The ultimate guide to shopping for a second hand phone
Nonetheless, buying a new phone is not always an option, especially if you consider yourself a gadget freak and are always on the lookout for the latest models that are creating waves in the mobile phone industry.
There are indeed times when purchasing a second hand mobile or a pre-owned phone is more economical than embracing a new one, especially if you do not intend to splurge on a high-end model. You may be strapped for cash or realize that it will only be a matter of time before you get your hands on yet another hi-tech gadget.
How can you ensure that you are getting a good deal that is a good value? Here are a few effective tips that can lead to a positive buying experience for you with less likelihood of a second hand or refurbished purchase gone horribly wrong.
Steer clear of stolen phones
No matter how good a deal may seem, buying a stolen phone is always a no-no. In the end, why get into trouble with the authorities for spending your money on a device that has been reported as stolen or lost or for purchasing a used phone that has been misused in the past?
As a precaution, always request a soft or hard copy of the original bill from your seller that includes his or her name as the purchaser of the device along with other details such as the time and date of purchase, the store where it was purchased, warranty details, etc.
Next, look around the second-hand phone's battery compartment area for an IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) sticker or type *#06# (universal IMEI code that is compatible with almost all GSM mobile devices) to retrieve its unique IMEI number and match this serial number with that mentioned on the bill and that on the packaging box.
Both iPhones and Android phones can use the above mentioned code. The IMEI number of dual SIM mobiles differs from the IMEI number of a single SIM mobile because dual SIM mobiles have two IMEI numbers. You can be sure that the phone has not been stolen if the details match.
Beware of fake phones
Nowadays, there is no shortage of fake Chinese or Korean phones that are replicas of their original models and are hard to distinguish with the naked eye. Due to the fact that the phones' internal stickers often contain important information, such as the IMEI number, model number, etc, fraudsters tend to replace them with counterfeit ones that portray false model numbers with no resemblance to the original ones. Follow these steps to make sure that the seller isn't ripping you off.
Check the phone's 'Settings' menu to find the model number and other hardware specifications to ensure the model being sold is genuine. Comparing the phone's model number with that on the battery or the sticker on the back should reveal the difference.
Using the hardware specifications, you can check if they match those that were outlined by the manufacturer for that specific model.
Examine the phone in detail
Once you have established that the phone you have in hand is neither stolen nor fake, it's time to unlock your spy skills and dig deeper into its physical condition.
Look for dents and broken edges from every angle possible to determine if the used phone has any. Keep an eye out for any broken keys if the device has a keypad. Make sure the physical keys are in working order by pressing a few of them randomly to see if they click well and if you can type and navigate without a problem.
Swiping your fingers across the phone's screen and tapping a few menus and apps will help you gauge the call quality and the response time. Making a quick outbound call or sending a text will help you confirm that the mobile phone's microphone and speaker work properly. Finally, you should take time to take a few photos and selfies to determine whether the mobile device's front and rear cameras are in pristine condition or whether the lenses have lost their precision.
Examine the usability of the ports and accessories
When purchasing a used phone with its accessories, you should also examine the latter carefully.
As a first step, make sure the charger is working by charging the phone for a few minutes while keeping track of the time taken. Is the battery getting too hot too often and too soon? Make sure the battery isn't draining too quickly.
Check the earphones' functionality by plugging them into the device and listening to an audio file while you inspect the sound's clarity and volume.
Perform a quick data transfer test on the second-hand phone's USB port to ensure it is in working order.
Settle for the best price
As you complete all the elaborate checks listed above, don't forget the primary motivation that led you to choose a used phone in the first place - its price. As new upgrades become available, the price of a particular model can drop steeply.
It is better to buy a new phone rather than one that has been traded. In case you are planning to purchase a new smartphone, you also need to know how to select and buy one.
If a second-hand phone is still cheaper, you should negotiate wisely, keeping the current condition of the phone in mind, and closing the deal if it is fair and earns you significant savings.
The best way to prevent having to buy a new device too soon is to find a refurbished phone that is reasonably priced, has been repaired and tested by an expert technician, and comes with a warranty.