How to buy a smartphone online – DOs and DONTs

    Anticipate price drops, sort promotions, compare prices, avoid Marketplace scams, … Here is my complete guide to buying a smartphone online without being fooled.

    It is a new format that we are experimenting with at BestCrawl called “promises”, internally. Basically, we are committed to helping you, or in any case, to enrich you with knowledge on a given field, which we master well.

    In 2020, we will no longer only consult the buying guides of the best smartphones available to infinity (by price range, for photos, etc.) to make their choice. The act of buying has become far too important to blindly trust the inevitably arbitrary selections of tech sites. Especially since even general public sites, whose tests are sometimes incomplete, are getting started.

    Instead of telling you which is the best smartphone for your needs and your budget, I’ll tell you how to look for it online and most importantly, how to find it at the best price all without getting ripped off. This article gathers for the moment 4 episodes of a series which is intended to be extended. It will therefore be updated as and when. Think of it as a book, a Wikipedia page from the e-shopper that you can read at will.

    Quick access:

    • Before buying a smartphone on sale, here are the scams to avoid
    • How to find cheaper smartphones on sale yourself?
    • How to buy a smartphone at the best time while anticipating price reductions?
    • How to buy a smartphone on Gearbest or AliExpress and avoid scams?

    Before buying a smartphone on sale, here are the scams to avoid

    Watch out for discounts! E-merchants like Amazon, Fnac / Darty, or CDiscount regularly offer promotions on smartphones. Good deals that are not always advantageous, especially when you go through the Marketplace.

    Inflated reference prices, VAT not included, hidden costs … Not only do some e-merchants use tricks to inflate the amount of their discounts, but they also host offers from third-party sellers on their marketplaces which are not all 100% legal. We explain how to avoid scams before buying a smartphone on sale online.

    You can read this episode “Before buying a smartphone on sale, here are the scams to avoid” in full here.

    Online promotions on smartphones are full of fake good deals. / © Shutterstock

    The guide in brief:

    • Always check that the crossed out price has not been inflated by the seller, to artificially increase the amount of the reduction.
    • On Amazon, Fnac / Darty, CDiscount or other marketplaces, beware of third-party sellers and VAT which is not included.
    • Always compare the prices of a smartphone before buying it.

    How to find cheaper smartphones on sale yourself?

    There is no lack of means to find deals and good plans and find a smartphone at the best price. Because we are suspicious, we don’t want to go through the affiliate links of tech sites and we are anyway better served by ourselves, it can be useful to know where to look to find your smartphone cheaper.

    In this episode of my series aimed at helping you buy a smarter smartphone, avoiding scams, I explain how to find the best deals yourself on the smartphones and tech products of your choice, even outside of promotional periods. like Black Friday or sales.

    You can check out this episode “How to find cheaper smartphones on sale yourself?” in full here.

    AndroidPIT deals of the day
    No need to wait for the selections of good deals or promotional periods to find a cheaper smartphone. / © Shutterstock / Editing: AndroidPIT

    The guide in brief:

    • You can find a smartphone cheaper or at the best price without waiting for the selections of specialized tech sites or the Black Friday-type promo periods.
    • Price comparison sites like Idealo or Le Dénicheur and online promo aggregators like Dealabs are a very effective combo.
    • The “Buy on Google” interface of Google Shopping is a good wildcard, to find exclusive promotions when the Marketplaces do not offer much.

    How to buy a smartphone at the best time while anticipating price reductions?

    How long should you wait after the release of a smartphone to buy it at the best price? Before answering this question, we must above all understand how to anticipate the price drops of a smartphone in order to buy it at the best time and therefore at the best price.

    Obviously, you should not go for a flagship when it comes out. In this episode, I explain how to predict price drops using online price comparators and taking into account the release schedule of each manufacturer.

    We will also address the issue of iPhones, which discount much less than Android smartphones. But above all, we will try to fix what is the right price, the fairest price, for a smartphone and how long to wait for the model of your dreams to reach this threshold.

    You can consult this episode “How to buy a smartphone at the best time while anticipating the price cuts?” in full here.

    AndroidPIT smartphone crash
    It is possible to predict the price drops of an Android smartphone, but also an iPhone. / © MotionArray, Collage: AndroidPIT

    The guide in brief:

    • The calendar of commercial periods (sales, Black Friday, French Days) is not the most reliable reading grid. It must therefore be combined with the release schedule of each manufacturer.
    • A good price for a smartphone is -20% of the original price charged at the time of its release.
    • This type of reduction will be found mainly on offers from third-party sellers in MarketPlace, the usual precautions (origin, identity of the seller, VAT included) are therefore in force.
    • You have to wait at least 3 months (and 6 maximum) to reach this threshold of -20% on an Android smartphone.
    • The 3-6 month range also applies to Apple smartphones, with smaller price drops than Android.

    How to buy a smartphone on Gearbest or AliExpress and avoid scams?

    Gearbest, eGlobal Central FR or AliExpress … Are these Chinese sites that sell smartphones and tech products at discounted prices reliable? What are the risks of buying a smartphone imported from China or Hong Kong? How to avoid scams? The answer in this comprehensive guide.

    Here I am going to talk about companies that have their own sites, sometimes their own warehouses and / or distribution networks. In US (and in Europe), the best known are Gearbest, eGlobal Central FR and AliExpress. Their offers are regularly shared by the tech media.

    I would like to point out from the outset that it is completely legal to buy a product from some of these e-merchants. But you have to pay attention to certain peculiarities and hidden costs that can quickly turn a good deal into a real pain.

    You can check out this episode “How to buy a smartphone on Gearbest or AliExpress and avoid scams?” in full here.

    AndroidPIT china phones 5336
    On the websites of sellers of smartphones imported from China, beware of VAT. / © BestCrawl

    The guide in brief:

    • Buying on AliExpress or Gearbest is not a risk-free purchase.
    • You can go through these sites legally
    • European and French sellers cannot match Gearbest or AliExpress tax-free rates.
    • These taxes, you are likely to have to pay them on delivery. Always keep in mind that you will probably have to add 20% of the price paid to get the final price.
    • The warranty and after-sales service are not as protective as those of Amazon, Fnac or the official store of the manufacturer itself.

    It’s all for now. As explained at the beginning of the article, this paper is a “hub” which brings together various guides that AndroidPIT publishes on a given subject. I have other episodes in the pipeline, which will feed into this hub. It will therefore be updated according to new publications.

    If you have any other tips that you would have liked to see in this guide, please let me know in the comments. If you have any questions, I will do my best to answer them and, if necessary, update the article accordingly. And above all, if you want guides, mainly on smartphones, share your suggestions!

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