Motorola’s much-championed return to form releasing new models of phone has underscored one of the issues with the smartphone market as it stands today. The new Edge 30 is purportedly a budget model, but its retail price of £380 suggests otherwise. With new smartphones trending towards the expensive, how can consumers stay on top of their devices without paying a premium? So far, there are only two real alternatives: buying refurbished, or buying used.
What Does Refurbished Mean?
A refurbished device is one that has been returned to the manufacturer for examination and repair, before being placed back on the market. Refurbished smartphones can come about for a number of reasons: they may have been issued to a company for distribution as corporate phones, but returned before they were adopted; they may have been display models, retired and returned for sale; alternatively, they could have been faulty out of the box, and returned for replacement.
Whatever the reason, refurbished phones are thoroughly examined, and any issues fixed. The phone is then sold in its refurbished state, at a discounted rate in comparison to a factory-new version of the same model. It is usually businesses that trade in refurbished phones, with platforms such as Mazuma Mobile facilitating the recycling of older phones and the complete refurbishment of others.
Used phones are, quite simply, second-hand devices that may or may not have seen active use from one or more owners. These devices have not returned to the manufacturer, unless to fix a fault within warranty; as such, their condition is much more difficult to guarantee. Second-hand devices can be sold in retail environments, but are more typically sold by individual sellers – whether on auction platforms like eBay or marketplaces like Gumtree.
Differences and Advantages
Refurbished phones, naturally, are more likely to be in pristine condition as well as full working order. There may be the occasional physical blemish, but refurbished devices are otherwise good-as-new in terms of performance. However, this is reflected in their price; they are cheaper than new devices, but more expensive than used devices.
Buying second-hand means you can make more significant savings on a purchase, but there are also more variables to consider – including the potential for a scam, or for contact with a dangerous seller. The condition of devices on second-hand markets is also much harder to predict, raising the possibility that some devices could have a shorter lifespan than others.
Used devices are usually bought outright in a private sale, and come with no added benefits. Depending on the source for your refurbished phone, you could get additional extras in the form of warranty or insurance.