When it comes to upgrading your Android phone there are more options than you may think.
Buying a refurbished smartphone outright lets you avoid pricey monthly payments. More and more people are going this route because of rising device costs and pressure to upgrade every year.
We're going to tell you how to easily compare Android phones, plus how to save over 50% on your wireless service.
Table of Contents
- Why Are People Choosing Refurbished?
- Why Buy a Refurbished Google Pixel Over a New Google Pixel 2?
- Differences Between Google Pixel Models
- Key Factors to Consider When Buying a Used or Refurbished Phone
- Unlocked vs. Locked Cell Phones
- Let Us Help You Compare Prices on Android Phones
- Want to Save Even More Money? Switch to an MVNO
Why Are People Choosing Refurbished?
There are several factors that make this a great financial choice:
- Changes from model to model are typically minor - new releases every year allow manufacturers to make money in between major phone overhauls.
- Flagship Android smartphone prices sit at nearly $1000, making it outrageously expensive to finance a new one every one to two years.
- Third-party repair stores make it easy and affordable to fix a broken device.
- Despite average trade-ins happening every 2.5 years according to Statista, smartphones can actually last nearly five years, says the Consumer Technology Association.
Difference Between Used and Refurbished
You'll want to understand what these terms mean when shopping for a used phone.
Refurbished: This means that the factory or third-party seller has repaired the phone to like-new condition. Any software issues or broken parts like a cracked screen have been fixed. Condition on a refurb is usually graded in letters, A being the best, then B, C, etc.
Used: A used phone is one that either a seller site or a private party is selling as-is. All flaws should be revealed in the listing. When looking at the condition of a used phone, look for terms like "Excellent", "Good", "Fair" and so on.
Why Buy a Refurbished Google Pixel Over a New Google Pixel 2?
So, why should you choose a used Pixel over the newest model?
- Save hundreds over the retail price.
- Many sellers offer a warranty and/or generous return period.
- Private phone insurance is available for additional peace of mind.
- Repairs are cheaper than buying a new phone.
- Get more internal storage for less money.
A refurbished or used Google Pixel is a better value than a new one on nearly every front. The same logic applies to buying a refurbished Galaxy S8 over a new Samsung Galaxy S9 or any other model on the list of Android phones.
This is especially true when you consider that brand-new smartphones lose almost half their value within a few months, just like when you drive a new car off the lot.
Differences Between Google Pixel Models
As we mentioned, flagship phone changes are typically slight. The Pixel is no different.
Differences in the Pixel 2:
- 12.2 MP camera vs. 12.3 MP in the original Pixel.
- Improved image processing.
- Headphone jack removed.
- Matte exterior and chunkier design for improved grip.
- Improved speakers.
The front-facing camera on the Pixel 2 is the same as the on the original. The display size and battery life are identical as well (on the XL version the display size has gone from 5.5" to 6").
Overall, the changes to the Pixel 2 are hardly earth-shattering. We think you'll agree that for those on a budget, they're not worth spending hundreds extra for.
Key Factors to Consider When Buying a Used or Refurbished Phone
- Specifications: Make sure you're getting the memory size, features, and condition you want.
- Returns: Most reputable sites have a return policy. Some, like Swappa, allow returns if the item is not as advertised. Others - BuyBackWorld for example - boast a 30-day no questions asked policy.
- Warranty: Don't count out warranties just because you're buying used. Decluttr, for instance, provides a 12-month limited warranty on electronic devices. Others offer 30 days.
- Certification: You can buy a certified pre-owned Android phone just like you can with a used car. These devices are labeled as such in their listings.
- Timing: If you're in the market for a specific phone, consider the release date of the newest model. Prices are typically best and supply is high right after a new version comes out.
Unlocked vs. Locked Cell Phones
You'll come across these terms when you set out to compare Android phones. What they mean:
Locked: A device is locked when you buy it through a carrier. This is usually done to keep you from switching carriers before your phone is paid off.
Unlocked: An unlocked phone can usually be used on any of the major wireless networks. Check with your chosen carrier, though, to make sure the phone you want to buy will work.
It's best to buy an unlocked phone - that way you'll be free to choose the best wireless carrier for your needs and you'll be able to bring your device with you.
Another advantage of unlocked phones is that if you travel internationally you can just buy a SIM card at your destination and avoid expensive roaming fees.
Already own your phone? Find out how to unlock it.
Let Us Help You Compare Prices on Android Phones
Our mission at MoneySavingPro is not only to save you money- but time as well. We've put together all the tools you need to compare used smartphones and get the best deal on your cell phone plan.
- Compare prices on your favorite Android phones in seconds.
- See how much cash you'll get when you sell your current phone (hint - it's much more than if you trade in!).
- Calculate your data usage so that you don't pay too much for your cell phone plan.
Want to Save Even More Money? Switch to an MVNO
The average cell phone bill is way too high. That fact is driving major change in the wireless industry.
What Is an MVNO?
MVNO stands for Mobile Virtual Network Operator. It's a long name for a simple concept - small carriers lease extra capacity on the big four networks (AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon).
Most MVNOs operate solely online. Their lower overhead and marketing costs allow them to give you better prices on America's most reliable cellular networks. You'll pay less without sacrificing call quality or plan options.
Benefits of MVNOs
- Up to 50% or more off your mobile service.
- Service on the four major 4G LTE networks.
- Custom plans with the choices you want like unlimited data and international service.
- No contracts or credit checks - switch carriers whenever you want.
- Great customer service - often available 24/7.
- Bring your phone and keep your phone number.
- Online signup is fast and simple.
The days of paying too much for your phone and your wireless service are over.