Ever since Motorola launched the original Moto G, we are seeing a trend of aggressive pricing in India. After Motorola, Xiaomi launched the Mi 3 and the Redmi 1S at a amazing prices, and then Google followed by its Android One series of phones.
Contrary to what one might assume initially, all of these are great phones and the fact that they are being sold for such a low price makes them insane value for money.
Thanks to these phones, it has become easy to recommend a phone to someone who is on a tight budget, which is usually most people. I often find myself waxing poetic about the features and performance of the new Moto G or the Android One devices. But then there comes that one question to which I have no answer. “What’s the after sales service like?”
Motorola shut shop in India a few years ago. It is only in partnership with Flipkart that they have been able to start selling phones here again. But selling phones is one thing, what about servicing them later? One look on Twitter will tell you that a lot of people were unsatisfied with the way Flipkart and Motorola handled the issues of people who bought these phones. I’m yet to see a single person whose concern was handled satisfactorily.
The Android One devices are no different. Neither of Micromax, Spice, or Karbonn are known for their after sales support. Micromax is notorious for not just having the highest number of complaints but also being the worst at handling them.
As for Xiaomi, I have heard neither good nor bad things about them. I guess, in a way, that’s good but not particularly confidence inspiring, especially when you consider how few places they have service centers.
But you know who is good at after sales support? Samsung. After Apple, Samsung has the best track record of solving user issues. You’ll rarely see someone complaining about Samsung’s customer service.
But have you seen Samsung’s low-end phones? They are and have always been terrible. This is one of the reason why having phones from Motorola, Xiaomi, and Google such a relief because before them you had no choice but to get these atrocious Samsung phones (if you wanted to buy from a credible brand) and the experience was always terrible. They were not even worth the low amount of money you were paying for them.
The situation isn’t much different at the other end of the price spectrum. Although Samsung has some great smartphones there, they are by no means the best, and all other companies, including HTC, Sony, LG, and even Motorola have better phones. Yet, none of these other brands have after sales support that can match Samsung’s. HTC is known to be downright horrifying when it comes to dealing with issues. Sony isn’t much better, and LG is alright, if not terrible.
So basically, you are stuck between getting a worse phone but with excellent customer support, or getting an excellent phone with sub-standard or non-existent customer support. It’s rather disappointing that even after being in India for so many years, many of these brands haven’t managed to offer a decent after sales support to customers. HTC will get John Abraham for its launch events but won’t spend on improving the customer service. Micromax, Karbonn, Lava and their ilk will annoy the shit out of you with their ads popping out from every place where one can advertise but won’t do anything to work on people’s complaints.
This is sort of why companies like Samsung (and Apple) are so complacent, especially when it comes to pricing their products. They know they have something others don’t, and that even if their products might not necessarily be the best they offer better support, which is something a lot of people forget to factor in while comparing spec sheets.
So as of now you have to choose between buying a good phone with questionable support in future or a mediocre phone with great support. Hopefully, one day we will get the best of both worlds.
P.S. This is only about Android phones and I only mentioned Apple because of its track record of excellent service. With the iPhones you do actually get a great phone and great service, but of course you pay a lot for that.