Should you buy a refurbished smartphone?

If you’re on the hunt for your next smartphone, but don’t want to dish out a lot of money for a brand new model, you could consider buying a second hand or refurbished phone instead. Read on to find out what a refurbished phone is, the benefits and drawbacks, and to see if it’s the right choice for you. 

Second hand versus Refurbished

Whilst ‘second hand’ and ‘refurbished’ phones both come under the same umbrella, there are a few key differences between them. 

What is a second hand phone?

A second hand smartphone is a used phone, which means someone else already owned and used it for a period of time. If you’re buying directly from another person, you might not know the exact state of the phone, as owners may not divulge all of the issues they’ve been dealing with. Although websites and shops that sell second hand phones will have measures in place to protect buyers, you could still possibly encounter a few problems you weren’t expecting. 

However, despite the risks, second hand phones can be pretty cheap, which makes them a budget-friendly solution for many people who just want another phone quickly.

What is a refurbished phone?

A refurbished phone, on the other hand, is a device that has been tested and repaired before being sold again. It is still considered second hand, as someone else has previously owned and used it, but instead of being sold blindly without any consideration for possible hardware issues, the phone is taken to a manufacturer to be repaired first. 

If you don’t mind using a phone that’s not brand new from the factory, a refurbished smartphone is still cheaper than new models - and, sometimes, will act just the same, as they’ve been repaired to their best state. Occasionally, a refurbished phone has only been owned for a couple of days or weeks at most, returned due to the original owner changing their mind or encountering a problem, so it should still be working as new. They’re also usually sold within a year’s warranty, so you’re protected if something does go wrong. 

If you’re the one returning the phone to be remarketed as a refurbished model, you can rest assured that any remaining data stored on the device should be wiped by the manufacturer, in line with the Data Protection Act. 

Pros and cons of a refurbished smartphone

Pros

Cheaper to buy than a new version of the same model - uswitch found a refurbished phone contract for a total of £768, which was £200 cheaper than the new version at £969

Like new - refurbished phones have been tested for problems and defaults, and then fixed. So even though you’re getting a used phone, it will most likely work like it’s new

Environmentally-friendly - smartphone manufacturing has a big carbon footprint, and phones that end up in landfill release toxic chemicals into the soil. They’re also not biodegradable, so by choosing to buy a used phone you are reducing the poisonous emissions that are released in our environment, whilst also reducing your own carbon footprint

Many refurbished phones will come with warranties up to one year, so you can rest assured that if you do encounter a problem, it will be fixed without any cost to you

Cons

Your refurbished phone may not necessarily be in mint condition - these are used phones, so they could potentially come with a scratch or two

Not all refurbished phones will come with a warranty, so be wary, as you don’t want to end up having to pay for anything that crops up within a year of owning it

Harder to find refurbished versions of the latest smartphone models

It can be difficult to get insurance for your refurbished phone

Risk of being scammed - make sure you only buy a refurbished phone from an official, licensed manufacturer to avoid being given a broken or worse model than what you paid for

What to look out for

Although there are a multitude of benefits (and drawbacks) to purchasing and owning a refurbished phone, before you put your cash on the line, make sure you’ve looked out for the following warning signs:

Condition

Read all of the small print carefully and look out for what condition the retailer says the phone is in. They are usually categorised into one of three:

  • A-Grade - “as new”. A-Grade listed phones have been tested and certified to work perfectly like new, with very little to no wear and tear
  • B-Grade- still works as new, but will have slightly more damage on it from light use. This could be in the form of screen blemishes, small scratches, or scuffs
  • Scratch and Dent - these phones will still work, but will have more signs of previous use on them. These types of damages could include dents, smudges, and scratches

Warranty

Check how long the warranty lasts on your refurbished phone before purchasing it, as not all will last for the whole year. Some may only be 30 days, which you may not feel comfortable with. Others may not even include a warranty, and it’s up to you to decide if that’s worth the risk with a refurbished model.

Compatibility

You’ll want to check that your refurbished phone is compatible with the SIM card you intend to use. Some phones are locked to the network they were originally sold from, so you’ll need to use a PUK code to unlock the device. 

Is a refurbished phone right for you?

Now you’ve read the pros and cons, and know what to look out for while browsing refurbished phone deals, you should be able to identify if a used phone is the right next step for you. 

If you don’t mind not having the most recent model with all the tech-savvy features, but still want a good phone with an affordable price tag, then a refurbished smartphone could be the right option. 
 

Looking for a great value deal to pair with your refurbished phone? At Asda mobile, we offer a fantastic range of SIM-only deals that’ll keep your monthly bill down. Pick up an incredible 10GB for just £10, or go for unlimited data from as little as £20 per month. 


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