Second-hand smartphones can be a smart move
What does refurbished mean when it comes to buying a smartphone or for that matter any portable electronic? Simply put, it’s not brand spanking new—and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Maybe it was delivered on someone’s doorstep in a mangled box and therefore returned. Or perhaps the previous owner dropped it down a flight of stairs, but it was repaired. Either way if you are buying from a reputable seller, expect a “reconditioned”or “certified used” phone to be in good working condition. “Consumers should trust companies that boast strict security guidelines and use programs such as CheckMEND to make sure that phones sold aren’t stolen. These companies ensure that devices are top quality, not damaged and obtained legally, so consumers can have peace of mind,” says Yanyan Ji, GM of e-commerce at gazelle.com. “Look for e-commerce sites that provide a certification process on their used devices.” Devices sold on Gazelle.com are “Gazelle Certified” meaning that these devices go through a rigorous inspection process which includes a 30 point inspection service. You can especially feel good about buying refurbished when it’s from the manufacturer—for example, in November 2016 Apple finally started carrying refurbished iPhones on their website. So now, not only can you cop an iPhone 6S with 128GB for $629 (16 percent off!), Apple hooks you up with its one-year warranty and an option to purchase more protection through Apple Care. Caution: It’s buyer beware on sites like eBay or Craigslist. Carefully review third party seller’s ratings and read buyer’s comments before you click buy. Don’t miss these 12 genius uses for your old cell phone.
Used laptops can satisfy your inner nerd
So you want the latest hot laptop with all the bells and whistles? Your head says, “I’m in” but your bank account says “Don’t look at me!” You could pull off a brand-new cheaper version that skimps on memory or software—or check out an older refurbished Macbook that fulfills your inner nerd without draining your savings. A laptop that’s been reconditioned shouldn’t be technologically sub par—in fact, it can be way superior to what you could afford new. If working quality is what you’re looking for a garage sale is not the place to pick up a laptop or most electronics. But if you’re purchasing a used product from a manufacturer or third-party, Laptop Magazine notes that authorized sellers typically sanitize, sort, and grade the units based on physical looks and functionality. They disassemble each one, checking for damaged components, battery function, screen quality, power supply, loose connections, hard drive, and optical drive. “As with anything you buy second-hand, consumers should ensure it’s been properly tested to 100 percent functionality before paying for a device,” says Matt Zieminski, account manager at iFixit.com. Here’s some other things Zieminski recommends checking out:
- Battery Life: When was the device originally manufactured? Is the battery user-serviceable? Has it ever had a replacement performed? Just like on cars, batteries need to be replaced in devices every so often. For lithium-ion products found in popular devices today the lifespan is about 18 to 20 months with normal use.
- Cellular/Bluetooth/Wi-Fi signal: Does it connect to everything properly and (in the case of Bluetooth) relay data appropriately?
- Charging: If you plug in a charger to the device, will it recognize the charge?
- Cosmetic defects: Some dents and scratches are to be expected as time goes on but be on the lookout for sever cosmetic issues like scratches and cracked screens.
- Operating System: The most important thing is to make sure it has a new Operating System (OS) installed before it makes its way to your work station. Otherwise, you might be buying someone else’s headache. Make sure you know how to recycle or donate your outdated tech devices.