Considering the prices Chinese OEMs like Tecno and Infinix sell their flagship phones in Nigeria, one might start considering buying a UK-used phone instead, or even a device from other Chinese manufacturers without any physical presence in the country.
This looks like a good idea though. You get a device with better specs and features at about the same price, but there’s a caveat. If you’ve already made up your mind about buying a Xiaomi or an Oukitel smartphone from Gearbest here in Nigeria, there are a few things you should understand.
When you buy phones from Chinese OEMs with no active presence in Nigeria, even if the phone is covered by their warranty, there’s a chance you won’t enjoy this benefit. Again, your geographical zone may not be included in this warranty. Basically, this means if a faulty phone is shipped out to you, you are at the mercy of the merchant.
You might be able to return it back to the store if it happens within the timeframe covered by their return policy, but then, you are likely to be the one to pay for shipping it back to China.
So, if you’re buying a Xiaomi, Oukitel, Ulefone, or Elefone device, be sure to know what the store’s return policy looks like. For instance, Gearbest offers a 45-day money back guarantee and a one-year repair warranty, but the customer is going to be responsible for the return shipping fees.
Another thing to consider is the availability of repair centers. Does that manufacturer have repair centers you could easily reach in the event of a damaged screen? In most cases, this isn’t the case. You might be able to fix software issues all by yourself if you’re a bit tech-savvy. As for hardware damage, you would have to give the device to third-party engineers and they might be able to fix it if you’re lucky.
The good part
Despite all these, there are still things to appreciate about these devices from China.
- Value for moneyXiaomi is one of those companies pushing out great devices at competitive price points. Most of the time, they sell devices with great specifications and nice build quality at unbelievable prices.
- Great support forumThe very helpful support forum is one thing I appreciate. Software bricks can be easily fixed by just visiting the support forum and following guides posted by other users. For those deep into tweaking Android OS, most of these devices have active boards on XDA Developers forum.
If you’re buying a Chinese phone from an OEM with no physical presence in Nigeria, be sure to invest in a case and tempered glass at the point of purchase. It’s important to protect the display as a screen damage is most likely to happen; every phone is fragile and it’s very likely you’re going to drop it.
As for soft bricks, well, you should to know how to fix it if you know how to cause it. Don’t unlock the bootloader, don’t root, and don’t flash custom ROMs unless you know exactly what you’re doing. If you’re tech-savvy enough to deal with a bootloop on your own, you can do whatever you want.
I’ve been using these devices for quite a while and I’ve been able to deal with all these. You might be as lucky as I am. Or not.