Image by allexamnews

Cheap unlocked cellphones are on the rise in Canada.

You no longer have to sign a 2-year carrier contract to get a top of the line phone. A simple online search will return hundreds of cheap phones from China that are unlocked (can be used on any carrier) and perform to par, if not better, than big-brand Android devices.

And yes, they have English operating systems and manuals!

One of our favourites is the Xiaomi Mi 4. As with Xiaomi’s other devices, it borrows its design from Apple. However, where it stands out is in its guts.

For only $285.99USD, you’ll get a powerful 16GB unlocked phone with all the bells and whistles of the other big-brand phones.

The Xiaomi Mi 4 has a very strong resemblance to the iPhone. It has a stainless steel banding around the sides with a white plastic covering on the back. The rear plastic can be removed easily with a suction cup and be swapped for a different design.

Under the hood, the phone is powered by a Snapdragon 801 2.5GHz processor with 3GB RAM. Unfortunately, there is no microSD slot for additional storage. Powering everything is a 3,080mAh battery.

The Mi 4 has a 5-inch display with a full HD resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels). It has a color gamut accuracy of 84% which is 17% higher than the iPhone 5S.

On the software side, the phone runs Android 4.4.2 (KitKat) skinned under the MIUI brand.

In summary, if you don’t want to sign up for a 2-year carrier contract then the Xiaomi Mi 4 is the way to go. It’s unlocked – so when travelling to the US or Sun Destinations all you’ll have to do is purchase a foreign SIM card, load it with some minutes, and pop it into the phone.

The Xiaomi Mi 4 is avaialable at GearBest.com for only $285.99USD with FREE shipping to Canada.