Best Chinese smartphones under $250: TOP 5 in 2019

In the price segment $200-250, some brands like Xiaomi, Huawei, Meizu, etc. offer high-quality phones with normal hardware and assembly. For this money you will not find a high-quality Korean, and especially an American devices. Next is the TOP 5 models of Chinese brands in 2019.

1st place - Xiaomi Mi A2

xiaomi-mi-a2
  • Released: July, 2018
  • Android 8.1 (One) up to Android 9 Pie
  • Body: aluminum, 166 g, 7.3 mm
  • Display: IPS, 6.0", 1080x2160, 403 ppi
  • SoC: Snapdragon 660
  • Memory: 4/6 Gb RAM + drive 64/128 Gb
  • Battery: 3000 mAh + Quick Charge 3.0
  • Main camera: 12 MP, f/1.8, 1.25 µm + 20 MP, f/1.8, 1.0 µm
  • Selfie camera: 20 MP, f/2.2, 1.0 µm
  • Comms: 2 sim, Wi-Fi 5 GHz, Bluetooth 5.0, USB Type-C, 4G
  • Features: no
Display parameters (backlight 100%):
  • Black brightness: 0.277 cd / m2.
  • White brightness: 420 cd / m2
  • Contrast: 1516
  • The average color error (Delta E) – 5.9
Autonomy (brightness 200 cd / m2):
  • Communication 3G: 21:58 h
  • Surfing the Internet: 09:35 h
  • Video playback: 09:02 h
Performance (test results):
  • GeekBench 4.1 (single core) – 1617
  • GeekBench 4.1 (multi-core) – 4625
  • AnTuTu 7 – 130927

For a $200-210 Mi A2 by Xiaomi is available in a 4/64 GB modification. The phone is positioned as a budget camera phone, although low-cost camera sensors are used in this segment. However, the smartphone shots perfectly, although it loses to the flagships.

The device is made in an aluminum case, equipped with an IPS-matrix with a diagonal of 6”, works on fast SoC Snapdragon 660. Aback – 2 cameras with resolutions 12 + 20 Mp, the aperture of the optics – f / 1.8. The battery capacity is 3000 mAh, it supports QC technology, although there is a 10 W adapter in the kit.

There is no NFC, headphone jack 3.5 mm and a slot for a flash drive, which is a disadvantage. Also, users are disqussing the sticking of the processor frequencies, which is caused by the incorrect work of the fingerprint scanner. There is a problem on 10-15% of devices, and if you find that the phone fast loses charge or heated in passive mode, it is better to return it to the seller. However, this is a software problem, and Xiaomi may solve the problem with future apdates.

Despite the disadvantages, this is the best phone under $250, that equipped with a cool screen, a processor and cameras. Examples of photos on Xiaomi Mi A2:

Camera samples

Good light

Bad light

Selfies

Pros and cons

  • Android One OS with fast updates.
  • Good loudspeaker.
  • Great selfie camera.
  • Weak battery.
  • The display might be better.
  • No 3.5 mm jack and slot for microSD.

2 place - HUAWEI P20 Lite

huawei p20 lite
  • Released: March, 2018
  • Android 8.0 up to Android 9 Pie
  • Body: glass, aluminum frame, 145 g, 7.4 mm
  • Display: IPS, 5.84", 1080x2280, 432 ppi
  • SoC: HiSilicon Kirin 659
  • Memory: 4 Gb RAM + drive 32/64/128 Gb
  • Battery: 3000 mAh
  • Main camera: 16 MP, f/2.2, 1 µm + 2 MP
  • Selfie camera: 16 MP, f/2.0, 1.12µm
  • Comms: 2 sim, Wi-Fi 5 GHz, Bluetooth 4.2, USB Type-C, 4G
  • Features: NFC, Fast charging

Display parameters (backlight 100%):

  • Black brightness: 0.27 cd / m2.
  • White brightness: 482 cd / m2
  • Contrast: 1785
  • The average color error (Delta E) – 5.7

Autonomy (brightness 200 cd / m2):

  • Communication 3G: 16:55 h
  • Surfing the Internet: 11:09 h
  • Video playback: 09:44 h

Performance (test results):

  • GeekBench 4.1 (single core) – 938
  • GeekBench 4.1 (multi-core) – 3756
  • AnTuTu 7 – 87431

This smartphone of the Chinese brand Huawei is presented in March 2018, but even in the beginning of 2019 in the low price segment this is one of the best options.

The phone runs on Android 8.0 under the control of EMUI 8 out of the box, equipped with a 5.84-inch IPS-matrix, HiSilicon Kirin 659 processor, two rear cameras (16 Mp + 2 Mp sensor), 3000 mAh battery. Plus, it supports fast charging with a native 18-watt adapter.

And although the phone has a low power chip and hardly runs games, it quickly copes with simple tasks due to system optimization. Plus, there is an NFC chip, a microSD card slot (it takes the place of the second sim), and a 3.5 mm headphone output. As for the cameras, in this regard, the phone is also good and shows high-quality images during the day, although in the evening and at night it has problems – noizes, bad detalization.

Camera samples

Good light

Bad light

Selfies

Bokeh

Pros and cons

  • Design + body with glass.
  • Great display.
  • Good selfies.
  • Good autonomy.
  • Old and weak chipset.
  • No water protection.
  • Very slippery, case nedeed.

I will also add that on some forums, about 10% of users report on the appearance yellow spots on the screen. If this happens, then the phone is changed or repaired due to warranty. In general, the P20 lite is a cool phone  with fast charging and NFC, which is rare in the low price segment.

3 place – Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite

  • Released: september, 2018
  • Android 8.1, up to 9.0
  • Body: glass + aliminium, 169 g, 7.5 mm
  • Display: IPS, 6.26", Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 660
  • Memory: 4/6 Гб RAM, drive 64/128 Gb
  • Battery: 3350 mAh
  • Main camera: 12/5 mp, f/1.9, 1.4 um, dual pixel
  • Selfie camera: 24 mp, 1/2.8, 0.9 um
  • Comm: 2 sim, Wi-Fi 5 GHz, Bluetooth 4.2, USB Type-C, 4G
  • Features: Face Unlock

Display parameters (backlight 100%):

  • Black brightness: 0.322 cd / m2.
  • White brightness: 468 cd / m2.
  • Contrast ratio: 1453
  • The average color error (Delta E) – 0.9

Autonomy (brightness 200 cd / m2):

  • Communication 3G: 29:59 h
  • Surfing the Internet: 10:24 h
  • Video playback: 10:15 h

Performance (test results):

  • GeekBench 4.1 (single core) – 1628
  • GeekBench 4.1 (multi-core) – 5894
  • AnTuTu 7 – 143257

This phone in version 4/64 is available under $250. The model is new, works on Android 8.1 with MIUI shell, equipped with a 6.26-inch large screen with Full HD + resolution. The point is that the matrix displays colors very accurately here – the error in the color rendition DeltaE is only 0.9. However, HDR10 support is not stated, but this is not a disadvantage, since Mi 8 Lite is not a flagship.

Inside – a productive processor Snapdragon 660 (as in Mi A2), a 3350 mAh battery, declared support for fast charging QC 3.0. Rear – 2 cameras at 12 and 5 megapixels. The main sensor is 1 / 2.55” in size, with f / 1.9 aperture optics. Additional camera – depth sensor with a resolution of 25 megapixels without autofocus. That is, to get a high-quality selfie on the Mi 8 Lite, the phone must be kept at a distance of 30-40 cm from your face.

As for the cons, there is no NFC, 3.5 mm headphone output, but it has a dependent flash drive slot. Also, owners note a drop in the Wi-Fi signal when closing the top of the phone with a hand. Of course, in everyday use, you will not hold a smartphone in this way, but in any case there is a disadvantage.

Camera samples

Good light:

Bad light:

Bokeh mode:

Selfies:

Pros and cons

  • Durable glass case.
  • Cool display with high brightness and minimal color accuracy.
  • Great camera for shooting in the afternoon or evening.
  • Performance.
  • Loud speaker and high-quality sound.
  • Multi function in the MIUI + regular update.
  • Ergonomics – the device is uncomfortable and large.
  • There is no 3.5 mm jack.
  • No NFC.
  • Not the best autonomy in the segment.
  • Bad electronic stabilization when recording 4K video.

4 place - Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro

  • Released: September, 2018
  • Android 8.0 up to Android 9 Pie
  • Body: 182 g, 8.3 mm
  • Display: IPS, 6.26", 1080x2280, 403 ppi, Gorilla Glass
  • SoC: Snapdragon 636
  • Memory: 3/4/6 Gb RAM + drive 32/64 Gb
  • Battery: 4000 mAh
  • Main camera: 12 MP, f/1.9, 1.4µm, dual pixel + 5 MP, f/2.2, 1.12 µm
  • Selfie camera: 20 MP, f/2.0 + 2 MP
  • Comms: 2 sim, Wi-Fi 5 GHz, Bluetooth 5.0, micro-USB, 4G
  • Features: no

Display parameters (backlight 100%):

  • Black brightness: 0.314 cd / m2.
  • White brightness: 481 cd / m2
  • Contrast: 1532
  • The average color error (Delta E) – 2.5

Autonomy (brightness 200 cd / m2):

  • Communication 3G: 27:27 h
  • Surfing the Internet: 10:33 h
  • Video playback: 11:42 h

Performance (test results):

  • GeekBench 4.1 (single core) – 1342
  • GeekBench 4.1 (multi-core) – 4933
  • AnTuTu 7 – 115605

And one more device by Xiaomi is the budget Redmi Note 6 Pro, which has become an improved version of the successful 2018 phone Xiaomi Redmi Note 5. It runs on Android 8.1 under the control of MIUI 9, equipped with an IPS display with Gorilla Glass.

Inside – Snapdragon 636 processor with Adreno 509 graphics. This is a cool middle-class chip that is inferior in power to a Snapdragon 660 processor (in Mi 8 Lite and Mi A2), but it consumes less power, and that guarantees increased autonomy. By the way, a 4000 mAh battery promotes.

Behind – 2 cameras for 12 + 5 Mp. The aperture of the main lens f / 1.9, the auxiliary lens f / 2.2 (depth sensor). Examples of the photo below:

Camera samples

Good light

Bad light

Selfies

Bokeh

Pros and cons

  • Very good screen with hich contrast.
  • Battery lige.
  • Snapdragon 636 is the best midrange chip in the class.
  • Good camera.
  • No 4K video record (Gcam nedeed).
  • microUSB port.
  • No fast charging.

There is no NFC, fast charging, but there is a 3.5 mm headphone jack, Bluetooth 5.0, infrared, an old micro USB connector instead of the new and popular Type-C. The phone is cool and worth the money – it is recommended for purchase.

5 place - Nokia 3.1

Nokia-3.1-Plus

Nokia is no longer a Finnish brand. Since 2016, the Chinese company HMD Global releases smartphones, so all new Nokia devices are Chinese. This smartphone, like the Xiaomi Mi A2, runs on the naked Android 8.1 Oreo (Android One), has quickly updates.

The display with diagonal of 6 inches and HD resolution, which gives a low pixel density of 268 ppi. Despite this, there is no pixelation on the display, and the picture looks detailed. Inside – MediaTek processor – Helio P22. This is a Taiwanese chip, made on 12-nm technology. Also, smartphone includes 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of memory. With such hardware you can count on PUBG level games at medium graphics settings, nothing more.

The camera is standard, with 2 modules: 13 and 5 megapixel and an f / 2 aperture. Additional camera – depth sensor, responsible for defocusing the background when taking portraits. It also has a 3500 mAh battery, slow Wi-Fi 2.4 GHz, Bluetooth 4.1, an old microUSB 2.0 connector. But the smartphone is equipped with an NFC chip for contactless payment, which we definitely write to the pluses. And in general, Nokia 3.1 Plus is one of the few devices in the low segment with Google Pay supporting.

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