Buying a “Chinese” phone? Six points to keep in mind

Want to try out one of those low-cost-high-feature offerings from one of the new cellphone manufacturers but terrified of being ripped off by a “Chinese” phone with a brand stamped on to it? And as the phone is relatively low profile, there are not even too many product reviews to consult. Check out these six points before your purchase and it is a fair chance that you will end up with a decent product. Looks: Yes, we know beauty is skin-deep, but it is a fair chance that the appearance of the phone will let you know whether it is a decent product or just a rip-off. Check for quality of paint (does it seem ready to come off?), use of plastics and metals (more metal and rubber is always a good thing) and the “feel” of the keys and the D-pad. And do not restrict your visual inspection to the phone – check out the accessories too. Poorly fitting headsets or tacky chargers are a sure sign of poor quality. Try out whatever you can: Whenever possible, try out features before you take the phone. The quality of the display, the camera and the sound are three things that can be easily tested at the point of purchase itself. Just remember not to keep thinking of the low price of the device when you check them out – there is no excuse for poor performance, even at a low price tag. Installed software: Check out third-party software on the device. Not too many realise it, but the presence of well-known third party software applications like Opera Mini and Nimbuzz on the phone, in most cases, indicates a tie-up between the manufacturer and these companies. Of course, this does not guarantee the phone’s quality, but it does add to its credibility. Most software companies would not easily enter a tie-up with an iffy manufacturer. Warranty and support: Check if there’s any warranty being given with the handset. Anything below a one year warranty is not acceptable. Also ask for a list of support centres – the fewer the centres, the worse it is. Just to be on the safe side (and whenever possible), just pay a service centre a call to see how it handles matters (and if it really exists – you will be surprised at the number of “only on paper” service centres out there). Price-feature combination: All right, this is going to sound strange, but we would recommend caution the moment you see way too many features being offered in a phone at a unrealistically low price. The chances are that while the features might function, the company might have saved money by investing in poor quality memory, storage or processor parts. Ad campaigns and promotions: Again, there are going to be a few eyebrows raised at this, but the stark fact is that no company is going to invest heavily in an advertising or marketing campaign, unless it aims to be in the market for the long run. There is also the fact that the failure of a heavily advertised product will make more headlines. So the more advertised or promoted a product is, the safer ground you are on.
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