Sometimes marketing gimmicks get to consumers and they’d end up buying something that they regret. Sure, they could sell it off and regain the money but it’s almost impossible to completely regain the full amount.
Here, I’m going to list down 5 things I feel that people should do when buying a smartphone to avoid feeling disappointed.
1. Make Sure You Actually Need A New Smartphone
This seems like a pretty silly statement, but the first thing to do when wanting to buy a smartphone is to make sure you actually need one. Smartphones are expensive, and coverage plans add up to the total cost of owning one. It’s easy to use more data than your plan allows and wind up in a hospital bed after seeing the phone bill. Even if you don’t exceed the data quota, you could end up paying for a data plan that you barely use.
So, how do you know if you need a new smartphone?
Look at your current mobile phone. Maybe it’s all torn and tattered with the occasional hiccup or two while in usage. But, if the phone is still fully functional, why not just keep the device? At least, until the smartphone has given its last breath… or energy charge if you’re very technical.
You might want the Samsung Galaxy S6 for its high quality camera but take a step back for a moment and think. Does your current smartphone take pictures well enough? Can it capture images and videos in the size that you want? If you said yes to both, you might want to rethink on purchasing a new smartphone.
If you hate feeling like you’re missing out on the latest that technology has to offer, then a smartphone will probably seem worth it to you. If your job requires you to be connected all the time, providing immediate responses to e-mails and questions but your battery life is terrible, a new smartphone makes sense.
If you know that a particular new feature of a smartphone is something that you will use often, then by all means, buy it. However, if you just want a particular new feature just because it’s ‘cool’, then please keep your money… or donate it to me. I accept Paypal.
2. List Down Your Smartphone Needs
This should not only be done for smartphones, but practically everything that you are planning to buy. List down every single thing you need in a smartphone and plan your purchase from there. For me, my current needs when purchasing a new smartphone are:
- I want a big screen, the bigger the better.
- I need a smartphone with good battery life as I hate having to charge it often.
- I don’t need a high-spec device as I don’t play games on it. I need the device to be smooth.
- Speakers that are loud is a must. Dual speakers are a plus but not necessary.
- Camera should be clear enough to take a photo or two without much hassle or editing.
- Front-facing cameras can be removed for all I care. I don’t really take selfies.
- Stylus is a plus but not necessary.
- If there is a smartphone or a protective case-type physical keyboard that is similar to the Blackberry Torch, that will immediately become a must-buy.
These are pretty much what I have in mind for my next smartphone purchase. It doesn’t have to completely match what you’re looking for as sometimes, the ‘ideal’ product simply doesn’t exist (yet), so you can always go for the closest match.
I can’t find an Android smartphone that has a physical keyboard similar to Blackberry’s smartphones so I settled for the HTC Butterfly 2, and I’m still happy with it.
3. Read Smartphone Reviews
The internet is a vast resource of information and it should be relatively easy to find smartphone reviews online for free. Notice that I didn’t say expert reviews. The reason behind it is that you should always find reviews from different types of people, not just experts.
Experts will list down every single detail down to the smallest measurable unit and use plenty of jargons in the process. Problem is, people who aren’t tech-savvy will not be able to fully understand what’s being written.
Find customer reviews as well as reviews from typical everyday people. With websites now providing space to show feedback from users, it’s not hard to find reviews from regular people. It’s even easier if you frequently visit online forums like Lowyat.net.
If you’re having trouble looking for one, you can always ask friends or relatives about smartphone if they have any experience with the smartphone. Gather a few reviews, read what they have to say to get a general impression of the smartphone and then decide if it’s worth your money.
4. Be Extra Careful With The Effects of Branding
Branding conveys the identity of the product/company along with the strengths and promises, among many things, in a nutshell. Sometimes, businesses don’t have to promote any key innovation or strengthening in their products. Branding alone can turn the masses into an army of loyal zombies, which is why you have to tread lightly.
What do I mean exactly?
I’m pretty sure everyone has heard of it before. People purchasing stuff because of the brand, and not the product itself. Apple iPhones and Samsung Galaxy phones come to mind here. Here’s a conversation I had with a friend in 2014 while I was looking for smartphone recommendations:
Me: Hey dude, what phone do you think I should get next? My phone’s dying already.
Mr. J: I’m using an iPhone. Get an iPhone!
Me: Really? Why?
Mr. J: It’s an iPhone.
Me: What do you mean?
Mr. J: It’s an iPhone.
True story. And just like that, I was seconds away from shoving my foot down his throat. Apple iPhones are great but if brand recognition is the only reason for buying it, you know you’re not going to be satisfied with the purchase.
So remember, whenever you’re looking for opinions or reviews, be wary of fanatics and advertisements. Always ask why and if you can’t get a good answer, move on and ask another person.
5. Survey Smartphone Prices and Offers
This might be a no-brainer for most people, but some still avoid it as it can get pretty tiring to go around from shop-to-shop just to check the price tag. Careful research on prices and offers can make the difference in a satisfying sale.
I’m not saying to just check which shop sells the device for the lowest price. Ask them what does the smartphone come with and if there’s any free gifts or other offers available.
It’s not rare to see a smartphone being bundled with protective casings, powerbanks and other accessories. If you know you need one, why not just get it as a package?
However, if buying it separately(even if it’s from other shops) would be cheaper, then forget about the gift and go for the cheapest option. Don’t be afraid to negotiate the price and bargain for more stuff. You may end up with small savings but remember, a little goes a long way.
If you need an idea on where to look for smartphone prices, you may refer to Lowyat.net, DirectD and IPMart. These are websites that I frequently visit and they have a good reputation at the moment this post was made.
And while you’re looking through the shop…
Bonus: Whenever Possible, Play Around With The Smartphone
I say “whenever possible” because sometimes, the smartphone that you want to use doesn’t have its own demo unit. Do not fret, as you can still ask them to test out the smartphone prior to purchasing the product.
Get a feel of the smartphone and just randomly run apps, play some music or change a few settings here and there to see if it meets your expectation. For all you know, you might’ve saved yourself from bringing home a defective unit.