Gadget Matchup:Unlocking Phones VS Factory Unlocked Phones
When it comes to obtaining unlocked phones, you have two options: buying phones unlocked from the factory or getting your existing phone unlocked. Each has its own ups and downs, and it’ll be up to you to decide which one will best suit what you need right now:
If you have an existing phone that you’re comfortable using, then it may be more affordable to simply have it unlocked. It will cost far less than buying a new phone from scratch – unless you plan to upgrade your phone in the foreseeable future. Then it may be a smarter decision to pick up unlocked cell phones right from the get-go. You can also often get factory unlocked phones for far less than locked phones that you buy from a carrier. This leads to even more savings in the long run.
There are three major communications standards used by cell phones: GSM, CDMA, and LTE. Some unlocked phones may work with two or even all three standards, but you need to make sure that the phone you pick is actually compatible with the communications standards used by your carrier. This is especially problematic for locked phones, which may have to be reprogrammed in order to work with another carrier. That’s assuming your new carrier uses the same communications standards as your old carrier.
Factory unlocked smart phones come with a warranty for the phone as-is. On the other hand, unlocking a previously locked phone could void the warranty provided by your carrier. The only way you’ll know for certain is to carefully review the terms of your warranty as well as your contract. You wouldn’t have to worry about this if you buy factory unlocked cellphones in the first place, as you know from the very beginning that your carrier won’t assist you if your phone is lost, stolen, or damaged.
Some locked phones only require a simple code from your carrier to unlock. Other locked phones, however, will require the services of a specialized technician to reprogram the phone to work with a new carrier. You may even have to resort to an independent third party to handle unlocking your phone. They’ll have the skills, the software, and the hardware to unlock your phone – for a price.
If you do opt to have a third party unlock your phone, you risk opening up your phone to these third parties. You will have to trust these third parties to keep your private information safe and to avoid installing malware that could monitor your actions or record your log-in credentials. This is less of a risk with factory unlocked phones, though you then need to ensure that your sources are legit and not fraudulent.
Some countries or states make it so that your carriers will not be compelled to unlock your locked cellphone. For example, it was previously illegal in the United States to unlock carrier-locked phones prior to the signing of the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act in February of 2015. While this made it legal to unlock phones, it will still be up to carriers to dictate the terms of unlocking your phone. If you encounter a lot of red tape, it may be more viable to simply buy unlocked mobile phones and then switch to a new carrier instead.
Chinavasion is a Hong Kong-based gadget wholesaler sourcing its products straight from Shenzhen, the manufacturing heart of China. Retailers and consumers alike will be able to avail of a wide array of high-tech gizmos, from unlocked phones and low-cost tablet PCs to LED t-shirts and virtual reality video glasses.