One of the benefits AliExpress offers is the availability of affordable branded gadgets or high-quality replicas, especially when prices are compared to other e-stores. Fans of Apple and other big brands are gladly using this opportunity. Sometimes, smartphone descriptions feature the “unlocked” specification. What does it mean and is it safe to buy such a gadget?

Unlocked Smartphone – What Does it Mean?

The “unlocked” status is frequently featured in the product name and description, but what does it tell the customer?

“Unlocked” refers to the original smartphones that have been flashed. As a rule, reflash is performed when the devices’ OS needs to be adapted for sale in a certain country. For example, if the smartphone’s OS is available in English or Chinese only, the device is flashed to install other languages. There is nothing bad about that because you can buy a pricey branded gadget at a huge discount, sometimes half of the original price.

Unlocked Smartphone

“Unlocked” and “Refurbished” are Not the Same

But there is one nuance. Used smartphones with defects detected during the warranty period get repaired and flashed, and then receive an “unlocked” status in the product name. It would be best if you avoided such gadgets since it is impossible to tell what exactly was repaired. That’s why it is necessary to make an additional check on the phone’s condition. The product card should feature “new”, like the following:

Unlocked Smartphone

If the status says refurbished, then it means that the phone was repaired. There is no way of telling how long it will work, so it’s better to pass on the offer.

Should You Buy an Unlocked Phone?

In the end, is an unlocked phone worth buying on AliExpress? If it is new, then why not? It is fully working and features all the advantages of the model. It’s just been flashed to adapt to certain conditions. And because of flashing the seller is forced to lower the price, which is a huge advantage for the customer.

However, you should keep in mind that a flashed phone most likely won’t receive any OS updates – after all, it has been tampered with by a third party, which is not associated with the brand. On top of that, some of the apps won’t work on a flashed phone because they require certain system permissions. All these issues are expected for the half-price of the original phone, and if it doesn’t bother you, then you can most certainly buy an unlocked phone on AliExpress.

Things To Consider When Choosing an Unlocked Phone

However, when buying an unlocked gadget, you should be cautious and consider the following:

  1. The Phone’s condition should be new, not refurbished (we discussed this earlier).
  2. Product’s authenticity. If it’s a genuine product, there will be a corresponding mark in the description. Besides, a fake phone can be identified by its tacky appearance or specifications (by comparing them to specifications featured on the brand store’s website). Check the logos, how they are placed, and the number of SIM card slots (usually fake smartphones have more).
  3. Customer reviews. This can help you to evaluate the phone’s quality and the seller’s honesty.

New unlocked phones are a reasonable purchase on AliExpress. They are as cool as before the flashing, but twice as cheap.


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