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Seven great smartphones you can't buy in the US

The US has no shortage of attractive smartphones at the moment, from cheap-but-featured packed Androids to the latest flagships from the big names. But not all the best devices are available Stateside. Here are some of the best handsets that are just out of reach for Americans.
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By Liam Tung, Contributor on
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1 of 7 Xiaomi

Xiaomi Mi Note

Probably the most well-known phones that aren’t sold in the US are Xiaomi’s Mi Note and Mi Note Pro, with specs high enough, and prices low enough, to give the iPhone 6 Plus, Galaxy Note 4, and Galaxy S6 a run for their money.

Xiaomi’s Mi UI often attracts comparisons to the iPhone, but this phone’s curved edges have something of the Galaxy S6 in them - and its name doesn't exactly hide which device inspired its creation.

Amazingly, but typically for Xiaomi, the company has delivered a high-end 5.7-inch aluminium and glass construction phablet with 64GB storage for just $450, while the 16GB version costs $260. (Samsung’s Galaxy S6 launched in China at RMB 5288 ($852) for the 32GB model). The Mi Note comes with a 13-megapixel rear camera, Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM, and a 3,000mAh battery.

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2 of 7 LG

LG’s AKA, a smartphone with character

LG’s AKA is a quirky addition to the Korean company’s otherwise serious lineup for the US, which includes the G4 and G Flex 2.

The AKA comes in four 'characters', each of a different colour: Yellow-masked Eggy has fierce eyes; white Wooky is a cutesy goof; black Soul is a placid chap; and pink Yoyo looks a little wary.

All have eyes peering over its front cover 'mask' that can be drawn on or customised with stickers, which depict things like a mouth eating noodles or a moustache, for example.

They’re mid-range phones aimed at youngsters, but oddly lack a decent selfie camera (a 2.1 megapixel isn't really top, or even middle of the range). What it lacks in specs, it makes up for in character. Different expressions appear when the user shakes the phone, covers its eye, or plugs earphones in.

Launched in Korea last November for ₩500,000 ($458), the AKA’s a little pricey.

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3 of 7 Yota

YotaPhone 2: Being two-faced has its benefits

The two-faced YotaPhone 2 has been available in the UK through the company’s own store for a while now. Right now you can’t buy it in the US (even though it was meant to arrive in Q1 2015), but it should finally be available this summer via an Indigogo campaign.

The standout feature of the Russian company's phone is its e-ink back screen, a companion to the AMOLED main display. Besides displaying settings, it offers a low-power way to read text and, thanks to a dialler there too, it's a fall-back interface when the battery is running low.

Yota plans to reveal early bird pricing for the US release of the Yotaphone 2 soon.The device currently costs £440 ($680) in the UK, making it a pricey option compared to other high-end phones.

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4 of 7 ZDNet

Turkey’s first Android One smartphone

Following the launch of several Android One models across parts of Asia, the first model for Turkey arrived this month.

At $262, the handset from Turkey’s General Mobile is more expensive than earlier Android One phones, but has better features, including 4G, a 13-megapixel rear camera, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and a five-inch HD IPS display.

The handset also eschews the typical low-end processors in favour of a more capable quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 chip which clocks in at 1.2GHz.

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5 of 7 Micromax

Yu can’t touch this, not even in India right now

Micromax's slogan for the highly customisable Cyanogen OS-based Yureka is that 'Yu Play God'. Now, there seems to be a big queue for those seeking that feeling.

Micromax has taken a leaf out of Xiaomi’s book with flash sales of the device, and the well-specced 8999 rupee ($141) Yureka continues to sell out in seconds.

The Yureka has been followed by the even cheaper Yuphoria, a metal-bodied device that will be available from May 28 for 6,999 rupees ($109). It's a 4G phone running on a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor with 2GB RAM, 16GB storage, with an eight-megapixel front camera and five-megapixel rear camera. On paper, not a bad phone for the price.

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6 of 7 Lenovo

Lenovo’s Sisley S90, unashamedly iPhone 6

Given the Lenovo Sisley S90's remarkable resemblance to the iPhone 6, this device is unlikely to see the light of day in the US. While it's officially available in China, it has also made its way into India’s growing smartphone market for $289.

The S90 boasts a five-inch Super AMOLED HD display and runs on a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 410 SoC with an Adreno 306 GPU. It has 1GB RAM and 16GB ROM.

The dual-SIM device has a 13MP rear camera and 8MP front camera.

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7 of 7 Wiko

Wiko: A Chinese handset with 'a French touch'

The French apparently have a soft spot for Wiko Mobile. Some see the company as having some roots in the country - while other would describe it as a Chinese handset maker with a small localisation team based in France.

One handset from its higher-end range is the Highway 4G, an Android KitKat device with a 2GHz quad-core Nvidia Tegra 4i processor, five-inch Full HD display, 16-megapixel main camera, and eight-megapixel selfie camera. It can be bought on Amazon UK for around £270 ($426).

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