New Vs Used Mobile Phones: Which Should I Buy in 2022?

New or Used mobile phones; which is better to purchase? A debate that is likely to continue for as long as both purchasing options are available. Being a never-ending argument, a final verdict is often hard to come by, and the winner is always rotated with time.

The main argument for purchasing new phones is that when bought, they last significantly longer, especially those flagship products that are built to last forever. More so, there’s the belief that you spend more over time when you buy a used device because it’ll need replacing more frequently than going for a new one.

While this is somewhat true, when analyzed closely it only applies to Android devices because of the rate at which manufacturers are quick to abandon older devices. This only affects its level of functionality as per software updates, and not necessarily the device’s hardware in general.

Finally, for us to pick a side, we’ve decided to compare the two cases; buying a new or used iPhone, and buying a new or used Android. We’ve put more emphasis on the financial impact it’ll have on a user’s wallet over time, and learn which used phone brand is better. 

Also, considering that most flagship devices will retain excellent performance for at least three years, we’ve assumed three years to be the lifespan of these devices.

New Vs Used iPhones; Which to Buy?

Firstly, let’s consider the financial impact that getting a new iPhone will have on your purse. After, we’ll compare with what it’ll take for you to get a second-hand device.

The current flagship iPhone 13 Pro Max sells for around ₹81,862.5 in India for the 128GB variant. With an average lifespan of 3 years, you get to bear an average yearly cost of ₹27,237.88. Now let’s say you handle your device properly for 10 years, that puts you at a total cost of ₹272,478.85. Well, let’s see what a used device has to offer.

Assuming you’re getting an older flagship device, say the iPhone 12 Pro Max, which of course, in India has an average resale price of ₹55815.34. Being a one year older model, you technically have two years lifespan left, bringing your average yearly cost to ₹27,907.67. And of course, handling the device for 10 years puts you at a cost of ₹279,076.69.

Furthermore, if you decide to get an iPhone 11 Pro Max, which currently has an average resale price of ₹40,931.25, it’ll mean you’re spending at least ₹372,102.25 on a mobile phone every 10 years. That’s quite a hefty price for something that’s not brand new if you ask me.

Surely, these calculations are assuming that the prices of iPhones will stay at this ratio for ten years. And of course, ignoring any possible effect of inflation. Above all, it’s clear that you’ll spend more overtime buying used iPhones to getting a new one.

Now let’s look at the cases of Androids…

New Vs Used Android Devices; Which to Buy?

Well, spoiler alert, it’s the opposite for the case of Android phones! Perhaps this is because of the rate at which previous releases of Android flagships by manufacturers lose value due to the absence of consistent software updates and functionality. Before we call it for what it is, let’s put some lipstick on this pig.

We’ll use the Samsung flagship phone line for this test, as they’re arguably the best Android manufacturer out there.

A new Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra costs at least ₹74,420.45 in most retail stores in India. Factoring an average lifespan of 3 years means you pay ₹24,782 yearly for the phone. Thus, 10 years after purchase you must have spent at least ₹247,820.10 on new Android phones.

However, say you go for a used version of the previous flagship device; you decide to get a used Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra. At an average resale price of ₹44,652.27, you’ll have an average cost of ₹223,26.14, and for 10 years you would’ve spent just ₹223,261.35 on used Android phones.

Say you decide to go for an even lower flagship that’s already two years old; the Samsung Galaxy S10. Its average resale price in Indian stores being ₹18,605.11 puts you at ₹186,051.13 after 1 year of getting phones with the same age ranges. That looks like a lot of savings if saving an extra buck is what you want.

While it may be true that you get to save even more on phone expenses if you pick Androids, it also means that the manufacturers get to leave you behind with little or no updates as well. However, if you’re the type that doesn’t mind forgoing OEM OTA updates and other flashy perks that comes with owning a new device, then picking a used android wouldn’t be an issue.

Final Verdict

Getting a used iPhone is relatively more expensive than opting for one fresh out the box. Perhaps it’s because the value of iPhones doesn’t depreciate too quickly. After all, Apple tries to always make new functionality and updates backwards compatible for a longer period.

On the other hand, a used android device is way cheaper than getting one fresh out of the box. Still, there’s a catch; getting a used device will mean you forgoing most of the recent functionality updates that will be present in newer versions. You might just end up realizing you’ve got a potato device in your hands with less than six months of usage. Thus, the obvious choice is to go for a new device that’s sure to last you longer.

At the end of the day, it comes down to you picking the smartphone line you prefer, and opting for a device category that’ll help you save more rupees.

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