Should I buy a refurbished phone?
We’re all familiar with refurbished living rooms and refurbished shops, but did you know you can refurbish a mobile phone too?
It doesn't involve tearing down the wallpaper and chucking some throw cushions around, but it can involve you saving money on your mobile plan. Here's how.
What is a refurbished phone?
You may also know them as refreshed or reconditioned phones. Put simply, a refurbished mobile phone once belonged to someone else, but has been restored to its factory settings and given a thorough check and repair.
There are all kinds of reasons why someone would have got rid of the phone, such as:
- The phone had a fault and needed to be sent back (and it's now been fixed)
- The owner upgraded to a new phone and recycled or sold their old one
- The owner changed their mind a few days after buying the phone, and sent it back
- It was a company phone which isn't needed any more
And so on.
Are refurbished phones any good?
Refurbished phones differ from 'used' or second-hand models in that they've been checked over and tested by an independent party. You're not just buying someone's used and scratched-up mobile - instead you'll get a phone which has been sent away, repaired, wiped clean, had its OS reinstalled from scratch, and thoroughly tested.
Nonetheless, some refurbished phones will certainly have a 'used' appearance, whether that's just a scratch or two or some more intense signs of wear.
Where can I get a refurbished iPhone or Android?
The short answer is that you can compare refurbished phones right here on broadbandchoices. Simply take a look at the results grid, and make sure that the 'Include Refurbished' filter is ticked. As for where those come from...
- Lots of independent retailers and websites specialise in refurbished phones
- Most resellers provide refurbs - read more about resellers here
- Some mobile networks recycle handsets and sell them on, such as O2 Refresh
Cheap refurbished phones
The main advantage of a refurbished handset is the money you'll save by opting for one. Because it isn't fresh from a factory, you can get it a lot cheaper than a new model.
But that's just the start of your savings. Purchasing a phone outright means you'll need a SIM-only deal. These usually work out quite a bit cheaper than phone contracts overall, especially as you have more of a chance to upgrade, downgrade, or otherwise change your plan if you pick one with 30-day terms.
Pros of refurbished phones
- It's quite a bit cheaper
- Plans are more flexible, since you can go SIM-only
- It will have been thoroughly tested and should function as new
- You'll have more control over which mobile network you choose
- Recycling phones is better for the environment
Cons of refurbished phones
- Refurbs can still have hardware problems and faulty parts
- Their quality can really vary - you won't always know if you're getting a pristine handset or one covered in chips and scratches
- Warranties and insurance aren't as clear-cut
- Most available refurbished handsets are old models