Why am I buying a refurbished phone this year
As a new year begins, thoughts turn to what could happen in the next 12 months. Will we see war end, poverty eradicated, or Twitter come back together? Maybe not, but something in my head is which phone I should buy when the sun shines again.
I’m not sure which model to choose, but there is something certain: it will be a refurbished phone. There are several reasons for this, both financial and moral. And I strongly recommend that you consider doing the same, dear reader.
Let me explain why.
New phones are getting expensive
It is undeniable that the price of technology products has been steadily increasing over the past few years. Many factors are at play, including the Russian invasion of Ukraine which caused the cost of energy to skyrocket, and the continued disruption to manufacturing and distribution caused by covid. Add to that a shortage of processors and other parts, along with rampant inflation and a recession taking hold around the world, and it all becomes a pretty tough environment for making smartphones.
That said, rising costs began long before these global events combined to make life harder for everyone. When Apple launched the iPhone X in 2017, it became the first $1,000/£1,000 phone. This was a ‘regular’ model rather than the absolute top of the range as with some phones before. Many wondered at the time if it would be something people would put up with, but it turned out it would be.
It didn’t take long then for the trend to materialize and all the flagships subsequently went into or near four-digit sums.
Some might say that’s just the cost of manufacturing these kinds of devices, but we know from the past that companies like Apple maintain a healthy profit margin, so it’s a successful business model if consumers can be made to pay more.
Of course, you don’t have to buy the most expensive phone, as there are bargains to be had in the mid-range – even at the entry level – but if you want the best cameras and the latest features, not to mention software support for as long as possible, then it has become an expensive undertaking.
New phones are bad for the environment
I realize it’s a bit rich of a tech site to castigate the industry it covers, but the truth is that the artificial stimulus to constantly upgrade and replace devices isn’t helping the climate crisis or the environment.
If you’re handing your old phone over to friends or family, that’s no big deal, but throwing away devices that have a few years of life left in them means they end up in landfills long before they’re done. shouldn’t. This, in turn, leads to the extraction of more of the valuable minerals involved in Earth’s production to meet demand.
The energy required for this is also a problem. Basically, it’s not a healthy cycle. Hanging up your smartphone longer not only makes more sense financially, but it could also help slow the terrifying progress of global climate change. Not a bad combo.
Why Refurbished Phones Are a Good Idea
Buying a used phone from a random person on eBay or Craigslist isn’t always a good idea. You don’t know if the phone has defects or (in the worst case) is actually stolen. So if this is what you picture in your mind when you hear “refurbished”, then let me put your mind at ease.
These days, there is a wide selection of retailers specializing in refurbished devices, such as musicMagpie/DeCluttr, SmartFoneStore, Back Market, 4Gadgets, as well as Amazon, eBay and Apple.
Telephone operators are also involved. You can buy refurbished phones from Vodafone, giffgaff, EE, O2 and others.
Usually these phones have been traded in by someone upgrading to a newer model. These will have been checked, cleaned and restored to factory settings. It is rare that spare parts have been installed because most of these devices are less than two years old.
The most important thing is that they also come with warranties (one year rather than a few weeks) and money back guarantees if you change your mind. This makes it a much safer purchase than buying privately.
Two other tempting factors are that refurbished phones are cheaper than buying the same device new, and they help ease the burden on the environment.
To save money and the planet? Wow, refurbished phones are like superheroes.
Most of the phones I’ve bought in the past few years are refurbished models. The security of having these guarantees, along with the ability to buy recent flagships without having to sell a kidney, makes them hard to resist.
Refurbished phones can be better than new
Along with the benefits outlined above, there’s also the simple fact that a flagship from a few years ago is usually still superior to a current mid-range phone. They tend to have fast processors, great cameras, and generally high-end components and build quality. While mid-range modern phones offer great value, they tend to have worse specs than a two-year-old flagship handset.
And, of course, a refurbished flagship a generation or two old can easily be found for around the same price as a brand new mid-ranger. So why not spend that money on something better that comes with almost the same warranty as the current offering?
I get it: it’s good to be the first person to own something. But you would be surprised at the quality of some refurbished phones. Of course, they won’t come in the original box with its factory seal, but the devices themselves can be almost indistinguishable from a new device thanks to the sheer number of people slapping a case and protector on. screen on their brand new phone the second they unboxed it.
If I’ve convinced you, here are some of the best refurbished phone deals, so you can see what kind of deals are available right now.
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