Costco sells food in vast containers at cheap prices. But are its smartphone deals such good value? Planhacker investigates.
Costco's entire business model revolves around buying in bulk and selling in large quantities through its six retail warehouses in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT. Buying in bulk makes a certain amount of sense if you're purchasing, say, toilet paper, but few of us buy smartphones in bulk. That hasn't stopped Costco from offering smartphones up from pallets in its stores.
The temptation must be strong. It's Costco, known for bulk buying and razor-thin margins, so it must be selling bargains, right?
Lifehacker editor Angus Kidman snapped pics of all the phones on sale in Melbourne last weekend, and we've looked over the offerings to see how they stack up against a range of Australian retailers.
|Handset||Costco||Expansys||Kogan||Mobicity||Dick Smith||Harvey Norman|
|Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Kids 8GB||$199.99||N/A||$179||$299.95||$227|
|Nokia Lumia 625 Black||$239.99||N/A||N/A||$229.95||$248||$248|
|Samsung Galaxy S5 White||$839.99||$799.53||$699||$699.95||$846||$894|
|Samsung Galaxy S4 Active||$549.99||N/A||$459||$449.95||$548||N/A|
|Samsung Galaxy Pocket Neo||$109.99||N/A||N/A||$139.95||$129||N/A|
|Samsung Galaxy S4 Active White||$589.99||N/A||$469||N/A||N/A||N/A|
All prices are as stated on vendor sites at 9:00am on 13/5/14
It's worth noting that for three of the handsets -- the Lumia 625 and Galaxy S4 Active and Pocket Neo -- Costco's advertising them with "Australian manufacturer's handset warranty", which suggests that they're not direct imports, although it's feasible the other handsets are. Costco's pricing includes an "instant" rebate, which we've ignored, because if it's going to simply charge you a lower price, then that's what you're actually paying, making the "rebate" an irrelevant distraction designed to make you think you're getting an even larger bargain.
Costco's really only cheaper for two devices, the generally unremarkable Galaxy Pocket Neo and the Galaxy Tab 3 Kids. As with most technology purchases, it really does pay to shop around, even when it looks like a bulk retailer is offering you a bargain.
Lifehacker's weekly Planhacker column rounds up the best communication deals.