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What to check before buying a second-hand phone

What to check before buying a second-hand phone

Boost Alumni (Retired)

What to check before buying a second-hand phone

Most of us know someone who has found a great bargain on a second hand phone, only to later discover they’ve bought a dud. It’s not a great feeling.


So here are a few things to make sure you check the next time you’re looking at purchasing a second hand phone.


Note: If you’re purchasing the device online you may not be able to check all of these, or you’ll have to rely on the word of the seller. If safe to do so I recommend buying the handset face to face, so that you can confirm the quality of your potential new handset!


  1. Request that the phone comes fully charged: So you can test the handset you’ll want it to be charged. I’d also recommend bringing a compatible charger cord of your own, in the event that the handset is not charged.
  2. Test a compatible SIM card: Popping in your own SIM card will allow you to double check that the handset isn’t locked to a network you can’t use. Often only the named account holder will be able to unlock the phone. If the handset is locked you’ll want to make sure the seller gets it unlocked before you purchase it. This can normally be done via a short phone call to the appropriate service provider.
  3. Call the new phone: Use another phone to call the one you’re inspecting so you can check the mic and the speakers. Make sure that you switch to hands free to check the speaker. This will also help double check that your desired network is not blocked. Try adjusting the volume while on the call to test the buttons.
  4. Test other buttons: Try some of the shortcut gestures (e.g. the double or triple click of the home button for iPhone) to make sure all buttons are responsive and in good condition. Also remember to try the lock/sleep button to check you can get back into the handset as needed.
  5. Check the camera: Take a photo with the front and rear cameras and have a look at them. Make sure the camera can focus as needed. A foggy camera may just need a clean, but if this doesn’t help the handset will likely need to be repaired.
  6. Inspect the charger port/dock: Make sure that the charging port, normally on the bottom of the phone, isn’t chipped or crooked and that the charger cord you’ve hopefully brought along sits firmly in there. If you have to sit the phone a certain way to get it charging I’d seriously think twice before continuing with the purchase. It might not seem like a big deal, but it’s likely to only get worse.
  7. WiFi: If possible it’s not a bad idea to try connecting to a nearby WiFi network, just to confirm that device has no issues locating and connecting to other networks.
  8. Try the touch screen: Have a flick around the phones home screen and try entering and exiting a couple of apps, just to make sure the phone is going to respond to your commands appropriately.
  9. Confirm the network bands: Depending on where the handset was purchased, and from which provider originally, it may only work on certain network bands. Confirm the model number, and do a quick bit of Google searching to confirm which network bands it will work on. For compatibility with the Telstra Mobile Network, you’ll need to make sure that the handset can operate on the 850 MHz or 2100 MHz bands for 3G and the 1800 MHz band for 4G.

Those are the big ones, but of course if there are specific features you’re buying the handset for, make sure you give them a try too.



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Amateur (LVL:1)

Re: What to check before buying a second-hand phone

Buying a second-hand smartphone is a great way to save money. There are many reasons to buy a second-hand phone. Maybe your current phone is broken or no longer works with the latest technology. Maybe you want to get a new phone but don’t want to spend a lot of money. Maybe you’re not sure which phone you want to buy and want to compare them first. There are even a lot of reasons to get a used phone.

The pros and cons of buying used phones

When buying a used phone, make sure that it works well with the operating system you have chosen. If you bought a Nokia Lumia 920 for instance, you might run into problems. It runs on Windows Phone 8 and Nokia Lumia 920 is a Windows Phone 8 smartphone. On the other hand, if you’re a Samsung Galaxy S3 owner, you should be fine. It runs on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and it can easily be upgraded. Since the technology has improved since the release of the first generation of iPhones, some iPhones now sell for more than $100. Used iPhones usually start around $300, but they can go for over $500. The price will depend on a lot of things, including how much storage is already installed, how well the phone is maintained, and how much repair costs have been paid.

What to check before buying a second-hand phone

Check out the serial number on the device. In case you’re buying from a used phone shop or an individual, this is the number you’ll need to check first. Most used phones can be matched to their factory settings which means you can open it up and see what information is on it. Not all phones come with a serial number and some are deleted when they are sold. So make sure you check the number before you buy a phone. In case you’re buying from a used phone shop or an individual, this is the number you’ll need to check first. Most used phones can be matched to their factory settings which means you can open it up and see what information is on it. Not all phones come with a serial number and some are deleted when they are sold. So make sure you check the number before you buy a phone.

The condition of the phone

A phone is a very expensive item. When you buy a new phone, you pay for the actual phone, not the box or the charger. If you buy a second-hand phone, it might not have been used properly. This means you could be buying the phone and charging it for two years before you have a working phone again. It might even have parts missing or an older version of the software that you don’t need. Your decision on whether to buy a second-hand phone or new one depends on how badly you want a new phone and how badly you want to save money. It’s also important to make sure that the phone is in good condition. It is good to buy a phone that hasn’t been used for long. The further the phone has been sitting in storage, the more likely it will be to be in bad shape.

Decide what battery life you need

When you consider buying a used phone, you need to consider if you need long battery life. Some newer phones have a battery life that lasts around six months before the battery dies. This might not be enough to get you through an entire workday. Some people are happy with long battery life, but others prefer to get a phone that lasts longer than that. If you only need a phone for a limited amount of time, and if you can get one with a battery life that lasts around six months, then you’re better off buying a used phone. A second-hand phone that lasts between one and two years is a great way to save money. Looking for Used Phones in South Africa The South African second-hand phone market is very unique. It depends on which phone you want.

Decide which network you need

It’s not hard to tell if you want a second-hand phone from the networks that are already on the market. Don’t forget that certain networks may be more expensive than others. The networks you’re considering also have a warranty. Some give you a full year of coverage with no questions asked. There are some conditions though. For example, the coverage will be void if you damage your phone. Compare different devices Before you get too far in your research, you’ll need to decide on a specific device. This will be based on your purpose and usage. Are you looking for something for taking photos? Are you a family person? What about the size of your phone? Comparison shop for good deals With the pressure to cut costs, a lot of buyers go for the low-priced phones that are on the market.

Check the software version of your device

Some old smartphones use older versions of the Android operating system. Android 7 is just released and phones that were released as recently as December 2017 are just now getting Android 8. Do a quick search online to see which device you are buying runs the latest version of the operating system. You can use the compatibility tool provided by the operating system to find out. Rechargeable batteries, microSD cards, and sensors Some of the older phones have rechargeable batteries. If your phone has a microSD card, check if it has a microSD card slot so you can keep storing your media files. A lot of older smartphones have buttons that are no longer used on newer phones. Make sure to check the manual for your phone so you can figure out how to turn them off.

Make sure the charger is compatible with your old and new smartphone 

Some chargers are compatible with new smartphones. These chargers are chargers that attach to your phone and allow it to charge. They are often cheaper than buying the new charging cords from your phone carrier. Another charger is compatible with old smartphones. This charger allows you to charge your old phone and its own battery. Check if the phone is fully functional and up-to-date on the latest iOS and Android updates. Find out if it supports different mobile carriers such as AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, etc. Some smartphones are only compatible with one particular mobile carrier. Find out if your new smartphone will work with all your existing phone plans and internet service providers.

Check all functions that work on both phones and check whether they work on both phones or not

If you’re buying phone, check the function that works on both phones and check whether it works on both phones or not. Look at the original storage on the phone and see if you need to buy extra storage or not Take a look at the quality of the memory cards and see whether you need to buy extra memory cards or not. If you bought a cheap memory card, it might not be so cheap when it comes to downloading photos. Take a look at the screen quality and make sure the screen on the second-hand phone is also made by Samsung or Samsung. Pay attention to the camera and look for a better camera, especially if you’re going to use it often. Does the phone have a mic? If it doesn’t, you’ll need an adapter or a headset to use it Does the phone have a battery charger?


Buying a second-hand phone is great, but it can be very risky. There are some precautions that you need to take before you buy a second-hand phone. When it comes to buying a second-hand phone, you’re going to be in control of your purchasing decisions. You’re free to choose whichever you want.