How to Wisely Buy a Used Android Smartphone

Is the thought of becoming the owner of a high-end Android smartphone hunting you these days? There is nothing wrong in wanting to enjoy a device with a superior set of technical specs and the latest features out here, but are you willing to pay the hefty price tag of such a model? Buying a used Android device isn’t a bad idea, and if you are wise, you actually have the chance to walk out with a good deal.

However, I know that you must be worried about what’s happening lately with phones that work only for a few days or that don’t work at all, used Android devices that turn out to be stolen and blocked, others that have been seriously damaged or bricked. I am sure that this is not what you have in mind, so act carefully.

There is a very high demand for second hand mobiles, so scams and cons are thrilled by the chances that they are getting. Let me tell you from the start that it is unlikely to get an exhaustive list of what to check when buying a second hand phone, but if you stick to the tips and tricks below, it is very difficult to end up being fooled.

How to Wisely Buy a Used Android Smartphone:

Examine it
Once you have the phone if front of you, it’s time to take a look at it from every angle. Inspect it closely to detect any possible scratches, cracks, and bruised edges; also check the screen for scratches and cracks. Yes, you have to switch on the device and check the screen for cracks, which usually appear as bright lines on the screen or as bleeding pixels as they severely affect the viewing experience.

Even more, check the camera lens for any kind of damage and if you prefer a phone with physical keyboard, don’t forget to verify if there are any broken keys.

Check all the ports
Yes, you must also check all the ports in order to avoid any possible surprise. Feel free to pop your own headphones into the Android phone and check if they are working properly, connect the charger cable you got to your laptop and see if it’s charging as it should and don’t stop here!

Pop in your SIM card
You are right to that point when you have to use the SIM card to make a call, send a text, browse to your favorite website and not only. And even more, if the phone is locked to a network and your SIM isn’t from that carrier, you’ll find out right away.

Camera app
Don’t forget about the handset’s camera! Visually examining the camera lens is not enough, but also check the camera app and take your time to take some photos. Try taking pictures using both the physical camera button and the touchscreen and verify if some important features such as high resolution camera or intuitive stylus are indeed working.

How’s the battery performing?
There is no mystery regarding the fact that batteries reduce their performance as they age. But this is not an excuse for a second hand phone which uses more than 10% of its battery in the time you are applying some tests prior buying it. If you are willing to accept that, a battery replacement could be a solution, but don’t hesitate to find out the cost for that specific model to make sure that you are actually getting the phone at a better price.

Check for liquid damages
Are you worried about internal damage due to liquids? It is easy to check for water damages, so open the back flap and pull out the battery. The battery will have a white square/rectangular sticker on one of its edges and you must only verify its color. If it hasn’t turned red or pink you are safe. As a double check, also take a closer look at the ports for charging and USB. Even though they work, look for discoloration as these ports are usually of metal and any discoloration usually means that you are dealing with water damage.

Also learn What to do when you Drop an Android Device into water

Check IMEI
As you probably know, the IMEI is a code that identifies every single phone. Manufacturers use this number to verify stolen phones and the amount of warranty that phone has left, so this answers to some important questions. So, check that the IMEI number on the phone (enter into Menu > Settings > About Phone > Status) corresponds to the number on the box and receipts. If there are different numbers, then maybe the phone is a stolen one or it has been sent for servicing and had its main board replaced. In any case, that’s not what you are looking for!

Even more, use the IMEI number to do a warranty check online and as I have said it before, look it up on a site such as Check ESN Free. In case of not knowing, this is a US stolen phone checker, but you can also equivalent services for other areas, so make sure that you are not being scammed.

Is there any Warranty left?
When buying a second hand device, do not forget to discuss the warranty issue. Warranty is not usually out of the question, so get the warranty card. Verify if it has been sent in as many manufacturers will not honor their warranty if the card has not been sent in within a few days of purchase and be careful about another important aspect.

Read: How to Restore the Warranty on your Android device

Before meeting the seller, test it and ask for a 7 days personal warranty so that you have time to use the phone and make sure that it is in working condition. Any negative response to such a request is a red flag!

Where to buy the Android phone from?
Deciding where to buy the phone from is a tough decision. Before hitting eBay or Gumtree (which are some of the most popular options of the moment), I have another recommendation. There are enough scammers there too, so I wouldn’t suggest you buy the device just on the basis of its description or photos posted online, but try meeting the seller in person, if possible. This reduces the risk that someone’s selling you a device with issues.

Get the right price
First of all, my advice is to check the price of what the new Android phone costs (or at least find a model with similar specifications). How much the difference should be? Well, the answer should depend on the condition of the phone, the warranty which is left, accessories bundled (for example, if the accessories are not intact, find out what it would cost you to buy them and use this as a way to reduce the price) and not only.

The final negotiation is not always a simple one! Take your time with your decision, don’t rush it and accept only if you’re getting a fair deal.

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