Buying a Chinese phone such as xiaomi from Gearbest, Aliexpress, Banggood etc.

2
Found 26th Jun 2016
Response (thank you jdrob123 & FTCom)

1. Can I trust the spec advertised is accurate?
- In most cases yes, more trustworthy to deal with retailers rather than companies like Aliexpress and buy a well reviewed phone.

2. Is there some kind of spyware or similar that is going to compromise your personal details?
- Nobody can give a definitive answer to this. It's a risk you take with any app on any smartphone.

3. Are the phones ready to go straight out of the box?
- In most cases they will be useable however some changes would benefit the user - e.g. removing chinese characters. Don't expect to be buying a phone
like you would from Carphone Warehouse.

4. When a handset is sold with an old version of Android, can it be updated?
- Depending on the handset there may be enough of a following to have a solid custom ROM developed that would allow you to root your device and update the android version. However I would say no. No official update will be provided.

5. I've seen the term "flash the memory" - what does that mean and is it necessary to do this in order to get the mobile phone to work properly in the UK?
- It basically means to root the phone to gain additional access to install a custom rom. It isn't necessary to get the phone to work.

6. What about warranty? It looks like most have a 3 month UK warranty which is why I've seen recommendations to buy using a credit card. Is this accurate?
-Ignore the warranty. The cost of shipping simply isn't worth it in my opinion. I've received a handset that was dead on arrival and PayPal refused to refund me. Buy from a reputable seller.

7. Is the after sales service not worth the paper (or website) it's written on?
-Please see above. You are basically on your own once you receive the phone

HUKD Members who have experience with the phones and/or sellers:

See post#2 FTCom buying a Xiaomi through Aliexpress
==============
Original questions:
Hi. There are increasing numbers of mobile phones that are imported, predominantly from China via the sellers mentioned in the title. They're tempting as they tend to be a very high spec for the cost. However, I've seen conflicting views on a number of issues, for instance:

1. Can I trust the spec advertised is accurate?

2. Is there some kind of spyware or similar that is going to compromise your personal details?

3. Are the phones ready to go straight out of the box?

4. When a handset is sold with an old version of Android, can it be updated?

5. I've seen the term "flash the memory" - what does that mean and is it necessary to do this in order to get the mobile phone to work properly in the UK?

6. What about warranty? It looks like most have a 3 month UK warranty which is why I've seen recommendations to buy using a credit card. Is this accurate?

7. Is the after sales service not worth the paper (or website) it's written on?

If you have experience of buying one of these handsets, I'd love to hear about your experiences either good or bad. Also, please feel free to ask your own questions and at some stage I'll try to collate some responses in the hope that it helps others.

Thanks all. R
Community Updates
AskiPhonePhonesXiaomi
2 Comments
1. Can I trust the spec advertised is accurate?
- In most cases yes, more trustworthy to deal with retailers rather than companies like Aliexpress and buy a well reviewed phone.
2. Is there some kind of spyware or similar that is going to compromise your personal details?
- Nobody can give a definitive answer to this. It's a risk you take with any app on any smartphone.
3. Are the phones ready to go straight out of the box?
- In most cases they will be useable however some changes would benefit the user - e.g. removing chinese characters. Don't expect to be buying a phone like you would from Carphone Warehouse.
4. When a handset is sold with an old version of Android, can it be updated?
Depending on the handset there may be enough of a following to have a solid custom ROM developed that would allow you to root your device and update the android version. However I would say no. No official update will be provided.
5. I've seen the term "flash the memory" - what does that mean and is it necessary to do this in order to get the mobile phone to work properly in the UK?
It basically means to root the phone to gain additional access to install a custom rom. It isn't necessary to get the phone to work.
6. What about warranty? It looks like most have a 3 month UK warranty which is why I've seen recommendations to buy using a credit card. Is this accurate?
Ignore the warranty. The cost of shipping simply isn't worth it in my opinion. I've received a handset that was dead on arrival and PayPal refused to refund me. Buy from a reputable seller.
7. Is the after sales service not worth the paper (or website) it's written on?
Please see above. You are basically on your own once you receive the phone.
I got mine off Aliexpress last month. I was well impressed with the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Pro I ordered. For the price I paid I have been very impressed with the spec, build quality and other elements of the phone. If you do get problems, then yes it could be a bit of an issue, but I feel the price you pay over how much it would cost for an IPhone or S7 far outweighs that risk.

If I use the phone for a year, then upgrade to whatever is out in a years time, then it's been worth it and saved me some money over having a contract or outright purchase from a UK based supplier.

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