If you’ve wanted to try out an imported Chinese phone or gadget, but have been waiting for the right deal to come along, now may be a good time to take the plunge. To celebrate its third anniversary, popular online retailer GearBest has dropped the price on several devices we’ve reviewed recently, including products made by Xiaomi, Meizu, and ZTE.
You’ll have to be quick though, as there are limited quantities of each device. You can take a look at all the phone deals here, but we’ve selected several that we already like.
Easily one of the best Xiaomi phones we’ve tested, the Redmi Pro is well priced normally, but at $200 it’s a bargain. The phone has a metal body, a large 5.5-inch screen with a 1,920 x 1,080 pixel resolution, and a deca-core MediaTek processor.
However, it’s the dual-lens rear camera which makes the Redmi Pro worth investigating. It can easily produce the blurred background bokeh effect, and the look can be manipulated after the photo has been taken. We managed to get some great shots with the Redmi Pro in our test.
Meizu’s midrange MX6 is attractive in an understated iPhone-like way, and comes with the same MediaTek deca-core chip as the Xiaomi Redmi Pro, but with 4GB of RAM. The 5.5-inch screen is made by Sharp, and with its 1,920 x 1,080 pixel resolution it looks great and is excellent for playing games. However, the camera disappointed next to the Redmi Pro, but we like Meizu’s Flyme user interface, which is a colorful alternative take on Google Android.
Yes, it’s pricey, but the Xiaomi Mi5 is a stunning smartphone with very strong specifications. It has a Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage space for a start, while the 5.1-inch screen is wrapped up in a curvy ceramic body. On the back is a 16-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization, plus there’s a 4-megapixel selfie camera around the front.
The Mi5 is getting a little old now, and we tried it out more than a year ago at Mobile World Congress 2016. However, the hardware was cutting-edge back then, and the phone still looks fresh today.
The international version of ZTE’s first Axon phone has a big 5.5-inch, 1080p touchscreen, mounted in a body with some unusual styling touches — just check out those plastic leather-look end plates on the back. The Axon Elite is one of the first modern phones to come with a dual-lens camera — for those all-important bokeh shots — and a fingerprint sensor.
The phone doesn’t have the latest processor — it’s a Snapdragon 810 — but it does have eye and voice recognition for extra security, plus 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage space. At this price it’s hard to ignore.
Our final pick isn’t a phone, but a wearable. The Mi Band 2 was a bargain already, given its features, but at a little over $20, it’s an absolute steal. Xiaomi’s second fitness tracker has an OLED display on a tiny module that fits inside the interchangeable silicone strap, showing steps, calories, and basic alerts from your phone. On the back of the core module is a heart rate monitor.
The battery inside may be small, but it lasts for at least 20 days before it requires recharging, and the module is IP67 water resistant. Xiaomi’s fitness app is available in English for Android and iOS, so don’t worry about compatibility.
That’s it for our picks. Just remember to check network compatibility before buying any imported Chinese phones. Although most (and all of those mentioned here) will work on 3G GSM networks in the U.S., few have 4G LTE support.