You might be on a budget or you might not need the latest tech. Let’s be honest, when it comes to smartphones the yearly updates are becoming minor. If you fall into the category of a person who is fine having a camera that’s fine, but not the best, you should consider buying a refurbished phone.
“Refurbished” isn’t just another word for “used,” though it’s easy to miss the nuanced, but significant difference. A used, secondhand or pre-owned goods, is a product that’s been bought, used, and sold. Refurbished goods, also known as reconditioned or remanufactured goods, have also been bought and used but they have been sold to a company that checks each product for functionality before resale. They’re likely to make minor adjustments or fixes, like fixing cosmetic damage by replacing the case or putting in a new battery, which is the main reason most people look to replace their old smartphone.
All refurbished electronics are used — but not all used electronics are refurbished.
When you buy a refurb, there’s typically no way to tell what was wrong with it before it was returned. But it shouldn’t matter since a reputable refurbisher fixes all problems with a returned device before resale.
Merchandise listed as refurbished has several advantages over those sold as used or secondhand:
Sellers of refurbished items repair everything that’s damaged, then test the device to make sure it’s working properly. They also clean it and, in many cases, replace worn exterior parts, such as the faceplate or buttons. That means when you buy a refurb, it should both look and run like new.
You should be checking what the baseline of quality your seller is offering.
BackMarket recently reached out to us to review their refurbished devices, we’ve got a review of an iPhone X coming up soon. They also list the condition of the device, you pay according to the condition. They guarantee that every device is cleaned, tested (battery, camera, button, connections…) and verified by the seller to have 100% functionality. The battery is guaranteed to have at least 85% of its original capacity.
Many refurbished products come with a warranty, though the length of the warranty depends on who did the refurbishing. If the original manufacturer fixes and resells a product, the warranty is likely to be at least a full year. But products refurbished can shorter warranties, so be sure to look into this.
In many cases, refurbished devices from the original manufacturer come with the same tech support as new products. However, that feature is often available only for current models. If you buy a recently discontinued product, don’t count on getting manufacturer support unless the sale listing specifically mentions the benefit.
Buying refurbished is a good way to go as long as you’re buying from a retailer that offers a warranty, this takes the uncertainty out of making the pocket friendly or more environmentally friendly choice.