There’s a swanky new smartphone out in the market every six months or less. With the likes of Apple and Samsung upping their game with every new release, users have endless choices, but are left in a quandary of how to avoid being lured into spending more… each time a new device is launched.

Popular smartphones cost around AED 2,500 or more. Others cost upwards of AED 1,000. That’s a lot of money to dole out regularly, in an effort to stay technologically savvy and keep up with what’s trending.

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If you have an itch to upgrade to the latest android or iPhone, buying a used smartphone at a fraction of the cost can save you a notable sum of money. Obviously, there are always risks involved when picking up a second-hand product. We weigh the pros and cons of buying a used smartphone:

[Related: iPhone 6: The Du and Etisalat plans | Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge: Etisalat and Du plans]

Pros of buying a used smartphone

  • Same phone, lower price: Are you after the latest Samsung Galaxy S6 edge, but cannot stomach the price? Brush up your negotiation skills while you look for a second hand phone and you may end up with a pretty good deal.
  • Lots of options: The used smartphone market has grown exponentially over the past few years. Whether you hunt for your favorite phone on Dubizzle or even social media, you’ll find a wide variety of options to choose from. This way, you can compare prices of the same phone from different sellers, inspect the phone of your choice and take an informed decision.

Cons of buying a used smartphone

  • Out of warranty: Usually, used smartphones are out of the warranty period. That’s something to think about while negotiating the price. 
  • Locked phones: A lot of locked phones are being sold on the internet at a very cheap price. Make sure you get an unlocked phone.
  • Defects that cannot be seen by the naked eye: A visual examination will tell you if there’s a scratched screen or a loose back cover. However it wouldn’t tell you about liquid damage or buildup of rust. Even after thorough inspection of the phone, there’s always the risk of getting a faulty piece.
  • Scams and stolen devices: Reports suggest that hundreds of smartphones are stolen on a daily basis and then shipped to foreign countries to be sold to unsuspecting customers. A simple way of exercising due diligence is to ask the seller for the phone’s IMEI, ESN or MEID number. You can then run a simple search for ‘IMEI check’ or ‘ESN check’ on the internet. Separately, some users have reported falling victim to scams online where the sellers disappear after payment is done. To get around this issue, some websites offer scam protection to buyers – for example eBay has a Money Back Guarantee. You can also transfer money through PayPal to take advantage of PayPal’s Purchase protection.
  • Battery life: Did your seller have poor charging habits? It’s worth budgeting for a battery replacement when you look at a second hand phone.

Some tips to buying a used smartphone

  • Think like a smartphone seller when you’re buying one – so that you can see through any scams and cons. When checking the phone, is the seller getting uneasy? This should raise alarm bells in your mind.
  • Be sure to check the price of  a new phone with similar specifications.
  • Thoroughly check the phone: Open any flap, port or cover that can be opened. Push and pull all slots that can be pushed or pulled. Insert your SIM card, MicroSD card, earphones, charger cable etc. Make a call, play music, connect your laptop, send out a text message, run a service code test (you can search your device’s service code online).
  • Double check if all the accessories are intact. If they aren’t, find out what it would cost you to buy each accessory and use that as a bargaining chip to have the price reduced further.