‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ is definitely a phrase that most people can relate to when talking about mobile phones. At one stage I was spending $60 a month for a flagship phone and a rather crappy plan! I finally decided to stop being lazy and did my research, I was shocked to learn that purchasing the phone outright and getting on an optimised pre-paid plan was actually cheaper than a two year contract. A little further research led me to ‘chinadroids’ and I haven’t looked back.
In a nutshell a chinadroid is a phone that is designed and marketed towards the Asia region. Often the phones come with similar specifications as mobile phones that you can purchase locally, but at less than half the price of the brands you know.
There are some downsides to purchasing a chinadroid, some of which are;
- Warranty – Generally these phones are considered ‘Grey Stock’ which impacts warranty. The warranty provided is not local, meaning you will need to ship the item back to get something fixed…you often run this risk with any product you purchase from overseas.
- Telco Frequency – As the main market for these chinadroid are in Asia they focus on the bands that are popular in those regions. Band 28 is a particular frequency that is often not available on chinadroids. However it is really only useful for Australian citizens who live out in the bush…this would only impact a small portion of the country.
- Bloatware – Often these phones don’t come with Google Play installed and have other bloatware on them. Adding Google Play is easy enough and can usually be done for you when purchase via a Grey Reseller.
Personally I live in a region where I am not impacted by the need for Band 28. I am not concerned with the additional bloatware installed on the phone because its not too dissimilar to the bloatware that comes preloaded when purchasing a Samsung device. Finally with warranty this was something I was initially concerned with, but then I realised historically with all of the items I have purchased over the years I have not claimed warranty on any of them.
I see people upgrading phones every 2 years (just like I used to), I have colleagues that think they are financially savvy because they have realised buying upfront is cheaper than a plan…not being able to fault them because they are correct! I guess I have just taken the stinginess to the next level, instead of spending $600-$1000 every 2 years for a new Samsung, I am only spending $200-$500 for a chinadroid that lasts just as long.
I would be keen to hear what your mobile phone situation is like, are you still on an expensive plan? Caught on to buying an expensive phone outright and using a cheap pre-paid plan? Are you also using chinadroids to cut down on costs further? Or is there something else that I haven’t even considered?