There are countless advantages to picking a Chinese smartphone over one from a Western manufacturer, from price to software, there are some things that the lesser known Chinese brands do that nobody else can replicate. The problem for those of in the UK looking to import is whether they’ll function properly when they arrive here. It’s a question I’m constantly being asked, though the answer is rather multifaceted. Faced with such a conundrum, I came up with the best solution around – a guide. So, without further to do, let’s discover what does and what doesn’t work on a Chinese Smartphone in the UK. (All information correct as of November 2014)


4G in the UK is operated across three different spectrum bands, 800MHz, 1.8GHZ and 2.56GHz. The UK carriers like EE, Three, O2 and Vodafone all use a mixture of these three in order to assure high speeds and good penetration into buildings. So far, so good, but China uses a variety of bands, some of which are compatible with the UK and some are not. As such, phones will vary in their support for LTE in the UK, and it’s best to check on a website like GSMArena to ensure that your phone can support UK 4G.


All UK networks operate on the 21000Mhz spectrum for 3G internet connections, as do Chinese phones, but again, it’s worth checking before you buy it that it operates on these frequencies. It’s also worth noting that with both 4G and 3G, some configuration may be required on your end in order to get them to work. Remember, these phones were never designed to work in the United Kingdom and it might take changing a few settings to get them to work. There are plenty of enthusiast forums which may be able to help youn with this, should you need it.


Thanks to the universality of the Micro USB cable these days, unusual chargers or foreign plugs are a thing of the past. Your new smartphone will most likely come with its own charger, but feel free to discard it and use the one you’ve doubtlessly got around the house. The only current phone which doesn’t use a Micro USB is the iPhone, so unless you’re going from that to a Chinese smartphone you’ll be absolutely fine.


Most smartphones ask you the language you’d like to see during the process of setting up, but if your smartphone doesn’t, don’t panic. It’ll be buried somewhere in the settings and thanks to the highly graphical nature of most modern smartphone UI’s you should stumble across it soon enough. That being said, don’t expect perfect English all over the UI as some are badly translated. Call it weird or call it charming, it’s one aspect of owning a Chinese smartphone that you’re going to have to learn to love

Calls and Texts

Regular phone functions like calls and texts will work perfectly well in nearly all Chinese smartphones, as they operate on the GSM network like ourselves. Some of the more obscure Chinese smartphones may run on the CDMA network though, so it’s worth looking up which¬†your new phone uses. If it says GSM you can rest easy, it’s that simple.

If you have any specific questions feel free to ask them below, the community and myself will do our best to see if we can help you out.

About The Author

Editor in Chief

Ten fingers, five senses, one man, loads of Chinese smartphones.

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