So you’ve decided to dump your wireless contract. That’s a big step in not only saving yourself money, but saving yourself tons of money over time. Now the only problem is finding a good unlocked smartphone to go with your newfound freedom. The following tips will hopefully make the process of buying an unlocked smartphone much easier.

Everything is in the Details

When purchasing an unlocked smartphone, you’ve got to know what you’re getting. All the information you could ever want on your future phone is at your fingertips, so there’s no excuse if you’re surprised when your new phone doesn’t live up to your expectations. Sites like GSMArena and PhoneArena were made specifically for cataloging smartphone specs and details.

Don’t skimp on making comparisons. You need to address all of your options and not rush into a purchase. Your friends may all have the new iPhone, but you might get more use out of one of the newer Android or Windows phones. Also, hunting down video reviews on YouTube and watching people use your future phone is a great way to get a feel for it, without actually feeling it. Be sure to keep a list of your prospective phones as well and make your own personal pros and cons list.

Last but not least, don’t be cheap. If you’re an on-the-go student, having a solid smartphone will come in handy and keep you connected. You will, without a doubt, regret going with the cheaper phone within a short period of time. So save your pennies and get the phone you really want.

Know Your Vendor

Making expensive purchases online can be a nerve-racking process. You could be worried about the shipping, quality of the item, or especially: the legitimacy of the seller. Buying from reputable businesses like Amazon is a way to avoid worrying, but you often pay more for the safe feeling.

I would advise against buying unlocked phones from any non-established seller on any online marketplace. Just the possibility of dealing with a return should be enough to make you consider spending the extra money and buying your unlocked smartphone direct from the manufacturer, an established online retailer, or from a reputable big box store with a good return policy.

So yes, that means be extremely wary of eBay sellers. Even if they do a lot of business, read through their profiles carefully for their feedback and return policies.

Keep Everything

This should be a no-brainer, but I’m going to go through it anyway. Keep everything that came with your phone. If you ordered it online, don’t even throw away the box it was shipped or any of the packing materials. And by no means get rid of anything that came with the actual product. I’m sure some stores will accept a return if you lost a manual or some small bonus item, but I would advise against risking the possibility of your return being rejected.

And above all else, the best tip I can give you is to enjoy your phone. Enjoy knowing that you own your phone outright and that when you want to upgrade, you’ll be able to sell your old one and have a nice chunk of the price sliced off.

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