How to Compare Used Phones: Four Simple Steps

Popular phone manufacturers like Apple, Google and Samsung are constantly releasing new models and upgrades to existing product lines, making it difficult to know which phone is right for you. Here are four simple steps to help you easily compare used phones.

1. Narrow Down Manufacturers

When comparing used phones, it’s important to start with the basics. What kind of smartphone do you want? If you’re a diehard Apple fan or Samsung champion, chances are you’ll prefer to stick with an operating system (OS) and manufacturer you know you like. If you’re not sure, however, then you should start with a broad comparison of what each manufacturer has to offer. Here’s a quick breakdown of each:


  • Runs on iOS
  • Easy-to-use with a slick, simple interface
  • Large app store with lots of choices and good security
  • Often the highest cost of any phone


  • Uses the open-source Android OS
  • Lets you customize home screen and device function virtually any way you want, with less standardization across models
  • Often lower-priced than competitors


  • Uses a modified version of Android to deliver a curated mobile experience
  • High consumer scores for quality and features, but often with a higher price tag


  • Runs on Windows Mobile OS
  • Modern features and solid functionality that doesn’t really stand out in the crowd

Great if you’re a Windows PC fan or want more business-focused tools

2. Consider Important Features

Once you’ve determined your preferred manufacturer, it’s time to consider the features you need in a used device. Start by searching on a high-quality resale site that offers a wide selection. Narrow your wish list down to a few key features you need in your new phone, such as a high-megapixel camera, 4G capability, the ability to upgrade storage or attach peripherals, battery life or display size. This will help you to narrow your search to just a few phones that meet your specifications, letting you decide based on price and preferred features.

3. Find Your Model

Once you’ve narrowed down your preferred manufacturer and device features, you’ll typically end up with a handful of choices that only vary slightly. Often, you’ll see two differences: model number and storage size. For example, you may be in the market for an iPhone. One option in the Apple market is to go for an iPhone 6, but the iPhone 5 has many similar features for a much lower price. You’ll also find significant differences in phone pricing based on storage: Models with 32 GB or greater cost much more and may be unnecessary if you use few apps and don’t use the phone as your primary camera.

4. Get Your Price

Finally, it’s time to price out your device. Look for a pre-owned site that has a large selection, clear explanation of its refurbishing policies and a guarantee in case of any defects. Great sites will let you choose a phone based on carrier, condition and storage size to determine a final price.

When you compare used phones, what features do you look for?

Image courtesy of Flickr