Many smartphone-savvy consumers would argue that the joy of buying a second-hand phone is nothing compared to the excitement of unwrapping a brand-new mobile device that packs into the latest technology & features and looks unbelievably irresistible with its scratch-free, shiny body smartly wrapped in a stylish package!
However, purchasing a new phone might not be a viable choice every time, more so if you’re a self-proclaimed tech freak who’s always hunting for the newest models that are making waves in the cell phone industry.
Indeed there are occasions when purchasing a second-hand mobile phone or a pre-owned phone is much more economical than adopting a new one, particularly when you do not wish to splurge on high-end mobile phones. This may be either because you’re cash-strapped or because you know that it’s only a matter of time before you lay your hands on another hi-tech product that makes a splash on the market.
You should also know when it’s time to upgrade to a new smartphone. Whatever your reasons for choosing a used smartphone, note that buying a used or second-hand product can be a tricky affair, with the market flooded with a lot of unreliable and fake mobile phones.
Considering that second-hand cell phones will often have their fair share of wear and tear and frequently do not boast of any warranty protection, due diligence on the handsets used would become non-negotiable if you do not wish to carry home a smartphone that is nothing but a rip-off.
So what do you need to search before you buy second hand cell phones?
So how are you going to make sure you’re up for a good deal that’s pure value for money? Here are few effective tips that can lead to a positive shopping experience for you with less possibility of a second hand or a refurbished purchase gone terribly wrong.
1. Keep away from the Stolen Phones
Even if you’re being drawn to an offer that’s just a steal, buying a stolen phone is a stern ‘no-no.’ After all, why have you been in trouble with the police at a later stage to spend your money on a computer that has been reported missing or stolen, or to purchase a second hand phone that might have been misused in the past for carrying out illegal activities?
To protect yourself from such needless difficulties, always demand that the seller provide you with a soft or hard copy of the original bill that displays his or her name as the purchaser of the device along with other nitty-gritties, such as the date and time of the original purchase, the name of the store from which it was purchased, the details of the warranty, etc.
Next, search around the second hand phone battery compartment for the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) sticker or type *#06# (Universal IMEI code that is compatible with almost all GSM mobile devices) to retrieve the specific IMEI number and match this serial number with the one displayed on the bill and on the packing box. The code above is operating on both iPhones and Android phones. Remember that dual SIM mobiles would have two IMEI numbers compared to one IMEI number for a single SIM mobile. If the details match, you can be assured that someone has not stolen the phone.
2. Look out for those fake phones
It’s a fact that the market today thrives on a multitude of fake Chinese or Korean phones that are mere replicas of their original models and are hard to spot with the naked eye. Knowing that internal phone stickers contain crucial details such as their IMEI numbers, model numbers, etc., at times, fraudsters appear to change these stickers with bogus ones that portray sham model numbers with no resemblance to real ones.
You should carry out the following checks to ensure that your seller does not fleece you. Make sure that the model you’re selling is a real one by checking the phone’s Settings menu to find your model number and other hardware specifications. Compare the model number with the number written on the sticker on the back of the handset or on the battery. You may further use the hardware requirements to investigate whether they meet those outlined by the manufacturer for that particular model.
In view of the above, if you are still in question, visit your nearest Certified Service Center to see the phone’s authenticity in minutes.
3. Take a Phone Thorough Physical Examination
Now that you’ve decided that the phone at hand is neither stolen nor fake, it’s time to unlock your spy skills and dig deeper into the physical well-being of your used smartphone or tablet. Have we raised a few eyebrows to say anything so elementary?
Well as simple as it might sound, the truth is that consumers frequently forget or do not spend sufficient time to visually inspect the phone they are using from all possible angles.
Now, it’s not like any second hand phone that does the rounds is unreliable or in need of repair. However there are hordes of them available in different brick and mortar shops, and physical inspection is one of the simplest and most efficient ways to hold them at bay. And if you’re buying a second hand phone online, asking the seller for a physical demonstration is a must.
Explore the phone you’ve used from every quarter to detect teeth and broken/broken edges. If the computer has a keypad, look out for missing keys, if any. Discern if the physical keys are working by pressing a few of them randomly to check if they click well and if they allow you to type and navigate easily. For cell phones with touch screens, test the responsiveness and sensitivity of the phone’s touch by wiping your fingertips over the screen and taping a few menus and applications to get a sense of the response time and ease of navigation.
Many times, fine scratches are not so noticeable when viewed superficially. However when the phone’s screen is lit up, they become more prominent. You must therefore make sure that you always turn to a second hand phone to spot such subtle cracks that stand out as bright lines against a well-lit phone display, or appear in the form of backlight bleeding.
Note that the appearance of so many scratches and cracks may mean that the phone has experienced repeated falls, which could be a cause of concern to you as it could suggest internal harm to the phone due to several drops.
Apart from falls, water damage is a common injury associated with cell phones. To ensure that your chosen phone has not been harmed by water, carry out a thorough assessment of its charging ports and its battery. If you’re buying a phone with a non-removable battery, then look at the water damage indicator in your SIM card slot as this is the location of the indicator for most unibody phones.
If the phone comes with a removable battery, turn the unit off and remove the back flap so that the battery can be removed for easy inspection of its apparent bulges and obvious signs of damage. Observe the color of the charging ports and the sticker on the back of the phone or on or below the battery. Any discoloration of the ports or change in the color of the sticker from white to red/pink could result in internal damage due to liquid leakage, which may have caused or could lead to slow corrosion of the internal elements of the handset.
A fast outbound call or text will help you check that your cell phone mic and speaker are working perfectly. Finally, take the time to click on a few images and selfies to see if the front and rear cameras of the mobile device are in a spick and span state or if their lenses have lost their precision.
4. Run the Service Code Evaluation
These days, both GSM and CDMA phones are enabled with service codes that allow users to unlock their special menus that are usually accessible through the phone dialer. Such codes can be checked online and used to conduct self-testing routines to find out if various aspects of the handset, such as the receiver, vibration, sensor, contact, dimming, LED, RGB, camera, speaker, battery, etc., are functional and in sound order.
5. Examine the usability of ports and adapters
If you are purchasing a used phone along with its accessories, then you must also take a close look at the above. To start with, decide whether the charger is working by charging the phone for a few minutes while keeping a tab on the time taken to charge the phone.
Look out for the anomalies of the battery, e.g. is it being heated too fast and too often? Often check to see if the battery is running out quickly. First, analyze whether the earphones are working by plugging them into the unit and making a round of any audio file while checking the sound for its clarity and volume. Conclude an examination of the USB port of the second hand phone by conducting a fast data transfer scan to ensure that the port is in good working condition.
6. Payout with the Best Deal
Even as you take part in all the thorough checks listed above, don’t forget the main motivation that led you to settle on the phone you used in the first place – its price!
Over time the price of a specific model will drop dramatically as improvements find their way into the market. In such situations, you’re better off purchasing a new phone than a phone that’s changed hands. You should also know how to pick and purchase a new smartphone if you’re looking to purchase a new phone.
In the event that a second hand phone is still cheaper, then bargain carefully, keeping the actual state of the phone in mind, and closing the deal if it’s reasonably positioned and you’re making clean savings. Finally, it pays to look for an optimally priced refurbished phone that has been checked and patched by an experienced technician and comes with a warranty to ensure that you do not run the risk of having to search for another mobile device too soon!
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