Solved! Should my First Phone be New or Used?

Robert_341

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Jan 10, 2017
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For the same amount of $$ I can buy a better used phone or a lesser new phone. Assuming seller says it "works good" and there is no visible damage...2 QUESTIONS:
1. simple or basic thing to "check" to see if the phone is working? ie: I know I can't check everything out when sitting in the coffee shop from Craigs List

2. In general: do phone work until people want newer technology or do they fail in some common way?

Thanks.
 
A) How much can you afford to spend on the phone each year?
B) How many years do you plan to go before you get your next phone?

The amount you can spend on a phone will be (A) * (B). e.g.

Scenario 1: You can put aside $200 per year for a phone, and you plan to keep it for 3 years. $200/yr * 3 years = $600. So you can buy a phone up to $600, and a new one is within your budget.

Scenario 2: You can put aside $150 per year for a phone, and you want something close to the latest so you plan to upgrade every 2 years. $150/yr * 2 years = $300. So you can only afford to buy a mid-tier phone, or a used phone.

The most common failure mode I've seen in phones is the battery just doesn't hold as much charge as it used to when new. Usually I start to notice it after 1 year, it starts to become annoying after 2 years (have to put it on the charger in the middle of the day more and more often), and by year 3 I am ready to punt the phone and get a new one. It's really unfortunate that most manufacturers have switched to batteries which are not user replaceable.

After that are people having to replace their phone because they dropped it and cracked the screen. And after that are people replacing it to take advantage of the newest technology (3G, 4G, 5G, 802.11ac, etc).
 

Chugalug_

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Jan 28, 2016
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Depends what your budget is, I generally buy new phones because I can save up and afford them.
I currently have an iPhone 5 from 2012, and am saving for the S8 edge since its quite outdated now, the battery doesn't last and it is slow.

I buy new because you don't know if someone has tampered with the internals of a device until its too late, and a phone will last you around 5 years+ depending on how good its specs and quality are before you'll consider upgrading.
Those people that buy the new iPhone each year just have awful priority assignment and budgeting. (Although I do an annual PC upgrade, so i'm not one to talk, eek!)

How much money do you have to work with?
 
Buying "used", especially on CL, may lead you to unpleasant surprises, even if you "check" it at the coffee shop:
- the phone may be stolen / reported lost, and if original owner reports it, there are good chances might not work as a phone anymore;
- the battery may hold for an hour or two, then die in ten minutes;
- it might have defects which won't show up in ten minutes;

So, unless you know the seller - I wound not buy something like that off CL. A lot of telcos now sell "refurbished" phones, which are much better choice if you want to save money.
 
A) How much can you afford to spend on the phone each year?
B) How many years do you plan to go before you get your next phone?

The amount you can spend on a phone will be (A) * (B). e.g.

Scenario 1: You can put aside $200 per year for a phone, and you plan to keep it for 3 years. $200/yr * 3 years = $600. So you can buy a phone up to $600, and a new one is within your budget.

Scenario 2: You can put aside $150 per year for a phone, and you want something close to the latest so you plan to upgrade every 2 years. $150/yr * 2 years = $300. So you can only afford to buy a mid-tier phone, or a used phone.

The most common failure mode I've seen in phones is the battery just doesn't hold as much charge as it used to when new. Usually I start to notice it after 1 year, it starts to become annoying after 2 years (have to put it on the charger in the middle of the day more and more often), and by year 3 I am ready to punt the phone and get a new one. It's really unfortunate that most manufacturers have switched to batteries which are not user replaceable.

After that are people having to replace their phone because they dropped it and cracked the screen. And after that are people replacing it to take advantage of the newest technology (3G, 4G, 5G, 802.11ac, etc).
 

Math Geek

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Oct 15, 2014
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refurbs are a good option as they can save hundreds on a phone and will come with a warranty.

there are a lot of solid budget phones out there. just because you can't afford a new $800 phone does not mean you're gonna do without. i use an android phone as a business phone and went cheap since all it needed to do was make calls. i had an LG Volt i paid $75 for new. just upgraded it to an LG XPower for $100 and that sucker is very nice for what i paid for it. massive battery that lasts multiple days of phone calls (4100 mAh). i don't feel like i'm using junk even when compared to the shiny new iphone i also use.

check your budget and see what your provider offers. if nothing good then look at other providers. depending on your area cricket, boost mobile and even at&t go can be great bargains for service and phones. i use boost cause sprint ok in my area and pay $30 a month for 4 GB data and unlimited everything else. not bad at all considering i pay more than twice that for my unlimited plan with At&t on my iphone.
 

Robert_341

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Jan 10, 2017
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Lots of Good info here----thanks.

1. Chug. Yes...I do recall a "tampered product" from Craigs list a few years ago. Amazes me how little money people will cheat you for. My funds are "as I wish".... but I wish to spend it like you do: on my computer. Even if I were rich, making cash wise purchases is an exercise of competency in my book.

2. JS: given just my own experience with Craigs List, and my total lack of experience with phones.....using a rated seller is excellent advice. I HAVE DECIDED: to avoid Craigs List.

3. Alab: A second not to use CL, and I agree. Also...a refurb unit from a reputable reseller lool\ks like the way to go if buying used.

4. Chug: I agree. but that is older tech almost really about batteries? My consideration for a used phone would be that it is still good current techology... just previously owned. Getting that old phone from people that like a new phone each year sort of thing. I used to know people like that.

5. Solandri: Heavy on the Battery Issue. They are always a pain.... "there oughta be a law" to allow different batteries but require the connections to be "universal?" I'm surprised that on mass market items like a smart phone battery that a brand new replacement would be "that" expensive..... and if it is, then its an industry decision to force the sale of new phones? But...looking into the cost of the model's replacement battery might be a deciding factor.

6. Math Geek--good ideas. I actually don't want a phone. I use Skype and my phone bill averages $2 per year with ZERO dinner time calls. I want to "ease into" Virtual Reality....and I'm coming to the conclusion that a phone based system would fit the bill. Brand new 5 inch phones at NewEgg for $180==but I've seen used G-5's for about the same price....so, it has me wondering what to do before I go whole hog and spend $1800 on the Vive.

Hmmmm..... I'm leaning towards a brand new bottom tier (with High Resolution) phone while continuing a review for used phone now excluding Craigs List. I can't give just one solution: you all helped..........Thanks. Any suggestions on that? ((I'll check back for any follow ups))
 
My first smartphone, I got it used from GameStop (they sell mostly locked phones), saved me usd$150, had planned to unlock it via 3rd party, waited too long, by the time I wanted to do it the law had changed and I was not able to unlock, totally frustrating, but OK I got 4 years out of the thing. There is another popular cellphone xchg outfit top of my head don't remember who they are, at least check them out for the price right.
 

Chugalug_

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A few good phones I can recommend sticking out for are the S8/S8 Edge, or the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium edition which is already out and has a 4k screen, solid camera and good features.
Very good deal if you can grab one on sale since it is a little dated now.
 

Robert_341

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chug: that cracks me up that the S-8 is "a little dated now." So, I had to google. first out in april 2016 for the USA...and not really available until some time later? And S-9 already being touted..... so "aged' it is. Always interesting to watch "matured" tech and how they market the next big thing. Does anyone want to shoot 4K Video with their PHONE!!!?!?!?! As a long time photographer....I hope not.... but then Tech does march forward.

for my use as driving a 3D experience...I think screen resolution is the key? It would be fun to find an S-8 that "works" in all respects except the phone function...and then I could get that good resolution at a great price? always a great mix of things.

the next generation of phones discussed here. I'd be very happy with current tech. https://samsunggalaxys8edge.org/samsung-galaxy-s9-release-date-specs-price/
 

Robert_341

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King D: my budget is "open" as I look for the value/reward relationship with the actual application not being a "phone" at all but rather the visual display for Google Cardboard. To that end, I looked at tablets for awhile. Better value as you don't pay for the phone that you don't plan to use. Thats a thing about mass production. Cheaper to have everything with phone, camera, gryro-scope....than truly stripped down models designed for niche markets.

Its actually screen resolution and availability of headsets/goggles that keeps bringing me back to phones. By the way...I've read that "all phones" can call 911. Can anyone confirm this? Unlocked with no contract? Would a sim card or anything else be needed (maybe a working gps or something never thought of like that?) for the emergency only situation?
 

King Dranzer

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No matter what phone you have it will call and connect to emergency services like "911" no GPS or no SIM is required for that. Even the old phones "candy-bar" can call on emergency numbers.
 

Robert_341

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King: thanks for confirmation. THAT really does push me towards getting a phone. I feel "exposed" whenever I get into my car. funny how I survived until now without that back up..... but I recognize the utility of it. Now...can I be arrested for calling 911 because I need roadside assistance?...... ha, ha. As a consumer....I can make that argument both ways. As saving 911 for the truly important.....I should be fined.
 

King Dranzer

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Without specific price range it is hard to advise any phone as there is huge range of devices at different price ranges which comes with different features according to the price. Lets say if you have budget of $400-500 and we advise you a phone with price tag $700-800 because it comes with best features that will be a waste.
 

Robert_341

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Jan 10, 2017
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King: if I knew what I wanted: I would get it. As stated: this is more about "emotions." I don't want to spend more money than I need to just because I can. I want a phone, new or used, to use for 3D and 360 Degree movies. Assuming that latency is not an issue at the price ranges involved...seems to me the controlling issue is screen resolution vs what is needed for a good experience (don't need better resolution than what my eye can even see) vs cost.

I know this is just another example of most likely having to get into the tech to discover or get a feel on what of the many parameters is most telling for my goal. ........... and thing is......... we all differ on what is important to "us."

EDIT: Thinking a bit more, as the dust settles, I might be leaning towards the $180 phone linked to above. Relatively low cost, NEW, and High Resolution. My nature is to sit on this notion while looking at used phone prices...... the getting dated now G-8 which I had been thinking was new tech not required. KNOWLEDGE is power. HATE being without it.
 
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