Christmas is a popular time for smartphone sales both as presents for others and owners treating themselves to a replacement – often influenced by deals from network operators and mobile sales companies. Of course, this can add considerably to what is an expensive time of year, but alternatives such as refurbished phones offer a very cost-effective way of getting your hands on the latest tech.
What is a refurbished phone?
It’s basically a used – or pre-owned – handset sold often by specialists who focus on selling cheap refurbished phones and maybe tablets and smartwatches from many or all of the popular makers. The phones may have been returned by customers who didn’t get on with it when upgrading or used for a short while before being changed.
Refurbishers clean the phone and wipe it clear of data so it’s supplied as it would have been brand new ready for a new user, and attend to any faults the phone may have (if any). The beauty of buying a refurbished smartphone is you can have anything from the latest model (if you wait a little while after its launch) to an older variant at a very attractive price.
There’s plenty of peace of mind with a refurbished phone:
- Satisfaction guarantee – a refurbisher keen to build trust will offer the option of returning the phone for a refund or exchange if you’re not totally happy with your purchase
- Warranty – the phone should carry a warranty against faults; durations can vary but look for one year
- Fast delivery – refurbishers know you’ll want your phone urgently so may offer next working day courier delivery (weekends may be possible, too)
- Fully tested – the refurbisher should check the phone isn’t stolen and run a comprehensive series of hardware checks such as on the camera, headphone, connection ports, battery, screen and much more
- Reviews and testimonials – a refurbisher with a good reputation will be happy to draw attention to their customer’s comments such as on feedback sites like Trust Pilot, and may also include testimonials on their own website
What phones can I buy from a refurbisher?
You can likely find models from all the key players such as Apple, Samsung, LG, Sony, Google, HTC, and others. Models ranging from the very latest version to something a few generations old can be found.
Being able to select a refurbished phone from all or at least most of the leading manufacturers allows you to choose exactly what make and model would suit.
Buying only the tech you need
Not everyone needs or even wants the very latest tech – at least not if money can be saved on a phone that will meet their immediate needs. For example, the latest Apple iPhone 8 offers more power and both wireless and fast charging compared to its predecessor, the iPhone 7 – but do you really need these features?
Smartphones are very powerful devices and have been for some while; many users don’t exploit the performance of even their present phone let alone its likely more powerful successor.
As for the wireless charging of the iPhone 8, it’s slower than using a charging cable and adds to the expense in that you’ll require a charging tray, and if you want to use fast charging a different charger than the one supplied is required at yet more expense.
You may decide these and other features of the newer iPhone aren’t necessary – especially when you can pick up the still powerful and very fine refurbished iPhone 7, enjoy advanced smartphone tech and save significant money.
The same applies to other makes; you may feel, for example, that the Samsung Galaxy 7 provides as much tech as you require without needing to buy the latest model, the Galaxy 8, or to bother waiting for the new Galaxy 9 scheduled for release in the first part of 2018.
The canny buyer
It’s long been said buying just behind the newest releases is often where the best in smartphone value for money can be found. Inevitably, as new models hit the streets, the predecessors reduce in price and this has a knock-on effect on resale values.
Bear in mind, too, that manufacturers will nearly always release a new model each year to stimulate the market and keep sales buoyant – not always because there’s new tech that simply has to get onto the market. Therefore, it’s not always a worthwhile upgrade and buying just ‘behind’ the new release – especially refurbished – can give you a top class smartphone at a very attractive price.