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How to import phones, tablets and wearable tech from the USA

If you can’t find your chosen phone, tablet, smartwatch or other mobile tech in your home country (for example, the UK), there’s always the option to import from the USA, which tends to get some devices before the rest of the world. Here’s how to import mobile devices from America.

Step one: Do American phones/tablets/mobile devices work in my home country?

Tablets and wearables that don’t come fitted with a SIM card slot will work just fine over here in the UK and in other countries, connecting to WiFi without an issue. The only thing you need to bear in mind is that the charger will be a standard 2-pin American effort, so you’ll need to use an adapter to charge it in the UK or – if your device charges via USB – simply replace with a compatible charger that you already own.

Devices with a SIM card such as mobile phones are a bit trickier. You will need to do two things to make them work outside of the US.

First of all, make sure the phone supports your home country’s mobile bands (the frequency over which information is transferred). For instance, here in the UK, we use 900/1800/2100 for 3G and under, and 800/1800 typically for 4G. You can see which bands your country uses here. Make sure the phone you choose to import supports those bands, which can be found by going to the manufacturer’s website and examing the specs.

Secondly, you’ll need to either buy an unlocked version of the phone so it will work with your chosen home network, or get it unlocked when the phone arrives. A fair few high street phone stores offer to unlock imported mobiles for a small charge, so it’s a good idea to check around first.

Step two: Choose an American import service

If you don’t have a willing American friend, you’ll need to find an online service that can send your chosen goods to you from the USA. One such service is BigAppleBuddy, which provides free online quotes for purchasing and shipping any kind of mobile tech that you require. Drop them a line and they’ll let you know exactly how much it will cost to have the phone, tablet or wearable sent over.


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