Written on 3/18/2010 07:59:00 AM by poison_ivy
Whether you bought your phone with a mobile contract online or at a retail store, chances are, the sellers only give you a small window wherein which you can take the phone back for a refund. In some cases, I think it's Vodafone, they actually don't accept returns if you buy the phone at their retail stores because as they put it, you were already given ample time to test the phone in store to make sure that the phone fits your needs, etc. So given the timeframe of 24 hours, what functions should you test on a mobile phone to make sure it's not defective? Here are some tips
If buying in store
Checking a contract mobile phone in a store has its advantages, you can actually see the phone yourself and see if you're comfortable using it or if the user interface is as snappy as what you've seen in video reviews of the mobile phone. However, it's a bit embarrassing especially if the store has a lot of customers and there's a line behind you. So take the phone for a quick spin by:
- Testing the touchscreen. Most mobile phone contracts nowadays offers touchscreen phones. If you're buying a touchscreen phone make sure to test the touchscreen first if it's responsive. Try pressing every bit of the screen and also look closely to see if there are any dead pixels. Dead pixels are white dots on an LCD screen and if a brand new phone has one, chances are, the screen is already failing so you don't want that. You should also check non-touchscreen mobile phones for dead pixels.
- Test the keyboard. Of course, there are still traditional alphanumeric candy bar phones being offered for free with mobile phone contracts. If the mobile phone you want to buy has a physical keyboard, make sure that all keys are working and not stuck. Try using the SMS function of the phone and typing “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog near the bank of river” and adding other symbols and numbers there if it's a QWERTY keyboard. Most mobile phones that are defective out of the box have stuck keys.
- Make sure antennas are working. Insert your simcard or the simcard that comes with the mobile phone contract to make sure that the handset is capable of getting adequate cell phone signals. If you're getting a phone with Bluetooth and WiFi function, make sure the internal antennas for WiFi and Bluetooth are also functioning by turning them on. The Bluetooth of a mobile phone is functioning if its able to detect nearby phones with Bluetooth, same goes for the WiFi, if it can detect open or secured networks nearby then it's functioning properly. There was a time when I was testing a preproduction mobile phone wherein the WiFi isn't working because it can't detect nearby networks. If there's a radio function, be sure to test that out as well.
- Test the connectors. Plug in a the charger to make sure that the phone's connector is working. If it has a 3.5mm headset jack, make sure that works too by plugging in the headset and then playing music to see if it works. High end mobile phones with contract offered at around £30 to £40 a month tariff usually have 3.5mm headset jacks.
- Camera test. Another important function to test especially if you're actually looking for a camera phone. Some camera problems that defective mobile phones encounter at the onset is the camera closes when you open the camera application. Test also the flash if the camera has that option.
- Before checking out, ask questions. there was this guy that the Vodafone forums who's complaining that the contract mobile phone he bought doesn't have the feature that he wants and Vodafone won't accept the return because they claim that the guy had the chance to test the phone out in store to make sure that it has everything he's looking for. You don't want to get into the same mess so be sure to ask. Of course, there are some salespersons who actually don't know anything about the mobile phones they're selling so do your homework first before stepping in the store. If you have a previous mobile phone and there's a really neat function on your old mobile that you really love, take note of this and ask the salesperson if the phone you're eying has the same function and if they said yes, be sure to test it. You don't want to just take their word for it.
- Charge it first. Upon arriving at home with your free contract phone or if your phone came from the mail, be sure to charge it first. Some sellers only give you 24 hours before you can return your purchase so you need to test the battery if it can hold a decent charge. So remember to charge the phone first. During charging, those who got their mobile phones online may want to do the test I mentioned above.
- Make your first call. You can do this in store but I prefer to do this at home. By making your first call, you can test whether the microphone is working. Ask the other person at the end of the line if they can hear you clearly and if they do, then all's well with the phone's mic.
- Plug it in your PC. This is to make sure the USB function is working properly. Some contract phones that are defective will not be recognized by your PC and you'll get the message “USB device not recognized”. This is a bad thing because you won't be able to use your mobile phone as a mass storage device and transferring photos from your phone to your PC will become a pain if not non-existent. Of course, before you do this, make sure to install your phone's software so that the drivers needed for your phone to be recognized will be installed on your PC. If you've already installed the drivers and your phone is still not recognized, you have a problem.
- Test the speakers. After testing that your handset can be recognized by your PC, transfer some music so you can test the speakers of the phone. If your phone is already at full volume and you can barely hear your music through the speakers then chances are, your phone's speakers are defective.
- Test the GPS. If your mobile phone has the GPS feature (and it probably has one if it's free with a £40 a month mobile phone contracts), turn it on, go outside and test to see if your phone will be able to lock in on a satellite signal and pinpoint your location. If you've been standing outside for an hour and your phone can't get any satellite signal, the GPS antennae is probably defective, return it.
Hmm, I guess that's it. That's about covers it. Once you've tested everything here, you should be able to rest easy knowing your mobile phone is A-OK and that you've not wasted your hard earned money buying a defective mobile phone. Of course, I've only covered “hardware issues”, software is an entirely different thing but can easily be fixed with a firmware update as what a friend of mine experienced with his Nokia N900 restarting.If you have anymore suggestions, leave a comment below.