[Update] 24 hours later, all but one of the deals have been either pulled or removed. More below.
It is fair to say that the Xiaomi Mi 4 and the OnePlus One are two of the most sought-after Android smartphones right now. Offering premium specs at mid-range prices, these smartphones are exceptionally good purchases…if you can get one, that is. However, with Groupon Malaysia’s latest deals, you can grab both devices NOW.
But…something doesn’t look quite right in both deals.
OnePlus has an invite system to purchase the device (and Malaysia is not in its list of countries where it is available), while Xiaomi uses a flash sales model where only a limited amount of devices are available at each sale. Hence, both devices can be exceptionally difficult to obtain – not to mention getting them at prices that stay true to their retail prices. After all, that is a big part of the charm behind these devices.
Groupon Malaysia has dabbled with offering electronic devices in the past, and continues to do so today. There are plenty of Samsung devices – such as this RM1799 Galaxy S5 or RM1949 Galaxy Note 3 – as well as iPhone deals and many others. In addition to these deals, the deals site is now offering the Xiaomi Mi 4 and the OnePlus One.
The Xiaomi Mi 4 is now being offered at RM1438. Considering the fact that the Mi 4 is retailing in China for 1999 Yuan (about RM1025), this price does feel rather inflated. However, other third-party grey importers are also selling this phone at around the same price range. What doesn’t feel right is in the many factual inaccuracies that appear in this deal.
Firstly, the LTE variant of the Mi 4 – which is the version Groupon claims to be offering – isn’t even available in China yet, let alone the international markets. Secondly, the Android version on the Mi 4 is 4.4.2, not 4.4.3. Also, the 13MP camera packs a single LED flash, and not two as Groupon claims. And finally, why is the link to the device’s full specifications and features point to www.xiaomiworld.com, a known third-party vendor for Xiaomi products with a reputation of selling Xiaomi products at inflated prices…and even fake products?
On the other hand, the OnePlus One is being offered at RM1199, which again isn’t too far off what other third-party local sellers are offering them for. But we just have one major question to ask: how did Groupon come up with the RM2000 retail value, when the unit costs half that price? The OnePlus One 16GB costs just $299 (about RM950), which is why so many are interested in it in the first place.
Even when you consider shipping the device in from the US or other countries, the final price would still be nowhere near RM2000. Putting in such an inflated retail value would inevitably lead to consumers believing that this is a better deal than it actually is – and that’s akin to false advertising, no?
A closer look at other smartphone deals also show a similar issue. The Xiaomi Redmi 1S, for example, is going for RM499 with “savings” of RM400. The official Redmi 1S retails for RM419 from Xiaomi Malaysia. Why the huge markup, only to put a final price that is *still* higher than the official retail price?
In truth, this is nowhere near the scalper-level deal for the iPhone 5s last year, but this really feels like yet another retailer looking to pounce upon the hype around devices where the major pull lies with the competitive retail prices.
[Update @ 7.27pm, August 19] Looks like there’s been some changes. The Groupon deals links below all show that the deals have passed, but the Mi 4 can still be purchased via this link. The factual inaccuracies on the Mi 4 deal are all still present.
The OnePlus One deal can’t even be found anywhere on the Groupon site other than the link below, with no option to purchase. The Redmi 1S, on the other hand, has been sold out; there were only 30 units available. On a side note, we also found that there was another “deal” we missed out on: the Mi 3, which was going for RM789 (which again isn’t a bad deal at all) from the “original retail price” of RM1299.
Groupon Malaysia’s deals: