Thanks for the info; Most of these guys make a crooked used car salesman blush. They will tell you anything to make a sale.
It's even more convoluted than that. I found out there are several phones which are all the SAME phone, just with a different name on it. To make things even more interesting, based on recent experiences, it seems that some of these vendors do not know the specs of their own phones
. The better ones I've encountered do bother to test at least a few phones in their batches to get first-hand knowledge of their product, but many do not. In fact, I remember reading somewhere that there could be phones that actually DO have the 1900 band, but it isn't advertised or noted because the focus of most non-US phone sellers is on the Asian or European markets, where 2100Mhz is dominant for 3G.
There is also the misconception that 850Mhz is enough to provide 3G coverage elsewhere. I've had to explain in detail how (at least here in the US) that is not true, and that we need both 850 and 1900 to get high speed 3G (aka HSPA). Don't even get started on T-Mobile; their 1900 rollout is far from being done, so if you don't have 1700Mhz/2100Mhz forget about it.
That said, I have been keeping my own list of phone brands which do (or based on the specs, should) work well here in the US. These include:
Blu (not really "foreign," just not as well known)
The K-Touch latest phones, such as the K-Touch "Touch" V5 (the big honkin' 5.7" phablet) and the K-Touch V8 and V9 are ALL quad-band GSM / pentaband 3G phones. Sadly, though, I haven't found as many vendors who sell K-Touch. And the ones who do mark the phones up extravagantly - but I'm keeping watch as I've started to see them more and more. The makers on my list by and large produce fairly high-end phones, but are cheap in comparison to, say, the Galaxy Note II or S3 (apples to apples, etc.).
As a rule of thumb, always look for a phone that actually has a maker behind it. That's a bit of advice I got from other sources.
Also, only purchase from reputable vendors. If in doubt, I always search for the vendor's name and add the word "reviews" to it. I also crawl through blogs and forums like this one to see what other members are saying. No matter what, I avoid vendors who are not certified and registered with well-known exchange or payment agencies, i.e. PayPal, etc. I personally steer clear of any vendor who only accepts wire transfers or credit cards. (Yeah, if these guys cannot even be straight up about their freakin' phones, do I REALLY want them having my CC info?
Edited by Bratzilla, 29 March 2013 - 02:24 AM.