Recently I explained how to choose an Android phone. This article follows on from that one, and details the different ways you can go about buying a phone today.
I’m sure you already know that you can get an Android phone from a variety of places: the Internet, high street retailers, second hand shops – but which would be best for you? In this article I’ll look at the pros and cons of the different ways you can get an Android phone without a new contract.
I Know What I Want, Now Where Can I Get It?
So let’s say you like the idea of a certain phone style, or perhaps already know precisely which phone you want to buy. The next question is where and how you go about getting it. Everyone loves the idea of opening a sealed box, removing protective coatings, and seeing a brand new gadget to play about with. Is that the best option though?
Online auctions can be a great place to get a bargain. Sometimes people put up brand new phones at prices lower than most retail outlets. My phone was a replacement that an insurance company sent to someone who broke their original phone, but by the time the replacement arrived, he had already gone out and bought another. As a result he had a spare phone which he put on eBay, and I grabbed it for about £100 cheaper than in stores.
Of course you need to be sure about what you are buying. Before you start bidding, check that the seller has a good eBay rating and provides many pictures of the phone, including any damage if it is second-hand. If the description of the phone is poor, or there is poor grammar and spelling, you’d best steer clear. If the seller can’t be bothered to spell everything and check it properly, how will they fare when packing and sending a phone?
Considered by most as a ‘safer’ means of getting a phone, Amazon lets you browse what they have in stock and order it brand new from their warehouses. The delivery is couriered in most cases, and you know your phone will be totally untouched and fresh out the box. However the prices on Amazon are not always fantastic, in most cases they are the same or only slightly less than those on the high street. Depending on where you live, delivery may have to be paid for too. Remember to check everything before you decide to place an order.
Sometimes when people get a new phone, they put their old one into a second-hand shop for a bit of cash. Most towns have a second-hand shop, and in the bigger ones there are outlets which specialise solely in phones and electronics. Buying a phone from a second-hand shop is quick, convenient and usually pretty easy. The prices are almost certainly cheaper than those of the retailers too, with most of the phones on sale being in perfect working order. There may be a bump or two here and there, but that’s about it. If the phones were badly damaged or beaten up, the shop wouldn’t have bothered buying it to re-sell in the first place.
UK second-hand chain CEX is a good start if you fancy going for a second-hand phone.
That being said however, if you do consider buying a phone from a second-hand shop, ask to see it turned on and have a little play with it first. If they seem to take offence to you wanting to check a phone is tip-top, go elsewhere. It would be a crushing blow for you to get home and find out that the speakers don’t work, for instance. Some shops can be downright sneaky too, and will try to claim it was like that when you agreed to the sale. Something awful like that would leave you high and dry with a damaged phone. Most second-hand shops are great, of course, but it doesn’t hurt to be on your guard just in case.
High Street Retailers
This is the most obvious and direct way of buying a phone. You should try to do a lot of price comparisons with different shops. Remember that online prices a retailer puts up don’t always marry up with the store near you. The biggest positive aspect of high-street retailers is that you can see the salesman reach under the counter, and bring up a brand new phone in its box and wrappings. Though it may not be the cheapest option, it is certainly the safest. Since the phones come fresh from the box, you can fill out the warranty agreement to ensure that if anything goes wrong, you are entitled to a replacement phone. If you get a phone from a second hand shop or off eBay, it is unlikely you will have a valid warranty (unless the phone was brand new).
My DesireHD box - Sometimes you just want to know something is brand new.
When I talk about saving money, remember that I am not talking vast amounts. I was very lucky to get the deal I did. A lot of people would argue that paying £50 more to get a phone brand new rather than second-hand is worth it.
Anyways, hopefully if you were thinking about buying an Android phone, you now have a firmer idea about which way to go about it. However you choose to go about it, at the end of the day you will have a great Android phone, which is the big reward for scrutiny and research when shopping.