Chinese to low quality, but this is not that way. Chinese phones are not copies of the most well-known mobile brands. These phones are high-end or mid-end devices, which can beat the best phones of the market regarding features and benefits. And that is not all; these phones are much less expensive.
Just a few brands were known and bought in Europe in the past years, for instance, ZTE and Huawei, since the rest of the Chinese brands were undervalued. Even the important phone companies changed the name of the terminals to rename them with its own brand. This is the case of Huawei G510, which was renamed by Orange as Orange Daytona. However, if you look for absolute numbers all around the world, you will find that ZTE and Huawei are placed in the top 10 of phone sales, and they are increasing its numbers every year. For this reason, Chinese phone companies have started to realize the attractive their devices have for the giant occidental market.
Hardware does not make a difference anymore
The reason why smartphones were so expensive until just a few years was the hardware technology. The high-tech components of these terminals were very expensive and no many companies were able to access to a great amount of these ones. Nevertheless, this hardware technology is now more accessible, the processes of manufacture have been improved and this has led to the fall in market prices and to the raising of the competitiveness.
Now, last-generation cameras, better mobile screens and other advanced features are affordable for all. Chinese manufacturers know this, and they have taken advantage of this by releasing powerful terminals with surprisingly low-cost prices. Well-known mobile brands such as Samsung, Apple or Sony may cost the double, or even the triple price than its Chinese competitors, offering the same, or less features. They may manage to do this thanks to some methods they use. For example, there is no overproduction, they manufacture just what they are demanded.
Word of mouth is the best marketing
The inventors of Meizu and Xiaomi (two popular Chinese mobile brands), Jack Wong and Lei Jun have said in an interview that they do not invest lots of money in advertising campaigns; according to their experience, this does not work for their business strategies. So, how do they gain so much relevance in the worldwide market?
The Internet is the answer. The activity in forums, social networks, or blogs is the interesting key for the marketing of these companies. Word of mouth works very well for spreading the high quality of these terminals among the consumers, or all the incredible features they have. Thanks to this, Chinese companies have considered the international expansion.
Best Chinese brands review
These brands are more and more numerous; however, there are some of them which stand out among the rest. These brands are the following:
Xiaomi is one of the largest companies and has led the Chinese market regarding quality and prices. Its newest smartphone, the Xiaomi Mi3 will be released in two versions, each one with a different processor. This is something very common among the Chinese companies. They release different versions, one with more features and quality, and obviously more expensive, and another one more affordable. In this case, the "cheap" terminal will feature the NVIDIA Tegra 4 processor, working at 1.8 GHz, while the "more expensive" terminal features the Snapdragon 800 processor at 2.3 GHz. Both terminals will count with a 5 inch screen at 1080p LCD IPS. This screen is ultrasensitive and you can use it even with gloves. Besides, they will include 16 GB or 64 GB of internal storage, depending on the version. Its battery is 3000 mAh, which provides the user with a long usage without having to charge it.
Oppo is another of the important brands of the market of China, and its latest smartphone Oppo N1 overshadows among the Android phones. It includes a 5.9 inch screen with a 1080p resolution. Its camera will work at 13mpx, but what makes it stand out is its rotation capacity. You can use the camera as a frontal or back one since it can rotate. It will also feature a touch-sensitive panel called o-touch, which covers 12 square centimeters. Another important feature is CyanogeMod. It allows the user to almost completely customize his or her operating system Android.
Jiayu has recently introduced its latest smartphone Jiayu S1. It features an OGS 5 inch screen with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. Its Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor is prominent since it is one of the few smartphones which does not work with MediaTek CPU. Jiayu S1 offers the possibility of charging its battery wirelessly.
One of the most affordable, with no loss regarding quality is the NEO N003, manufactured by the NEO Company. It is found among the cheapest smartphones in the market and it can be considered a phablet; however, its features compete with the ones of devices three times more expensive. The NEO N003 can be found in two versions, youth and premium. The premium version includes 32 GB of internal storage and 2 GB RAM, while the youth one counts with 16 GB of internal storage and 1 GB RAM. Both versions include a very powerful 13 mpx camera with autofocus and LED flash, apart from a full HD 5 inch screen with a resolution of 1080p and the protection of a Dragontail glass. Besides, it features a quad core MT6589T Cortex-A7b processor at 1.2GHz.
Things you have to know when you buy a Chinese phone
Now you are probably wondering where you can find such a good Android cell phone as the previous ones. Well, unless you have a Chinese friend, you will have to buy it online since they do not offer their products globally. Just a few brands do this, so you will have to find an online shop to specifically act as an intermediary. The sale is usually very easy; however, you have to minutely read the information provided or you can find some issues you will not like. For instance, no stock, too much time of shipping of your precious Android cell phone, etc.
If you choose a shop from your own country instead of one from China, you will probably avoid all the problems related to customs. However, if you buy them directly from China, you may have to face customs and pay the duty, or wait for it more time than expected. In addition, the shops of your country usually provide you with a warranty. So if your device comes with some flaw, you will get another one or reparation. Nevertheless, with Chinese shops you will have to send the smartphone, carrying with all the costs. Maybe, the cell phone will be more expensive in a local shop, but the warranty and the safety it provides will worth.
Advantages and disadvantages
Obviously, and without doubt, the greatest advantage is mainly the economic price. Featuring the same characteristics and utilities, a Chinese phone can be even four times cheaper than a mobile from a big brand such as Samsung or Nokia. Besides, we can also find the possibility of carrying two SIM cards in the same mobile since they have two slots, something that big brands like HTC usually do not offer.
As a disadvantage, the main drawback we can face are the warranty issues. Unless you find a good shop, this drawback can be a little tricky to solve. Moreover, some manufactures "lie" a little regarding the features; maybe you can find a less quality camera or less memory you thought. You have to be very sure of what you are buying and compare the information given in many websites such as forums, blog etc. since you cannot fully trust the developer's website.
However, if you manage to find a trustworthy shop which offers you security, it will provide you with all the information you need and also warranties, so once you have your device, you will enjoy a powerful smartphone to the fullest, and you will like it even more because you have not had to sell your house, your car and part of your family to buy it.