The title may be inaccurate to say the most, but I bet most of you do get what I’m trying to say here; It’s basically a comparison between those smartphone devices you find online which have the word “import” placed in its description. Something like what you see above.
I have received some inquiries about such situation, and I think there is a need to clarify what is the difference of these ‘import’ devices (non-official) if compared to the ones which are ‘local Malaysia'(official).
WHAT ARE ‘IMPORT’ SMARTPHONE? – Are they original?
‘Import’ devices or gadgets are those obtained from another country aside from Malaysia(or the host country). They can be obtained from China, Singapore, UK and many other places. They are basically original devices which are meant from other market, except Malaysia. Sometimes, they are called ‘underwater gadgets’ or ‘AP sets’. However it is important to note that AP gadgets can be also deemed as gadgets assembled locally as they are not from the real manufacturer. One thing worth to note is that ‘import gadgets’ or unofficial devices are normally made by the original manufacturer and are not clones or imitations.
PRICE – Which is cheaper?
The price of ‘import gadgets’ are obviously different, and are normally priced much lower since most do avoid local taxes. Nonetheless, there are some devices which will cost equal to the original devices if supply is seen to be short. Take for example Xiaomi which only sells their devices at a controlled volume online. Retailers are selling it above or at almost the same rate as the usual price offered by Xiaomi as the demand for the smartphones are high, but stock is highly limited.
WARRANTY – How much is my device covered?
‘Import gadgets’ normally carry the full manufacturer warranty but there might be problems obtaining service at your official local servicing outlet due to sertain manufacturers only wanting to service devices only bought through the proper channel. That said, unless the device has a valid ‘worldwide warranty’, you may need to send the device back to who you purchased it from to get it repaired. For ‘local Malaysia’ devices, you can send it to authorized Malaysia service outlets without much problems.
ASSEMBLY – Who builds these ‘import gadgets’?
In most cases, ‘import gadgets’ are made by the real manufacturer. The only problem is that smartphones are made tailored for their respective markets. For example Samsung has produced numerous types of the Samsung Galaxy 4 for the American market, but only one type/band is available for the Malaysian market. That said, there has been reports that some of these ‘import gadgets’ have problems functioning in Malaysia due to a slight hardware difference. The ‘local Malaysia’ gadgets are tailored for the Malaysian ecosystem, and hence reducing any problems with your usage in Malaysia. You might however encounter problems shall you use your device outside of Malaysia. The charger which comes with your smartphone will also be different on ‘imported gadgets’ since they cater for the country they are meant for.
RISK & ADVANTAGES – Is it safe to buy ‘import devices’?
If you have read the article above, I’m very sure you’d already sum up the risk of buying non-official Malaysian devices (import gadgets) by now. But for what’s it worth, the risk of buying these non-official gadgets include problems with warranty claims and possible usage problems in Malaysia. You might also have an issue charging your phone since the charger might not fit your local power socket. The advantage comes in terms of pricing if compared to the official gadgets (local Malaysia).
IDENTIFICATION – How do know which is which?
Identifying non-official Malaysia devices are simple if the seller does put up the word ‘import’ in their description. However, not all sellers are responsible with some hiding such information from you. The best way is to see its pricing and also its warranty. Official products cost more because they pay taxes, and when it comes to warranty, it must be able to be serviced in the whole of Malaysia with no such words as ‘return to seller’ for warranty claim. On top of that, these phones should also have English and sometime Bahasa Malaysia instructions coming with it, and the charger should be readily made for a typical Malaysian power socket (3 pins). Other than the three stated above, it is difficult to detect which is an imported version of the product, but in most cases, official products only come from official sources like the official store of the brand, or telcos.
While price might play a vital role when you purchase a device, it must be noted that electronic devices such as smartphones might not be built as lasting as it used to be. That said, if you want less hassle, getting the official product from official retailers might be the best. However, if you like to take risk, and warranty is the least of your concerns, the ‘import gadgets’ will be the way to go as you will save some. If you are looking to compare prices of smartphones, or maybe buy them at great discounts, this site can help, but please take into account what I have mentioned above.