As a US customer, it is fair to say that our Android experience is “limited” to the big 5 of the Android world – Samsung, HTC, LG, Sony and Motorola. But, the Android OS is open-source, so any manufacturer can use it if they wish, and use they have. There are literally hundreds of OEM manufacturers from around the world that use Android on their phones.
The only problem is, local US carriers do not sell these phones in their stores, so most people don’t even know about them. Another reason is the carrier subsidies for the phones. The 4 major carriers in the US all sell phones based on subsidies. You buy a new phone from one of the carriers for a small upfront fee and agree to use their their service till the phone is paid off.
This means that most people are never buying phones for full price (since most flagship phones cost upwards of $600). But with Google’s Nexus program, flagship phones have become more affordable. The Nexus 5 can be yours for $350, and arguably gives you a better Android experience since it does not come with any bloatware.
This has given rise to other OEM’s around the world that make flagship phones that are far more affordable than what you see in your local carrier store. We have detailed 5 phones from around the world that could give any Android phone at your local store a run for its money.
Oppo is a chinese manufacturer that has been in the Android game for a while. Their latest flagship, the Oppo Find 7 has plenty of promise. The first thing that stands out is its gorgeous screen. It features a 5.5” Quad HD screen with a 2560×1440 resolution and a whopping 538 PPI. It has a 13-megapixel back camera that allows 4K video recording and a unique process that allows you to shoot 50-megapixel photos.
The Find 7 has a minimalistic design aesthetic, but does look pretty generic. It comes with a 3,000mAh removable battery, SD card slot and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 with 3GB ram. These specs put it in the same league as the Galaxy S5 and the LG G3, but it does come at a price. The Oppo Find 7 will cost you $599.
Cost – $599
The OnePlus One is also from China. It was announced with a lot of promise and does not disappoint. It features a 5.5 inch, full HD display and weighs in at just 160g. It is nicely designed, but looks fairly generic, although you can customize it with different backs which can help it stand out.
The OnePlus One comes with a 3,100mAh battery (non-removal),is powered by a 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 and 3GB DDR3 RAM that gives it plenty of horsepower. It also features 4G LTE, but sadly, has no expandable memory so you are stuck with choosing either 16GB or 64GB version. The best thing about the OnePlus One has to be its price – at $299 its a great deal for a lot of phone. The only problem is, you can’t just go and buy one right now. They are currently sold through an “invitation only” program (which you can learn about here) but rumors say that it will be available to everyone in the next few months.
Cost – $299
Xiaomi’s new flagship phone comes in a beautiful aluminum-magnesium chassis with solid build quality. It features a 5 inch full HD display and weighs in at just 145g. The metal chassis gives it a premium feel that stands out from the other phones on this list.
It features a 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 with 2GB RAM and comes with either 16GB or 64Gb of on board storage. The Mi 3 is powered by an embedded 3,050mAh battery that should give plenty of use. The phone also has a host of battery saving features that can help stretch the battery life.
On the downside, memory is non-expandable and it does not have 4G LTE, but at $319, it is a great phone with quality hardware that you can buy without breaking the bank.
Cost – $319
Which one is your favorite Android phone? Let us know in a comment below!