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Second Hand Smartphone – 10 Things To Know Before Buying A Used Mobile Phone

Second Hand Smartphone – 10 Things To Check Before Buying A Used Mobile Phone

Want to buy a used smartphone and know what to look for in a second hand phone in general? Then you've come to the right place! A brand new iPhone or Android phone is not only expensive, but also anything but sustainable. Buying used is much cheaper and more environmentally friendly, as you can reuse an already used old device for as long as possible - thus avoiding a new purchase and saving the natural resources the earth spares.

Unfortunately, many consumers are afraid to buy a used smartphone on the Internet because they or a friend have already had a bad experience with it. However, if you know exactly what to look for, you can get a real, almost new, sustainable bargain, apart from a few blemishes.

In this article, I would like to give you the most valuable tips so that you are always on the safe side when buying a second-hand cell phone. Let's go!

Here you can find a short overview in advance:

  1. Know advantages, disadvantages, risks and opportunities
  2. Know and check typical problems, damages and their characteristics
  3. Do not rely solely on the condition description
  4. Do not buy a smartphone too old
  5. Request and verify IMEI serial number
  6. Save with the previous version of the latest model
  7. Compare new price and used price
  8. Closely examine tempting online forum deals
  9. Play it safe with payment
  10. Prefer refurbished equipment from dealer:inside

1. know advantages, disadvantages, risks and opportunities

Before you decide to buy a used smartphone, you should first know and weigh the usual pros and cons. Here I have compiled a small list of pros and cons for you:

Advantages & Opportunities

  • Money: Save a lot of money and get real bargains
  • Environment: Avoid new purchase and natural Conserve resources
  • Garbage: Preventing the generation of packaging and electrical waste
  • Repair: Necessary repairs can often be done by yourself
  • Chance: Many disadvantages and risks of buying used can be minimized

Disadvantages & Risks

  • Safety: No invoice, no right of return and no warranty
  • Usage: Increasing useful life means higher purchase risk
  • Risk: Online you buy the device without having held it in your hands beforehand
  • Test: More detailed inspection necessary before purchase
  • Diagnosis: Defects and damage often not visible at first glance

Can you think of any other pros and cons of used smartphones? Then feel free to write me a comment with your suggestions.

2. know and check typical problems, damages and their characteristics

Check used cell phone battery before buying

By making the object of your desire put it through its paces as well as possible before you buy itYou reduce your risk - and at the same time increase your chances of getting a really good deal and enjoying your "new used" smartphone for a long time.

For this to work, you should use the usual Problem areas of second hand phones and check every device in question for this. Here are a few classic examples that go beyond the usual blemishes and scratches of used smartphones:

  • Smartphone contains not only original parts (e.g. no original battery)
  • Device is locked and useless (e.g. because phone or Apple ID has not been reset to factory settings and "Find my iPhone" is still activated)
  • Camera does not work properly (e.g. recognizable by poor photo quality)
  • Accessories missing (e.g. charging cable or plug)
  • Battery capacity is low (e.g. no longer maximum power because the device has been in use for 6 years; but can be replaced).
  • Smartphone had water damage (e.g. in many devices recognizable by the fact that a certain plate inside the housing has become discolored).
  • Sounds of the device sound distorted (e.g. because internal speakers are damaged)
  • High wear and tear on hardware (e.g. worn out pressure points of the keys)
  • Touchscreen does not work properly (e.g. test by dragging app icon over entire screen)
  • Display is damagedt (e.g. pixel defects, heavily scratched or broken).

3. do not rely solely on the condition description

A good and comprehensive condition description in combination with a trusted seller profile naturally already prevents some risks.

However, if you want to avoid your used smartphone becoming electronic waste relatively quickly, you should always have additional, detailed photos sent to you of your device or, if possible, take a close look at it on site - and always ask in case of uncertainty.

4. do not buy too old smartphone

This tip for a second-hand smartphone depends on how exactly you want to use it. If you only need it for making calls and texting, the model can be a bit older. However, as soon as you need newer apps and want to use your phone for paying in stores or for online banking, for example, the model should be not older than three years be

Because at some point, Apple, Samsung and Co. no more updates for your cell phone. In addition, the Battery from experience already quickly lost capacity. So, before buying a used device, find out how long your device will still receive software support from the manufacturer and what the maximum capacity or maximum performance of the battery is.

Good to know: The latter information can be found on Apple's iPhone, for example, under Settings/Battery/Battery condition & charging process.

5. request and check IMEI serial number

The abbreviation "IMEI" stands for "International Mobile Station Equipment Identity" and is a 15-digit international number for identifying GSM or UMTS terminals. For example, it helps with maintenance and cell phone insurance - but you can own smartphone after a theft with their help, you can also report them to the police or have them blocked by the network operator.

Just as well you can use the But also query IMEI onlineto get as much information as possible (e.g. about network, warranty, contract, activation or status of Apple ID, "Find my iPhone" or a possible theft (blacklist)), to check the truth of the product description and to prevent "invisible" problems and damages.

It is especially important when buying used iPhones that the Device not locked and that the seller has reset the device to factory settings with "Erase all content and settings" instead of just "Reset". Only then can you use freely and without restriction.

6. save with the previous version of the latest model.

Prefer previous model when buying used

When you save a lot of money through your sustainable behavior you should buy a used smartphone that is not the current model, but the previous one. With the rapid development of technology of the small "pocket computers", prices are falling pretty quickly. Simply because an even more powerful model has come onto the market once again.

Accordingly, you benefit from the fact that your new, used cell phone is not only visually but also technically almost "as new" and you only have to pay for it, for example, the Half of the original price (or even less).

7. compare new price and used price

This tip is self-explanatory if you don't want to be "ripped off" with any second-hand purchase. Always take a look at the original price of the respective smartphone model so that the deal is not only worth it for the environment, but also for yourself. Basically: the cheaper the price compared to the new device, the worse the condition.

8. carefully examine tempting online forum deals

Also in internet forums you can of course basically use the Second hand advantage enjoy, possibly making one or the other real bargain. However, you don't enjoy buyer protection with private sales, which is why your risk when buying the used phone is quite high in the end.

However, by ensuring that the respective vendor or salesperson has already many years registered and active in the forum and has already sold smartphones several times, you minimize your risk immensely. Some technology forums also maintain a trust list that forum members can view.

By the way: Other, useful Tips for sustainable telephonyYou can pick it up in the linked blog post.

9. play it safe with payment

Your risk as a buyer:in of a second hand cell phone is quite high if you buy it privately (e.g. via eBay classifieds or at a flea market). There you enjoy neither a guarantee nor any other buyer protection.

Accordingly, in the case of private sales, you should also do not pay hastily in advance or with "paypal friendsif you are asked to do so. Because then your buyer protection is not applicable and your money is unfortunately lost in the worst case of the cases - with buyer protection you can still have it refunded by Paypal.

Talk about playing it safe: If you buy a used smartphone that has also been reset according to the seller:in, you should still reset it to factory settings yourself to be on the safe side, in order to completely remove any possible malware and reduce your risk to a minimum.

10. prefer refurbished equipment from dealers:inside

Buy refurbished used smartphone

Used cell phones can fortunately also be bought with warranty and on account. An absolute bargain is with professional Dealers:inside and their refurbished equipment rather unlikely, but for this you will benefit from a higher security, a flawless, cheap cell phone and a generally uncomplicated purchase decision.

My recommendation: Decide for a used smartphone from the category "Refurbished"If you are looking for an affordable, high-performance, like-new alternative to an expensive new device and want to save yourself a lot of testing and research.

Buy used smartphone made easy!

It's great that you can buy a used cell phone, save money, and keep your sustainable lifestyle want to promote. Now you also know what to look out for. If you know the common dangers and risks and check them one by one, you already minimize your risk tremendously.

Also, use the information about the IMEI and make sure that you have sufficient buyer protection when buying. If you are unsure, you are on the safe side when buying refurbished smartphones.

Do you have any questions, suggestions, your own experiences or other tips for buying used cell phones that you would like to share? Then I look forward to your comment.

Stay sustainable,

Christoph from CareElite - Plastic-free living

PS: A Smartphone also has disadvantages - no matter how useful it may seem. In the linked blog article, I introduce you to the possible risks and dangers of using a smartphone, so that you can be more aware in the future.

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* Links with asterisks are so-called Affiliate links. If you click on it and buy something, you automatically and actively support my work with, because I get a small share of the sales revenue - and of course the product price does not change. Thank you for your support and best regards, Christoph!

Christoph Schulz

Christoph Schulz

I'm Christoph, an environmental scientist and author - and here at CareElite I'm campaigning against plastic waste in the environment, climate change and all the other major environmental problems of our time. Together with other environmentally conscious bloggers, I want to give you tips & tricks for a naturally healthy, sustainable life as well as your personal development.

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