Used Cell Phones

Cell Phones: New Vs. Used

Every cell phone carrier offers new cell phones as well as used (refurbished) ones. A refurbished phone costs less and was once owned by someone else who bought it brand new before turning it in. These phones are assessed on-site and either renovated right there in the store or sent off to a building where repairs are made. A limited stock of used phones is kept in the store, and they may not always have a used variant of the specific phone someone is looking to get.

Used phones can be found for any brand and model, but they're mostly sought after on the higher end. Expensive devices, like the Samsung Galaxy S8 or LG G6, are usually not affordable on a no-contract plan. Some customers don't want to sign a contract but still prefer a high-performance device for their individual needs, however. Used cell phones can remedy this problem and provide the best of both worlds at a reasonably affordable price.

Refurbished Over New

There are several reasons to choose a used phone over a new one:

  1. They usually run about 20 percent cheaper. This is great, since the device itself is supposed to functionally match a brand-new one. There are no catches here -- the store just needs to have a used version of the chosen handset in stock.
  2. They come with in-store refurbishment warranties. These usually cover the device for two to four weeks after purchase, giving plenty of time to ensure that it works just like a new phone would. In a way, this warranty goes even further than it would on a brand-new phone, as noted in the next point.
  3. Because they've already been handled, the possibility of out-of-box defects is lower. While it may be discomforting for someone to put their hands and face all over a phone that someone else did the same things on, it's worth noting that it's been tested at the repair site for functionality and should have been cleaned before being approved for sale.


Functionally, there should be very little to zero noticeable difference between a used phone and a brand new one. However, some may notice there are scratches or other forms of minor aesthetic damage to the device. Most customers trade their phones in because they're looking to get a new one, not because there was anything necessarily wrong with the particular phone they bought; for this reason, users are more likely to end up with a device that was working fine before the previous owner decided on getting a different phone.

In this day and age, it's common for people to put cases on their phones, so the possibility of scratches and other signs of abuse is also not a given. This adds up to a major discount on a phone that's effectively brand new in both appearance and functionality. However, it's worth keeping in mind that certain important aspects of the phone can be damaged by physical abuse, such as scratches on the camera lens or impact damage to any mechanical parts of the camera itself. These are worth inspecting before committing to used cell phones.

Top 5 Routes for "Used Cell Phones"

  1. This is an excellent site for looking up and comparing the specifications on smartphones as well as basic ones.
  2. Anandtech is a reputable technology website that provides extensive news coverage, tip articles, and how-to's on cell phones.
  3. While not everyone is looking for an Android smartphone in particular, this article provides excellent tips when looking for used phones no matter what operating system it's using.
  4. This is another reputable site with an article on what to look for in a used smartphone.
  5. For those who are worried about their carrier pulling one over on them, this article shows what to keep an eye out for when inspecting a refurbished handset.

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