Not everyone can afford the newest, hottest, speediest gadgets on offer today. Especially when manufacturers put so much pressure on the everyday consumer to upgrade yearly, sometimes even more than once within 12 months.
We say it’s okay to own yesteryear’s Android flagships, and going refurbished is often a wise choice if you can’t or won’t spend north of $600, $700, even $800 on the “next big thing.” No, on-contract phones aren’t an option, and if you feel this inherent reluctance towards pre-owned gear, that’s because you don’t know their full story.
What does refurbished mean?
First of all, it doesn’t mean broken, damaged, defective or cosmetically impaired. A refurb product should show limited or no wear, and while it’s been in the hands of at least another proprietor before you, you can rest assured they didn’t meddle with its internals, dropped it, or harmed it in any significant way.
If something like that did happen, it’s actually the best possible news, as the OEM then probably replaced components affected by the injuries. In a nutshell, we’re talking devices that look, feel and function “like-new” here, returned to the seller for one of a number of reasons, and professionally restored to fully working, mint condition.
Most retailers also offer warranties and advantageous return terms, so if you’re not getting what’s advertised, there’s nothing to lose, only to gain. One final note. Just because someone “tested” a phone, and decided to ask their money back, it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s something wrong with the gizmo. Maybe the buyer had unrealistic expectations. Maybe he ordered it by mistake, realized too late, and thought he’d play with it for a while anyway.
It’s possible the merchant and/or courier mishandled the refurbished item as well, which brings you a nice discount at minimal risks.
Best place to buy used phones
Lesson number one – don’t conduct business on eBay unless you absolutely have to, or the deals are too attractive, and you trust the seller. Brick and mortar stores will rarely seem a good idea, considering their limited inventory in such cases.
Ergo, the best places to buy used cell phones are generally online. And the best sites to buy used phones are chiefly Amazon and Best Buy. Currently, the official Best Buy refurbished phones roster merely includes ten Android models, the most compelling of which you’ll find a $265 HTC One M8 and $330 Samsung Galaxy S5 to be.
Best refurbished smartphones on Amazon
Ah, the Mecca of all things mobile, all things cheap, all things electronics. And of course, the home of the best refurbished cell phones stateside. Look for the portal’s “certified refurbished” section first and foremost, choose the “cell phones” category, and make sure you’re always covered by a standard 90-day warranty.
One of the best refurbished phones you should probably think about scoring this holiday season, for yourself or a loved one, is the $230 second-gen Motorola Moto X. The 5.2 incher works on Verizon, plus competing GSM carriers, and in brand new, untouched form, it costs 300 bucks.
What do you reckon a rehabilitated Sony Xperia Z3v with 32 GB internal storage space and unlocked GSM support is worth? If you guessed $340, you are correct, and the prize is, well, a $340 Full HD, water-resistant and Snapdragon 801-packing Z3v.
Don’t mind spending a little extra on one of the world’s best phablets, and the second best S Pen-capable product to this day? Then the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 can be yours, in exchange for $430, in black or white, accompanied by your typical 3-month quality guarantee, with a beautiful 5.7-inch Quad HD display in tow, octa-core Exynos 5433 SoC, 3 GB RAM, 32 GB ROM, 3,220 mAh battery, 16 MP rear camera, Android 5.0 software goodies, fingerprint sensor, and faux leather backplate.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, a certified refurbished no-contract Verizon Moto G is only $40, an LG Lucid 3 goes for $95, the Huawei Ascend Mate 2 costs $210, and an oldie but goldie Samsung Galaxy Note 2 still commands a pre-owned price of $250.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t also mention the Verizon unlocked Motorola Droid Turbo, at least in passing, with the 2014 battery powerhouse once sold for over $500 off-contract, and now available at just $310 in refurb condition, coated in snazzy blue, orange and purple, and ready to keep the lights on for two whole days between charges, despite sporting a super-sharp 5.2-inch 1,440p Super AMOLED panel.
Now that’s what we like to call a must-buy! Quite possibly the best refurbished phone money can buy before, during and after the Thanksgiving – Black Friday – Cyber Monday 2015 festivities.