Smartphone Buying Guide: New vs Renewed

iPhone 12 LiDAR scanner

The smartphone market is constantly evolving, with new models getting released every year. It’s a clever ploy to entice us to splurge on new handsets every cycle, but is it really worth it? I mean do I really need those infinitesimal new features that I probably won’t use?

In this article, I’ll explore the reasons why haven’t bought a brand-new phone in the last 4 years and why you should consider doing the same. I will admit that it’s tempting to get the latest iPhone, Samsung Galaxy or Pixel off the assembly plant. But hear me out.

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Are the latest features worth the price?

When you buy a new device, you may spend a few days exploring its new features. But after a while, you’ll likely find yourself gravitating back to the same apps and features you used on your old device, such as the camera, browser, social media apps, and a few others. So, it’s worth asking yourself: are these new features really worth the price of the new device?

In many cases, the answer is no. The latest smartphones offer incremental improvements over their predecessors, such as slightly better cameras and faster processors. However, these improvements are often not worth the extra cost for the average user. They won’t even notice the difference in performance when they are not looking at benchmarks. Most people don’t need a phone with the latest and greatest specs, as their everyday tasks can be handled by even older refubished models.

The price of smartphones has skyrocketed

The price of smartphones has been steadily increasing in recent years. A few years ago, you could get a decent smartphone for $200 or $300. But now, even mid-range phones can cost $500 or more which is just bonkers. I mean, I do love my devices but I am not dishing out all that dough for a glorified social media app. So, if I can get a $250 flagship that is a few years old, I will gladly take it.

You can argue that this price increase is due to the advanced components in devices today and the increasing competition between smartphone manufacturers. But come on! Chinese smartphone companies sell comparable devices at competitive rates.

Refurbished phones are a great alternative

If you’re looking for a way to save money on a new phone, consider buying a refurbished one. Refurbished phones are used phones that have been restored to like-new condition. They’re often sold at a fraction of the price of a brand-new phone.

Renewed or refurbished products come in three cosmetic conditions at least on Amazon:

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  • Excellent: No visible signs of cosmetic damage when held 30 centimeters away.
  • Good: Light scratches, barely visible when held 30 centimeters away.
  • Acceptable: Scratches visible when held 30 centimeters away and perceptible to the touch.

These products may be packaged in a generic box at times. They might also come with the accessories expected for a new product. Personally, I the times I have bought refubs, they did come in their original box and the unboxing made me feel like they were brand new. As for the batteries, when present, they have a capacity that exceeds 80% of the new equivalent.

Refurbished phones are good for the environment

When you buy a refurbished phone, you’re not contributing to the problem of electronic waste. Every year, millions of old phones are thrown away, ending up in landfills. And yet as the adage goes; one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

By buying a refurbished phone, you’re giving a used phone a new lease on life. You’re also helping to reduce the amount of electronic waste that ends up in landfills. While I am against the dumping of electronic waste in less developed countries, if we can still squeeze a bit of life out of these products, I am all for it.

Read more: OnePlus 7T Series Android 12 Update Woes and Rollback Guide

Here are some additional reasons to buy a refurbished phone:

  • You can get a higher-end and/or flagship phone for a lower price.
  • Refurbished phones come with a warranty, just like brand new phones.
  • They are often indistinguishable from brand new phones.
  • Refurbished flagship phones can compete favorably with brand new midrange phones.

If you’re still not convinced, I encourage you to do some research on refurbished phones. You might be surprised at how many great deals you can find. Personally, my first opportunity to use a flagship phone came from the refubished section. I saved myself over $400 and got value for money.

So, why are you still buying brand new phones?

 Is it because you want to have the latest features and the best performance? Or is it because you are influenced by the marketing strategies and the social pressure of owning a new device?

Whatever your reasons are, you should consider the drawbacks of buying a new phone every year or so. We are not made of money, you know. By choosing to buy a refurbished or a second-hand phone, you can save money, reduce your environmental impact, and support ethical businesses.

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