Tuesday, January 8, 2013

TOP 10 GOOD BUDGET CHINA PHONES JAN 2013

With all the buzz surrounding the imminent launch of the quad core high end Chinese phones, I would like to go the opposite direction and highlight some budget phones worth looking at. The advantages of this list is that most phones would have been on the market for some time and people would have bought and reviewed it. The phones I will be looking at must have certain attributes to be in this top 10 list. These requirements will ensure the phones run Android 4.0.4 ICS smoothly. These attributes are:

1) Screen size must be minimum of 4.0 inches
2) Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich and higher
3) Below USD $170
4) Minimum of 512mb
5) Dual core processor or higher
6) Minimum of FWVGA 854x480 pixels resolution
7) FREE SHIPPING

So let's get to it. These phones would make great gifts or even be your standby phone or phone for students. Phone are from Fastcardtech.

1) Star B94M MTK6577 Dual Core 1G RAM 4.5 Inch QHD Screen Android Phone
This is the successor to the very popular Star B92M aka HDC Galaxy S3 EX. Comes with Jelly Bean, QHD screen 1gb RAM. Spec sheet says resistive screen but that is wrong. The spec sheet also says 5 point touch screen so it has capacitive touch screen. The B92m is already capacitive screen equipped.
Price: $165



This iphone5 clone is a very new arrival at Fastcardtech. The specs are all very good and the phone has Android 4.0.4 with an iPhone theme launcher. IPS screen, slim body, Antutu score of 7000 and low price puts this phone on the top of the list. RAM is 512mb. Price: $135

The maker of the top selling Newnam N1 and now the Newman N2, this phone is ideal is a very good deal for the price. The specs are similar to the much higher price clone phones. Newman does support it's product with ROM updates. Price: $125

Although this phone only has a FWVGA screen, it has 1gb RAM and Jelly Bean with large 4.7 inch screen. Note that the MTK6577 processor will run this screen resolution with maximum smoothness. 1GB Ram and Jelly Bean will make you think the processor is faster than it really is. Camera is really 5mp. Price: $159

Similar to the phone above but with a QHD screen, this phone is a good buy for just a little more. Price: $169

6) HDC Galaxy i9300 S3 Plus Android 4.0 MTK6577 3G Dual sim 8MP Camera

This S3 clone has 512mb RAM running ICS and one of the hottest sellers in Sept/October 2012. This phone is a very fast phone due to it's FWVGA screen and DDR3 RAM. Fastest phone in it's category. For $10-20 more you get a more updated phone above. That's why this phone is at no. 6.  Price: $149

7) 5I Smart Phone Android 4.0 MTK6577 Dual Core 3G GPS 4.0 Inch 8.0MP Camera
This phone appears to be an OEM version of the iphone5 clone at position no.2. It runs android ICS without the iPhone theme. Some of you would like to have real android in an iPhone housing. The MTK6577 processor will drive this phone smoothly. Very attractive price. I may buy one. Price :$132


8) HDC Galaxy Note 2 GT H7100 MTK6577 Dual Core 5.4 Inch QHD Screen Android 4.1.1 PhoneThis is the most current and cheapest Galaxy Note 2 Clone. Comes with jelly bean, 1gb RAM and QHD screen. 2 versions available. Price 1gb RAM: $165, Price 512mb RAM: $155



9) Small Chili Qualcomm MSM8225 Dual-core 1G Mhz ICS 4.0 3G Dual SIM 4.0" WVGA IPSAlthough this has a smaller screen it uses the Qualcomm S3 series processor which takes less power. Screen is FWVGA which is still very good for a 4 inch IPS screen. Very affordable phone. Price: $145

10) NEO NO2-M- MTK6577 1G Ram 3G Dual sim 4.5 inch QHD Screen Android 4.0.4 Phone


Although Neo re-released this with IPS screen this older version still has a very good and bright screen. I don't feel it is worth the extra $14 plus the shipping which probably come up to $34. This phone is highly recommended by me. I paid $175 for this but now the price has been revised. Price: $155



If any of you readers feel that I may have missed out any phone, please let me know and I will add it in.

77 comments:

  1. as usual, great share greg. endless plethora of S3 version. i noticed some QHDs stated 260k color, or is it all standard 16M now?

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    1. Should be all 16m colours by now. 262k is 18 bit colour and not used anymore. You can test by loading a smooth 24bit full gradient colour( not compressed jpeg stuff). If you can see the banding then it may be 18 bit colour or 262k colours.

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    2. hey Greg

      can you tell us what the real weight of the HDC G9300 is? seems we are getting diff. numbers from diff. places.

      thanks

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    3. hey Greg.

      its apparent that we have a conflict of interest here, you are reviewing these phones but yet you get a commission from fastcardtech!!

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    4. Are you going to donate money to me to review phones?? Every phone I review I buy from fast card tech. The commission is about $50 to $60 then I use my own money to top up for a new phone. I then sell off the phones for cheap to friends in Singapore...or if there are no buyers I put it here for sale. I always sell it cheaper. Fucked up phones like Tinji or the crappy goophone i5 n2 don't work properly and I will be stuck with the phone and give it away and I loose money. I report if the phone is crappy. If I am stuck with 2 phones means I loose $400. I don't mind loosing some money but your comment pisses me off. You can dont come back to read my blog if you think I am a fake and I am ripping people off. Have a nice day and enjoy other blogs.

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  2. hi greg

    any reason why UMI X1 is not in the top 10?

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  3. Hi Greg,

    Good post but could you pls elaborate more on why you've chosen the Star B94M over other phones such as the HDC S3 S9380? In your past reviews with Star phones, you have criticized its performance and false advertised specs.

    Just wondering how the Star B94M performs on top all the other listed MTK phones?

    Thanks.

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    1. Firstly it has QHD screen vs FWVGA screen. Android version is 4.1.2 and price is only $6 more.
      Star makes many phones and not all are bad. It's a mixture. Some are OEM versions or other phones. I have had the experience of using the B92m or Galaxy S Ex and it is quite good so I presume the quality will be on par with that. The Bxx series is special because it is not an OEM version of another phone. It is a new motherboard number.

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    2. Thanks Greg.. this helps in narrowing down which MTK phone I should get.

      But I'm still concerned on how any MTK phone would perform after 6-12 months of usage (usual wear and tear, stress test etc).. can you share some of your experiences so far?

      Thanks again.

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    3. The new crop of phones has got really good quality equalling those of the big players like HTC and Samsung. In my opinion, it should last 1-2 years or even beyond that if taken care of like any other branded phone. The China phone now use the same materials as the branded ones.

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    4. another question - just noticed that the HDC G9300 isn't in your Top 10 list but it's one of your recommended MTK phones.

      Any reason for that? It looks like a very worthy purchase and surely has your stamp of approval from one of your posts.

      http://www.fastcardtech.com/goods-8113-HDC-Galaxy-S3-G9300--MTK6577-Dual-Core-12Ghz-1G-Ram-47-inch-QHD-Screen-Android-411-Phone.html?u=54665

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    5. Sure it is. Look at number 5.

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    6. I just received it. Video review coming soon.

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    7. Please do Greg. I don't see 3G listed on this phone and fastcardtech's replies are very inconsistance.

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    8. FYI. The link you have Greg, for G9300 is different from Torresinchina's link. Yours just said G9300 and torresinchina has HDC branding... however, in it's spec it didn't list it has 3G capability

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    9. I am in the same dilemma as torresinchina.Been doin intensive research and still cant get a decent MTK6577 to purchase confidently. Cant wait to see ure video review!

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    10. I got the Star B92M aka HDC Galaxy S3 EX.It is really nice. Greg did a review on it. I think the HDC G9300 has a closer resemblance to the really samsung galaxy s3.

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    11. I am eyeing on Star B92M as well since Greg gave it #1. How about accessories wise? Can it use original samsung covers and flip cases? Or we got to purchase from Fasttech or any 3rd party vendors out there.

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    12. hey sunny, how long have you been using the B92M? can share some of your experiences so far? any downfalls in particular?

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    13. Like Greg said. MTK 6577 seems to run slower with 720p. However, I got the free UI that can change the speed so it seems to be better. Battery Life is good, Wifi good, so far it hasn't crap out on me yet.

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    14. Go ahead and buy the G9300. It's beautiful with the curved glass edges just like the real s3. Size is EXACTLY THE SAME. It fitted in my friends S3 case except it is just 0.5mm thicker. 3G works and build quality is super. Fastcardtech printed the SAMSUNG LOGO ON FRONT AND BACK for me. Everything works fine since yesterday. Please use my link so I can get a commission. If you are not convinced then wait for the video. Will be up by tomorrow.

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    15. @ Krenster
      No it will not fit samsung covers. Only the accessories come with fastcardtech.

      Delete
    16. and sunny, you're right.

      the G9300 link I posted is not the same as the one Greg listed in his top 10.

      The G9300 I posted has 1GB ram while Greg's one only has 512mb ram. I've checked in the comments for my G9300 and they confirmed that it has 3G as well although it's not listed under the specs.

      Just for comparison again:
      Greg's G9300 - http://www.fastcardtech.com/G9300-smart-phone?u=54665
      G9300 I posted - http://www.fastcardtech.com/goods-8113-HDC-Galaxy-S3-G9300--MTK6577-Dual-Core-12Ghz-1G-Ram-47-inch-QHD-Screen-Android-411-Phone.html?u=54665

      edit: I keep posting as a new comment instead of replying!

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    17. Greg, just saw your reply. Possible to have your G9300 to come with 1GB ram?

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    18. Greg can you also confirm torresinchina's link (G9300+) is legit as well? Also you said it fits samsung case, but .5mm thicker? so the 0.5mm won't bother the case? I am thinking to get the G9300+

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    19. I just updated the link. The correct link is HDC branded with 1gb ram. The other one was actually G9300 without the HDC brand and only 512mb ram. Very confusing...

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    20. I think we shall wait for Greg's video review and start bouncing questions for him. Which model of MTK6577 are you reviewing Greg? Or did i miss u mentioned earlier.

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    21. Greg can you also confirm that it has 3G?

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. Dear Greg =)

    "It fitted in my friends S3 case except it is just 0.5mm thicker."

    If possible please include a segment of that too in your video review. Cheers

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    Replies
    1. Confirmed with 3G and it has the WCDMA slot. Only certain cases can fit. All those form hugging cases will not fit. Will include a case fitting segment.

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    2. The g9300+ is the same phone. It has the label under the battery.

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  7. Dear Greg,

    Is Neo NO2-m a dual band or quadband phone?
    I see the official neo mobile website menion the spec is only:
    GSM 900/1800 WCDMA 2100Mhz,

    Fast card tech stated it as quadband phone.

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Neo n02 is quad band as far as I know. Saw this on dhgate
      Data services: GPRS, EDGE, HSDPA

      Support band: 2G: the GSM 900/1900

              3G: WCDMA 900/1900/2100MHz

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    2. i see.
      I got confused by its website's own spec:
      http://www.neomobile.com.cn/goods.php?id=46
      at the bottom page.

      Thanks.

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    3. I saw that too and it is a blurry image.

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  8. at the time of typing, they have released another 4 versions of Note 2 after the MEAG version..ahha..if it's not confusing enough already

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    1. Hahaha, they are really crazy. But better for us but...hope we don't order a crap version.

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  9. Hi Greg, kinda confused here, which would u recommend? The B94M or the G9300 since u are already testing one?

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  10. Depends on which screen size you like. The b94 is android 4.1.2 which is better. The compass is probably working correctly. The G9300 is a beautiful Galaxy S3 imitation with Jelly bean but camera is likely to be inferior to the b94. Both has pros and Cons. You will not go wrong with either one. Just different strong features. Toss a coin if you can't decide.

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  11. Hi,
    Is it possible to fit other languages?

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    1. Install swiftkey3 and you can choose many languages for your keyboard. All main languages already installed. You can just change to your language. Pure Chinese phones like Neo and Umi and Newman only have English and Chinese system languages.

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    2. You have put a very right question I was also waiting for the same answer thanks for sharing such a nice information.
      telekupon

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  12. Thanks for ur answer. Most probably will go for b94 then.

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  13. I've been trying to ask them questions at fastcardtech but no one responds. Any tricks you know of to get a response? I'm either gonna order the OEM version you have here on the budget list or the goophone n2 but I need to make sure the OEM version of the sophone is actually the same. Some one posted in the review section saying the camera wasn't so good hoping that's not completely accurate as it does appear to be a real 8mp. The OEM version however doesn't have the full specs posted like the sophone one does.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You need to register an account, then sign in. Under the members center, post a question to customer service. You will receive an empty template in your email when they reply (their system is not working properly). Log in and read the reply.

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  14. Sorry I was not clear enough.
    "fit of other languages.."
    I wanted to tell: is it possible insert, fit other system language in B94M phone ?
    I need Croatian language.
    B94M << http://www.fastcardtech.com/Star-B94M?u=54665

    Thanks Greg for your reply

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Besides the ones already included, you cannot add additional languages. You might be able to if you are an android developer.

      Delete
  15. Hi Greg,
    Enjoy reading your blog ( good to have someone review China phone)
    Can you advise which note 2 clone best to buy now (1gb ram) S7100/H7100/MAEG/EX? How about flip cover? Order desperately? Thx

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    1. Hi Venus,

      my 2 cents ( i had this question too ). you could narrow down your search to your requirements 1GB, Android JB, screen quality (IPS/ QHD etc), front/rear camera specs etc. in the end i went for H7100

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    2. Colin is correct. You will not go wrong with any of them. You need to list down what your requirements are and it will help you to choose.

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    3. Thank you both
      Do u have any idea the one we can see in gmarket Singapore? Picture show s7100 under battery and got 512mb & 1g ram selection.
      I tot it is star s7100...how it compare with hdc one from FTC?

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    4. The real phone is N7100+.
      S7100 is Star brand and only 512mb of ram. The other identical twin is the Star S7180 with 1gb ram.

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    5. hi greg,

      do you know how to set location service using WCDMA/3G because mine one can't locate me whenever i use 3G but OK on WIFI.
      Beside that, is it GPS really bad in MTK6577 phone ?

      Thx.

      Delete
  16. Hi Greg !

    I've received today my B94M ; quite happy of it until now but I've spent a few hours trying to get it rooted without success :-(
    I've tried the script from "bin4ry" v18, but after reboot there is an error message "permission denied (are you root?)" which seems to be linked to the Android version 4.1.2 quite recent.
    Do you know if there is a way to root this phone ?

    Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Google patched up all the security holes in the new Jelly Bean. Search for X-Ray app and install. Use it to check for security exploits. The G9300 cannot be rooted either. I am using it unrooted. Have to wait for some hacker to find another loophole and put the patch in XDA forum.

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    2. I tried the x-ray soft and I confirm : it is not vulnerable.
      Thank you for your answer, and please keep us in touch if you find something :-)

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    3. This can be rooted. I already rooted the G9300 but using android developer tools and not for normal guys who don't use these special tools/software. If you are a Singaporean, I can do it for you but need the phone for 2 hours to do it. Firstly custom clockworkmod or cwm recovery is needed the push busy box and superuser apps into the phone using cwm.

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  18. I've just received the HDC 7100GT (1GB) version..i must admit, built quality is much better than expected. screen looks gd and nice, comes with playstore installed. even managed to fool my colleagues as a ori note 2 haha. speaker is definitely quite on par with ori note 2, if not, definitely not some lousy slushy speaker.
    defintely worth every penny spent

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  19. Does Newsmy NX require rooting as NEO N02-m to enjoy full Google Play? Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. You have to check with the store. However I am confident that it has Google play installed.

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  20. Sir, which phone u recommend to buy? and how to buy?

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    1. I cannot recommend you. You need to select what you need.

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  21. Hello Greg... Do u think that HDC and other company will make NEXUS 4 clone within couple of months?

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    1. Not sure...could be possible.

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    2. Nexus 4 is hard to get always sold out.

      When is HDC and other company start import 4.2 JB on their phone line up? I want it now lol.

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    3. Actually I don't think HDC or Star might not build a Nexus 4 clone. The original is already very affordable that is why it is always out of stock.

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  22. Hi Greg I have another question for u Is Star and HDC are different company? or same company? the reason is what is your opinion on this phone came out yesterday

    http://www.fastcardtech.com/Star-Galaxy-Note-2-7100

    Its not 4 me. My little brother. 148 that good deal.

    I loved HDC s3 g9300 BTW did u root this phone? if so are u planning to show it to Youtube in the future?

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    Replies
    1. HDC and Star are different companies. It appears that both these companies use phones from the same factory. They just put their name on it. And I have never seen the Star or HDC logos in my life.
      That phone you intend to buy is cheap. It should be a good buy provided you don't mind it not having Jelly Bean. Is is indeed dual core 1ghz android ice cream sandwich, probably 4.0.3 and QHD screen.

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  23. U r right I notice spec is different. Hopefully when they show it the phone on Youtube.

    G9300 root? any news about it?

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    Replies
    1. Just Google G9300 and xda. There is a post with a link to cwm recovery. Once you flash that, you can use cwm to flash superuser and busybox in (files link is in the HDC mage post) and you have root.

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  24. Hi,

    Great review.. I'm looking for a phone closest to the samsung s3. I've seen loads of clones around but cant decide on the best one?


    Appreciate any of your help

    ReplyDelete