Shopping for a new cell phone online has many advantages. However, you need to be aware of a few technicalities or you could end up buying a phone that doesn’t work with your SIM card. Here are 4 tips to help you avoid buying the wrong mobile and find the perfect cell phone next time you shop online.
Locked or Unlocked
The most important consideration when you choose to buy your next cell phone online is whether it is a locked or unlocked phone. Locked phones are mobile phones which are “locked” to certain providers. So if you are using a SIM or mobile service that isn’t listed as one of the allowed providers you won’t be able to use your new cell phone, unless you pay to have it unlocked.
Most retailers and resellers will list the cell phone as locked or unlocked or it might be somewhere in the item details. If you are unsure it is best to contact and double-check with them to avoid any future issues.
Check the Compatibility
When buying a new cell phone online you need to check its compatibility with your country’s networks. Some phones such as the Nexus 4, which is considered to be a true international phone, can pick up all common mobile network frequencies.
You need to check that your country’s mobile network 2G (used for texting and calling) and 3G (mobile internet) frequencies are supported by the cell phone you are about to buy. The most commonly used frequencies are 850, 900, 1700, 1900 and 2100 MHz. Constant drop-outs or an inability to connect to your mobile network will result from not checking your phone’s frequency range.
Research the Phone Model
Always run a background check on the phone model you are about to buy, especially if you are buying from a Chinese retailer. The Chinese mobile market is huge and there are companies that manufacture mobile models specifically for the Chinese market. It is best to read a review or watch a review video on the model you are looking to purchase.
Some models may look very similar to a popular brand/model but the Chinese manufacturer may have made a few changes. To avoid buying the wrong product, it is always a good idea to read what other customers are saying about that particular cell phone model.
Buy from a Reputable Retailer
With any online shopping you should always run a background check or read user reviews of any online retailer you are looking to buy from. Cell phones can be a huge investment so you need to be able to trust the retailer you are buying from. Be sure to double-check shipping and return policies to avoid incurring additional fees.
Never is worse than dealing with a shady business. If something seems too good to be true, then it usually is. Even if you are buying your cell phone from overseas, you should do some research and find the approximate retail price. If a retailer lists their phones for a significantly lower price this should raise some red flags. User reviews should be the first thing you check if you’ve never used or heard of a particular online retailer before.
Hopefully these tips will help you find the right cell phone online. Shopping online is extremely convenient and could sometimes save you quite a lot of money. However be sure to always check the fine print and never assume anything. It is always better to be safe than sorry when buying something online, especially an expensive item such as a new cell phone.
Photo Credit: Flickr/Chris Dlugosz