Ordering a smartphone from China is so easy. There are hundreds of sellers and thousands of offers at your service. A few clicks of the mouse - and now an exotic model is coming to you, which is not for sale and will never be sold in USA. But don't rush to rejoice: a purely Chinese smartphone can introduce you to the most unexpected problems. This article will cover three of them.
China is the largest electronics market, as well as the birthplace of many companies that produce unusual technology. The coolest, original and weirdest smartphones first come out in China, and only then in other countries. And sometimes their sales are limited to the Asian market.
Therefore, your desire to order one of such exotic devices from the Chinese and show it off to your friends is understandable. The question is: is it worth doing? Once you get your hands on a Chinese smartphone, you may encounter several surprises.
The most serious problem that you may face is related to cellular communication: not all imported smartphones work in the networks of USA operators. Each provider has its own frequency range in which it provides its services. The Chinese smartphone you have chosen may not be designed for them, and there are two options: either the cellular connection on it will work intermittently, or it will not catch the network at all. You will not be able to make calls from it and use the mobile Internet.
Also keep in mind that the same smartphone may have several regional versions - for European countries, USA, Africa, etc. Before ordering, please make sure that the version you are purchasing has the required communication frequencies.
Installing Google Services
Chinese smartphones not destined for the overseas market come with local software. You will not use it and, most likely, you will not even understand what the programs signed with mysterious hieroglyphs are responsible for. You will want to quickly install the usual Google Play in order to download the necessary software. But that was not the case.
Google does not have much influence on manufacturers from the Middle Kingdom, therefore, familiar Android services are not installed on natively Chinese smartphones. You won't find maps, translators, mail, or even the Google Play store. Installing them is not as easy as it sounds: most Google apps require many additional background services. Therefore, just download the APK Play Market from somewhere, drop it into the phone's memory and install it will not work.
It's difficult to get the Play Market to work on a non-Google build of Android. Some Google apps require system-level permissions and need to be installed as system programs. By default, the user does not have this option. To get it, you need to unlock the bootloader on your smartphone, it will give control over the software. You can then boot into recovery mode and get the system-level permissions required to install Google apps.
For those who are afraid of the words bootloader and recovery, there is a fallback: order a smartphone not from China, but from any other country - Europe, India. Anything sold outside of China already comes with Google apps preinstalled, which will save you a ton of time and hassle.
Chinese Android builds are almost always poor clones of iOS. Changing the firmware will not only save you from the software preinstalled by the Chinese, but also increase the speed of the device, improve stability, allow you to install official Google programs and customize the workspace as you wish.
Flashing a smartphone always carries the risk of getting a dead brick instead of a working device. But even if the process succeeds, some services may not be available - for example, banking. The financial software is capable of recognizing device flashing and restricting its own functionality for security purposes.
The Topic of Article: Problems that you may face when ordering a smartphone from China.