Chinese Smartphones: 7 Compromises That You Make Against Lower Price


By Hassaan Ommat

The recent influx of Chinese Smartphones in Pakistan has gathered a lot of attention in the past couple of years. The main reason, just if you don’t know, is the affordable prices that come with these Chinese Smartphones.

Nowadays smartphones have changed the way in which most of us communicate and the large inventory of applications has allowed smartphone owners to make the most out of their phones. From playing games to watching videos on YouTube or surfing the internet on a smartphone has become a common practice. But the question that remains is that are these Chinese smartphones up to the task and worth their price?

Let’s find out.

No software updates

Now this might not be a huge problem for all, but all of the Chinese smartphones being launched to date are running Android 4.2 (Jellybean) out of the box which is about to be a year and a half old.

Over the Air updates are not expected to arrive anytime soon at the time of the writing of this article and might not ever become a reality since they require infrastructure which these smartphones companies do not possess.

Timely software updates have been an issue for even major OEM’s, let alone for these cheapo Chinese smartphones rebranding companies.


Most of the Chinese smartphones use Mediatek processors which are even though advertised as powerful quad core processors, are not that powerful.

They do offer good performance in light to moderate usage; however they still are unable to compete with even midrange offerings from other OEM’s. Most of these processors feature four Cortex A7 cores which are no longer competitive enough so basically it’s outdated hardware that you are going to buy.

Another hardware aspect which is a letdown is the presence of only 512mb of RAM which just isn’t good enough for multitasking. Although some companies have offered premium flagship smartphones with 2 gigs of RAM but their price is way too steep for their quality mobiles (pun intended). At that price point there are many other options to consider.

Just to let you know, that’s how these Chinese smartphone makers keep the prices low, i.e. by using inferior and out-dated hardware.

Poor Developer Support

Now this again might not be a problem for the ordinary Joe but for someone like me who prefers to be running the latest version of Android, even when their device has been discontinued has only one door to knock. Say hello to XDA Developers Forum. As the name suggests these forums are “made by developers, for developers”.

Where do we fit in? Well, as it happens you can always open the forum related to your device and checkout all the cool ROMs (ROMs are custom versions of android) made by developers for your phone. Earlier I mentioned the woes of software updates; the solution is simple just install a new ROM for your device based on a newer Android version. Pretty easy, right? The main problem is that there are no forums for Chinese phones.

Although nowadays one can find a ROM for some of these Chinese efforts, they are buggy and not to mention few in number and mostly based on Jellybean which pretty much kills the whole point.

Poor Customer Support

Most of these companies which introduce Chinese smartphones into Pakistani markets have only a couple of Service Centre’s in major cities which are filled with incompetent staff. Another issue that some handsets face are buggy software’s and corrupt firmware’s which waste a lot of time, energy and money. So buying a Chinese smartphone which works how it should is a blessing indeed.

Other common issues

Firstly, most of these handsets come with low resolution panels, which results in an overall unfavourable viewing experience. The quality of the touch panels are good in some phones whereas poorer in other models offered by the same company. Lastly, some handsets offer really poor rear camera which is a huge disappointment for all those photographer’s in us.


Pricing was the essential factor that made these companies emerge so quickly out of the blue. Now these companies are offering smartphones for above 30,000 rupees which is too steep considering all the factors mentioned above but that must be the result of paying all those Bollywood actors, one can suppose.

Resale Value

Sooner or later the time comes when you need to and decide to upgrade your phone. At that point of time many decide to sell their old phone for some extra cash. Gone were the days when those good old Nokia phones fetched a good price. With new classified sites gaining popularity, the resale of smartphones has become very easy and the trend of selling phones after rare usage at a price lower than other sellers has increased which results in an overall decrease of resale value.


Now allow me to point out a few alternatives from recognized OEM’s that are lil old in age but they are still better than their Chinese Counterpart:

  1. HTC One X: Equipped with an NVidia Tegra 3 processor clocked at 1.5 GHz and 1 GB of ram, not to forget the gorgeous design. This phone is a crowd pleaser and can be found for up to 25,000 rupees.
  2. Samsung Galaxy S3: Even though it’s going to be two years since it was first released; this ex-flagship comes with a large developer support and a good camera is nothing to underestimate. Prices vary from 25,000 to 27,000 rupees
  3. Motorola Moto G: One of the best budget phones ever made with timely updates and a striking display the Moto G is a force to be reckoned with. Prices vary from 20,000 to 25,000 rupees
  4. LG Optimus G Pro: This is the most powerful and under rated device in this list. With a 1.7 GHz quad core snapdragon 600 processor and 2 GB of ram, this phone is a total beast. It can be found from 25,000 to 30,000 rupees.


At first glance these Chinese smartphones might look like a good bargain but the fact is that all these cons do not make them buying worthwhile especially when few old flagships pose tough competition.

  • I agree with most of the things you have mentioned.

    Although phones from the likes of Huawei (not super cheap) are top quality and in most cases 30-50% cheaper than their ‘known brands’ counterparts.

  • At least shop name/address should have been removed from picture. & the surroundings too… we normally don’t care about editing while posting pictures on commercial websites.

  • When you say “Chinese smartphones”, you have put Huawei in the same league G-Five, Voice and even pirated Chinese phones. Huawei is a superior phone, it has got very good hardware & software. It is widely sold in North America too and you can even find its reviews on CNET & similar sites.

    • Whatever huawei has in it… but far more r less it will show u that it was a chinese processor phone… even xperia c behaves the same…

    • I agree to the fact that Huawei is a much better company and hopefully will become better as time passes, but some of their devices do have the drawbacks mentioned above.

  • You forgot to mention these smartphone have low frequency leading to health problem.

  • Looks like a very biased kind of review. We would like to change your mind by offering a premium device for your usage. How does that sound ?

    • Would you please introduce yourself?
      Biased review? I have tried to remain as neutral as possible, but I will admit that I am not particularly fond of Chinese smartphones. Besides,I am up for a challenge. Give me your best shot!
      If you want to contact me, mail me at [email protected]

      • u do realize that people will criticise you no matter what you write. You cant make everyone happy so picking a fight is something extremely stupid. Now to the chinese phones and what you wrote, next time you sit down to write an article about chinese manufacturers keep in mind that there are A class manufacturers too which happen to be chinese, i dont know how closely you follow the tech scene but i would love to enlighten you that one plus one is a premium phone with snapdragon 801, 2 gigs of ram and bla bla, the selling price is under 30k (though its not for pakistan) now i can easily question your credibility or your sources. Next time spend time researching say maybe a week on google reading stuff.
        and ohh yeah about poor tech support or none at all, well most q mobile (not a fan of the company) phones are running cyanogen so upgrading them isnt a big deal.

        • I am not trying to pick a fight. All i am doing is expressing my point of view. If someone wants to change it, I’m welcoming him:D
          I do follow the tech scene closely and i know about the Oneplus One. But as it is not available at the time of writing this article i cannot make a comment on it. Besides, by the time it will reach Pakistan, the price will be well over 40k(at least for the first few weeks).

          • Dude black economy is an entirely different topic.
            I cant sue pepsi because the retailers choose to sell pepsi for 30, its the regulatory department’s fault not the manufacturer.
            You can buy a lot of phones online and chinese manufacturers have been cashing in on the fact that by eliminating the middle man they can not only cut down the cost of product but take advantage of bulk sales too.

          • i think you should, at least put a paragraph about “other premium phones are also available, but as this review is focusing on budget devices, we have left them out.” shouldnt be too complicated no?
            secondly, huawei budget phones (10-12k these days) deserve a review or proper mention for their positives and negatives whereas your focus has been on the lower end of spectrum. Sad to see you have not done that, but nevertheless I hope you do get the opportunity to write about them in future. We dont see too many budget related articles here, so thank you for that, moreover thank you for writing prices of used flagship/older models in accordance with market, not many authors (know) or do that so thanks again. Look forwards to more of your work, thanks

        • agree, but credit the author at least he has not copy pasted with euros prices like some others on this site. plus he provided prices of flagship used models. i see that as positive on this site.
          your points are very valid, author should have included note about it. myself using huawei for long time now, never let me down Alhamdulillah and recommend that phone now to whoever will ask.
          I think ProPK should do a review/ full article on huawei products available.

      • He must be some vendor selling cheap Chinese brands. I fully agree with the writer. Donkeys are not supposed to be compared with the stallions.
        Those people who have never used a branded product esp smartphone can never feel what its like.
        Actually its the game of affordability. Masses buying low rate mobiles like Qmobile, Voice, G5 etc upto 10-15k sounds reasonable but hats off to those idiots who are buying these low grade chinese stuff above 25-30k.

        • There is a method of making your point, without abusing/calling others animals. The method that the “patriots” used to make this country. Its sad you have an education, but remain uneducated.

  • Before I say something, this is history of my usage, iPhone 3G, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy S3, and now Huawei Ascend P6…. Last one was cheaper and better… this is an option as well…

    • They r critiszing on chinese mediatek.. not own produced p6 processor…that has a blasting power n great looks bro..

  • First and foremost i would point out that saying chinese smartphones have no customer support is a very vague statement, You have put Huawei , Qmobile , Voice and others in the same league as other lesser known chinese brands. And the above mentioned brands in my comment do have customer support.

    Secondly you say that low pricing was the factor that these Chinese smartphone makers were able to grab market share quickly. I agree. But then you say that now they are offering brands above 30K price mark and that is so because of bollywood stars in ads . Are you serious??? this is the norm in the market that whatever brand comes first it has to penetrate in the market cater to masses build a name and then from there after establishing roots it moves forward. I challenge you that Huawei offering g730 or P6 the prices are highly competitve and no Huawei didnt hire any bollywood stat. !

    Third you said resale value is lower . You gave example of Nokia phones whereas your topic is is about chinese smartphones and unless u consider nokia to be a chinese smartphone maker there you gave a wrong example. Its like talking about apples and giving example of baboons.

    Lastly buying something with crazy high price doesnt translate into value necessarily. Mostly people seek value . Usually premium brands charge more and that is because of just there name nothing more.


      • We as Pakistanis emphasis more on resale then anything else. We would buy shitty thing if it has high resale instead of using quality product. I dont consider resale as a factor for phones costing less then 40K

  • LG Optimus G pro is still being sold on 50k+, how can you say that it can be bought in as low as 25k?

        • only difference in software a little bit and some Korean apps… and an Antenna necessary !!

        • yes sir there are versions international is generally considered better hence slightly higher price, korean have some compulsory korean apps which u can only remove by rooting the phone, have some issues of 3g (due to different freq/band here as per my knowledge) and limited number of sms character per message (can be easily removed by using 3rd part sms app) this is onyl per my knowledge rest you can check yourself via net.

  • i think the post is about Un-branded phones, not about Huawei and other branded products…

    • I think everything is branded these days so Hawaii and Q mobile all fall into this category. These are chinese sets and just being resold into developing nationas market

      • Then u want to put a majority of population in trouble to purchase costly brands…

  • These are the best alternatives, avoid purchasing QMOBILE and VOICE you get a better phone with the same price.

  • Btw whoever posted the image is an idiot. The phone that is advertised is clearly a feature phone but the article is about smart phones.

      • haan is post k baad se us dukan ki itni publicity hui ke media ki breaking news ban gayi aur us dukan pe itna rash ho gaya hai ke logon ko control karnay ke liye police ko bulana para

  • LG LTE F160, 2 GB RAM with 4.7′ screen and 16 GB internal memory… Available in 14k in Pindi…

  • Excellent article and mentioned all the points that make me not to buy these brands Oh yes I’ve never bought a single phone because of these cons :)

  • I am not sure about Qmobile etc but OnePLUS One, Huawei and Xiaomi. Are chinese manufacturers and they make some of the TOP notch phones , which are so good. OnePLUS one is recently released which is based on CyanogenMod 11s , and just for 299 $ it beats the s5 and Htc One m8.

      • Spend some time reading, its invite only dude…….. Lol Seriously Where do you idiots live at?

      • Invites aren’t gonna be coming till June 6th, and it’s not going to be available in Pakistan so far.

        As I’m in the U.S

  • Blogger himself is not aware of basic mobile specs, mediatek is chipset not processor, and motoG itself has A7 processor, the one he is recommending.

    • says the guy who thinks “mediatek is chipset”
      Plus moto g is reccomended for other reasons
      akhein khol ke parh nhi saktay??

  • I need 8″ tablet from samsung, levnovo or hp or dell, with sim support is any body selling?

  • Exactly, I just bought an iPhone 5 yesterday for 30, 000 rupees :) Its brand new, but obviously if youre buying it for so cheap its gotta have some cons lol.. It’s got no box with it, and no handsfrees .. Its locked to sprint network and ive unlocked it using a gevey sim ;) and now ive got my iPhone 5 working for just 30, 000 :)

    Not to forget this device is worth 55, 000 and you can do the maths for how much did I save overall :)

    P.S : Its white and 32gig ;)

    so the point is, there are alternatives all the time but only if you keep an open eye to them .. Buying these chinese handsets should be reconsidered as there are other better options available.

  • There are many great chinese brands who do OEM manufacturing for Telecom companies in EU and rest of the world. Their quality is high and they provide all the required certifications like CE, FCC or ROHS.

    The problem is grey market stock coming from China is from low quality factories and middle man or importer choose to get low quality to make more money. Earlier there was no Regulations.

    Recently Type Approval is implemented on Smartphones and tablets which need serious certification while entering into Pakistan.everyone will witness better quality of chinese phones in coming months.

    Beside Apple is also manufactured in China and so is Xiaomi or Simax or THL. All are famous and provide good quality phones.

  • to compete chines brands multinational cos must reduce prices to chines handsets level…..

  • i m using 2 phones one is huawei y300 and the other is samsung galaxy s4 (chineese / korean) but let me say that s with HD resolution and 2 gigs of RAM makes this phones a super dooper fast phone , all the apps are running super smooth , n i m using this since nov 2013 . bought this from karachi atrium mall in 23K speed and display both are super fast . the camera resolution is not that good as huawei y300 ! but after i installed an app named “A BETTER CAMERA” from google play it is stunning really .
    Not all the Chinese phones are bad . All u need to compare the PRICE tag and keeping the quality in ur consideration .

  • dear all
    i have been using qmobile after using iphone and nokia e series
    i must say Qmobile is not such a bad phone u get the features of top phones in much less of a price

  • It depends person to person …

    I have used many smartphones from china both from Qmobile and imported Chinese set THL etc … have none issue .. both have good costumer support , no common issues what so ever and about ROMs ..yes they don’t have updates but there are numerous Custom ROMS available for almost every set

    Sooner the time will come when big companies will decrease their price

    @author : TAKE A LOOK AT ONEPLUS ONE … u will know better why should we buy Chinese smartphone :)

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