Everyone loves the feeling of unboxing a brand new smartphone and removing the factory plastics from it. However, you always lose a lot of value the moment you remove it from the box. Buying a second-hand device is a great way to save some money on the product you’re interested in. The first owner covers most of the depreciation and you can find some great deals even on recent smartphones. In order to ensure the best outcome, being careful is important before buying a used phone. Here are some important things to check before making your decision!
Should you even consider buying a used phone?
Well, nobody likes to use a used phone! It’s always the budget consideration and the wish to get a good phone for a reasonable price that makes go for a second-hand smartphone. If you are tight on budget and are getting a great deal on some used phone, there’s no harm going for it. If the phone you want to buy is in shiny good condition, has no scratches, dents or cracks, and has been kept by the original user carefully, your purchase will be considered a wise decision. Keep on reading this article to know more about the things to check before buying a used phone.
Which used phone are you interested in?
This may seem obvious, but you need to know what you’re looking for. Nowadays there are hundreds of different devices, so choosing one is not an easy task. Keep in mind that some people switch phones frequently, so you can easily find recent second-hand ones for sale. If you already know the smartphone you want, you can start browsing the offers. Otherwise, we can help you with making the best decision. Each person has different preferences and needs, but some things are universally important.
First of all, you need to think about how much you’re willing to spend. Take a look at the average asking prices, get an idea, and decide on a budget. Then, you may have some favorite brands you’d pick over some others, thus narrowing your field. You also need to consider the age of the device: older smartphones are cheaper, but the newer ones benefit from updated specifications and operating systems. Would you prefer an old flagship or a new mid-ranger? Lastly, think about your personal needs, there may be some features or properties which are more valuable than others.
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How long has the phone been used?
Once you have chosen the model, let’s get into the individual listings. It’s very important that the owner gives you as much information as possible about his smartphone. One of the things that may be useful to know is the date of the original purchase. There are several reasons to ask this, let’s see some examples.
The first reason why this may be useful is that the device could still be covered by warranty. It’s usually possible to transfer the warranty when the owner changes, so this might be valuable to you. We recommend verifying the country regulations and the original contract for the details. Another important factor is battery life. Older devices suffer from a limited battery capacity, so you may need to replace it. In this case, take into account the cost of the battery, and the labor in case you cannot do it yourself.
Knowing how long the device has been used can also suggest some implicit information. For example, if a device has been only used for a couple weeks, you may want to know why it’s being sold. Maybe the owner didn’t like it, or maybe there is something wrong with it. Additionally, using a product always brings to some natural wear, so you can guess what to expect. Of course, accidental damage is a completely different matter.
Is there any physical damage?
Another thing to keep in mind while buying a used phone is to look minutely for physical damages. While minor scratches are something you have to expect, some second-hand smartphones may also be damaged. Pay a lot of attention to the ads and the way they’re written. Very often you’ll read “good conditions“, which doesn’t provide a lot of information about the product. If the previous owner took care of his device, it’s in his best interest to indicate that what he’s selling is “like new“. In case there’s something suspicious, make sure all pictures look good, or ask for more.
It’s also useful to know whether the device has been used with or without a case. The same applies to screen protectors, even though most modern devices have high-quality scratch resistant glass panels. In case the smartphone has been dropped, make sure to have all the details and ask if any functionality has been compromised. Second-hand products aren’t all equal, so you’ll need to evaluate your options and choose the best deal.
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Does the used phone have accessories?
It’s always a good thing when all original accessories come with the device. The most important things to look for are cables and wall adapters. Third party ones aren’t always manufactured as precisely and could potentially bring to dangerous situations. Other things like headphones or adapters are often missing on second-hand devices, but they’re usually not as important.
Very often, used smartphones also come with some related accessories. Things like cases and screen protectors would be useless on other devices, so the owner has to get rid of them anyways. For everything else, pay attention to the details of every ad you explore. Make sure you get all accessories before buying a used phone.
Is there anything else you should know about?
This part is more complicated, as it sums up all the things we rarely think about when buying second-hand smartphones. The first important element to check is the software state. In fact, the device could have been rooted, which might void your warranty. This depends on your country and the manufacturer, but you need to keep it in mind.
More specifically, it’s very important for Samsung phones. The reason is that there’s an irreversible counter that changes when you root the device. As a result, some apps such as Samsung Pay, Secure Folder or S Health will be permanently disabled. Unlike other brands, Samsung doesn’t allow restoring these services even by going back to stock.
Before buying a used phone, you must ensure whether the person from whom you are purchasing the phone has not enabled FRP (Firmware Reset Protection) on his phone. Sometimes, it’s too late before you realize your mistake. One of my friends bought a Galaxy S8 from someone. The old owner handed him the phone after resetting the device himself. Sometime later, he decided to perform a factory reset and then the phone prompted him to enter the email and password for the FRP. Things happen, you know!
You may also want to know about any particular modifications on the smartphone itself. The back cover could have been opened and some components replaced. This is especially important when you’d like to keep the warranty coverage. As we mentioned, being careful is the best way to avoid any surprises. If you make all the necessary considerations, you’ll be able to find great deals and save some money. Let us know about any personal experiences in the comments below!