The iPhone X is here. Apple calls it the “the future” and the phone is a completely redesigned flagship in over three years.
It features an OLED edge-to-edge screen, TrueDepth front-facing camera, Face ID authentication instead of the conventional Touch ID, and a new powerful A11 Bionic processing chip.
The phone hit Malaysian shores on November 24 and a week later many retail outlets announced that it was sold out, all within an hour. That’s the Apple craze and you wonder why Malaysians are lapping it up despite the price tag that can break most people’s personal bank account.
To put it in perspective, the amount you potentially shell out for this smartphone is equivalent to a decently powered laptop. Don’t believe us? Here’s how much the iPhone X costs in Malaysia and also around the region.
For this article, we chose an entry-level model, since that is the cheapest, and we will be using the ringgit to compare prices.
Let’s put it this way, long story short: don’t buy your phone in the Philippines.
So Hong Kong ranks the highest when it comes to a cheap iPhone X. But before you pack your bags and book your next flight, is the price worth the trip?
Even the cheapest flight via AirAsia will set you back about RM393 on a roundtrip ticket. That makes your total spend: RM4,878.34. This is minus your food and accommodation which could easily rack up to the cost paying for a phone in Malaysia.
Warranty, you ask? Now this where it gets complicated. On paper, your Apple product is covered by an international warranty.
But if you seek service in a country that is not the original country of purchase, you will be responsible for all customs duties, value-added tax, and other associated taxes and charges.
“I have the money”, you say. Then there’s another clause called “Important restriction for iPhone, iPad and Apple TV service”.
It states: Apple may restrict warranty service for iPhone, iPad and Apple TV to the country where Apple or its Authorized Distributors originally sold the device.
This is the one you have to look out for, meaning should you buy an iPhone outside of its country of origin, you risk having a phone that’s not covered by warranty. Your best bet is still purchasing a phone locally.
So what’s the cheapest plan?
If coughing up some RM5,100 for a phone is beyond ridiculous but you are still itching to get your hands on it, here’s a comparison of all the plans from our local telco heroes. Again, we selected the lowest monthly plans for an entry-level 64GB iPhone X.
|MaxisONE plan 128
|FIRST Gold Plus
|Digi Postpaid 78
|Contract duration (months)
|Free calls and text
|Unlimited calls and SMSs to all networks
|Unlimited calls & 20 sen/SMS to all networks
calls & 200 SMSs to all networks and 10 sen/SMS thereafter
|Unlimited calls to all networks & 45 SMSs to all networks, and 3 sen/SMS thereafter
|Upfront payment/Device advance
|Inclusive in price
|Inclusive in price
|Inclusive in price
|Inclusive in price
|Total upon checkout:
* Total payment inclusive of the monthly mobile subscription for the first month.
The telco that offers the best plan for an iPhone X is Celcom, as it offers the lowest total upfront payment with one of the highest data quota of 40GB. It also has an affordable monthly fee of only RM98. There’s also a value-added service here, 100GB of videos for 12 months.
If 40GB is too much data for you, then you can consider signing up for a contract from Digi. The Digi Postpaid 78 plan offers 12GB (6GB all day and 6GB on weekends) of data, but with a slightly higher device price at RM3,895. Although, your total payment upon checkout is about RM100 more than Celcom, you will be paying RM20 less every month, saving you RM480 over 24 months.
None of these telcos offer anything close to unlimited data, but the closest thing you can get is U Mobile’s i90. Despite its negligible 7GB data, users get unlimited data for video and music streaming as well as social media apps such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Maxis, the most premium of the lot, also offers 40GB per month (20GB weekdays and 20GB weekends) for its lowest plan at RM128 per month, and it comes with a higher device price of RM4,165.
It does offer unlimited calls and SMSs to all networks. So, if you spend a lot of time talking and texting, it might be worth it to get a worry-free plan like Maxis at RM30 more every month.
Not all telcos are created equal
You might want to aim for a postpaid plan that gives you the most bang for your buck, but there’s a slew of factors to consider before setting yourself up for a 24-month contract.
One of it is network quality. How many times have you heard x telco not available in this city or that. So a plan can give you a huge amount of data but it can be hugely frustrating if there is a lack of 4G service in your area.
If you want to port out and try a cheaper service provider, one way to do it is try getting a prepaid SIM and do a few test runs before purchasing that iPhone X. You can also try third party tools such as OpenSignal as these give you a rough idea of each respective telco’s performance.
And what is a service provider if it offers lousy post-sales care? Customer service and optional add-ons such as a supplementary line and international roaming are staple to any mobile user.
So having a service provider that’s ubiquitous – or easily available at major shopping malls and centres through nation – is something to keep in mind before committing yourself to a mobile plan.
But is purchasing an iPhone X worth it?
That depends. If you are into status, then you’ll definitely gravitate towards that Apple product.
There are cheaper alternatives, such as the iPhone 8 and its predecessor, the iPhone 7, that give you a similar Apple experience sans the face recognition and processing power.
But the iPhone X is a premium phone and even the cheapest monthly plan will demand you to cough up at least RM4,418.
With that amount of money, you could invest in stocks and shares or put it in a fixed deposit, you could also go on a decent holiday or as mentioned earlier, buy a decently powered computer that could do more than your iPhone X.
Smartphones don’t appreciate over time and that’s the rub: You are paying for something that has a very short attention span. According to Apple, it’s only one year, if you gauge how quickly they release new versions of the phones.
Meaning what you have now in your hands will be considered out of vogue in a few months’ time.