Used Samsung Galaxy phones: A guide on how to trade in or buy one

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(CNN) —  

Fixing a cracked screen on a Samsung Galaxy, or even having to replace the whole phone, is not cheap. As these devices have gotten more advanced, with pinhole front-facing cameras and faster processors, the prices have advanced too. The latest S21, S21+ and S20 Ultra start at $799, $999 and $1,299, respectively.

Luckily for all the Galaxy fans out there, you don’t have to break the bank if you’re in the market for a new one. You can trade in your current smartphone (even one with a cracked screen) or opt to buy a used model from several retailers. And while buying a used or refurbished device might sound intimidating, this guide will make it easy. If you’re looking to trade in for cash, smartphones are holding on to more value than years past.

First, let’s walk through some key differences.

When looking for a replacement device, you’ll see new, used and refurbished models. And there are some key differences.

A new device is just what you think it is — a brand-new device that’s still fresh in the package, sold from Samsung itself via the online store or from an authorized reseller. And it’s a full-price device, unless you find some limited-time deal or offer.

When it comes to a used Samsung Galaxy, it’s being sold as is, with a restored software experience. So while the software will run as if it’s brand new, with no content from the previous owner on it, there’s a chance that there might be some scuffs or scratches. These should be noted in the item description, along with anything that’s wrong with the hardware.

On the other hand, a refurbished Samsung Galaxy has been tested and has more assurance behind it. A refurbished device has gone through diagnostic tests to make sure it meets the standards for a sellable condition. Depending on where you’re getting the device, it could be a manufacturer-refurbished device, or the testing might have been done by a third party.

With any of these, it’s important to buy the device from a reputable retailer. In the case of what we’re recommending below, Decluttr, select eBay sellers and wireless carriers are safe spots. Sites like Decluttr are in the business of buying used devices to resell, after testing to ensure that they work and meet certain standards. These two specifically outline their testing, which can add confidence to the purchase.

You’ll want to check the condition of the phone as rated by the seller and ensure it will work on your network. In the case of many Samsung smartphones, there are different bands being used, depending on the carrier and region.

An easy cheat sheet with the bands would be to look for either CDMA, GSM or Unlocked. In the United States, Verizon and Sprint use CDMA, while AT&T and T-Mobile use GSM. The last term, Unlocked, means you can use the device on any of the main networks in the United States, and likely a large portion of those globally. These devices can access many network bands and allow for a solid experience that supports both voice and data.

Beyond that, it’s important to know what kind of device you’re getting. You can choose the phone’s color, internal storage size and overall condition. Sites like Decluttr will note the condition and provide a scale to let you know how scuffed up a device might actually be.

You likely don’t want to think about it when you get a new device, but it’s important to keep it in good shape throughout the life cycle. You may decide you want the latest generation down the road. And our best piece of advice is to keep the phone in the best shape possible. Opt for a protective case and even a screen protector to give you some added protection. And when the thought pops into your head about getting a new device, shop around to see how much your phone is worth.

Services like Decluttr make it easy to see what your phone is worth, and if you opt to sell it, the site will even give you a prepaid label to send it in.

Now that we’ve outlined what to look for when shopping or trading in, here are a few places to star

More here:
Used Samsung Galaxy phones: A guide on how to trade in or buy one

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