How to get review phones for your tech blog

Two days ago, I received an email from a new tech blogger who wanted to know how I get my review phones and gadgets. Here is the content of the mail:

Dear Mister Mobility,

It baffles me how much your blog has become in such a short time. I’m honestly amazed on your review pattern and have started a blog of my own. But I have a question I would like you to answer. How do you get your review units?

It is really important to me that I get an answer soonest.

Yours faithfully,
OE

I have been asked this same question quite a number of times in the past. I figure I might as well put up the answer in public so anyone hunting for the answer can find it. Before I jump into answering the question, I need to correct the impression that Mobility Arena has become the top mobile review site in this region in a short time. This blog was started in 2008. That means it is about 9 years old. In tech blog circles, that is not exactly a short time.

Infinix Zero 4 Plus Review phones top display

How to get review phones for your tech blog

The points below are all based on my own experience over the years.

  1. Buy them. In the early years (2008-2010), I purchased all my review units. Every single one of them. It meant spending a lot of money, but it got Mobility Arena going and noticed as an authority in mobile reviews. If you do not invest in your blog, why should anyone else? If you are on a budget, you can start with very affordable phones and move up the ladder from there. At the least, start by reviewing your own phones.
  2. From friends and family. You might be at a family event and your uncle shows up with a new smartphone he just bought. Explain what you do as a phone reviewer and ask for permission to play with the phone and take photos. This is good for hands-on reviews, not full reviews.
  3. From manufacturers. As your blog grows and you build credibility, mobile manufacturers are likely to contact you and send in copies of their phones to you for review from time to time. I got my first review phone from a manufacturer in November 2010. When your blog has become a brand name, you can even take the initiative and contact brands to request to review their devices.
  4. From your blog community. As your blog gains traction, some of your readers may get in touch with you to lend you a new phone they got. I remember individuals like Brym, Belushi, Quam, Taghogho, and others who have graciously let me have their devices for review. Sometimes, they handed those devices to me before they even opened the sales boxes at all. Awesome people.
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A Few Important Thoughts

Reading through everything I have shared above, you must note something: apart from the first point, all the others are dependent on you being credible and/or delivering value to your readers.

Very Important: Credibility also means you telling your readers your experience with each phone, not what the brand’s marketers want them to hear. Do not cover up the bad and ugly stuff about a phone just because the review unit was provided by the brand or manufacturer.

Also, when people or brands entrust you with loan devices, ensure that you take very good care of them and return them in excellent condition. In all my years of reviewing gadgets, there has not been one occasion in which a review device so much as got scratched, not to mention damaged, while in my care.

You can’t go wrong if you keep these two things in mind. I wish you luck with getting review phones, tablets and accessories for your tech blog.

Mister Mobility

I started blogging about mobile in 2004 as a fun way to share my passion for gadgets and mobile services. My other interests include digital media, speaking and teaching, photography, travelling, and dancing.

4 thoughts on “How to get review phones for your tech blog

  • February 26, 2017 at 10:35 am
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    Well said Boss Yomi, well said.

    Now, time to focus on building credibility (and most importantly, a brand). 🙂

    • February 26, 2017 at 2:00 pm
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      Hi Kay,

      Go for it. I look forward to your success story.

  • February 26, 2017 at 3:00 pm
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    Thank you very much for this, Mr Mobility. I have always loved this website and how you write. I started tech blogging with a friend last year and since then I have been writing on phone specifications and price. Recently I thought of starting to write reviews, but the question of where I will get review phones has always been popping up in my mind. But with this answer you gave to a fellow blogger, I now know how I can get review phone.

  • February 26, 2017 at 3:08 pm
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    If you can’t review phones, review useful, quality apps.

    At the end of the day, the apps you run on a phone is often more important than the hardware itself, (which is often underutilized anyway)

    It is a lot cheaper to do that, than attempting to review phones when you are not GSMArena.

    Phones get released so often now that you can not keep up, even if you have the funds to buy review units, or via the other method Mr Mo highlighted.

    This is not seven years ago. Devices are churned out at a rate that makes it impracticable to review meaningfully across enough device width.

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