Thinking about upgrading your cell phone? You might be surprised to learn that more and more people are turning to the fast-growing used smartphone market for their next phone fix.
Read on, because I'm going to compare Samsung phones and tell you how to get your next device (and your cell phone plan!) for 50% cheaper.
Table of Contents
- Is a New Smartphone Really Necessary?
- Benefits of Buying a Refurbished Samsung Galaxy S8 Over a New Samsung Galaxy S9
- Main Differences Between the Galaxy S8 and S9
- Key Factors to Keep in Mind When Buying a Used/Refurbished Samsung Phone
- Locked vs. Unlocked
- Compare Prices on Samsung Phones Before You Commit
- Save Even More Money: Switch to an MVNO
Is a New Smartphone Really Necessary?
Think about it this way - you don't upgrade your car or your television every year, just because a new model comes out. Yet we're throwing away $1000 every year or two just for a couple of small changes to our favorite smartphone model.
Modern smartphones are made to last several years, but we certainly don't use them that long. Instead of paying $30 - $40 per month for two years only to start the whole process over again when the next model comes out, you could own a slightly older version for less than half the price of new.
Used vs. Refurbished
Once you've decided to go the more affordable route, you'll want to understand the difference between used and refurbished.
Refurbished: a device that has been thoroughly inspected, repaired, and restored to like-new condition. You may find the condition on a refurbished device listed as letters, with A representing the best, like-new condition.
Used: a device that's sold as-is. It might have minor flaws but should still be fully functional. Used phones are typically graded in terms of "Good" or "Excellent".
Benefits of Buying a Refurbished Samsung Galaxy S8 Over a New Samsung Galaxy S9
There are a ton of advantages to going the refurbished Samsung Galaxy S8 route:
- Save over half off the retail price.
- Offers with warranties are available.
- Repairs are cheaper than a new phone with the advent of third-party repair stores.
- There's an abundance of reputable sellers.
- You can buy third-party phone insurance for peace of mind.
- No monthly installments so you can take your device to any carrier.
Perhaps most importantly, new smartphones lose value fast. According to Forbes, Samsung Galaxy S series phones depreciate at a rate of 25 - 40% in the first three months. Buying a used S8 means you'll avoid this depreciation period.
Main Differences Between the Galaxy S8 and S9
The display size is the same, and the software and feel of the phone are virtually identical. Unless you're an aspiring professional photographer there's not a whole lot to make it worth paying for a brand-new phone.
Other main differences between the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S9 include:
- Improved image processing.
- Location of fingerprint sensor changed.
- Slightly thicker glass and aluminum.
- .4 oz. heavier.
Key Factors to Keep in Mind When Buying a Used/Refurbished Samsung Phone
There are a few factors you should consider when you're comparing refurbished smartphones:
- Specifications - make sure you're getting the memory size, camera quality, and other features you want. With a used/refurb you'll be able to afford a better phone for a cheaper price.
- Condition - used phones may be near-new or they may have scuffs or other visible wear. Be sure you know what to expect for the price you're paying.
- Shipping - most sites ship devices free.
- Returns - the return period can vary from a few days to a month - make sure you know how long you have should your device not be what you expected.
- Warranties - reputable sites offer a wide variety of warranty periods - typically between 30 days and a year. Read all of the fine print before purchasing.
Locked vs. Unlocked
We know these terms get confusing, especially if you're shopping for both a phone and a wireless carrier. Here's the breakdown:
Locked: A locked cell phone is tied to a specific carrier. That means you can only use it with the network that originally sold the phone (AT&T, Verizon, etc.). Don't worry, if you already have a device that you bought through a carrier, you can unlock your phone as long as it's paid off.
Unlocked: An unlocked phone can be used on any carrier. Simply choose your wireless provider, order the SIM card, and pop it in.
Clearly, you have the most freedom if you buy an unlocked cell phone.
Compare Prices on Samsung Phones Before You Commit
We make it simple and quick for you to compare prices on refurbished and used smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S series and the Galaxy Note.
Use our phone comparison tool to:
- See prices from the most reputable seller's sites and compare Samsung phones side by side
- Find the exact device you want in seconds
- Compare other deciding factors like condition, features, memory size, and more
- Read reviews of our top picks for the best-used phone sites
- Buy with just a couple clicks once you're ready
We put everything you need in one place to save you both time and money.
Save Even More Money: Switch to an MVNO
The wireless service market is evolving right alongside the smartphone market. MVNOs - Mobile Virtual Network Operators - can save you up to 50% or more off your cell phone plan.
What Are MVNOs?
Because these carriers operate online rather than with brick-and-mortar stores they have much lower expenses than the big guys. They pass these savings along to you in the form of cheaper cell phone service. You save money without sacrificing quality or reliability.
Benefits of MVNOs
- Less expensive than the big guys.
- Service on the same reliable 4G LTE networks.
- Custom plans so you only pay for what you need.
- Online signup is fast and simple.
- High customer support ratings.
- Bring your own phone and number.
- No contracts - switch carriers whenever you want.
Simply choose the carrier you prefer or the one with the best network coverage in your location and sign up online.
The bottom line:
- There are only minor changes between most flagship Samsung models.
- You can save over 50% when you buy a used or refurbished device. An unlocked cell phone allows you to go anywhere you want for wireless service.
- Reduce your monthly bills by switching to a cheaper cell phone plan.
- Sell your old phone for cash rather than trading in for store credit.