Back in the day (that’s right, I said it), online shopping was a much less complicated affair than it is now. In the early 2000’s, when e-retailing suddenly became big business, there were a handful of stores that had enough of an online presence to actually make a difference. You got your books from Amazon and did browsing on the handful of stores that had seen fit to open an online store. Now, the options are available. Here’s our review of one of these options: Mr Aberthon.
A Rundown on Mr Aberthon
Mr Aberthon Rating: 9.5 stars / 10 stars
Now, though, everybody and his dog has an online store. You could live your entire life without ever leaving the house. Like Howard Hughes, but poorer.
One of those is a store with a name that makes no sense whatsoever, Mr Aberthon. Mr Aberthon sells smartphones and hotspots. As if there aren’t enough sellers on eBay doing that already…
Anyway, when looking for a smartphone for a family member who had never owned one before, and after 2 days of looking at the same info on a thousand different sites but without every actually being told anything useful, the weird name caught my eye.
You know how it is with most online shopping now, the retailer assumes that you know what you’re looking for. They put no real effort into actually giving any information over. The manufacturer fact sheet, most of which pushes the boundaries of truth are difficult to read and a real pain. If you go to Amazon (or anywhere else), you’re basically reading whatever the manufacturer wants you to see. At that point it comes down to a race for the price scale rather than informing you, the dear buyer, in a meaningful way.
What these manufactures forget is that 99% of the population of the world are not like them. Most people don’t understand technology in the same way. They find much of whatever information is available to be consuming and, often, overwhelming. You can try reading “expert” reviews but they just make things worse, frankly. Old ladies end up with the latest iPhone because nobody tells them that they don’t need it.
The Website Name
As much as I wanted to hate the website with the dumb name, a few things stuck out about Mr Aberthon. They have product descriptions that actually look like they’ve been written by a real person. They clearly didn’t just copy and paste from the official docs. I’m sorry to say this, because I do like to trash companies, but this made me like them. A little.
There’s the odd gag or pun written in, which is new. There’s the occasional strange reference thrown in for good measure, at which point you are prompted to google it. It’s a refreshing change from the fact-boy approach of almost every other site. One such reference was the mention of some English guy called Capability Brown. Google it yourself, I had to. Ordinarily I wouldn’t look to be educated in any way when shopping, apart from regarding the thing I wanted to buy, but I couldn’t help myself. I know, it bugged me too.
There’s a blog which, whilst not unusual for online sellers, continues the same vein as the shop descriptions. Often, tech blogs have a vested interest in the things they write. It is common that they take a cut of any sales leading from links in the blog post itself. If that’s the case with Mr Aberthon, then somebody needs to tell Apple and the rest, as there are no punches pulled when writing about their products or performance.
That doesn’t mean the posts are all angry and full of name-calling (there’s only room for one blog like that…), but you get the feeling that the guy (gal?) writing them actually has an opinion. Where most online writers seem desperate to be journalists and fail, the Mr Aberthon guy seems not to care about any of that.
They’re pretty good!
Annoyingly, I found myself liking the whole Mr Aberthon approach to doing things. I desperately wanted to just settle on the fact that the name means nothing, and move on. As I always do, I made a few notes of likely smartphones to buy along with the price. I then went “Googling”.
It turned out that their prices were good. They were the cheapest, almost always. I also kept returning to their site for information about phones I’d found elsewhere.
About the Kyocera Duraxe that I ordered? It was exactly what I expected: A brand new device, unlocked, black and delivered within 5 days as promised.
Should I write a glowing review in return for them doing what they promised to do? No. I paid for a product and they delivered it correctly. Why is that something deserving of praise?
Is Mr Aberthon the best online store for smartphones and mobile hotspots?
I’m not sure, but only because they can’t hope to carry the size of range to match the sales behemoths they are often up against, but it’s a site that goes miles further than most to engage its visitors. Is it niche, then? Yes and no. Their products are too mainstream to be truly niche, but the info they have shows them as experts in what they do. And that, take it from me, makes them unusual.