Purchasing a fantastic used phone is usually a excellent technique to save some money even though upgrading to a greater device. But it is not just about value; there are actually other elements to think about when buying for a used smartphone.
1. Know when to purchase
If you are wanting to get essentially the most current phone model as possible when maximizing your savings, the best time to invest in a used smartphone is just following its successor comes out, that is when all the early adopters sell the previous generation of their smartphones.
Though the dates for particular phone releases shift a bit every single year, the smartphone calendar is quite set. Best Android phone makers for example Samsung, HTC and LG announce new flagship devices in early spring, followed by Apple, which rolls out its new iPhones inside the fall. Other Android models – for example Google’s Pixel, Samsung’s Galaxy Note and LG’s V series – generally debut later in the year, as well.
2. Know your network, or buy an unlocked phone
One in the most significant elements to think about when purchasing a used phone is to ensure that the device will operate with your carrier of decision. The quick approach to do that is usually to buy straight out of your carrier; most provide certified preowned and/or refurbished devices that should be guaranteed to work on that carrier. The trade-off is that you will spend a bit of a premium.
If you do not go the carrier route, just be sure that the device you are obtaining indicates that it is actually compatible with, and ready to activate on, whichever carrier you choose. You may also go for a multiband unlocked smartphone, which might be activated on any carrier. (Otherwise, you’ll have to have to look to get a GSM-capable phone for use on GSM networks for example AT&T and T-Mobile, or a CDMA-ready phone that will work on Verizon or Sprint.) Just consult the specs of whatever phone you’re shopping for to confirm it supports all the relevant network frequencies for your carrier, or you won’t have optimal coverage.
3. Research prices
The next step would be to figure out what the going rate is for your chosen smartphone. There’s always some variability in used smartphone pricing, but you should be able to narrow it down by looking at a few sites, like Swappa, Glyde, eBay (search sold listings only) and Amazon. Just ensure that that you are comparing apples to apples in terms on the general condition from the phone and what’s included.
4. Know the return policy
Try to obtain your phone from a reseller with a rock-solid return policy.
When you don’t get from a carrier or phone maker, at least try to obtain your phone from a reseller with a rock-solid return policy. While most physical damage is quick to detect the moment you receive your phone, it can take a little longer to spot malfunctioning hardware or software. So look at the return window when you are buying for any phone, and once you complete the sale, make a note on the final day when you are allowed to return it, just in case.
5. Know your seller
When you acquire your phone through a private seller on sites like eBay or Swappa, you require to determine if the person you’re about to send hundreds of dollars to is usually trusted. And unfortunately, you are usually basing that decision on a fairly limited amount of information.
eBay and Swappa provide some guidance, displaying how long the seller has been a member from the site, how many transactions they’ve completed, and how they’ve been rated by other buyers and sellers who’ve dealt with them.
6. Note the phone’s overall condition
The phone’s screen should be your primary concern when you are examining a used phone. Any chips or cracks are an immediate deal breaker, as replacing a screen is costly ($100 and up) and can indicate other problems with the device.
From there, you should look for any dents or significant abrasions that indicate a device has been dropped repeatedly. That could start to cause separation inside the body from the phone or damage to the internal components.
If the phone passes these tests, it’s really just a question of what kinds of minor scratches or abrasions you’re willing to tolerate, and whether you will be planning to use a case. It’s worth considering that superficial damage can mean a lower price tag, and with a case covering the phone, you might not notice any cosmetic flaws in day-to-day use.
7. Check what you are getting besides the phone
The items included with the smartphone are not only a bonus; they can also give you valuable information about the seller. For example, if a seller has the original box, that’s an incredible indicator that you aren’t hunting at a stolen device. If they include a case and/or a screen protector, the phone is probably in good physical shape. Getting the original charger for your device is also more critical than it once was, as many Android phones support fast charging that should work only with compatible chargers.
8. Take into consideration software updates
When the hardware on your smartphone remains the same as the day it was first sold, the software can – and should – continue to advance. For Android phones, the only manufacturer it is possible to depend on for consistent software updates is Google, with its Nexus and Pixel devices.
At present, most Android devices run a version from the operating system that is really a generation or two removed from Android Nougat. Even though new features may be optional, the monthly security updates should be priorities, and you should ensure that the manufacturer from the device you’re getting doesn’t fall more than a month or two behind with these updates.
Software updates are less of a concern for iPhones, as Apple generally supports its old hardware. Still, exercise some caution if you are searching at an iPhone that’s more than a couple of years old. This fall’s iOS 11 update will reportedly function only on 64-bit devices, meaning phones for instance the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5c won’t be able to run the latest software.
9. Look at battery life
The lithium-ion batteries that power smartphones lose a little of their capacity every day, so by the time they are 1 to 2 years old, they probably have only 80 percent with the original battery capacity, at best. Unless you are purchasing one on the few Android devices that still feature replaceable batteries, this could be a deciding factor if you are a heavy smartphone user or frequently away from a charger for 12 to 14 hours at a time. You could either turn to an external battery for use in emergencies, or you could pay to have the battery on your used phone replaced. That should add $70 to $80 to your phone’s cost, though.
10. Check your phone immediately upon receipt
So you’ve gone through all the steps above and finally have the smartphone in your hands. When you have a return policy, the clock is ticking, so it’s time for you to figure out if there are any hidden problems.
In the event you didn’t obtain the smartphone out of your carrier, this would be the time to verify that the device isn’t stolen or carrier-locked. You can check by either contacting your carrier with your phone’s IMEI number (ordinarily found on the nano-SIM slot or in the About This Device section of your phone’s Settings app) or by trying to activate the smartphone on your account.
Once you’ve passed that test, do a basic physical check in the phone to ensure that there aren’t any surprises. Look over the phone, and move your hands around it, applying slight pressure to verify that there isn’t any separation in the case or screen. Check the water indicator. (On most modern smartphones, this are going to be found within the nano-SIM slot.) If it’s been triggered, you’ll see a solid red or pink color.
Should you search online for “service codes” and the manufacturer of your smartphone, you will find a series of numbers and symbols to enter in your dialer to open a diagnostic mode. You are able to run a series of checks here which will verify that the hardware and software on your phone are in great working order. Pay particular attention to the battery test or status that can display the number of cycles. When a smartphone battery pushes beyond 500 cycles, it really is on borrowed time and will have lost fairly significant capacity.
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