Buying a smartphone can seem like an ordeal sometimes. There are practically innumerable options available for new phones, making it hard to choose the phone that’s right for you. Certain phones enjoy reliable reputations, but the costs associated with the newest models can be prohibitive. For that reason, a lot of people are turning towards older phones. A used smartphone will often be much cheaper than the newest version. Furthermore, since many upgrades from one version to the next are incremental you can still get a phone with plenty of powerful features by shopping for the previous model instead of the most recent one.
The trick is knowing what will be rendered obsolete in the near future. You can do this by examining some industry trends to see what the standards will be in a year or so. If the features on the used phone you’re looking at won’t change much, it’s probably a safe bet. Otherwise, you may want to think twice before purchasing a model that is set to become a dinosaur. A cheap phone may not necessarily provide you with much value if its hardware won’t run apps you need or pair with other devices you’ll want to use.
With the above considerations in mind, we’ve put together a list of used smartphones that provide excellent value to smart customers. Take a look at our selections, then use the information provided to make an informed buying decision the next time you want a used phone.
The original Samsung Galaxy didn’t enjoy an abundance of favourable press when it debuted in 2009. Actually, reviews were pretty tepid. The phone was widely considered to be an iPhone lookalike, but with an uglier interface and a cheaper-looking exterior. Fast forward to 2016 when the Galaxy S7 was released, and you’ll see that a lot has changed.
For one thing, the S7 has a gorgeous design that easily rivals that of the iPhone (the Galaxy’s perennial competition). Furthermore, it adds or improves upon numerous features that the iPhone lacks or comes up short on—such as battery life and resistance to water. There’s even microSD capability.
The Galaxy S7 still isn’t a cheap phone. It will probably cost at least a few hundred dollars, but when you compare that to the ~$800 price tag this phone originally came with, that’s quite a discount.
Those of you who want a bit more might find it worthwhile to upgrade to the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. Samsung’s “edge” feature might have struck some customers as gimmicky when it was first introduced, but the curved screen looks beautiful and it actually allows you to perform many essential tasks with greater convenience.
The edge is designed for user-friendliness. You can use it to see important information pertaining to up to five of your favourite contacts—for example, it will change colour when one of them calls you, or sort their missed calls out from others and display them on the side of your screen. It also comes packed with other handy features, like a bedside clock and easy access to app notifications.
The Galaxy S7 Edge also improves upon the regular Galaxy S7 in a few areas that really count, like its camera. Boasting 12 megapixels and better autofocus than the S7, this is a camera that still outperforms many new phones and isn’t likely to be rendered obsolete any time soon. Is it on the expensive end of the used phone spectrum? You bet. Still, you’re getting an incredible amount for your money, especially since it’s hundreds of dollars cheaper than it used to be.
LG certainly isn’t one of the flashiest names in smartphone technology, but that’s not to say their phones can’t be incredibly valuable. For proof, we can look to the LG G5. Dual rear cameras and an excellent screen are just two of the reasons the G5 still stands out, even among newer phones. The major draw is the G5’s modular design—a feature the company dropped with its next model, the G6.
Modular design allows you to swap certain components of your phone out for others. What this means is that when one part of your G5 stops performing the way you’d like, you can simply upgrade it. This is particularly useful if you want more storage, or if your battery has grown weak and you want to put in a new one. Since neither the iPhone nor recent Galaxy models have this ability, that alone is enough to make the G5 worth considering.
Another excellent selling point for the G5 is its price. Maybe you don’t want to spend four or five hundred dollars on a used phone. In that case, you’ll find prices for the G5 very agreeable. Expect to pay only about $200 for this device. Of course, upgrades will still cost extra (and may get more expensive as they are discontinued).
Yes, there’s an Apple product on this list, and no, it’s not here just because it’s pretty. While other phones on this list may outperform the 6s in certain respects, there’s one particularly good reason to consider making it your next used phone: security.
Apple continues to release software updates for its older phones, which means they remain less prone to hacking for longer periods of time. This makes them an excellent long term investment, as long as you make sure you’re buying a genuine product. To reduce your risks, make sure you purchase a phone that’s been okayed by a quality diagnostics service. Any used phone you purchase should be vetted this way first, but it’s especially important for iPhones because the used market for them is large and contains many counterfeiters.
Buying a used phone can definitely save you money, even if you’re buying a relatively expensive one. Make sure that you’re purchasing a phone that is going to remain up to date, and you should be able to enjoy many competitive features without going over budget. Whether you want the power of a Galaxy, the versatility of an LG, or the security of an Apple product, there are plenty of excellent choices on the used phone market. Choose one that aligns with your priorities, and enjoy your next device!