Reliability of Chinese brand cell phones

Here in Canada, cell phones tend to be very expensive. Since I'm looking to replace my now piece of crap phone, I was trying to find cheaper alternatives. I came across this website: http://www.lightinthebox.com/wholesale-Cell-Phones_c206

It sells cell phones at wholesale prices, but the products are Chinese brand, and some of them are copies of the popular brands like Nokia, Apple etc. So has anybody had any hands-on experience using these kinds of chinese phones, and would you say they are reliable? The phones are a lot cheaper and that is the main factor I find attractive.

I would very strongly advise against getting these generic Chinese phone sets. They stop working, are flaky in performance and aren't really supported through any channels. That is what I have found about these phones in Pakistan. It might be different elsewhere. I wouldn't know.

It would be a much better investment to get a second hand branded model which you know will function at the advertised standards.

@sah

Can you get contract (a year or so) with any cellular service provider in your area and get heavly discounted or free cellphone along with contract?

That cellphone will be SIM locked but you'll be able to get it for cheap rate or almost free but you'll be paying for services.

It's a common sense that you already know what I said above :)

^ I'm already on a three yr contract. I just want to upgrade my phone. Unfortunately since people here have a high purchasing power and the population is small, companies try to rip you off any way they can, and in turn people can afford being ripped off so the practice is quite pervasive.

^I am not sure what the phone currently you are using. but I am enough sure if it is a real brand phone then replacing it with a Chinese phone would be a Downgrade but not an Upgrade.

I have seen some of my colleagues and friends purchasing these Chinese handsets very happily. also some of them are still happy with them but more of them have faced their phones stoped working in just a few days.

In my opinion there is no guarantee that it will give you good company for a long time.

it's better to stick with your current phone rather than going for a Chinese one.

@sah

I agree with bellskar that Chinese branded cellphone will be a downgrade :)

I heard a rumored (I am not sure as I never used Chinese branded cellphones) that it is not possible or very difficult to install Java applications in Chinese cellphones. For voice call and texting they are good but if you can't upgrade their functionality then it will be a bad idea to invest in them.

How about getting a refurbished or used cellphone?

My priority list is as following (ordered list, last is least):

1) Brand New Cellphone

2) Used for less than 3 months

3) Refurbished Cellphone

4) Used for or little around 1 year

5) Heavily used (I'll give it to some shop to replace it keypad etc.)

6) Chinese cellphone

Brand new cellphones are good that their chances of going bad are less. But for budget minded, I'll recommended used or refurbished cellphones.

UK has a good market for refurbished cellphones. I have no idea about Canada. Can you locate some local shops that sell unlocked used or refurbished cellphones?

By the way, I am curious what cellphone set you currently have and what you are looking for to get? Just curious :)

Thanks for all the input. Its not that I can't afford a new cellphone, its just that the smart consumer here should always check for alternatives, since like I said companies try to rip you off. So thats what I was doing! Right now I have a Motorola, and its battery is so screwed up its talk time is literally 30 secs. And I've had it for more than 2 yrs so I'm getting bored with it. I think I'll go for the Nokia 6301!

^ sah

Nokia 6301 is a good phone. But be cautious not to get Nokia 6300 instead of Nokia 6301 (both looks same).

Nokia 6301 has UMA feature that enables to use cellphone even in a area where you don't get signals (like in a basement), with the help of WiFi, but your cellular service provider must provide GAN service.

AFAIK, no service provider in Pakistan supports GAN service. Therefore, in Pakistan both Nokia 6300 and Nokia 6301 have pretty much same functionality.

Good luck!

P.S. Do update us with images and your own personal review of your new handset :)