Chinese smartphone makers Xiaomi and Meizu have been in the headlines a lot over the past few years for their high-quality, low-cost hardware. But no US wireless carrier has offered phones from either company… until now.
But the wireless carrier (which uses T-Mobile’s network) is basically just importing phones from China and setting the default language to English. That means you don’t get full support for US wireless networks… so you’ll have to settled for 3G or slower data speeds.
Update: The product listings have been removed from the US Mobile site, and some have pointed out that it doesn’t look like the company had any sort of real relationship with the phone makers in the first place.
Here are some of the Chinese phones you can now buy from US Mobile:
These phones are aimed at price-conscious shoppers, but the specs aren’t all that bad. The Xiaomi Mi 4i, for instance, has a 1080p display, a 13MP camera, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor, and the cheaper Meizu M2 Note has a full HD screen, 13MP camera, and large 3,100 mAh battery.
The US Mobile website notes that the phones are actually sold and shipped by a partner called Omni Electronics HK. But US Mobile will provide support for the phones, which may make the company’s offering a little more attractive than the idea of just importing a phone from China yourself.
On the other hand, if you want 4G data speeds, you might want to wait until Xiaomi or Meizu start offering US-specific versions of their phones.
US Mobile offers build-your own plan service, allowing you to select the amount of talk, text, and data you plan to use each month. For instance, a plan with 250 minutes of talk time, 250 text messages, and 1GB of data would run $14 per month, while a 500 minute/500 text/2.5GB plan runs $40.