Buying a smartphone from China has many benefits, but doing so isn’t without its risks! Follows our top 10 tips when buying a Chinese Android phone to avoid potential problems.
Tips for choosing a phone
1. Research the phone and brand
Before sending cash to the online reseller for your new Chinese Android phone, spend a little time researching your purchase. Check the specifications, ensure the design is what you want, check it is not to big or small. You basically want to get as much info as possible before buying, as it may be difficult to send back and get your money back.
2. Read reviews:
As part of your research you should also read as many reviews, hands on and watch whatever video you can containing the device you hope to buy. Even blatant sponsored videos are worth watching as they can give you a good look at the phone in someones hand.
3. Check your phone will work in your country:
Remember that Chinese phones are made to work with either WCDMA or TD-SCDMA networks (CDMA also but this is not all that common). If you intend to use 3G on your smartphone then you MUST but a WCDMA model, but even then you should check the WCDMA frequencies are compatible.
4. Ask for advice:
If you are unsure of what something mean, or need general help ask. You can ask in the comments section of GizChina.com, or in a forum like MTKforums.com. Don’t rely on resellers though as they will answer with whatever they think you want to hear even if it is not the truth!
Tips for choosing an online store
5. Read reviews and comments
Just as you would when checking the phone itself you should also read reviews and comments to do with the online store you intend to trust your purchase with. Chinese online stores a notorious for spamming forums and comments with fake review so watch out for badly spelt comments as a tell-tale sign.
6. Check, double-check and triple check the specifications
Chinese online stores are not known for their attention to detail or accuracy and it is common to find a phone listed with incorrect or even impossible specifications. We have seen stores claiming to have 4G LTE Mediatek phones on sale even though they don’t yet exist, and even dual processor phones which are obviously fake!
7. Is the phone you want really available?
Another issue customers have is that they will pay for a phone only to find weeks later that they have either paid for a phone that hasn’t even launched yet or have unknowingly paid to be part of a pre-order. In both these cases it will be difficult to get a refund as the company taking these orders will be using your money as capital to invest in the purchase of stock. Check news sites to see if the phones you are interested in are actually available, and when in doubt ask.
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8. Is the phone you are looking at the one in the descriptions?
Another common issue is for resellers to list fake phones as the real thing. This use to be a problem with stores selling fake iPhones and Samsung devices as the real thing, however as customers have become more savvy so to have resellers. Now, it is common to see fake models of lesser known devices such as fake Xiaomi Hongmi phones! Check what the image is showing you matches the specifications, and if it looks too good to be true then it is!
Shipping and payments
9. Shipping costs and tax
If the reseller is shipping from China then you are likely going to have to pay some hefty tax on your new Chinese Android phone. Some companies do have warehouse in Europe or the US which avoids this problem, so you should check before making payment. Also, use the best shipping you can afford! It might cost a lot but it is better to use shipping with a tracking number so you can see where your new gadget is at all times.
10. Use PayPal
If you have found the phone you want and a trusted company then you should make payment, but only do so if they accept PayPal! Paying directly to a bank account means you have no safety net if things go sour. With PayPal you can always make a complaint to Paypal even if the resellers stops responding. If you are lucky you will get a full refund.
Anymore tips and advice?
These are just 10 tips we can think of when buying a phone from China. Do you have any more helpful buying tips or advice? If so please feel free to add let us know in the comments section below.