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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Buying a used smartphone? Here are some important pointers to check

Here's how to make sure you put your money on the right choice when buying a used smartphone.

Written by Chetan Nayak | Mumbai |
November 2, 2021 7:38:29 pm
iPhone 12, iPhone 12 series, used phones,Here's how to buy the right used smartphone. (Express Photo)

The second-hand smartphone market is a great place to find good deals on your next phone. Whether you’re considering getting an older flagship for lesser or simply thinking of getting a secondary device as a backup phone, you need to know what you’re looking for before hitting buy. Here are some pointers to help you make a smart purchase.

Physical condition

An obvious element and in most cases, one of the first things you will check is the physical condition of the phone. Buying a phone with a cracked screen selling at half its price may seem lucrative but take into account that you are still paying a large chunk of money for a damaged product and that the cost of repairing may be higher than you think.

Always also look for damage indications that may not be immediately visible. Check for deeper dents, signs of repair, and whether the phone is acting weirdly (like heating up too quickly). Make sure you use apps to check if all components and sensors are working properly. If the phone has multiple camera lenses, make sure all of them are working appropriately.

How long has the phone been used?

Ask the previous user how long the phone has been used. Even better, ask for the phone’s bill/invoice from the purchase. This will also help you check more details including the IMEI numbers of the phone and will also let you know the phone you’re buying is not a stolen device.

But above all, the usage time matters because certain phone components like the battery, buttons, and any pop-up mechanisms are likely to not function at their full potential indefinitely. The battery life will reduce after some charging cycles, the buttons may break and mechanical mechanisms may stop working eventually. Keep in mind that the more the phone has been used already, the closer you are to its eventual demise.


The right pricing is crucial to getting a good deal on a used phone. Take into account all the factors you can, including how much the phone is/was selling for, the time since its launch, the amount of time it has been used for, and the condition of the phone. Also, make sure you bargain to your heart’s content and factor in any lack of in-box accessories to further bring the price down.

Keep your expectations realistic, but if you are unsatisfied with the seller’s final price on a phone, feel free to wait and look for better deals. The used phone market is huge and you should find deals just as good (if not better) soon enough again.

Year of manufacturing, update scenario

What year the phone was made and launched is a bigger deal than most people realise. This is because most phones are set to be updated for some years before the OEM will stop sending OTA updates to the phone.

If you’re getting a very good deal on a phone that is set to be updated for 3 years but is already used for two years, understand that you will get only a year’s worth of updates on that phone.

Phone models you should consider

All other factors aside, there are phone models that are in general more popular than others. Try to buy a phone that has had a more successful run than others in its segment and during its launch time. Phones that were purchased by more people will have better availability of spare parts and may also be easier to repair in case of a mishap at more repair centers.

While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, phones that are more popular will also likely have a better developer community, meaning you’re likely to see more custom ROM support for that device. Also, take into account factors you’d consider while buying a new phone, like service centers close to you, accessories support, colour, and other elements.

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