A Guide To Refurbished Phones: Pros and Cons

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Refurbished mobile Smartphones

With the shadow of climate change constantly looming over our heads, opting for environmentally choices is usually the best thing we can do to play our part positively. Choosing pre-loved or second hand items is a good way to reduce wastage in our daily lives and getting a refurbished phone is one way to do this. So what is it like to have a refurbished phone and are there any downsides to opting for one? What difference can a second hand phone make to the environment, and to your bank balance? Where can you get your mitts on one? We answer all of these questions below, so stick with us for everything you need to know.

Why buy a second hand, or refurbished phone?

So you’re in the market for a new phone, and maybe you’re hoping not to spend too much. Well, why not go second hand? Second hand phones do differ from refurbished phones in the sense that refurbished phones were sent back to the manufacturer for one reason or another. If you’re not yet convinced, we don’t blame you, we all like the feeling of something shiny and new - a fresh start, so to speak. Take a look at the main pros to getting a refurbished mobile phone before you rule it out.

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1. Be a friend to the environment

Smartphones are thought to be one of the personal devices with the biggest carbon footprint, and most of their emissions come from the actual production of mobile devices.

Most mobile phones also have a relatively short shelf life, resulting in a huge amount of waste. In fact, most manufacturers encourage this by releasing new phones at a rapid rate and not marketing phones as a long term or ‘for life’ purchase.

If you don’t keep, sell or pass your old mobile phones on to someone else and instead throw it in the bin, it will end up in landfills. A huge portion of the heavy metals found in landfills are attributed to discarded electronics. Phones in landfill leek toxic chemicals into the soil and of course are not biodegradable.

2. Get more bang for your buck

Mobile phones can be expensive, especially if you purchase the latest model. But are they worth the money, given that sometimes the difference between one model and another can be pretty minor? Well, only you can answer that question for yourself, but we can say that if you’re willing to wait a little while, you could save a substantial amount of money.

Those happy with a second hand phone can easily find one online. These phones will be used, and you may need to wipe them of what's already on the phone (like photos for example). This option is most likely to be the cheapest one when it comes to pre-used phones.

The more expensive route to go down is opting for a refurbished phone. A refurbished phone is a phone that has been sent back to the manufacturer due to a fault of some sort and then repaired. These phones are often barely used, and it’s a shame that they will otherwise go to waste.

It’s often assumed that all refurbished phones are faulty and then repaired, but actually some phones have just been sent back to suppliers because the customer experienced a change of heart.

So how much can you expect to save? Let’s take a look at the some of the prices of popular refurbished mobile phone models with Handtec in December 2021. This will give you an idea of the amount you could expect to spend and save on a refurbished phone:

  • iPhone Apple iPhone 12 256GB Black unlocked and refurbished - price new £679, refurbished price £599.89
  • Apple iPhone XS 64GB Gold unlocked and refurbished - price new £559, now £259.89
  • Samsung Samsung Galaxy S21 256GB Black unlocked and refurbished - price new £819, refurbished price £599.89
  • Samsung Samsung Galaxy A90 128GB White unlocked and refurbished - price new £499.99, refurbished price £349.99

Are there any downsides to refurbished phones?

A refurbished phone with wifi signal

Those wanting a new phone in pristine condition may be disappointed after purchasing a refurbished one. Any major issues with a refurbished phone will have been fixed, but there may still be remnants of old nicks or dents still visible on the device.

It’s also worth noting that, in some cases, refurbished mobile phones will not come with a warranty, which may be a deterrent for some. That being said, there are companies like giffgaff and handtec that do offer warranties (we will discuss these further below).

Giffgaff refurbished phones

You may have heard of giffgaff as a mobile carrier, but did you know that they sell refurbished phones as well? You can buy a refurbished phone upfront, or for a slightly higher price you can pay it off over 24 months.

Giffgaff also offer warranties on refurbished phones of 12 months, which is included in the cost. Giffgaff warranties cover the following:

  • Battery issues
  • Accessories included with your phone
  • Faulty software
  • Internal parts that aren’t functioning well

Handtec: UK refurbished phones

Handtec is another port of call for purchasing a refurbished phone in the UK. A huge upside to getting a handtec phone is that they come with a 12 month warranty. They stock a huge array of phones from iPhones to Samsung to Huawei and if you’re not happy with your phone they give you 14 days in which you can return it. You can order online and they offer free delivery. Awesome!

Envirofone: What is it?

Do you have a mobile phone to spare? Well good news, you can sell it! Envirofone gives you the option to either buy or sell phones. You can make money and avoid sending your old mobile phones to nasty landfills by selling your phone, even if it’s damaged. Postage is free and you’ll receive a payment on the same day the company processes the device.

If you buy a phone from Envirofone you get a 12 month warranty included. Envirofone is also a contract free option so you won’t be locked into any kind of commitment.

In need of a UK SIM card? Selectra’s guide to getting a UK SIM card is here to help you out. You’ll find information on how to get a UK SIM card or a UK mobile phone.

The services and products mentioned on this website may only represent a small selection of the options available to you. Selectra encourages you to carry out your own research and seek advice if necessary before making any decisions. We may receive commission from selected partner providers on sales of some products and/or services mentioned within this website. Our website is free to use, and the commission we receive does not affect our opinion or the information we provide.