a blessing in http disguise?


A couple of weeks ago, I was poring over the HitAd. Looking for phones. It’s pretty hard to find decent prices for midrange phones – everyone seems to know the price of the latest and greatest, but good luck sniping deals on a budget smartphone without walking all over Colombo. And no, I refuse to walk. This is the Information Age. There has to be an easier way.

Thus went my thoughts until I was introduced to a fairly new site called For the record, (not to be confused with ideamart) is not a think tank. What they do is phone pricing.

And this, I’m pleased to say, they do better than any Classifieds list in Sri Lanka. Ideabeam lists the best prices for any phone of your choice from a series of curated sources. It’s simple. Go to the site. Pick a phone. You’ll see a list of places you can get it from, including updated pricing from each place.


And here’s the best part – it clearly shows the prices from the cheapest to the most expensive. It even gives you a small summary before the actual list, comparing the cheapest and the most expensive. And in almost every case, the prices are actually much better than the deals you get in random brick-and-mortar stores in Sri Lanka.


To test this out, we went on a round of the phone shops in Majestic City and Maharagama – that’s two widely separated areas in two different regions of the city. Sony Xperia Tipo, the cheapest Sony Xperia, ranged from 19,500 rupees to 23,000 rupees. Ideabeam located the Tipo for just slightly over 17 thousand. That’s 3K saved plus even more savings on time and effort.  Similar things happened with the Huawei  G300 Ascend, Xperia P, Samsung Galaxy Grand and Lumia 820.

This is actually what makes ideabeam (odd name aside) so likeable: the deals you get without having to walk. You can get an S3 for anywhere between 55 and 99 thousand, and all of these listings are neatly arranged on Ideambeam. It’s not just online stores – you’ll see comparisons from very well known, physical stores, including places like Singer, Baasils, Celltronics, Qtel Holdings and Premier Telecom. Most of these places actually pop up every month on various classified magazines in newspapers.  The next time you walk into a store, or read an advert, you know what price ranges you should be getting for a given product – and you can instantly check online and see if you’re getting a fair deal or if you’re being ripped off.

You don’t have to buy the paper. You don’t have pull off the “mang balala ennang” line on random salespeople. You don’t have to waste time on browsing their websites (a tedious and much-hated job, for most Sri Lankan vendor websites tend to be woefully ugly and/or out of date). All you do is pick a phone and let ideabeam tell you which one’s the cheapest.  It’s simple, it’s fast, and it’s very effective. As an afterthought, we could certainly use more services along this line. Computer parts prices, maybe?



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