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Buying a Pre-Owned Smartphone? Here are the Things You Need to Consider


Consumers these days are becoming more tech-savvy. Smartphone dealers respond to the users’ insatiable need to upgrade and be updated by releasing new models at a speed that can rival a charging bullet. And this, ladies and gents, is what makes buying the latest models less sulit. Fine, those cutting-edge phones may integrate the best features, but the next thing you know, the maker has already released a newer version, and your flagship phone suddenly isn’t the best anymore.
That’s why it comes as no surprise that more Filipinos turn to secondhand phones. Sure, getting a preowned phone deprives you of the thrill that comes with unboxing a brand-new unit, but it does come with many advantages.
One, for only 2/3 of its original price, you can get that phone you had been obsessing over last year. Two, it is easy to own a secondhand phone. You just need to find a reliable seller, a good unit, settle on the price, and that’s it.
However, there are also a few setbacks to buying a preowned phone. To help you make an informed, successful purchase, PawnHero compiles a list of the things to consider before buying a smartphone:

  1. Ask for a receipt.

To be sure you’re not getting a stolen unit, make sure to ask for a receipt. Buying a stolen phone is a penal crime under Presidential Decree no. 1612 or The Anti-Fencing Law of 1979. You may argue that you have no idea you’re being sold a stolen item, but as a buyer, it is your responsibility to ask for for a proof of purchase, hence, the receipt. You can also ask for the box, and make sure the IMEI of the phone matches the one on the box.
Apple Iphone - Cellphone with Box

  1. Know the phone’s features.

Even if you aren’t all that tech-savvy, you still need to know the features of the phone you’re getting. Knowing the features of the phone helps you ensure that it is working at full capacity.

  1. Insist on a meetup.

These days, it’s easy to manipulate photos, what with the availability of photo editing apps. Meeting up with the seller lets you hold and inspect the item first before you pay for anything. Of course, safety is your priority, so make sure you ask a friend or two to keep you company, and to set the meeting in a crowded place.

  1. Check the phone’s hardware.

Take note of any scratches, dents and cracks. If the phone looks battered beyond recognition and you’re still willing to buy it, go ahead and ask for a discount. If the damage on the phone are too unsightly for you, don’t be afraid to turn the item down. Also look check for dead or stuck pixels, and whether or not the screen is responsive to touch. If the phone is capacitive, check if it responds to multi-touch gestures.
Check if the camera works. If it comes with flash, check if it works as well. Also consider the quality of the photos—do you see white specks on the photos, do they look blurred?
A phone’s battery may not perform as good as when it was first bought, but a good, fully-charged cellphone battery should be able to hold up for at least 48 hours, when on standby.
Check the MicroUSB and MicroSD Card slots, the headphone jacks, and the speakers if these are working properly. To check the MicroUSB slot, plug the phone into a powerbank and see if it will charge. Insert your own, functional MicroSD Card into the slot, to check if the device will read it.
To check the headphone jack, insert a compatible headset and play a music file–you should be able to hear the song with no problem. To check the speakers, take out the earphones and listen for cracking or distorted sound. (Tip: Bohemian Rhapsody is said to be the best song to play when testing, as the first half of the song alone features soft, melodic piano music,  a cappella singing, booming bass, and guitar riffs.)
iphone - iphone speakers

  1. Check the software and internal features.

Some of the more tech-savvy owners root their phone or modify the ROM to change its performance. Now, be wary of secondhand phones that have a custom ROM or been modified, as software updates may not work well in phones like these. You’ll want to check if the phone is rooted by downloading a terminal app. By following the instructions, the app would tell you if your phone has been rooted.
Also check if the phone’s software is lagging. An average phone should take about 30 seconds to boot up. If you’re holding a fairly new model and it takes longer than that to restart the phone, something must be wrong. To make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck, don’t forget to check for the phone’s authenticity.
Lastly, don’t forget to check if all the connectivity features are working properly. To check bluetooth connectivity, bring another bluetooth device. Bring a pocket wifi device or take the cellphone to a wifi hotspot to gauge wifi support. Don’t forget to vet the unit’s 3G or LTE connectivity!

Ask for Warranty

If the phone isn’t anymore covered by manufacturer warranty, ask for personal warranty from the seller, even for just a week. Remember, you worked hard for your money, and it is only right to get your money’s worth. If the phone starts giving you problems within a week, your personal warranty will entitle you to a full refund.

Buy from a Trusted Seller

Buy from someone you or your friends and family have already done business with. If you’re buying a secondhand phone from an online seller you’ve never had a transaction with in the past, check for the seller’s ratings or look for testimonials by previous customers.
It is also a smart move to buy a defaulted secondhand phone from a pawnshop. Pawnshops like PawnHero Philippines have an in-house appraiser who checks the authenticity of the item. Buying your phone from PawnHero gives you peace of mind, knowing you’re getting an item that’s 100% safe. Learn how you could pawn your old gadget or find authentic, premium-quality preloved phones today!
Gadget - iphone

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