4 Ways to Buy Smartphones on the Cheap in the Philippines

Buying a smartphone on a budget can be challenging. Either you end up with a cheap clone model that breaks in a couple of months, or you get stuck with a hefty credit card debt that you’ll be barely scraping by trying to pay the minimum off month after month. If you want to avoid either or both of these scenarios—meaning you want great tech for great prices—then read on as we list down four simple ways to buy smartphones on the cheap in the Philippines. Indulging yourself in the latest technology doesn’t have to be a bank-breaking affair, after all.

Buy from reputable Philippine online sellers

If it’s a deal you’re looking for, and especially when it comes to smartphones, there’s no better place to go than online. With e-commerce booming all over the country around the same time that social media truly took off, the tech-hungry population of the Philippines now has a wide range of local online tech distributors and resellers to choose from when it comes to getting their fix. What used to be a dodgy affair that resulted in not only expensive overseas shipping fees as well as costly customs taxes is now a relatively stress-free and even cheaper affair, with free door-to-door shipping and even cash on delivery as commonly-offered transaction options. 

Why is buying online cheaper? For one, online distributors can get their stock directly from the manufacturers, so that results in savings that they can pass on to the customer. Second, these online resellers can operate out of just one or a few facilities. They don’t need to rent space in an upscale mall in order to feature their products and sell them. This reduces their overhead, and again gives them savings that they can pass on to you. Third is that they’re very competitive, and as such, they frequently run promos and discounts in order to attract as much business as possible. One example is the frequent smartphone discount sales on Poundit.com, where prices can get slashed by as much as 50%. You’re literally getting a smartphone for half-off!

With all these savings, buying your smartphone online is your best bet. Just make sure that the website you’re purchasing from is a reputable one, like Poundit. The e-commerce boom has unfortunately given rise to many fake websites and scammers, so make sure you do your research beforehand.

Buy from popular tech joints such as Greenhills

Buying from big upscale malls may seem convenient, but in truth you will be paying a lot more than you bargained for. Remember that anything sold in a mall, especially when it’s one of the upper-class ones, usually has a fair amount of the vendor’s space rental fee tacked onto its price tag. It’s not something we can blame them for—after all, with how expensive mall space can be, the vendor will inevitably go out of business a lot quicker if they sell their products as MSRP. 

Instead, do the legwork and visit the country’s more popular tech hubs, with one of them being Greenhills. Not only will you find a larger variety of smartphones to choose from in this high-tech mecca, you’ll also be able to haggle your way into a more budget-friendly deal, as many of the shops found here are manned by friendly and accommodating staff (or even better, by its owner). Just be polite and understanding, and you’ll be sure to knock off a couple of hundreds from your total bill. If you can’t, though, you can always try scoring some extras, such as a free screen protector or case.

You still need to be careful when buying from Greenhills and other places like it, though. One tip you need to remember is that you should only buy from a shop that has an established place in the mall – meaning that it doesn’t look temporary or ramshackle. Never buy from people milling about and offering you units coming out of their pockets or bags, either. This way, in case that you need to pursue your purchase’s warranty or have to return it for another model, you actually have a place to go to, rather than nowhere at all. Some unscrupulous folk often put up temporary shop in malls in order to pass off defective or stolen tech as legitimate products, only to disappear the moment they’ve made a sale. Avoid these fly-by-night dealers at all costs.

Don’t buy the first smartphone you see. Look around and canvass for the best deal.

Never buy the first smartphone that catches your fancy when you’re out shopping. There’s a very good chance that the very same model is being sold for a significantly cheaper price in another shop or stall— one that’s probably just next door! Trust us when we say that there’s nothing worse than coming out of a shop with your latest purchase, thinking yourself a savvy consumer, until that’s shattered by you seeing that the shop just a couple of meters over is selling the same unit for cheaper, and even with a handful of freebies! 

Spare yourself the heartbreak and window-shop first. This way, you can assure yourself that you’re truly getting the deal that you deserve. All that walking around is going to burn some extra calories too, so that’s a win-win situation.

Buy second-hand

This is a bit of a risky affair, but if you don’t mind buying pre-loved tech, then you might want to go this route. There are many ways to go about this, from buying from friends and off Facebook Marketplace listings, as well as online selling websites like olx.ph and even stalls in Greenhills that sell pawned-off smartphones. Either way, you’re bound to save quite a bundle going this route. It’s up to you whether or not the risks are worth those savings in the first place.

What are those risks, you ask? Well, one is that you might be getting a product that’s been repaired or refurbished. Nothing’s  inherently wrong with this, of course, but it also means that there’s a higher chance that the smartphone may break a couple of months into your using it. Another risk is that the item you get delivered to you may not be the one you thought you paid for. It may not even end up getting delivered at all. This is obviously a form of scam, and in many cases, it would be very difficult task to get your money back.

Still, if you know who you’re buying from, and they’re reputable (e.g. they have had many happy customers in the past, buying second-hand is definitely an option. If you do decide on dabbling in it, remember to always ask for a meetup if it’s feasible, and in a secure and neutral place (like in a coffeeshop or restaurant). Also, test the item right then and there, don’t just let money change hands.

Keep these four tips in mind, and you’ll be making more affordable and economical choices when it comes to purchasing smartphones. Always remember – tech may be expensive, but it doesn’t need to break the bank. A bit of diligence and some elbow grease can go a long way!


Deli S said…
These are very useful and practical tips. Valuable tips indeed to remember while shopping for smartphones.
Chubskulit Rose said…
I will pass this info to my relatives in PI. I do agree with buying it on refutable establishments.
Such a timely blog post as I'm about to buy a new smartphone real soon. Thanks for sharing these tips on how I can become a wise buyer.