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What To Look Out For When Buying A Used Mobile Phone

You don't have to buy a brand new phone to take the best smartphone photos - here, we go through what to look for when buying a used smartphone.

|  iPhone X in Camera Phones
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used mobiles

We live in a digital age where the smartphone has become a ‘can’t live without’ item for people to not only make phone calls but email, shop, photograph, use social media and much more.

But this ‘must have’ tech comes at a high price with new mobile phones costing customers several hundred pounds or being tied to high monthly contract rates for years. Buying a used or refurbished mobile phone can be a great way for people to afford the handset they want without paying through the nose.

Here are some things to consider when buying a used mobile phone:

How good is the camera?

Something you'll definitely need to look into when purchasing a used smart phone is of course the camera. Does it work properly and if so how is the picture quality? The camera is such an important aspect of the phone for most people that ensuring you research which device has a camera with capabilities suited to your needs is crucial.

If you’re looking for a camera to do more than just take the occasional selfie with then there are several factors to look into. Bright apertures allow for better picture quality, large screens help you visualise the scene, the amount of megapixels, HDR capability, flash, high speed or slow motion options and zoom are all elements to consider for a quality phone camera.

After months or sometimes years of use - dust and dirt as well as scratches can affect the performance and clarity of the camera on a used phone. Therefore be sure that when you are making your cosmetic checks on a used device that you are able to give the camera a good test as well - dust and scratches should show up if you take an image of a plain surface such as a wall.

A used Samsung Galaxy S8 handset for example boasts a 12-megapixel "Dual Pixel" rear-facing camera with an f/1.7 aperture and an 8MP front-facing camera which provides outstanding images for its users.

Samsung Galaxy S8 (3)

Check the condition

One of the most obvious things to watch for is the state of the phone looking for cracks, chips and similar cosmetic damage. Most companies will grade the phones A, B or C based on the condition and it’s up to you from there to determine what you are willing to accept.

Also, does it come with any of its original extras like the box, charger, headphones etc.? A handset that has all of these with it in good condition is a positive sign that it has had a careful and considerate owner.


What network is the phone on?

Depending on the circumstances you may be looking for a phone that has to be on a certain network or you may need one that is unlocked. Make sure whatever your requirements that you find out if your potential purchase is carrier compatible with your chosen provider.


Buy a used phone just after a launch

Something to consider if possible is the timing of your purchase. If you’re hoping to buy an iPhone for example then the weeks following the release of the latest model is a great time to start looking. Not only will there be more handsets available from trade ins made by customers purchasing the newest release but the phones will now technically be another model older helping to lower the price.

Iphone X Wet

Only use reputable sellers

This is an important thing to consider when thinking of purchasing a second hand phone. There are often great deals to be had from private sellers using sites like Ebay and Facebook sales – but with this comes the risk of ending up with a phone that is not what was promised. By using a trustworthy store or website the checks have already been made to ensure the phone was not stolen and that the device is in the condition that has been described. Most will also offer a warranty or guarantee that if for some reason the handset does go wrong then you are able to return or exchange it within the allotted time period.


Research prices for your chosen handset

The whole reason you are getting a used phone is to save money so do your research! How much does your chosen handset tend to sell for? What condition grade are you looking at and is that for a locked phone or one on your chosen network? Try to do like for like comparisons and if you are in a position to do so haggle, it’s always worth a try.

If you are looking for a great value used phone with an outstanding camera then 4 Gadgets could have the phone for you. They're just one of the many reputable online stores selling used smartphones such as the Apple iPhone X

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Photographs taken using the iPhone X

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