When most people think of great Chinese online stores, Aliexpress always come up. But as popular as the Jack Ma-owned company is, it’s not the only shopping site that ships outside Asia. For electronics especially, there are lots of stores you can trust to ship to the states.
Most of the stores sell products at much better prices than US-based eCommerce stores. Except for iPhones, you’ll get better phone deals on Chinese stores than anywhere else. On the flip side, the companies are notorious for offering poor support services. So, even when shopping on a trusted site, use the following tips to buy phones safely.
On AliExpress, Shop from Sellers with Multiple Reviews
There is no doubt that AliExpress is a legitimate shopping site. But based on how it operates, it’s easy to encounter a bad experience. Unlike Amazon and Overstock which sell product they own, AliExpress is a drop shipper.
What this means is that all products found on the site are owned by other companies. Aliexpress only works to help manufacturers sell their products. Because of this, scam companies may list their products on Aliexpress and fail to deliver your product after you make the payment.
The best sellers on AliExpress are well rated by customers on the site. The same applies to phones. If you find a smartphone you like and has numerous top ratings, it’s probably worth it.
Check Network Compatibility
Unless you are ordering an iPhone or the Samsung S10, you’ll need to confirm frequency compatibility with local carriers. All modern Samsung and Apple phones are compatible with Verizon. T-Mobile, Sprint and AT&T. But for the less known Chinese phones, you can’t be certain unless you confirm.
When it comes to Internet connectivity, 3G and 4G are the standard networks around the world. 4G is 10 times faster than 3G and is the one supported by most new age WiFi providers. 3G isn’t slow either and many phones use it when they can’t connect to 4G for any reason.
Beginning this summer, 5G phones will be released in the US. In China, 5G phones are already in operation. People who own Huawei Mate X, LG V50 ThinQ and Samsung Galaxy D10 phones can connect to the Internet using 5G. Predictably, 5G is much faster than 4G. While 4G reaches speeds of 50Mbps to 70Mbps, 5G can hit up to 400Mbps.
Always Choose the Fastest Shipping Option
Unlike Amazon Prime, delivery from Chinese e-commerce stores takes weeks. It takes up to a week to get your order dispatched. After that, it takes 2-6 weeks to get your order shipped to the US or Europe. If you are impatient, stick to US-based selling sites.
On the bright side, some Chinese stores offer quick shipping options. You pay more for shipping but the delivery arrives within two weeks. Alternatively, order your phone a few weeks earlier than you need it. This is a good option if you plan to purchase it as a birthday present for a friend.
Check for Warranty
Laptop manufacturers honor their warranties most of the time. Phone warrantees, on the other hand, are horrible. To ensure you don’t ask for free repairs, most phone warranties only work in the country in which the phone was purchased.
There are a few exceptions though. Large companies like Samsung, Apple, Huawei, and LG provide warranties and free repairs for their phones globally. But if you choose to buy from a less popular brand, make sure it provides a warranty.
The major brands we mentioned above all have offices in the US. From Huawei to LG, Samsung to Xiaomi, you are assured of getting free repairs and warranty coverage throughout the US.
The Fine Details
Does the phone support English? How do you change the setting? Is the device’s power plug similar to what you have at home? If you purchase a big brand phone, you’ll probably not have any compatibility issues. The GPS may have US maps. The charger will be compatible with your plug and it may have Google apps already installed. There are several types of Cell Phone Car Chargers in the market, and you can follow at https://bestreviews.tips/cell-phone-car-chargers_40209/ to get more information.
Don’t forget to research the phone also. Just because it’s a Samsung phone doesn’t mean it has all the features you want. Find out about the ROM, camera, screen size, supported video formats and more features before you make a decision.
Compare the phone with competing models on review sites like bestreviews.guide to find out the best-rated phones in its category. In the end, the goal is to purchase a good phone and not just to save on cash.
Research about Custom Duties
If you are like most people, you want to buy a phone in China because it is cheaper. And true, most android phones are cheaper in China than anywhere else in the world. Most of the major android brands are based in China after all.
Luckily, there are no customs fees for importing a phone from China to the US. You only pay tax if you order phones worth $2500 or more. The European Union also doesn’t charge customs fees for imports related to tablet and smartphones.
The only fee the US charges is called a merchandise processing fee and costs less than $10 per shipment. With individual products like phones, the fee can be as little as $2.
So, the Honor 8 smartphone is $70 cheaper on AliExpress than on Amazon. Great, now check the price on Gearbest and Banggood. You could save up to $100 shopping on certain Chinese sites. Banggood, for example, doesn’t charge shipping fees as long as you buy products above $25. It’s also relatively cheaper than most alternative stores.
Like in the US, electronics-only shopping sites tend to have cheaper smartphones than general stores. However, this is not a rule. Pay attention to smartphone stores for better deals but don’t overlook general retailers like AliExpress.
There are lots of reasons why you should consider buying your next smartphone in China. First, there are reputable shopping sites that deliver worldwide. Phone prices in the country are much lower and you could get free shipping. The fact that phones are rarely charged customs fees in the US also means persevering the long shipping period won’t end up with more charges at the border.
But before you make a purchase, research about the phone. Shop around Chinese shopping sites and buy a device that offers you the best value for your money.