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China's secret smartphones

Heard of Xiaomi and Meizu? China’s answer to Apple and Samsung have mastered the art of turning out powerful, high-end phones at half the price of their Western counterparts.

But how can you grab one? Right now, the most popular brands are only available in the UK via ‘grey market’, so eBay, Amazon and specialist retailers such as gearbest.com are your friend.

The choice is vast, but if you want a great flagship pick, go for a Meizu MX6 International Edition. Similar to an iPhone 7, it has an exceptionally bright 1080p 5.5-inch display, a fingerprint reader, and a ridiculously fast 10-core processor. And all for just £200! 

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If you want something state-of-the-art, drool over the stunning new Xiaomi Mi Mix, which is beyond futuristic.

The 6.4-inch screen has virtually no bezel, while the massive 4400mAh battery lasts days. It has 18ct gold detailing and a tough ceramic case, too, and a 128GB Mi Mix costs under £500 – £219 less than a 32GB iPhone 7 Plus. 

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Of course, there are risks. Some phones aren’t compatible with our 4G networks, and make sure you check import taxes before buying. Still, as some ancient dude with a pigtail said, “He who would gather honey must brave the sting of the bee.”

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