3 Things You Need to Know When Buying A Used Smartphone

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3 Things You Need to Know When Buying A Used Smartphone

used smartphone

Smartphone technology has only improved over the years. However, as the technology gets better–the price tags have only risen. 11 years ago the first iPhone was introduced with a price tag of $499 for 4GB. Today, the iPhone X costs about $1,000 for 256GB–not to mention Galaxy Note and Google Pixel also selling for hundreds.

Consumers can’t afford to buy a new smartphone every year. In fact, research shows that consumers are increasingly buying refurbished and used smartphones to save money.

However, buying a used device has just as much risk as buying a used car. You never know what someone is actually selling you. In the following article, we’re breaking down the three things you should know whenever you are shopping for a used phone. Pay close attention, and you’ll be able to shop for your next used phone with total confidence as if you are standing in the Apple Store.

Know Exactly What You Want

The first thing you should do when shopping for a used phone is research the different types of smartphones. What models have the best reviews over time? Can apps run smoothly, or will you have to worry about upgrading your software on a device that isn’t compatible?

Thinking about this ahead of time can prevent you from buying something that will break easily or become obsolete in a few years. Here are a few important points to bear in mind when you are sorting through your options:

Consider the age of the device

Older smartphones may work well enough for placing calls, but may struggle to run current operating systems—and that means they may not be able to stay up to date with bug fixes. As such, they can pose security risks by offering easy targets for hackers. It’s generally best to make sure that your used phone isn’t any more than a year or two old when you buy it.

Buying used vs buying refurbished

Understanding the differences between used and refurbished phones can save you a lot of trouble down the line. Remember that used phones do not come with any guarantees—they are simply sold “as is” by their buyers. Refurbished phones on the other hand have always been tested, repaired to a certain standard, and cleaned. However, if you are on a tight budget, refurbished may not be the right choice for you. In that case, there are other ways to make sure the phone you buy is up to speed.

Make Sure You Are Buying From a Trusted Seller

Once you know what you are looking for, how do you know where to look? Social networks can be excellent ways to find out about used phones for sale, if you are buying from someone you know. It’s always better to purchase your phone from someone you trust, so that you can be sure they won’t try to sell you a defective or stolen item. Stick to your friends list for best results.

Another smart idea is to look at websites that are focused on selling used devices from trusted sellers such as Swappa, where people often list used phones for sale. One of the primary advantages of using Swappa is that users must verify that the phone in question is functional before they can put it up. Check out more ideas of where to buy used phones here.

used smartphone

Inspect Your Device and Run a Diagnostic Test

Before you make any final decisions, you should test the phone yourself. If you are purchasing the device from a friend or meeting the buyer in person, make sure they let you test the phone before you hand over any money. There are several simple tests you can perform on your own that will tell you what kind of shape the device is in:

  • Look the phone over for physical damage. Make sure there are no visible cracks, dents, or other signs of damage that could indicate a problem with the phone.
  • Check all ports and jacks. Bring your own USB cable and headphones to the meeting so that you can plug them in and verify that the device is reading them.
  • Put your own SIM card in and see what happens. The phone should import all of your personal data (contacts, calendar, etc.) that has been saved on that card. If it doesn’t, there could be a problem.
  • Check the IMEI/ESN. These numbers allow a mobile phone to be tracked so that potential buyers can look up its specifications. Think of a phone’s IMEI or ESN like the VIN number on an automobile. These numbers can generally be found on the back of the phone itself (as in the case of an iPhone) or next to the barcode.
  • Run a diagnostics. Ask the reseller to use a service such as PhoneCheck, which will provide a rigorous 60-point inspection and an accompanying diagnostics report akin to a CarFax sheet. These sheets can alert you to any damage or defects that a simple hand test may not turn up.

Purchasing a new smartphone will always require some level of investment on your part, so you need to make sure it’s money well spent. Use this guide to help you make informed choices, and enjoy the peace of mind of shopping for a used smartphone the SMART way!