If you are following the mobile market for a while you’ve surely noticed tendency to rise prices in flagships smartphones. The top notch smartphones are getting better, faster and ynfirmore expensive each year. Released last year the Galaxy S7 debuted priced at $650, while the newest Galaxy S8 costs $750. Furthermore, if to believe the latest rumors the iPhone 8 might hit the market labeled with a MacBook-like pricing. Therefore, many of us prefer to buy a used phone than to ruin the budget with paying premium prices for new models.
Thinking of buying a used phone online. Here are several tips you should read to avoid total disappointment.
We often recommend buying used phones as an alternative to all those who want a flagship device but can’t afford its premium pricing. Purchasing a used phone in a mint condition is always a smart way to upgrade to a better device while saving some cash. However, be aware that it’s not just about the price, there are many other factors you need to consider before buying a used phone. Here’s everything you need to know before purchasing a pre-owned device, so as to avoid disappointing purchase.
First of all, you need to be conscious exactly what you’re buying. There are various terms that describe different types of pre-owned phones. Although every reseller has different standards for what qualifies as a used, certified pre-owned or refurbished phone, there are still some general guidelines for what to expect.
A used phone is coming straight from a private seller. So, unfortunately, there’s no annual warranty from manufactuer. At best, the website will offer a few weeks of returning policy, free returns, guarantees that the item meets the description and that the attached images are real photos.
Meanwhile, sold at Amazon, Best Buy and Target certified pre-owned smartphones should come with some kind of limited warranty, usually 90 days, as they usually undergo verification whether they work properly.
Being a subject to a careful software and hardware repair refurbished handsets represent the highest standard of the three as they offer like-new functionality. If you’re looking for a refurbished device, visit Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon or head over directly to Apple for a refurbished iPhone.
Now when you have an idea of what to expect, you should learn how to purchase a second-hand phone with satisfaction. No matter what you’re hunting for, these few tips we prepared for you should help you buy a pre-owned device with full confidence.
- Perfect timing
The best time to buy a second-hand phone is always just after its successor’s premiere, which is when majority of early buyers sell the previous gen to earn money they can spend on the latest model. Even if release dates for specific phones shift a little each year, the launching policy of big brands is usually pretty much the same each year. Samsung, LG and HTC unveil new flagships in early spring, while Apple announces new iPhones in the fall.
- Buy a phone of your network or choose an unlocked device
One of the most important things you should consider when shopping for a used phone is to make sure that it will sync with your carrier. The easiest way to do this is to purchase the device straight from your carrier, as almost all US service providers offers pre-owned or certified handsets giving you a guaranty that the purchase phone will work on their network. The biggest downside of buying directly from a carrier is that you will have to pay some extra money.
If you don’t want to go this route, always check that the device you’re going to buy indicates that it will activate with the carrier of your choice. Furthermore, you can always search for an multi-band unlocked phone capable to work on any network. Just remember that unlocked GSM models will work with carriers such as AT&T and T-Mobile, while a CDMA-ready phones are oriented to networks like Verizon or Sprint. Hence, always check whether the device supports all of the relevant network frequencies of your service provider. This will help you make sure that you will have optimal coverage.
- Compare prices
The next step to increase your savings while buying a used phone is to research prices. Before purchase you need to figure out what’s the going rate for the device you want to buy. To do it, use our tools at Cheap Phones and compare prices from entire market at an instant. Naturally, there may always be a difference in used phone pricing versus refurbished or new, so make sure to narrow the results down. Another thing is that quite often a price defines quality, so even if at first sight two phones look quite the same, the lower price may be dictated by poorer handset condition.
- Learn about return policy
If you don’t buy your phone directly from the producer or a carrier, try to purchase it from a re-seller with as solid as possible return policy, offers free returns and no restocking fees.
Even though most physical damages are easy to notice the moment you put your hands on the device, you may need a bit more time to detect problems with hardware or software functioning. Once you complete the transaction, make a note of the final day when you’re allowed to return the device. You know, forewarned is always forearmed.
- Research your seller
If you plan to buy your phone from an independent supplier via eBay or Amazon, always determine how trustworthy is the person you’re going to send your hard-earned money. This is a pretty complicated task because you need to base your judgment on a limited sources of information. In this case, eBay and Amazon inform you on how long the seller has been a member of the site, how many devices did they sell and how high they service and products have been rated by buyers who have dealt with them.
- Check the phone’s overall condition
The phone’s screen condition can tell a lot about how the device was used by its first owner. So always examine it carefully, looking for scratches and cracks, as replacing a screen is quite pricey enterprise ($100 and more). Furthermore, it can results in some other problems with the device.
After checking the display examine its body case. Any considerable abrasion may suggest that the phone was dropped quite often which except for external damages can also result in malfunctioning of internal components. Another question is how big aesthete you are. Minor scratches or abrasions won’t affect the phone’s functioning but they can lower its price noticeably. Remember that a good case is able to hide all cosmetic flaws making them invisible in everyday use of the device.
- Check what you’re getting besides the phone
Items included with the phone can deliver many valuable information about the seller. For instance, if the offered phone is sold along with the original box, you can be sure you won’t buy a stolen or lost device. If there’s a case or a screen protector, you can expect the handset to have a good physical shape. In addition, you should always check whether the device comes with the original charger. Note that many Android flagships support fast charging that require compatible chargers.
- Software updates
While the hardware on your smartphone remains unchanged for the whole usage, the software continues to advanced. In the world of Android-based smartphones the only manufacturer you can rely on for consistent software updates is Google with its Nexus and Pixel devices.
While other features are less optional, the monthly security updates should be of your major concern. So always make sure that the manufacturer of the device you’re purchasing isn’t offering OS versions older than month of two behind security updates. If you want to avoid software updates concern, then opt for iPhones. Apple is known for supporting its old devices. Still, this doesn’t apply to more than couple of years old handsets. Scheduled to debut this fall iOS 11 is rumored to work only on 64-bit devices, so iPhone 5 and 5C won’t receive the update due to outdated hardware.
- Consider battery life
Be aware that lithium-ion batteries lose a little of their capacity every day of usage, which means that a 2-year old cell probably has only 80 percent of its original capacity. Providing that you’re not buying one of the very few Android phones sporting replaceable batteries, battery life should be one of the deciding factors, especially if you are a heavy smartphone user or you’re frequently without an access to a charger. You can either use an external battery in emergency cases, or replace the battery paying $70 to $80 extra.
- Check your phone immediately upon receipt
You’ve completed all the steps above and finally receive the phone. If the phone is covered by seller’s return policy, the clock is still ticking so test the device for any hidden problems. If you didn’t buy the phone from a carrier, then you need to check whether it isn’t a stolen device.
To do so, you simply need to contact your carrier and give it the phone’s IMEI number or verify the device using one of the free database apps like the Stolen Phone Checker. When you’ve accomplish the verification, test the phone physical condition by checking whether there aren’t any surprises. Apply slight pressure to test that there’s no separation in the case or screen panel. Examine the water indicator (found in the nano-SIM slot). If it was triggered, you will be able to see a solid red or pink color.
Then look online for service codes, which are a series of numbers and symbols you dial to open a diagnostic mode. Using diagnostic menu you can run a series of checks that will confirm that the hardware and software on your phone work correctly. When doing this always pay particular attention to the battery test or status presenting a number of cycles. When it pushes beyond 500 cycles, the battery have already lost a big part of its original capacity.
In the End
Hope that reading this short guideline will help you enjoy the purchase of a replacement used smartphone. Remember that when buying second-hand phones you don’t only maximize your savings, but also help protect our environment by reducing pollution which you have our thanks for.
Shoot us any questions if you still have any questions about buying used phones.