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    Benefits of Buying Pre-owned Phones

    By on Last modified: April 18, 2022

    You might be considering a new phone, and even ready to pay astronomical prices to get the latest and greatest phone makers have to offer. Over a fixed 24- or 36-month period, the monthly sum might be robbing you of a few coffees, but you still get to have the fastest processors, best screens, and snappiest cameras.  

    Is there a catch? Of course, there is. It’s there in the fine print. Prices aside, you’re locked into a fixed plan. And your phone is new, until the next one comes out. This is usually within the year for flagship models, and roughly 6 months for mid-rangers and entry-level phones. By the time you’ve paid off the phone, it will be replaced with a new one, and you lose out on better data deals. So, temptation sets in again, and the cycle is repeated.  

    But there are other options. You get almost the same spec in pre owned phones and at a fraction of the cost of a new phone. Here ‘almost’ means there are no real differences in real-life use. You still get a fast phone, that takes good pics, has a decent run speed and ample space to store everything. If it were my money, I’d rather have this and use the savings for a long-deserved holiday.  

    Used, Refurbished and Certified Pre-Owned Phones 

    Close-up of refurbished iphone 12 phones in a store

    Take note of the differences when going this route. As you can easily get burnt. Used phones are often those sold by private sellers, either in-person or online. You don’t know what you’re getting. And what you see online may be completely different from the real thing. The benefits here are that these are often the cheapest deals, but, honestly, a bit too risky.  

    Refurbished phones are those that have been used for some time, and sent back to the retailer or operator to get them repaired, tested and repackaged. These are sold at discount prices, and may still be current phones. What you’re risking is the reason they’ve been returned and whether the repairs are thorough. 

    A certified pre-owned phone carries the least baggage with it. These have been brought back to mint or near mint condition, undergone all necessary checks, and without visible damage whatsoever. Enough for the retailer or manufacturer to offer a limited time warranty that guarantees that the phone works as it should.  

    Benefits of a Pre-Owned Phone 

    Close-up of iphone 13 with menu on the screen


    This goes without saying, but let’s say it again. Pre-owned phones are a darn good deal. Considering current prices, not everyone can afford or want the newest phones. Buying refurbished or pre-owned still gets you the current tech, but at a discount.  

    Flagship Performance for not much more than an Entry-Level Phone 

    5G, the fastest processors using the newest manufacturing processes, multiple camera setups, beefier batteries, fast and wireless charging, more internal storage, decent build (metal and/or glass), and high-resolution screens with fast refresh rates. This is what you miss out on in new entry-level phones, coming in at the same price as a flagship refurbished or pre-owned unit. If you want the best specs, but aren’t willing to pay the premium, then this is the path to take.  

    Top Quality and Condition 

    All refurbished and pre-owned mobiles undergo a series of stringent tests. This evaluates the device info, operating systems, battery health, hardware buttons, speaker and headphone jack sound quality, screen parameters- resolution and pixelation, refresh rates, brightness, contrast ratios, colour gamut etc., call quality, connectivity and networking, fingerprint sensors, and cameras. Also, a visual inspection is done to confirm any damage. A certified pre-owned phone will pass all testing with flying colours, and have no damage.  

    Refurbished phones also undergo testing, but are graded on cosmetic condition. Marks range from Excellent/Mint, to Very Good and Good. Prices are also reflected in the condition of the phone.  


    Certified phones come with a one-year warranty. This ensures a hassle-free experience. If any issues come about during that period, the retailer or manufacturer must repair the phone or provide you with another unit. Refurbished phones in excellent condition may also come with the same warranty period. Always ask whether the phone is under warranty, and for how long.  

    No depreciation 

    Holding iphone 11 pro max and samsung galaxy s20 ultra  in hands

    Everything that has just been released on the market suffers the greatest depreciation. This is true of all electronic products, but especially mobile phones. Buying refurbished or certified pre-owned phones means you save money, twice – when taking into account the depreciation of the new phone, and the cost of the near-new (refurbished or pre-owned) phone. Let’s be clear, this can be the same model in the same specs and condition, just much cheaper.  


    Though phone makers want you to get their latest products, every new phone uses a lot of resources and power to reach the shelves. In addition, old or damaged phones that end up in the dump or landfills pose environmental risks, especially damaged batteries. Therefore, a refurb or certified phone, with thorough checks and repairs, is an eco-friendly option.  

    Money-Back Guarantee 

    If you’re not satisfied with what you bought, most sellers offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. Others might not reimburse the full sum paid, but may offer another phone in the same price range.  

    Unlocked and No Contracts 

    If you decide to change networks, then an excellent condition refurbished or certified unit makes more sense, as some phones are locked to the specific network and cannot be used on others. In addition, you’re not tied to any operator with long contracts. This helps in getting better (and cheaper) plans with more data.