Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Flagship phone prices in Australia


This is a continuation from this post which I talked about the progress of my phone upgrade plans.

There are three ways you can buy a brand new phone in Australia.

Buy it with a plan

Buying it with a plan over a fixed period of time is the first option. This period is generally 24 months but you can find 12 month plans as well. This is also generally the more expensive option in the long run but you don't notice it much because there is no huge upfront payment. It's just a trick to fool the people who don't pay attention. However there was one deal recently launched by Woolworths Mobile (an MVNO which uses Telstra's network) which was cheaper than getting the phone (locally) with a similar plan. Sadly I missed out on it because I wasn't convinced the S7 Edge, the phone offered in the deal, was a good phone until last week when I got some personal time with it.

Buy it outright with local warranty

Buying it from the local market, paying full amount upfront as you would buy any other thing would be the second option. Generally this is cheaper than getting the phone on a plan and also gives you a lot more control over your choice of plan and termination of a plan. Also you get full 2 year local warranty. This even applies to iPhones. You don't need to get an Apple Care Plus warranty but one can argue that the price tag includes this. But expect to spend well over AU$1000 for a flagship model from any manufacturer. For example,  the Galaxy S7 is $1149,  S7 Edge is $1249 and the iPhone 6S 16GB model is $1079 (which is not recommended due to ridiculously low storage space.) When time goes by, especially when the successor is in the horizon, shops tend to lower the prices. mobileciti is currently selling the S7 for $1039 and the iPhone 6S for $989.  In addition to that, sometimes there are 20% off eBay deals where shops like Bing Lee and The Good Guys participate and they sell phones with Australian warranty. It’s worth waiting for these, if you are not in a hurry.

Buy from a grey importer

Lastly,  you can buy it from a grey importer,  like Kogan or T-Dimension. Basically, these are sellers who ship the phones from Hong Kong. You can save up about $200-500 (which is a lot) depending on the brand, model and any special offers. For example, the Galaxy S7 Edge can be found for as low as $800, but you can pretty much forget about warranty if you go this route. You usually get 1 year warranty from the seller and you have to ship the phone back to him if you want to claim warranty. You may or may not get a favourable result; latter being more commonplace. Those 20% off eBay deals apply to the grey importers too, but sadly, sometimes they increase the prices during the deal period and you end up only getting 5-10% advantage.

Whichever method you choose, the tax season (around end of June every year) is a great time to shop for phones. Sadly, new phones do not come during that time. I missed many opportunities because I was all set up to get the next iPhone. But now I think I am going to stick with Android.

I am not comfortable going with a grey importer but on the other hand,  I cannot resist the temptation when I see all those savings. I can buy a lot of stuff for my PC with those savings. The only time I had to claim warranty for a phone was when my wife's iPhone 4S' speakers didn't work.

Then again, this quote from someone on Whirlpool Forums makes so much sense.

Put it this way:
Let's say you could walk into Harvey Norman and buy an S7 Edge for $800, except it has no warranty at all. If they offered you a 2 year warranty for $450 extra, would you buy it? I certainly wouldn't. I'd rather take my chances and save the cash.

I have no idea what the failure rate of these phones is, but I'm guessing it's significantly lower than 1 in 3. Therefore, I'm happy to gamble my $800 in order to save $450.

But the phone I have in mind is the Galaxy Note 7 and it could take a while for the grey market prices to drop to the level it is more appealing to go that route. I don't think I can wait that long though. So, I might get it on a plan or buy it outright from the local market. Let's first wait and see how good the Note 7 will be.

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