There's never been a better time to buy a cell phone. The used and refurbished smartphone market is thriving, meaning great deals for you on unlocked Android phones.
Stay tuned to learn why buying a refurbished phone is a great option for both you and your wallet - plus, we'll tell you how to save huge on your wireless service.
Table of Contents
Do You Really Need the Very Latest Android Phone?
There's intense pressure in today's world to always have the latest, most expensive device. But is it really necessary to put out almost $1,000 every year or two just to have the shiniest new smartphone?
Here's why we think buying a used smartphone is better:
- You'll save over 50% off retail for a flagship phone just a model or two older.
- There are only minimal changes to each new model.
- You own your phone and are free to take it to any carrier instead of being tied to your carrier because of device payments.
- Smartphones are made to last much longer than a couple of years, which makes buying used an environmentally-friendly option.
Buying second-hand doesn't mean sacrificing the tech you love. You'll find great prices on the most popular Android models, like:
The Difference Between Used and Refurbished
This is one thing you'll want to know when shopping for a secondhand phone.
Used: Used means that the device is being sold as-is. The listing should tell you about any flaws, cosmetic or otherwise. The condition will typically be listed as Excellent, Good, Fair, etc.
Refurbished: A refurb is a phone that has been repaired - either by the manufacturer or a third party. It may have had a cracked screen or something else wrong with it but has been restored to functional condition for resale. Refurbished conditions are usually rated as letters - A, B, C, etc.
What You Need to Know About Unlocked Phones
You know you need an unlocked phone - but what does that really mean?
Locked: A locked device has software on it that keeps you from using it on any carrier other than the one you bought it from.
Unlocked: Unlocked phones can usually be used on any network. They are typically sold directly from the manufacturer (for example, when you buy an iPhone from Apple instead of through a carrier, it comes unlocked).
Best Qualities of Unlocked Phones
- You're not tied to one carrier.
- You'll save half by purchasing a refurb or used cell phone.
- If you travel internationally you can easily switch out your SIM card to get local rates at your destination.
GSM vs. CDMA
While any unlocked phone can work with a 4G LTE signal, it's still best to use a GSM phone on a GSM network (AT&T and T-Mobile). Conversely, you'll get the best service using a CDMA phone on a CDMA network (Verizon Wireless and Sprint).
Best Places to Purchase an Unlocked Android Phone
Now that you've learned why buying a refurbished smartphone is a wise choice, you need to know where to get a quality device.
You'll find the pros and cons of each site, plus information on returns, warranties, and more. Read the reviews then compare prices between all of these sites in just seconds using our cell phone comparison tool.
Keep in mind you can also use these same sites to sell your old phone. Put the cash in your pocket or put it toward your new device.
How Else Can You Save Money?
We already know you're frugal - after all, you're here reading about how to save money on your Android phone. So why not save 50% or more off your wireless service too? You can do this easily by switching to an MVNO.
What Is an MVNO?
MNVO stands for Mobile Virtual Network Operator. All this means is that a smaller mobile provider rents space on one or more of the big four networks and resells it to you at a lower price.
How can MVNOs do this? These alternative carriers operate online. They don't own the infrastructure or equipment, which means no building or maintenance costs. They also tend to market on a much smaller scale than the big guys (AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint) so they don't have the same expenses.
Advantages of MVNOs
- Cheaper by 50% or more.
- Custom plans that don't force you to buy more than you need.
- Same reliable major 4G LTE cellular networks.
- No contracts - leave any time you want.
- Bring your own phone and keep your number.
- High customer support ratings (according to Consumer Reports).
- Easy online signup, typically accomplished by ordering a new SIM card and popping it into your phone's card slot.
MVNOs are creating more competition in an industry where low prices have evaded the consumer for decades. Now you can get a great deal on your cell phone plan without sacrificing quality or reliability.
Ready to save hundreds? The bottom line: we take the confusion and expense out of wireless service and help you save money quickly and easily: