You can get cheap electronics in the Philippines. I did just the other day, a Samsung One Note 8 for $75. Don’t get too excited though there is always a “but” and I’ll get to that later in this article. One of the first things you will learn is that electronics are more expensive in the Philippines and if you go to the malls and buy name brand products you’ll pay a lot more for them. I checked the price on a Cannon 7D and found that it would cost me about $1000 more here than it would at Amazon. There is a five percent tax on imported electronics but that doesn’t explain the excessively high prices here and nor does shipping. After all, most of those products are imported into the USA as well as other Western nations.
A Samsung One Note 8 for Seventy Five Dollars?
Yes and no. That’s what it says on it. I was hoping it was refurbished but I asked and no. It is counterfeit. It was made in Korea and it is decent in its speed but it doesn’t even try to really pretend to mimic a Samsung Android device. For example, it does not have GPS. That turns out to be a major hindrance because a lot of my favorite apps are not supported for my phone. I cannot install them. This is probably because of no GPS. They are mostly banking sites but there was one dating site full of Filipina that also will not run on my new tablet.
I expected lower quality but I should have checked to see if had GPS because that is important to me. Usually people complain about the lower quality to which I say “So what, you can buy ten of them for what the original cost. So what if it dies soon”. My other choice was to do without.
My now ancient Samsung Galaxy got wet when Typhoon Yolanda slammed into Bogo City where I was renting a home. It finally died a couple of weeks ago. It will not power on. I went a week without a phone and it wasn’t pleasant. I really do need one. Google backups all your contacts if you so elect with your Android phone and I really didn’t want to lose my contacts so I wanted an Android.
Other Issues with my Cheap Android Phone
The phone is junk but still it is better than no phone at all. I don’t talk on a phone very often. In fact, it’s rare but I do use it for texting and nearly everything else. It is hard to do anything on this phone since it locks up every few minutes.
Yesterday, it locked up constantly for about 30 minutes. I installed GPS essentials. I was surprised I could. I never have picked up a GPS satellite on my Galaxy S2 but the GPS works. I assumed they did it through my internet connection. I uninstalled the GPS Essentials and my phone went back to my normal locking up every thirty minutes or so.
Other Cheap Devices are not Always Bad
Yesterday, I was dropping everything I picked up. I spilled my Coke Zero three times. The last time, I spilled it on my keyboard. I thought I would be buying a new one today as it went wonkers after that. However, it dried out overnight and it working fine now. More than likely you will get a decent keyboard here for less than $5.00. The $5 keyboards in the USA were next to useless. In rare cases, electronics in the Philippines are cheap and work well. I see a lot of large speakers here that are not very expensive that sound just fine. I also hear a lot that rattle so they may not last as long. I don’t know. Generally though, electronics are far more expensive in the Philippines.
I think that Western electronics are expensive because most Filipinos can’t afford them. The people that are buying these items, for the most part, are wealthy or well off. So they have the money and the stores know they are not going to sell a lot of these items. I’d charge a lot for them too. If you go from store to store, you’ll find that most are charging the exact same price. Likely they are selling them at the manufacturer suggested retail price and no one in the USA does that any more. I don’t have anything to back up this theory but it is my guess as to the real reason. Nothing else I know about the subject makes any sense to me.
So am I happy with my cheap Android tablet?
You know sometimes you get what you pay for and I certainly did this time haha. Just because you pay a lot doesn’t mean you will get what you pay for. I’m glad I have it. It is better than nothing. I would like to get Google’s Nexus 5 or a Samsung Galaxy S5. If you had your choice, which of the two would you get and why? Please let me know in the comments below. Please share this article on your social networks if you think it will be of value to others.
Update: Phone is now dead as of 8/18/14 so it didn’t last a full month. I don’t see me buying another one of these counterfeit phones. I will perhaps get a cheap Samsung or Nokia. At least I will be able to text.
Filed under: Finicial Issues for Expats
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