When people come across an Apple or Samsung smartphone while shopping online, there are few questions about its durability or overall quality.What people care about is usually what it provides.These brands have a solid track record in making quality smartphones.
However, smartphone brands that dominate e-commerce stores such as Amazon and AliExpress are not alone.They are dozens of little-known phone brands making exciting products.But can you trust them?Which of these are worth trying and what are their unique features?
Higher cost performance
A distinguishing feature of most lesser-known smartphone brands is their relatively cheap prices.Ironically, their cheap price is part of the reason people shun them.However, in this age of thousand-dollar smartphones, are lesser-known alternatives that offer similar specs at a lower price worth considering?
For example, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus sells for around $700.With 8GB of RAM, 256GB of ROM, and impressive processing power, there's a lot to love about this device's specs.However, the Umidigi Bison Pro -- which has relatively similar specs (at least on paper), and one you've probably never heard of -- sells for $170.
If you need a phone that can handle the basics, is this cheap brand worth considering?
To put it bluntly, the Samsung model outperforms the Umidigi model.However, if you need a phone that can handle basic smartphone operation, the quality difference isn't shocking.Considering the $530 price difference, we'd be tempted to say that the Bison Pro appears to offer even greater value for money.
Not just Umidigi, but dozens of other lesser-known brands that are great and affordable.Their products aren't necessarily the best, but they make budget phones with coveted specs.You'll find phone models from some brands that offer incredible battery capacity, camera quality, charging speed, and processing power for a fraction of the price.
Price is of course a standout feature for most small smartphone brands.But aside from significantly lower prices, what's so special about these lesser-known brands?
Why should you consider buying a lesser-known brand?
Realistically speaking, buying an obscure Android phone brand is a risk.There's a 50/50 chance of either regretting the decision or getting a happy ending.So if you see signs that your current phone needs to be replaced, why should you consider a lesser-known and unproven brand?
Well, small brands have a lot to prove.Therefore, they usually try to go beyond, but within the constraints of their retail price.While they may use mid-range hardware for some of their parts, they try to enhance this through innovation.
For example, the Umidigi A9 uses the mid-range Helio P60 chipset, but it also comes with an infrared thermometer.Likewise, the Oukitel WP7 strengthens its weaknesses by adopting a "night vision" camera system and a massive 8000mAh battery.For every feature they lack, these smaller brands usually throw in something enticing.
Unlike big brands, no-name brands are not afraid to try new ideas.Sometimes they succeed, sometimes they fail, but they keep trying.Less popular smartphone brands are a good place to search if you want to try something completely different.
Also, perhaps the best thing about lesser-known smartphone brands is that they are able to offer premium features without costing money.These brands spend a lot of time trying to pack as many advanced features as possible into phones that typically cost a quarter of the price of popular brands with similar features.
You get tons of storage, a huge battery capacity, a gaming chipset, and fast charging for a budget product.
However, they are not all worth considering.Some are rushed and ridiculous clones of popular flagships, while others are simple engineering failures.So, how do you pick out a good product?Say, how can you pick out a $150 smartphone that offers impressive specs and a happy ending?
Some lesser-known smartphone brands worth checking out
You may have come across a lot of lesser-known smartphone brands on e-commerce sites like Alibaba and Amazon.But how do you know which works well and which doesn't?Here are some lesser-known Android phone brands that make cheap, durable products with premium features.
Umidigi's smartphone models are mostly mid-range, sleek metal phones with sleek specs and good battery life.You'll find plenty of models with similar specs to popular flagships, but at a third of the price of the competition.Their cameras are a bit underwhelming depending on the model, but some are on par with flagship models from some popular brands.
The Umidigi tries to offer trendy features like a fingerprint scanner on the side or on the screen, an edge-to-edge AMOLED display, and fast charging.Some Umidigi models worth considering include the Umidigi A9 Pro, A11 Pro Max, Bison Pro, and Bison X10.
If you're wondering how long you'll be able to enjoy the specs on offer before things start to get messy, that's not the case.While the durability of recent Umidigi models (2021+) could be described as "impressive" and "admirable", finding a durable older low-end model was, simply put, a stroke of luck game.
2. Tecno and Infinix
If you want to give lesser-known brands a chance, Tecno and Infinix are good places to start.Both brands are subsidiaries of Shenzhen-based Chinese technology company Transsion Holdings. Tecno and Infinix aren't exactly newcomers, they enjoy considerable support in middle-income markets in Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia.
Infinix and Tecno smartphones are generally mid-range budget devices that take as much functionality as possible from popular flagship devices.You'll find many models with sleek high-end designs, impressive cameras, and high-end MediaTek and Qualcomm processors.Their products are generally durable.
Tecno models worth considering include the Pova 2, Pova 5G, Camon 18 Premier and Spark 8p. Infinix models worth considering include the Zero X, Hot 10i, Hot 11s, and Note 12.
These two brands usually offer models with large battery capacities and high refresh rate displays, as well as mid-range and high-end chipsets that are good enough for lag-free mid-level gaming.Their cameras also offer mid-range performance.
The models offered by both brands either emphasize certain features (like batteries and cameras) or try to give equal attention to all the specifications on offer.For example, the Tecno Pova line emphasizes chipset and battery life and may be suitable for gamers on a budget.
The Oukitel mobile phone brand is yet another Shenzhen-based Chinese smartphone manufacturer. Oukitel smartphones are mostly mid-range performance devices with a strong emphasis on battery life and toughness.
You'll find dozens of Oukitel smartphone models that can last for days on a full charge.Some Oukitel models (the sturdy WP series) have batteries up to 20000mAh.
Camera quality varies greatly from model to model.Some are good enough and some are not at all, and even if it's "good enough," don't expect to have the Google Pixel's level of camera quality.Still, Oukitel's models are capable and impressive considering their price points.Some models have features you can only find in high-end flagships from big brands.
However, many Oukitel models are bulky (especially the WP series) due to their huge battery capacity. The C series has a smaller battery capacity, but is slimmer.But that doesn't mean the C-Series has poor battery life.Since you'll likely be ordering online, it's important to cross-check size and weight before placing an order.
What could go wrong?
The biggest problem with buying an unknown brand is software support.Devices may not have the latest version of Android at launch, and most devices are unlikely to be updated.What's more, regular security updates are also less common, and you'll get them for less time.
There will undoubtedly be security concerns when your phone is no longer getting updates, and this is one area where paying more for your Samsung or OnePlus phone is really worth it.
Another major problem with buying a smartphone from a lesser-known brand is buying a defective device.This is usually the result of a poor testing process.Every now and then a defective piece of equipment slips in and ends up in the hands of an unfortunate buyer.That doesn't necessarily mean the entire model is broken, just that a few units haven't been properly vetted.However, this rarely happens.
Then there's the issue of aftermarket support and replacement parts.Since these brands don't have a global reach, it can be a bit difficult to get support and get repairs if you need to.
Is an unknown brand worth buying?
If you're on a budget, or just want a different smartphone experience, it's worth trying another lesser-known brand.They offer great value and you'll be able to enjoy a wide range of premium features without having to worry about price.
Of course, you may have to deal with some chopped features.But for every feature that's been axed, you'll enjoy a significant price drop.Just make sure you know what you're buying in the first place.As a rule of thumb, any lesser-known brand should be researched thoroughly before making any financial commitments.
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