If you are planning to buy a smartphone but have a small budget in your tight pocket, then you may want to pick up a used smartphone instead of a new one. However, buying a used smartphone can be a bit tricky if you don’t have any experience whatsoever about this “field”. You cannot just go up there to the smartphone store and make a random purchase without even checking the whole condition of that phone thoroughly. And if you got the wrong device, it might turn out to be a curse for you.
You might get a good looking used smartphone with a perfect case cover without any scratches on it, but you got no clue that maybe its internal hardware or its screen interface might not work anytime soon because there have been some critical damages inside of the phone caused by the previous owners. That’s why, it’s really important for you to avoid this kind of smartphone for your own good.
Talking about used smartphones, most people think that used smartphones mostly suck just for the sake that they are second hand smartphones. Well, the truth is, not all used smartphones that you find around the market are some damaged phones that don’t work anymore. In fact, some of this type of smartphone still works just as great as new one. So it’s irrelevant anymore to say that the quality of second hand smartphones will be that horrible.
Well, if you have made the final decision and are perfectly sure that this is the right time for you to buy your first ever used smartphone, then these are 15 useful tips that hopefully can be your first guidance every time you’re planning to buy used smartphones in the future.
1. Run a Quick Scan on the Case Cover
The first thing to notice from a smartphone is definitely its case cover. Therefore, every time you meet some used smartphones on any store, make sure that you always run a thorough scan of the device. Try to see if the device has any physical defect or scratch around the body of that device. This must be done in order to know more about what that device has been through in the past when it was still used by the previous owners.
2. Make Sure that the Case Cover is Original
Used smartphones are usually plagued with the perception that their case covers will tell you the whole thing about their condition. Well, that is so wrong. You cannot judge the overall quality of used smartphones just by looking at how glossy its chassis or how flawless its screen. There is a huge possibility that the seller already covers them up with some new 3rd party case covers that obviously will make them look like new phones, right?
Therefore, as a smart customer, always equip yourself with the mindset that the sellers could always replace the original but damaged case cover with some new 3rd party chassis in order to make sales.
3. Make Sure that All the Physical Buttons Work Perfectly
Physical buttons always become the fragile element on any smartphone that tends to be damaged easily if they have been pressed so many times by the owners. That’s why, when checking out any used smartphone on the store, always make sure that all the physical buttons, remember, all of them, can work perfectly, without any hiccup. The best thing to do that is by pressing each physical button over and over again. If you see that there is any button that gives a weak or delay response (sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t) or even doesn’t work at all when you press it, then the best
4. Always Check the Screen Sensitivity with the User Interface
The next thing to check from a used smartphone is the screen surface and the sensitivity of its User Interface. In this process, always run a thorough scan if there is any scratch around the screen and make sure that the touch screen still works perfectly. Test the touch response from each corner of the screen until the middle area. Do some mixed and random gestures on the screen over and over again, from:
- sliding the UI to the left/right/up/bottom,
- doing multi-touch,
- zooming in/out on the photos or web browser,
- deleting widgets/apps/elements
- typing on the virtual on-screen QWERTY keyboard
And if you have a plenty of time, try to play some apps that are already installed on the phone, even high performance games and test the sensitivity of the screen interface. Remember, this is really crucial because most of the previous owners might already drop it on the ground for several times in the past, so it will directly impact to the sensitivity of the screen.
5. Check if There is Any Glitch or Weird Colors Reproduction on the Screen
Besides its sensitivity, the other important thing to check on the screen is the display. Usually, used smartphones have been dropped for several times by the previous owners. Therefore, it’s really important for you to see the whole area on the screen to check if there is any glitch or weird line on color reproduction around the screen. If you see any of these, then the screen is not fine.
6. Make Sure that the Battery is still Pretty Good
There is no doubt that battery is one of the most important elements in smartphones. Most of touch screen phones, even the new iPhone, have weak battery life (with the exception of Samsung or Motorola flagships of course). Therefore, it’s really crucial to always run a test on this sector every time you want to buy used smartphones. To name of few, you can do things like playing high performance 3D games or watching movies/videos to make sure that the battery is still in pretty good condition, if not great. If the battery drains pretty quickly even when you just open the photos or listen some songs (which are not really energy consuming activities), then there is something wrong with the battery.
7. Check if the Camera’s Shutter Key (if There is Any) Still Works
Some of smartphones usually have the physical shutter key for shooting photos/videos, even though it can be replaced with the on-screen virtual button. However, on some phones, there is a feature that lets you capture photos with shutter key even when the screen is still locked (e.g., Sony Xperia S, etc). That’s why, although you may not use it very often, always do a quick test on this shutter key by pressing it over and over again just to make sure that this button still works perfectly.
8. Ensure that the Cellular and Wi-Fi Connectivity Still Work Great
Connectivity is the other important element on smartphone. Without this sector, your used phone will be pretty much useless for you. You cannot surf the web, download stuff or connect the apps to internet. Therefore, always run the test of this connectivity feature by browsing the web with the pre-installed browser or any other apps that require 3G/4G and Wi-Fi connectivity on that used smartphone.
9. Check the Bluetooth, NFC or Any Other Off-line Connectivity
These connectivity features can be really important in the future because you like it or not, you will need Bluetooth and will use it very often to share contents like photos/music/videos/files with the other devices, while NFC is also really important for the future’s mobile payment. Therefore, never forget to always run the quick test on Bluetooth, NFC or other several offline connectivity features on the phone.
10. Test the Sound Quality of the Speaker
Making a phone call is the reason why cell phone is invented in the first place. Without it, your phone shouldn’t be called as a phone. That’s why, if this feature doesn’t work properly, then your used phone will be useless in the future. So it’s also really important to always run the test of this feature by making a random call on other devices and hear if there is something wrong with its sound quality, signal or its loudspeaker.
11. Try to Send Text Message
Usually, if the cellular connectivity still works great, then there is a huge chance that you can also send text messages with that phone. However, don’t get carried away and sending one text message wouldn’t hurt, right? This is for your own good.
12. Check the Sound Quality of the Phone, With and Without a Headset
Most of phone users usually don’t open wide the loudspeaker when listening to music or watching videos. They usually use a headset for most of activities that have sounds in it, like games, movies, music or anything. However, in order to make sure that everything is fine, just spend some seconds or minutes to check if the loudspeaker still sounds great or not.
13. Make Sure that the Charging Port Can Still Charge the Phone
Charging port is also the other most important thing on smartphone. If the charging port doesn’t work and cannot charge the device properly, this can be really dangerous for you in the future. These days, most smartphones’ charging ports are not just assembled with glue, but on some smartphones, this part is integrated deeply with solder. So be sure to always check the charging port of the device by plugging in/out the phone with the charger and see if there is slightly delay response on battery bar on the screen when being charged. Your phone is pretty much useless if it cannot be charged.
14. Check the microSD card slot (if there is any) to see if it still works
Despite the increasing popularity of huge internal storage smartphones, most phone users still think that microSD card slot as a really vital element on smartphones. This type of users tends to choose of having a smartphone with a small internal storage but can be expanded further with external microSD card. Therefore, if you’re planning to buy a microSD-card-enabled smartphone, it’s recommended for you to check if the card slot still works great or not. You don’t want to buy a phone with little storage that can’t read external microSD card, do you?
15. Ask the Seller if the Phone is already Jail-broken or Rooted
Jailbroken iPhone or rooted Android phones might be a good thing or bad thing. If you are a tech savvy user, then it’s a good thing because you can still do heck a lot of technical stuff with your phone even without the assistance of retailer. However, if you are non-tech-savvy buyer, you really need to ask the seller regarding this information. Especially for iPhone, which you may want to ask the seller to revert back your used iPhone to a non-jailbroken version, so you can still bring it safely to the official Apple store if there is anything wrong with your iPhone.