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6 things to check before buying an old used smartphone


Used smartphones can give you a good deal for your money. So if new ones don’t fit your budget, you can always opt for a used or refurbished phone. Now, if you buy from a trusted source, it most likely won’t have any defects. However, it is always a good idea to be careful and examine your phone thoroughly before purchasing it. Here are the important things you need to check before buying a used or used smartphone.

Related | How to check the battery status of your Android phone

Things to check when buying a used smartphone

First you need to finally decide which phone to buy and at what price. You can estimate the same based on the specifications of the phone and the current market price by listing all available discounts. The price should also take into account the age and condition of the device.

You can then negotiate with the seller, making sure it is genuine and not scammers or scammers. Please advise that you will need to meet with the seller to check the phone before purchasing. You will usually find many local sellers on online sites such as OLX and Quickr.

There are a few things you need to keep in mind when testing your phone so you don’t get fooled. This includes checking the fundamentals followed by physical examination and other tests of the equipment. We’d suggest keeping the following items to help with testing:

  • External battery.
  • USB cable compatible with the phone you are about to buy.
  • Any accessories supported by the phone (microSD card, headphones).

1. Contents of the box, invoice and warranty

  • Check box and box contents
  • Is it stolen? Check authenticity
  • Is the phone imported from another region? Is it unlocked?

Box and invoice

The first thing you need to check is the field, the original invoice, and the age of the device. Make sure all the contents of the box are available – you can negotiate missing or non-original accessories.

If the seller has lost a bill for a phone purchased online, ask for a copy of the e-bill on e-commerce portals. Most sites, including Amazon and Flipkart, allow you to download a digital copy of your invoice.

Check Warranty, IMEI

Check if your phone has an active warranty – it’s always best to buy phones that are still under warranty to be safe.

You can check the phone’s warranty period by IMEI on the manufacturer’s website. Companies like Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi, Realme, etc. let you check the warranty online. For OnePlus phones, you can check the OnePlus Care app. The links are given below:

The phone must have the same IMEI number as on the original box and invoice. To check IMEI, open the dialer and dial * # 06 #.

Are you buying an imported phone?

When buying an imported phone, please check if it is unlocked. Also, make sure the network bands are supported and work with your carrier. Also, does it have an international guarantee? Are parts available in your country?

Buying a phone that a brand doesn’t officially sell in your country can mean it won’t be easy to get it repaired if something goes wrong.

If you’re skeptical about a phone’s originality, here’s how to check the IMEI number to see if it’s genuine or fake.

2. Visual inspection

Things to check when buying a used smartphone

  • Inspect in daylight
  • Check for scratches and dents
  • Check the display, body and cameras

Once you get the basics down, move on to physically examining the device. I prefer to test my phone in bright daylight, so damage or defects are clearly visible.

Look for scratches, dents, or cracks on the body, display, and more importantly, the camera lens. Small scratches on the camera lens can significantly degrade image quality, especially in low light conditions. Check the power and volume buttons.

Slight signs of use are normal for used phones. However, it is best to avoid any anomalies such as a curved frame or misplaced details.

3. Check the display.

Things to check when buying a used smartphone

  • Make sure the display is original
  • There should be no cracks
  • Look for dead spots or dead pixels

The next important thing to check when buying a used smartphone is the display. The display is indeed one of the most expensive parts of a device. Check it for scratches or small cracks.

Check the overall quality of the panel carefully to ensure it is genuine. You can tell if a panel has been replaced with a non-OEM panel by checking the brightness levels, screen quality, and any traces of glue or foreign objects on the sides.

Make sure the entire screen is responsive to touch and there are no dead spots or dead pixels. you can use Display tester app to check the same.

When testing your display, consider removing the protective film from your phone.

4. Check ports, SIM card and accessories.

It’s time to test the charging cable that came with your phone. Take out the power bank, connect your phone via cable and see if it charges normally.

Insert SIM card – check if the phone can ring. Likewise, check the microSD card port (if available) and other accessories supported by your phone, such as headphones.

5. Check functions such as camera, microphone, speakers.

Check important device functions. This includes:

  • Speaker and speaker
  • Vibration
  • Microphone
  • Both front and rear cameras
  • Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth etc.

You can check for hardware problems in one go using apps like Phone Doctor Plus, Phone check and check, TestM equipment, or Check your Android… These apps have a complete list of basic things to check before buying a used smartphone.

6. Pay attention to the battery.

Li-ion batteries on smartphones usually lose their capacity over time, which can be a problem if you buy a phone that’s too old. So, pay attention to the battery level and percentage drop while you check your phone.

If you notice a drop that is too sharp, something is wrong. If you are buying a used iPhone, go to Settings> Battery> Battery Status and check Maximum capacity percent. Anything above 80% is fine.

Related | Why don’t phones with large batteries guarantee timely screen enlargements?

Other tips to remember when buying a used phone

If you buy a used phone from someone on online platforms like Olx or Quickr, keep these tips in mind:

  • Check the image and price posted by the seller. Most scammers use images from the internet and lure people in with prices that are too good to be true.
  • As tempting as the deal is, never pay without checking your phone.
  • The seller demands to ship the phone and asks for an advance payment? A common scam.
  • If possible, meet with the vendor in a public place.
  • Find something different from what the seller promised or mentioned in the ad? Back off.
  • Ask the seller to make sure to remove the screen lock and their iCloud or Google account from the phone. Perform a factory reset and sign in to your account to make sure it’s not locked out by your merchant account.
  • Prefer to make electronic payments for convenience and as proof that you are buying a phone from that person.

Conclusion – is it worth buying used smartphones?

Used phones are usually discounted. With the right search, great deals can be found in the market. However, there is always a risk of being cheated when buying used gadgets. So, make sure you are buying from a reliable source and negotiate well depending on the phone in question.

It is usually best to get the phone in good condition, even if the defective one is sold cheaply. Plus, having a remaining warranty period gives you added peace of mind. Apart from the tips above, be sure to check online reviews before purchasing any used smartphone, which also applies to new purchases.

You can also follow us for instant tech news on Google News or for tips and tricks, reviews of smartphones and gadgets, join GadgetsToUse Telegram Group or subscribe to get the latest video reviews GadgetsToUse Youtube Channel.


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