What Is a Refurbished Smartphone and Why Should You Buy One?


The term ‘refurbished’ can be added to your almanac if you follow the latest trends in consumer electronics. A refurbished smartphone is also a term that you’ve come more times than you’d like but never paid any real attention to it since you might have been receiving a brand a new device for a compelling price.

Well, there is loads of information related to refurbished smartphones, and though mobile phones placed in this category of devices are able to offer consumers a killer value for their hard-earned cash, there are several things that they need to be aware of first. Let us get started.

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What Is the Meaning of the Term ‘Refurbished Smartphone’?

A refurbished smartphone is a smartphone that has been returned to the original manufacturer. This model has then been tested for problems and restored to proper working, factory-standard condition. Now how is this different from a ‘used smartphone’? A used smartphone is a device that has not been returned to the original manufacturer or tested for problems.

It has just been passed down from one owner to the other at a depreciated value to offer a very attractive value to the buyer, which the majority of the times, the price is very compelling. Refurbished smartphones are also offered with a small period of warranty and during that period, if the device fails to function, then you can demand a replacement or refund, depending on the terms and conditions.

The advantage of picking up a refurbished smartphone is that they come with a very attractive price and while they have been used before when it comes out of the factory, the device is often incorporated with newly installed parts and fresh software to breath new life into it. The packaging might even be such that it will resemble a brand new phone’s packaging, though that sometimes does not happen.

However, as we dive deeper and deeper, there are other terms which will come to light to better explain the origin of that refurbished smartphone.

A Refurbished Smartphone Can Be Sold as a Factory-Refurbished Device or Non-Factory-Refurbished Device; What Do These Terms Mean?

A factory-refurbished smartphone is one that is returned to the original manufacturer and is then sold by that manufacturer or its trusted partners at a discounted price tag. Now suppose if you own a Samsung flagship that is running on an AT&T network. It breaks down and you are seeking a replacement of that phone. You are given a replacement unit and your original piece of hardware is shipped off to the original manufacturer, which in this case is going to be Samsung.

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Samsung has trained personnel that will evaluate what is wrong with the phone and decide what should be done with it. The data that was saved on the phone will be erased and the phone will eventually be restored to default factory settings. If the phone can be repaired for a broken screen or an internal issue, it will be done properly.

After this has been completed, the device will then be tested for quality and will have the latest software installed for that particular model. The phone then becomes a refurbished smartphone and is either sent out as insurance replacement or is sold at a discount.

Fortunately, there are times that these refurbished units look brand new and here is why. Suppose if a customer decides to purchase a brand new smartphone, but they are not satisfied with the way it is functioning. What they do is they return the phone within a month, so it looks and feels practically new.

Unfortunately, because it has been removed from its packaging, it cannot be considered new. The device is then shipped off to the manufacturer, where it is tested thoroughly, repackaged and placed under the refurbished category of devices, even though there is nothing wrong with the phone in the first place.

This is why you must have noticed that some refurbished smartphone units look brand new. Now, there is another category of refurbished handsets and they fall into the non-factory-refurbished section. What does this mean?

What Is Meant by a Non-Factory-Refurbished Smartphone?

Lots of business owners buy old cell phones, fix them and resell them at discounted prices to make a living. These devices are not sent to the original manufacturer for refurbishing process and are thus labeled as a non-factory-refurbished smartphone.

A non-factory-refurbished smartphone can also come and be sold from carriers like Verizon, AT&T or any other major U.S. carrier. They might provide you with their own special refurbished deals, where devices are sold at a discount and feature their own dedicated warranty.

These devices also go through the same process of being refurbished as the ones that go directly to the manufacturer and more often than not, they feature a terrific value for money for those that are on a tight budget.

What Are the Cons of Purchasing a Refurbished Smartphone?

When buying a refurbished smartphone, you should be ready to accept the minor flaws and cosmetic defects that are accompanied by these phones. If you are extremely lucky, these devices will have little to no scuffs or marks that are noticeable only when you look at the device really carefully.

In the majority of the cases, you will find minor physical marks on them but since these phones are being sold at discounted offers, they often provide a very compelling price to those who are not willing to spend a ton of money on a smartphone.

Should You Buy a Refurbished Smartphone Then?

It is all perceived with the value that is accompanied with the purchase. Lots of people will display different consumer behaviors so it is all up to them and where their comfort lies. Some people are adamant to spend money on a brand new phone while others want to head down the more affordable road and pick a refurbished smartphone since it provides more value.

Before settling in on your purchase, it is very important to ask individual businesses or online sellers if the device they have on offer is refurbished or not. On online markets such as eBay, it is required in the description if the phone is refurbished or not, along with other defects it might have.

As for value, there is no better deal than heading down the refurbished path. The rest all upon depends on where your heart, comfort zone and mindset lies.

What sort of smartphone are you used to purchasing? Tell us down in the comments.