There are so many different Chinese brands and phone models out there. Which Chinese phone should you choose? I would like to propose to you a few rules and guidelines to consider when making your purchase. Many things are down to personal preference but there are also some mandatory components that you will have to follow. Here is a brief guide to choose the right Chinese phone for you.
Most Important Thing to Note
What’s the use of a phone if you cannot use it to call? This is the most important thing that you will have to take note of. Network frequency bands differ from country to country. Your service provider might be using a band that isn’t supported by the phone. It is thus extremely important to ensure that the phone supports your frequency band. To check what frequencies your country is using, you can use the following link:
Google is your friend as well if you happen to not find your country or service provider in that link. Once you’ve taken note of the frequency you are using, you will then make sure that the phone supports it. Do note that some phones will support your GSM frequency band but NOT your 3G frequency.
Always set a budget before you go about doing your research and making plans as to which phone to buy. Once you’ve your budget, you can think about the different tiers of phone brands you can consider.
Official and Community Support
This is something that is highly overlooked. Many people choose their phones based on the hardware specifications and the value. In my opinion, support for the phone should be considered into the phone’s “value”. There is no point for great hardware if the software side of things isn’t good. It is thus very important that you consider a company that is actively updating their phone’s firmware else have an active community backing it.
A simple search on the phone model should tell you how well it is supported by the community (custom ROMs, MODs, tweaks and fixes etc). A look into the manufacturers’ forums and websites should tell you more about the support coming from them. Many of these phone manufacturers do support custom stuff at their forums as well. You may need a translator (Google translate is your best friend) as many are in Chinese language.
Uniqueness (Aesthetics & Features)
This is one thing that should be fairly important if you are particular about your phone looking like imitations. Do be prepared to pay a premium for a unique looking phone or one that bears special features. If you do not mind people constantly asking you “Hey is that an S4”, forget about the appearance as the main important thing is the performance of the phone.
Using the smartphone as a camera is pretty common nowadays for many people. It is thus quite important to some that the camera performs well. Besides looking at the paper specifications, do your research and look up some sample photos off the net (mainly from reviews and user feedback). Megapixels isn’t everything to a good quality camera.
720p VS 1080p
This is something many people debate about. Is 1080p really that good or rather is the difference between 1080p and 720p too negligible to justify the extra battery usage and higher work load on the phone graphics and processing chips? Now, apparently the difference in image quality isn’t that much a big deal if you are using a screen size below around 6.0 inches (highly debatable)? Larger and you will probably start noticing the slight lack of sharpness in the images.
Another thing to consider is whether you will be seeing any 1080p content on your phone. Indeed text will look sharper but otherwise it is pretty much a bragging rights kind of thing. Most phone manufacturers are moving to 1080p screens (or similar) so there isn’t much to choose from. However, there still are 720p phones out there that have similarly high specs as the 1080p ones so do think about the pros and cons before making your decision.
Where to Buy?
Now that you’ve chosen the phone you want after filtering through the different models using your research and considerations, you will be asking yourself the question: “where can I purchase the phone?” Unless you are living in China you will probably be considering buying the phone through an online solution. There are many online shops that will hold your phone and the main fear of buying online is whether the website is trustworthy or not.
I will be reviewing different sites as time passes but for the time being a simple search in Google should provide you with some user feedback. A site that you can consider (I’ve used it many times already) is Aliexpress. It is basically a portal for suppliers to set up a page to offer their products. There is a rating system that will give you feedback on past deals that the retailer has completed. The payment is via credit card and they do have their own buyer protection system. The main thing to keep you safe is to buy from a supplier with many positive ratings. You can always initiate a chat with their representatives to rectify some of your worries (their English isn’t the best and some promises may be mishandled but it is some way to ensure that you are dealing with a supplier that is real).
There will be many online retailers selling the same phone and the prices may vary (slightly). Do prioritize reliability of the retailer over every other thing as what’s the point of paying less if your phone isn’t even going to come at all?
With all that said have fun choosing your Chinese phone and have even more fun using it!