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Buying unlocked budget smartphone is a tricky business and you need to pay attention from who you are buying. The best case is if Amazon sells the particular model or at least provide "Prime" shipping.
You need to study the reviews very carefully.
Chances of buying a counterfeit phone are pretty high but typically in this case you should see a lot of negative reviews.
Another problem is planted positive reviews.
Negative reviews can as misleading as planted positive reviews. The first thing to check is whether on Amazon the reviewer has other reviews. If not proceed with caution.
Here is one telling review of Lenovo A830 Android4.2 Quad Core 1.2GHz 5.0 inch QHD 540960 3G WCDMA 8.0MP (it might well be that a830 and a820 are China-only model, though):
Fake China Phone September 9, 2013
Do not buy this phone if you are actually looking for a Lenovo phone. The a830 and a820 are fake phones, china copies. Go to the Lenovo website and look for those phones and you won't see them.
In any case you need to analyze negative reviews from those who have verified buyer status for this phone trying to spot problems.
That mean that the selection of the vendor from which you are buying the phone is as important as the selection of the model and you should pay due attention, reading the rating, reviews and such. Generally selection of a vendor with too few reviews that is not using "Prime" delivery, or has multiple reviews and less then 4.5 star rating is very dangerous and additional risk does not justifies saving that you might get.
|The selection of the vendor from which you are buying the phone is as important as the selection of the model and you should pay due attention, reading the rating, reviews and such. On Amazon buy only from "Prime" vendors so that you can return it.|
But not all negative reviews are relevant. But there are some un-objective negative reviews that can throw dirt of good, reliable models. There are two types that you can probably safely ignore:
Here is one example of "suspicious" negative review (the guy could bought a counterfeit, can do something wrong by updating, or have genuine hardware problem):
This phone is restarting automatically, June 21, 2013 See all my reviews Purchase (What's this?)This review is from: Sony Xperia E C1604 Dual-SIM Unlocked Android Phone--U.S. Warranty (Black) (Wireless Phone Accessory) This phone has good features but it restarts automatically quite often. I tried to factory reset and update the software,
still notice that this problem still exists.
1.0 out of 5 stars Complete waste of money, August 27, 2013
Amazon Verified Purchase
This review is from: Sony Xperia E C1604 Dual-SIM Unlocked Android Phone--U.S. Warranty (Black) (Wireless Phone Accessory)
I would say that I am a bit of a Sony fan as I tend to purchase a lot of things they make. I've been buying Sony phones for a while and I really wanted to buy the Xperia C dual sim but couldn't due to time constraints as I was leaving the country for an extended period of time, so I went with the Xperia E dual sim. I will say this phone has been nothing but a disappointment.
The moment I turned the phone on, I noticed I had an update available and updated the phone to JellyBean 4.1.1. From then on, the phone would randomly crash and restart. It then started crashing and restarting whenever the phone screen locked and I tried to unlock it. It would sometimes happen when I used the slide or entered the pin, it didn't really matter which method I tried, it would crash and restart.
I have used PC companion to repair the installation several times, as well as Sony's update service and yet the issue exists. At this point, I need to return the phone but physically cannot.
Iggy See all my reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't Buy. Lots of problems, looks good on paper but unusable in real life, July 17, 2013
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sony Xperia E C1604 Dual-SIM Unlocked Android Phone--U.S. Warranty (Black)
- Dual Sim Capable
- Responsive, doesn't feel slow and the UI looks nice
- Phone design looks good, not ugly for a budget smart phone
- microSD slot
- Call quality (good even on International calls)
Neutrals (features expected for a $150 smart phone):
- Screen quality/resolution is average (320 x 480 pixels, 3.5 inches. 165 ppi pixel density)
- Single core CPU (1 GHz Cortex-A5)
- Memory is OK (4 GB, 2 GB user available. 512 MB RAM)
- Battery Life is OK (not great but not bad either)
- Dual Sims aren't very useful.
- Only SIM1 is 3G capable, SIM2 is 2G only
- Camera is useless, very poor quality pictures in most situations. Mediocre pictures in good light
- Phone would lock-up if a call was made on one of the SIMs and it was ended before the other other party answered.
- Random phone radio/dialer lock-ups (phone looks like it is working but no incoming or outgoing calls)
- Random phone restarts
- Phone doesn't shutdown after a lock-up, only fix is to remove the battery
These problems were with NO 3rd party apps installed. Just what was on the phone itself.
I regret buying this phone, it would have been better to just use 2 phones rather than this phone.
It was bought so we could use it when traveling internationally.
The Samsung dual SIM phones all supported 3G only on SIM1
(unlike Sony, Samsung was honest and stated this in their specifications).
This phone just like the Samsung phones has one 3G radio which is for SIM1 only.
In most countries 3G wouldn't matter for voice calls but if you travel to Japan or South Korea you need a 3G phone/radio, 2G doesn't work at all. Which is why I wanted a dual sim phone that supports 3G on both SIMs. I only found out of this problem while the phone was in Japan, SIM2 radio didn't work at all in Japan. This combined with the radio/dialer lock-up issue caused major problems.
This phone was used by my mother (she knows how to use an Android phone just not troubleshoot it) and she had an awful experience with it. The phone lock-up and 3G radio issues left the phone inoperable for long periods during her trip. This made it impossible to communicate since we didn't know what was happening. The phone would work sometimes and not others. We tried several SIMs thinking it was a problem with the wireless service providers. What we didn't realize was that the phone worked for a little while because the battery was taken out and put back in during SIM swaps.
This phone caused lots of stress for my mother & others trying to communicate with her during the trip and on her return. The day of her return she spent over two hours waiting at the airport after traveling for over 22 hours. Her flight was early, airport staff routed some passengers through a different terminal she thought we hadn't arrived yet and waited for us thinking we weren't at the airport yet. We arrived early as well because we saw that the flight was ahead of its schedule. We waited for her thinking customs/immigration might be taking time. We tried calling her but couldn't reach her since the phone was locked-up. She tried shutting down the phone (it never shutoff the phone was locked-up). She tried calling us but no calls went through, she thought the wireless service providers were the issue. Luckily she got tried of waiting and a couple of Good Samaritans helped her out, they called me for her so I was able to find her.
Save yourself lots of headaches and stress, don't buy this phone.