If you’re looking for a new smartphone, six U.S. intelligence heads have advised that you should probably avoid purchasing one from Chinese manufacturers Huawei or ZTE. Sure, they’ve got nice screens and good price points, but there’s more to a smartphone than its size. Also, they might be a cybersecurity risk.
This CNBC report cites the testimony of the heads of the CIA, FBI, and NSA, along with the director of national security, who all expressed concerns over the use of smartphones from the two Chinese manufacturers. In short, the companies are suspected of using their devices to potentially spy on individuals, steal information, and cause telecommunications issues.
As a result of the government’s suspicion of the company, Huawei has been having a rough go of selling its phones in America, with Verizon being the most recent wireless carrier to get rid of their devices due to government pressure. That means you can’t just walk into your wireless carrier’s retail store or online shop to buy them; you’ll have to purchase these devices from Huawei and ZTE directly (an inconvenience you really shouldn’t bother with).
Why You Shouldn’t Get Them Anyway
Government suspicion aside, you should also stay away from them simply because there are better options available. There are more factors to consider when purchasing a smartphone, factors that go beyond screen size or processing power. Support for updates, hardware accessory ecosystems, and resale value should also be included in your buying process.
A phone’s branding and popularity (one thing Huawei is lacking in America) matters when you’re looking for accessories like cases, mounts, and other compatible items, and don’t want to pay a premium to buy the one option from the phone’s manufacturer, or some knockoff product on eBay. Buying a phone from a relatively unknown smartphone company makes it much harder to find compatible accessories at competitive prices.
In addition, Chinese smartphone brands almost always have a lower resale value than more popular options like Samsung’s Galaxy series, or Apple’s iPhone devices. And as someone who has sold more than a few smartphones in his time, let me tell you: no one wants your off-brand Chinese smartphone. Not even the United States, apparently.
If you’re looking for a capable Android device, buying one that uses a custom Android skin (like Huawei’s EMUI software layered atop Android 8.0) also reduces the likelihood you’ll receive the most current version of the operating system, a problem you’ll worry less about if you go with a smartphone from a company like Google or Samsung. You could obviously go Apple and get an iPhone 8, about the same price as Huawei’s brand new Mate 10 Pro, but with better cameras and a more expansive software and hardware ecosystem to choose from.
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