Blog

A Tale of Five Droids - All less than a ton (c-note!)

For an Android project I’m working on I wanted to have a selection of test devices without having to spend a fortune.  To keep costs down, I went to the Geekbuying website and purchased a variety of phones, ranging from very cheap to cheap.  I paid customs/import duty on these devices, but no shipping charges since Geekbuying was offering free shipping at the time I placed the order.  The only criteria I had was for WiFi and no separate charger - i.e., chargeable via the USB connector.  I didn’t care about RAM, 3G/4G, etc or CPU speeds.

I have to say that these phones all represent tremendous value for money, and I’d probably even use the top two (Zoppo and iPegTop) as a day-to-device if I didn’t already have one.  All of them offer dual SIM slots; two are dual-core and the other three quad-core CPUs.  The screens on the very cheap devices are definitely not the best, but wait til you see the price!  Perfect for testing or for giving to a less demanding user who just wants some basic functionality without spending a fortune on the latest from Apple or the top-end Droids.

Obviously these run Android, so for some of you that might be the biggest issue if you prefer iOS.

What is clear is that educated consumers can (I believe legally) get fairly powerful but inexpensive devices with some very real but minimal downsides, depending on their requirements.  In my case I had no DOA units; the devices all seem well put together; and there were no issues with shipping or payment.  So far I’ve only tried PAYG SIMs in the iPegTop z26, and it works well - but lack of 3G on the low-end or perhaps non-standard radio bands means the buyer needs to be careful if they want to use the device as an actual phone instead of as a WiFi only terminal.

In addition, none of these devices run the latest version of Android.  In my case, a random selection of operating system versions was exactly what I needed but this will probably cause others to think twice.

Here is a quick photo album of what I went for:

But, buyer beware - be careful! Check the specs carefully should you choose to go this route, and don’t shoot me if it doesn’t work out for you - YMMV with this approach.  This article also explores reasons why this kind of purchase might remain a geek-only activity for the foreseeable future.


© Chris Walters 2016