We’re known for great value at Raptor and our range of Rugged devices, no matter how small or large are based on a flew core simple principles that our beliefs.  One of those is great value because we just don’t know why rugged devices from classic brands are simply so expensive.  However there’s a big difference between inexpensive or great value and “cheap” so this blog takes you through some of the pitfalls of buying cheap and what to look out for.

We’ve actually got some great articles on our website about this too so why not drop in and take a look at some of our deep dive articles too, they might just save you a lot of pain, time and money!

So lets crack on and take a look at some of the things you need to watch out for when buying cheap rugged smartphones for your business.

Beware of copies

Now we’re not talking about re-branded hardware here.  That’s fine, everyone does that, what we’re talking about is copied hardware.  First off you’ll probably find copies of everything now-a-days.  If you understand China like I do then you only need to go and visit the areas where electronic devices are made to understand how easily copies can be made of everything. I’ve seen Panasonic copies, Motorola/Zebra of course anything you see new, cheap with a Samsung or Apple brand on Ebay is probably a copy and lets not forget that the copied iPhone was the biggest selling smartphone in the world for many many years. Buying a copy of a device can bring a whole host of pain with it and whilst it might look exactly the same from the outside, the OS will be different, the quality is usually poor, things like battery life suffer, parts are different and above all the support for the device is often none existent too.

But how do you get round this?  Well firstly don’t buy anything from Ebay.  If it’s cheap then it probably is just that…cheap.  Beware of websites selling copies or even genuine articles at low prices.  These often source from China directly and you’ll be waiting weeks for them.

Buying local

If you’re a consumer then you know what, its fine, go try and buy as cheaply as you can.  I do, I hunt high and low for some things sometimes in search for a£5 lower price.  But if you;re buying for your business then remember that the hardware and its up front cost is only about 30% of the total cost you’ll need to account for.  Most of the cost comes after the initial purchase in the form of repairs, problems, training and help to use the device and lastly liaising with the supplier for more kit or problems with existing kit.  If you buy from a UK brand with a clear base in the UK, a repair centre and some kind of commitment then you;re not only helping UK business survive but you’re also making life a lot easier for yourself in the medium/long term.

If you buy from a UK brand then you get all the laws and rules on your side when it comes to support or warranty, you’ll get hardware that should have the correct certifications like CE or FCC and you’ll be able to talk to someone who should understand your issues and be able to work with you to fix them.  Put simply, the world is a smaller place but the rules in them are far more complex than they were.  Keep things simple!

Who does the work?

In the old days you basically had to buy from a reseller or brand directly.  So we’ve all got used to having the benefits that come with that but none of us think about what we lose when we cut that out and go direct to a supplier in China or even one that’s importing into the UK but from a foreign base.  All too often we focus on the price and forget the work that’s done on the hardware as it comes into stock in the UK.

There are a whole host of things you have to consider including:

IMEI numbers are genuine

If your IMEI numbers are not genuine then you run the risk of your devices having duplicate ones or worse still being reported stolen.  The GSMA are cracking down on this and you might have heard that in some countries like India for example this practise has now been banned.  Oh yes and forget about getting anything for your old devices because the first thing a refurb outlet will do is check the IMEI!

CE is done properly

CE is so important un yet the amount of businesses I talk to that didn’t even think about that when they bought 100 devices from Ebay or Alibaba is alarming! CE is a requirement for all electronic products coming into Europe.  If a product does not have CE then it is not fit for use in any European country.  FCC is the same for the USA.  If you buy without ensuring this then you are responsible an d if there’s an issue with the device like the battery explodes and hurts someone then you could face huge fines and even prison if found negligent.  I cannot stress enough how important this is.

OS and data usage

It has been in the news very recently how Chinese brands of phones are actually stealing data from Western buyers and sending it back to the Chinese government so they can understand how we buy better.  All kinds of data was sent back, in fact all of it was sent back.  When we sell a Raptor product, it might be seen somewhere else branded differently but what is unique is that our devices have hours and days of work to remove any apps or OS features that pry into your data.  We also have Google Play disconnected versions (because Google’s no better when it comes to your data!) and we also make sure they are optimised and made reliable and as vanilla as possible so you have all the RAM and ROM left for your own use.

Just think…what if your customer data was being shared like this?  What if your customers found out?

Repair, support and Device Management

Lastly if you buy cheap then what happens when things go wrong?  Can you get a quick easy local repair carried out?  Can you talk to someone about your individual business needs and can you get any kind of data or management come with your devices?  Does your supplier know all about KIOSKing and locking down devices?  Do they have tools that will help you wipe or track lost phones and can you get them repaired, serviced and also have a partner there to work along side you software provider?  All of this is extra value, but it also costs money to provide.

As a consumer your time is not so important so we use it all the time to fix bad decisions and mistakes we make as consumers.  However in business time is directly proportionate to money so treat your business down seriously and pay a little more to get the best peace of mind you can get.  Trust me it’ll be worth it in each and every case!

About The Author

Dave's one of the founders of Raptor, his rants are memorable, his thoughts are stimulating and his heart is set on helping, entertaining and making things like mobile, Android, ruggedness, 3D printing and IOT simple.

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