5 Things to Check Before Buying a Cheap Smartphone or Tablet

There's no denying that local electronic companies have been releasing a lot of cheap android phones and tablets in the Philippines. Many models have been very successful like Cherry Mobile Flare and MyPhone A919.

Starmobile Diamond V3
Starmobile Diamond V3, a cheap android phablet.
However, these cheap android phones are plagued by defects since they are mostly re-branded phones from India and made in China. Although many units will work well, you don't want to be a victim of a defective android phone or tablet.

Here is a compilation of the features that you must check before buying a cheap android phone or tablet.

1. Samples - Quality of Pictures and Audio

This is the first thing that we test with a smartphone - its camera. Filipinos are indeed addicted to taking pictures since we love to reminisce memories of special events in our lives.

When you buy a cheap android phone or tablet, test its camera by taking a picture using its normal mode, macro mode and with its LED flash. Don't forget to test the front facing camera too. After taking the shots, zoom the pictures and examine if they still look good.

Test the audio of the phone by playing any sound using its loudspeaker and earphones. This is one of the weak points of CM Flare - its sound is not loud enough.

2. Factory Defects - Dead Pixel, Creaking Sound and Backlight Bleeding

Dead Pixel
This is very important. Check the screen of the android phone or tablet you are eyeing and look for any dot. If there is, that means it has a dead pixel and you should choose another unit.

Try to press the back cover of the phone with more pressure. Observe if it makes a creaky noise. If it does, it means the phone or tablet is not well made and could be damaged easily.

Try to charge the phone using the stock charger too. Usually, sales ladies test the charger but make sure they do so.

If the sales lady or salesman allows it, test the sim slot and microSD card slot of the phone. Use your own sim and microSD card and see if these features work just fine.

3. Aesthetics - Does it look cheap?

Many won't agree with me but I don't like the map of the Philippines at the back of every MyPhone phone and tablet. There are better designs out there instead of the map. They say its a symbol of patriotism but it makes the phone look cheap.

Phones with plain colors with accents on the sides look better. Good logos also compliment a phone or tablet even if it is a cheap one.

Personalized jelly case and hard covers look better for me even if they have the map of the Philippines. The point is that phones should be neat and professional looking but users should be able to add their personal taste if they want to.

4. Reviews  - Performance in Games

One thing that you usually can't test with these cheap phones and tablets is their performance in running games. You can be sure that they can run Temple Run 2 and Candy Crush just fine but what about NBA or Need for Speed?

Search for reviews of the particular phone that you are interested and look for any information about its gaming performance. Use Google or consult your favorite tech blog.

5. Warranty and After Sales Service

This is the last but definitely not the least. Most cheap phones and tablets have 1 week replacement warranty and 1 year of free service warranty. Check this with the sales lady and keep the receipt and warranty card.

Ask for the service center too. Do they have a service center in your area? If not, consider buying from another brand if you can't take the risk.

As far as what I've experienced, Starmobile has the best after sales service among the top three electronics companies in the Philippines. MyPhone's after sales service is average while Cherry Mobile's after sales is below average.

Be more cautious when you buy phones from ZH&K, SKK and other less known brands of mobile phones, tablets and other electronic gadgets.

You can share your thoughts in the comments below.


Daniel Gubalane Written by Daniel Gubalane - tech blogger, freelance web developer and former Physics teacher. Connect with me on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.
Published on Saturday, July 13, 2013.

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  1. what a very good topic you have here ms daniel, apreciate it alot, thanks! may i know what phone you are using right now? -JLI

  2. I was a victim too. I bought a tablet from SKK Store in North Edsa branch, after couple of days, the touchscreen malfunction and no response at all. I decided to return it to SKK North Edsa Branch since I bought it the male sales staff who assisted me told me that the warranty covers 7 day replace unit policy, but when I complained and request for replacement they did not agree so I end up in using a mouse to use the tablet.

  3. In my experience star mobile is really below avarage.. i had 2 phone fix in laguna.. 1 unit took 5 months to be repaired the other one after the sixth month still no news about it.

  4. i"m using zh&k tablet and ok nmn xia.i"ve bin using it for 3months now and khit mgdownload aq ng mraming apps or games eh mbilis p din ang performance nya.so far wla p nmn aq ngiging prob s tab ng zh&k...hybrid xia.

  5. maganda ba yung brand na O+ usa?

  6. yung brand na O+..ok ba yung durability nya?

  7. Hi .congrats.nice topic.
    .here's my concern hoping you can help me with this
    .i just baught my myphone a888 duo..since we have this myphone a848 already..and so far so good..but not with this new one...how will i determine if its defective..ive been browsing the internet but after 2 days it automatically goes back to my home screen and log for at least 5sec..so what do you think?


  9. ah ang torque ba maganda rin ang system?

    1. Wag ka nang bumili ng torque.bumili kasi yung kapatid ko ng torque edge na tab,madalas syang mag hang at hindi na dedect yung hardware nya sa pc.in short hindi ring pwedeng i root.

  10. Based on my expirience bumili ako ng tablet frm cherry mobile which is fusion bolt.nung una nadesmaya ako sa performance ng gaming ka si nag loloko ang graphics gaya ng dead trigger.pero nalaman ko na pwedeng palitan ang ROM nya.so sumugal ako at pinalitan ko yung ROM luckily di nasira yung tablet ko.at nung ni restart ko sya iba na ang brand na lumabas.naiprove ung performance ng game gaya ng dead trigger,shaddow gun,need for speed MW,asphalt 7,etc..right now im using the latest firmware released last january 2014.Ainol NOVO 7 venus lite yung firmware nya.

  11. Guys how about yung CLOUDTAB?

  12. Great, buying a tablet or smartphone need guidance and your post is being very useful in it.

  13. hello :) asko ko lang bibili kc ako ng tablet ndi ko alam kung anung tatak ung bibilin kong tablet dame na kc merong cdr king , zh&k , cherry mobile , my phone at latest samsung ? pero ndi ko naman kaya yung samasung tablet masyadong mahal ii hahaha ung pang sakin lang naman help nio naman ako guy's maganda bang bilin ko na lang ung PHONETABLET para all in one ? kung PHONETABLET naman help nio ko anung tatak naman ? ung siguradong matibay ? sallamat :)

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  15. Hi po bibili ako ng Zenfone 5 :D sa tingin niyo worth it naman ^^ tnx

  16. Bmli ako skk x4 3999 after 4 days dko na mg it bnalik ko d nla replace pgwa ko daw servc cntr pgdating nmn dun humihingi 1300 wlang kwentang warranty at service mga phones mdaling mcra syang lng pera.san b pwde ireklamo tong mga to

  17. Dapat sa skk nirereklamo .warranty NLA d ├▒asusunod

  18. Jhudelyn Arena EspelitaJune 23, 2015 at 8:56 PM

    ako rin,, bumili ako ng lynx nila after 6 days nanotice ko my dead pixel cia so nagdecide ako na ipareplace cia,, tpos sinabi nila sakin wala daw clang offer na 7 days replacement sa lynx! ano un lokohan,, kainis ,, so ang ending gagawin na lng daw nila ung cra,, kainis,,


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