With last year’s latest cell phones still fresh in your mind but not in your hand, you may be suffering from smartphone envy. It can feel like everyone around you has the one you want. Whether it’s the iPhone XS, Pixel 3, or Galaxy S9, it shows up in TV commercials, ads before online videos, and even print ads in the subway. It’s like the universe is telling you it’s time to upgrade.
The only thing holding you back is the cost of one of these new phones. If you’re wondering how you can get a new phone without paying a new phone price, check in with this guide to buying refurbished phones. It may help you upgrade without spending a fortune.
What is it?
A refurbished phone is more than a cell phone previously used by another person. It’s a little more complex than that. It can describe several situations that involve a device returned to the manufacturer or retail store.
Refurbished can describe a Pixel 3 XL that someone decided they didn’t like within their 14-day trial period, or it can describe a glitchy S9 that someone returned to the manufacturer where it was repaired.
Some people believe refurbished electronics are a risk not worth taking. And in the past, they may have been. Up until 2017, there were no standards for the refurbishment process. Any seller, including people like you, could classify a used device as refurbished. Sometimes, this meant consumers purchased a lemon when they thought they were buying a certified-refurbished phone.
In February of last year, the Remanufacturing Industries Council set guidelines for the process of remanufacturing process. These will definitely improve your chances of avoiding a glitchy used phone.
To increase your chances of finding a refurbished phone successfully, use this checklist while you shop:
- Choose your store wisely: Where you purchase your refurbished phone may play a big factor in the quality of the device you receive.
By purchasing your handset through the official manufacturer (like Apple), your phone provider, or a trusted retailer, you can guarantee the electric has gone through extensive testing to ensure it meets factory standards.
Compare this to a phone you find on an online classified ad. There’s a chance that the person selling the device has the best intentions, and they’ve reset and repaired the phone as well as a manufacturer would. But in all likelihood, they haven’t. You might not realize you purchased a dud until you go home and explore the handset in full.
- Check the warranty: Depending on the type of refurbished phone, it may come with a warranty. Check to see if the manufacturer or retailer offers any kind of warranty on the phone, or if there’s an option to return or refund the device should it not meet your expectations.
- Invest in skins: Although buying refurbished from a certified seller will ensure the quality of your phone, it may still look like it’s been used. A refurbished phone may show some cosmetic damages — like nicks around the charging port or scuffs around the bezels. You can cover these up with a tailormade skin. Companies like dbrand customize each skin for the specific generation or model of phone you have to offer the best fitting accessory possible.
It’s more than mere camouflage. In addition to covering up old damage, it prevents more scratches and grime from spoiling your new-to-you handset. It’s also an easy way to personalize a refurbished phone. Whether you need an iPhone skin, Pixel skin, or Galaxy skin, you can find the coolest skins on the planet with a little bit of digital window shopping. Go online to find designs like black marble, black matrix, or bright yellow carbon fiber.
When there isn’t a place for a brand new smartphone in your budget, you aren’t doomed to your outdated handset forever. You may be able to find a cheaper alternative in a refurbished phone. Just do your research by checking your seller and warranties, and you’ll be able to make sure you get a good-as-new used phone.