When it comes to buying smartphones, the first thing that comes into every mind would be the budget and features you’re looking at, then it comes down to brand preference, like it or not everyone is sure to have a favourite brand no matter how much we reviewers spend time recommending every different smartphone brands. Finally, we decide if we want to purchase the phone with or without a contract, if your choice is the former, then you get to enjoy subsidised prices while usually subjected to a 24-month contract period with the telco of your choice, depending on how you see it could be a good or bad thing. Recently, we see Maxis debuting its own smartphone, the NeXT M1, it is no MWC star and never going to get any awards, which brings us to today’s Technopinion.
We don’t need more smartphone choices and a subpar postpaid plan
Maxis isn’t the first Malaysian telco to launch a carrier branded smartphone in recent times, Yes 4G was in fact the first one with the terrible Altitude 4G smartphone, however the latter launched the smartphone with a reason simply because the network relies on VoLTE technology to make phone calls, which the product compliments the usage of the network.
However in Maxis’ case, the NeXT M1 is a mere typical everyday 4G Android smartphone, for starters there’s a Mediatek MT6755 processor mated to 2GB of RAM and 16GB onboard storage, there’s also a 5.5-inch Full HD IPS display, a 13-megapixel main and 5-megapixel front camera, a 2960mAh battery and comes with Android 6.0 Marshmallow preloaded. To get this phone, you are required to sign up the telco’s Postpaid Starter Plan which costs RM78/month and stay 24-months with Maxis, the plan offers a crappy 2GB (Weekday) + 2GB (Weekend) data, 50 minutes calls to all networks and RM0.10 for every SMS sent, which is a huge rip off from the entry level MaxisONE 98 plan that offers unlimited calls and text with 10GB of data.
Look, if you simply want a cheap 4G smartphone, there are tons of smartphones out there that is either on par or can outperform the NeXT M1, do the math on the monthly commitment on this worthless Postpaid Starter plan, and you will find yourselves paying RM1,872 in total over the next 24-months, which you can already purchase an iPhone SE or a OnePlus 3T smartphone. We don’t need any more smartphone choices, period.
No commitment to software updates
If you look at both the Yes Altitude and NeXT M1 smartphones, neither Yes 4G nor Maxis dare to guarantee software updates in the near future, chances are you might also miss out Android security patches which is rather crucial these days.
Such issues are rather common in countries like the US, where carrier branded Android devices are either abandoned with their current software or receive extremely late upgrades to the latest Android software, but in the case of both the Yes Altitude and NeXT M1, the telcos do not commission a well known device maker like Samsung or HTC to make their phones, and there’s no way that the telcos will hire a R&D team to offer support for a phone that probably won’t sell. Hence, this is why you should seriously stay away from buying a carrier branded phone especially when it is made by an unknown manufacturer.
No benefits and services
In the US, carrier branded smartphones do come with certain benefits and privileges, while it probably isn’t the most useful thing, it at least explains why the company branded their own smartphones. Back here, there is simply no benefit in owning a carrier branded smartphone, though you may get a limited time device protection service, you are not going to become a VIP of the telco by purchasing one, and if they claim that the service is best experienced on their own smartphones, companies like Samsung shouldn’t have their devices selling on the telco’s store.
Entry-level smartphones are the most sellable devices in the Malaysian market, devices like Samsung’s J Series, Huawei’s Y Range, Wiko’s U Feel range are already very capable of their own, and users who are only able to afford entry-level smartphones are most likely going to end up with a prepaid plan, saving the need to be contracted with a 24-months plan, which is why carrier branded devices aren’t going to work right here, and you shouldn’t be fooled by any telco’s offer that sells you a crappy device with a crappy postpaid plan.