The Do's And Don'ts Of Buying A Smartphone Abroad

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Most people tend to buy their new smartphone from a local shop after browsing through different models. But there are certain cases in which you might consider buying a new phone from abroad. If you feel like taking the leap, here are the top things to consider – and the pitfalls to avoid.

Save money – but take every expense into account

One of the best reasons to buy a phone from abroad is to save big on money. It is often the case that new electronics, including smartphones, are much cheaper in their country of origin. That usually includes the US, Japan, or Southeast Asia. This means that you could end up buying an amazing smartphone at a much lower price than you would have at home. Yet, before you leap at the chance, you should consider all the extra expenses you might incur. When buying abroad, your new phone might be subject to tax and customs charges that are not included in the price, yet will most definitely require you to pay a hefty extra sum.



You also need to be mindful of the fact that if you are paying in foreign currency – as you most certainly will – you will have to add the expense of changing money to the price. One good tip is to anticipate the fluctuation of local currency prices by keeping an eye on forex trading signals. Trading signals are tips, either generated by a forex robot or by an analyst, that tell you when it would be a good time to sell or purchase a specific currency pair. You can subscribe to get free tips either by e-mail, RSS feed, or on a website – or even on social media like Twitter. That way, you can save up and change your money when it is favorable to do so, saving up in the process. Lastly, take note of shipping charges when ordering a phone from abroad – you don’t want to end up paying for its weight in gold in postage.

Get your hands on new and shiny smartphones – but beware the fine print

Besides getting a better price, buying a phone that is not yet available in your country is also a good reason to consider purchasing one from overseas. But you don’t want to end up in the unpleasant position of unpacking your new amazing smartphone only to find out you cannot use it properly. First of all, check to see that the specs of your phone are compatible with smartphone standards in the country where you intend to use it. One prime example of this is the fact that some EU and US carriers use different tech for wireless connections. Europe uses the GSM standard (Global System for Mobiles), but some major US carriers such as Verizon use CDMA instead (Code Division Multiple Access). The result? You cannot use your data to your phone’s full potential.



Some phones might also come locked or be pre-set in a language you cannot understand. Software and features being region-specific is not something we only see in smartphones – up until recently, gaming titles on PlayStation were region-locked. One further thing to consider, especially if you are buying a phone that is not yet available in your country, is your device’s warranty. Asia, North America, and Europe all tend to offer different levels of consumer protection, which means that warranty schemes might vary considerably. Check the warranty offered for the device you wish to purchase beforehand, unless you want to risk the surprise of finding out you are only covered in the region where the smartphone was purchased.

Buying a smartphone abroad might be the smartest – or the only – option under some circumstances. But it requires extensive research in advance to make sure that you have got everything covered!