Things to Check in Person after Buying a Smartphone

After buying a smartphone there are a few different things that you might want to consider checking right away just to make sure that everything is as it should be. This can help you avoid any problems or frustration that could result later.

This Guides Outline

Here is a brief list of things that are often overlooked when or after buying a cell phone.


This is very important and is something that you should check right away. You might want to check it before even leaving the store if you buy your phone in person.

Most phones come with a Liquid Damage Indicator sticker, also known as an LDI for short, which actually changes colors when it comes in contact with moisture or liquid. Therefore if you’re ever pushed into the pool and your phone is in your pocket at the time, or you take your phone into the sauna at the gym, or listen to music while in the shower, etc. this sticker indicates that the phone has or has not been exposed to enough liquid or moisture to cause damage to the device.

Why does this LDI apply to you?

If you’re buying your phone used then it might look fine on the outside but might not be so great on the inside. Water damage can cause all kinds of issues on a smartphone, especially power related problems. It can cause a phone to not power on, or prevent it from charging properly, or even power off sporadically; it can cause issues with the phones display screen or lead to an unresponsive touch screen or can cause the phone to begin overheating the list can go on and on.

If you’re buying a used phone checking your LDI can be even more important than looking for dings, nicks, cracks, missing pieces or physical damage.

If you’re buying your phone new this applies to you as well. Imagine someone getting a brand new smartphone at the store taking in home dropping it in the toilet (yes its actually very common), removing it from the toilet, quickly dry it and then taking it back to the store stating “I just got this phone a couple days ago and I don’t care for the color”, or whatever excuse they can think of. The store rep doing the exchange checks it and it’s in its original box still looks brand new, so he issues the refund, and puts the phone back on the shelf.

You enter the store, buy your brand new phone, sign a 2 year contract, take it home and realize that the phone gets HOT when it’s charging, heck this is your first smartphone so you think it’s normal or it might just be you, and continue to use it. A month later the phone starts getting hot when you’re using it, not just while charging it. It’s getting so hot in fact that you can’t even hold the phone to your ear without almost burning yourself.

So you, realizing something is wrong with your device, take your phone back into the store you got it from and they say they cannot help you because you’re outside your buyer’s remorse period. “Here, call this number and they’ll send you another phone” the store representative says as he hands you a card with the warranty number on it.

You call the warranty department, perhaps even the manufacture directly and they ask you questions about the phone, one of them being the color of the little square or circle sticker located on the mobile phone (aka the LDI), you say its pink or red and they tell you it’s supposed to be pure white indicating that these problems are not the result of a manufacturing defect but because of physical damage and that the phone is no longer covered under warranty and that the manufacture is not responsible for repairing or replacing the unit. Basically you are now stuck with a broken phone for the next 2 years until your contract is up; unless of course you have insurance and want to pay a pretty good amount of money filing an Insurance claim or an even larger amount of money buying another phone.

Needless to say you’re a little upset because you’re now out hundreds of dollars and have to spend even more money to get this extremely frustrating issue resolved. All of which could have been avoided if you would have known to take the extra 30 seconds to check your Liquid Damage Indicator when buying your phone.

Now you know

Note that most phones have some kind of a liquid damage indicator, and they are sometimes hard to find. If your phone is supposed to have an LDI and doesn’t this also voids your warranty as it’s considered tampering. Look for anything pink or red or any signs that a really small sticker was scratched off. If you’re buying your phone from the store ask the representative if they can show you the Liquid Damage Indicator or when researching your phone do an online search for it. I recommend you always check the LDI whenever getting another phone, whether you’re buying it new used or simply having it replaced.

Check the Box

Pretty self explanatory but when buying a smartphone from a store you might want to check the box that the phone came in just to make sure that you get everything that you paid for when you open that box for the first time.

Most smartphone packages come with the following:


You’re obviously going to notice that something is wrong if you open the box and there is no phone in it, but do a quick check of the phone to make sure that there is no sign of physical damage; especially if the phone was shipped to you.


The phone and a charger are the two of most important things that come in the box when buying a smartphone and chances are slim that either of these two items is going to be missing when you get it. If your phones charger is also a data cable (which is common) you might want to connect your cell phone to a PC just to confirm that the cable doesn’t just charge your phone but can be used to sync your phone to a computer as well.


Many phones come with a cheap, but functional, headset which allows you to have a private conversation with someone though the phones headset jack. This headset consists of a built in microphone but the headset can come in handy if you intend to use your phone as a portable media device such as an mp3 player.


You might want to consider keeping the box that you’re your smartphone comes in. It often contains information about your phone which might be useful if your phone is ever lost or stolen including the phones Device Identifier Number.

Speaking of which if your phones device identifier does not match the device identifier printed on the box that it came in then for whatever reason that phone most likely did not get put in that box by the manufacture and for whatever reason was swapped out with another phone. If this is the case it might not mean anything but you might want to take a good look at the phone you received just to make sure nothings off.

Golden Connections

When you get a phone if it has a removable battery than I recommend that you take the battery out and check the leads (those metal prongs that plug into each other) on both the battery and the phone to make sure that the leads are not bent, broken, or melted and that there are no signs of rust, corrosion or damage.

If anything is messed up with those leads not only do you run the risk of having power related issues but your warranty might also be void. So as an extra precaution check those leads to make sure they are still nice and gold in color and in good shape.

Nice and Snug Battery

While you’re checking your leads, and possibly you’re LDI (Liquid Damage Indicator) just do a quick check to make sure that your battery is nice and snug in the device. If its lose and or wiggles around then the battery leads might briefly disconnect from each other and cause your phone to power cycle off and on.

This is a pretty rare issue, especially on new smartphones, but the last thing you’re going to want is your phone to be powering itself off and on while trying to use it.

Tilt Test

To check the quality and contrast on the screen/display tilt the phone and look at it from multiple angles. If the screen is black at certain angles take that into consideration before buying the phone. While titling it you can also check the accuracy of the accelerometer.

The accelerometer is the part of the phone that recognizes when it is being tilted, for example if you rotate the phone onto its side and the accelerometer is working properly then the display will change from a vertical view to a horizontal view.

Many new games and applications actually use the accelerometer as part of the program. For example a driving game might have you hold your phone like a steering wheel and if you want to turn right you will rotate the phone clockwise or left counter clockwise, just like the steering wheel on a car. You’ll probably mostly just use it for texting, and having a larger keyboard; or watching videos tilting the phone for a full screen presentation. In any case tilt the phone and check the contrast of the phone at different angles and check to make sure the display rotates accordingly.

What kind of QWERTY

QWERTY is just a keyboard layout. Most computer keyboards have the QWERTY layout meaning that the top letters on the far left of the keyboard are the q w e r t and y keys. Just take a look under the numbers and special characters across the top of your keyboard and you’ll see it. Fun trivia about the QWERTY is that it was actually designed to cause the user to type slower! This is the layout of old typewriters that would actually have the letter you were pressing cause the key to rise up and stamp the letter onto the paper. Well if you were typing too fast then the typewriter would jam. When typewriters went the way of the Dodo QWERTY was already the standard and still remains so today. People didn’t want to learn a different type of keyboard even if it was more efficient like the Dvorak layout which has the keys you use the most under where your fingers rest. But I digress.

You’re going to want to consider whether you want a virtual or physical keyboard on your phone. Some Smartphones even have both.

A virtual will appear on the display in which you’ll have to touch the screen in order to select the letters. The physical will have actual keys built into the phone to press in order to select the numbers. Don’t be afraid of a pure touch screen device or virtual keyboard. It might take a few days to get used to it but once you do you’ll love it. Especially of you have a feature like Swipe where you just drag your finger over the letter of the word you want to type and the phone puts it into the text field for you. Sounds weird but you’ll love it.

Make sure whatever option you end up choosing that you test it out to make sure it’s working 100% right out of the box. You don’t realize how much you use the “H” key until you can’t use it any more. If it’s a touch screen you might also have a dead spot on the device which can effect navigation and making proper selections. So just remember to send some texts or to test your keyboard when you get your phone.

External Speakers

These can definitely affect the functionality of your smartphone. The external speakers, sometimes called loud speakers, are what produce the sound for the phones ringer, its alarm clock, its hand free mode (speakerphone), music, videos, movies, etc.

Use these speakers when first testing your phone to make sure the speakers are loud enough. What’s the purpose of a phone that you can’t hear ringing? Look up a video online and make sure that the phone plays that videos audio loud enough for you to hear without having to strain your ears to hear it.

It can be frustrating trying to show a video that you took of a young family member singing and the people you’re trying to share it with have to all huddle together as close to the phone as they can in order to hear it, or not be able to hear it at all.

I love to watch videos, shows and movies and if I can’t hear what the characters are saying it’s definitely not as fulfilling for me. So check your phones external speaker.

Internal Speakers

Even more important than the external speakers are the internal ones. This is the speaker that you hold up to your ear when having a conversation with someone. If you can’t hear too well than you most certainly want to make sure you turn up the phones volume to its maximum setting and make lots of calls. If you can’t hear others speaking then you’ll want to invest in a loud headset or return your phone ASAP.

When speaking with another person and you can’t even hear what they are saying then it’s kind of a one way conversation, and that doesn’t work to well. If the internal speaker isn’t loud enough I recommend you look at your other options which included returning the unit if you have already purchased it or choosing a different model when first making your selection. This is one of the most important pieces of hardware found on any phone.

Headset Jack

Don’t neglect testing your headset jack! Many people have their phones for months before even thinking of using a headset, they go to use it, and low and behold it doesn’t work. If it doesn’t work the first time you attempt to use it then try to remove and re-insert the headset a few times and make sure the port itself is clean and that nothing is preventing a good connection. Otherwise don’t forget to check your headset on your new Smartphone to make sure it’s working correctly, it’s something easily overlooked.

Check for Branding

Wireless providers like to put their brand name on what they sell. So Sprint phones usually say Sprint somewhere on the phone, Verizon phones say Verizon, AT&T say AT&T etc. if your phone isn’t branded with the wireless provider you plan to use then it might not be made to use on its network. Or it might be an unlocked device, or might just not be covered under the wireless providers insurance or warranty program.

You typically won’t have to worry about branding if you are buying your phone directly from the wireless provider or from a retail location that you trust but if you are buying your phone online or purchasing it from a store or location that you don’t really know too well… it could be a clone or look alike of a popular smartphone currently on the market. Remember that if you are buying a smartphone and a deal seems too good to be true it often is.

Don’t get un-screwed

Check the screws! If you get a phone that is missing one of the screws holding the phone together then not only can the phone start coming apart but your device is considered tampered with and your phone is officially out of warranty. If you buy a new phone and its missing screws or the screw fell out and is somewhere in the box that the phone came in then I would recommend you take the phone back and swap the phone for another unit. Don’t run the risk of being accused of tampering with the device or getting charged a huge processing fee if you ever have to file a warranty claim, it’s not worth it.

You don’t need to try and unscrew or test the tightness of the screws when you get the phone; you’ll knowingly and in full awareness actually void the warranty. Many phones even have little void stickers over the screws that you have to take off before accessing the screws. Just make sure that none have fallen out. This situation is extremely rare but something to remember, you might just win that unlucky lottery some day.


If it looks like there is a liquid underneath the screen of the phone than chances are one of the lower parts of the screen has cracked and is therefore broken. You should know right away because you won’t usually be able to make out the information on the phones screen. Again, this is a pretty rare but the phone might have been damaged during shipping and you’re going to want to try and return it as soon as you can.

Thanks for Reading

This guide is Part 7 in a series of articles on the topic of buying and choosing a smartphone.

If you are interested in learning more about choosing or buying a smartphone feel free to visit Part 1 of that article Choosing a Smartphone Guide – Getting Started.

Otherwise thank you for reading, I hope that you found the content in this post helpful or at the very least informative and if you enjoyed this post don’t hesitate to let me know by posting a friendly remark in the comment section or by taking a second to share it by clicking the Facebook Like or Google + buttons below.

Thanks again for visiting. I hope you have a fantastic day.

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