I found most quality new smartphones were up in the $700 to $1000 dollar range. I just could not see spending that much money for a phone. As a smartphone purchaser I did not want to pay over $250 for a device that could get stolen, broken or lost. For this reason, I like to buy models that have been out for a couple of years.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 shown in the left picture was a refurbished phone I bought from Straight Talk when I used their service. It came with a year warranty and later I bought an extra battery to have as a spare. I was very happy with it until some apps stopped working do to its software no longer being updated. So I decided to buy another refurbished phone. This time I would try buying an unlocked ATT phone and switch to a different phone service as well.
I learned Samsung permanently seals the back of the S7 phone (as it is waterproof) so any refurbished version still has the original battery in it! Using a special app to check remaining battery life, I found out that the battery was only 85 percent functional! This was something I had not researched when I decided to buy another refurbished phone! Not good. In addition to the phone having a used battery, It turned out that my refurbished S7 was running the battery down in less than half a day! I returned it back to the Amazon company I bought it from for my money back. I realized at this point that I needed a brand new phone so I could get a brand new battery in it.
At the time I was on already on my new wireless carrier and needed a phone quickly. Amazon was out of new phones so I decided to try Ebay. I found an online store that had my phone for the price that I wanted. First I called them to make sure there was somebody on the other end of the line I could call should I need to return it. A person answered and I checked if the phone I wanted was in stock. It was. So I purchased it.
I like having a spare battery as backup. Since I can’t easily replace the battery in my S7 like I could with my old S4 model, I purchased a Samsung 5100 fast charge portable battery pack that allows fast charging for those times that I’m away from an electrical outlet.
My recommendation for buying an older smartphone that is brand new with disclaimers:
If you buy the phone on Ebay or Amazon don’t be surprised that the phone being brand new does not come with a year warranty as most new phones do.
I learned a lot of these phones sold on Ebay and Amazon were purchased in other countries and the original factory warranty is only good there. The new Samsung Galaxy S7 phone I purchased on eBay came with a 30 day warranty from the online store. At that time I decided to purchase a SquareTrade warranty that will cover the phone for 2 years.
If you buy the phone on Ebay or Amazon don’t be surprised if the phone you purchased does not update at all!
Crickett Wireless uses ATT so the updates for the phone are from ATT. After not being able to get an update (for reasons I’m not really sure of?) I used an online chat to contact ATT. They assured me that I would get updates downloaded to my phone as long as I was connected to wi-fi. They even did a thing called a “push". I gave them my phone’s imei number and they sent the latest update to it. The update would download to my phone ok but then crash at the 25 percent install mark? After contacting them several times with several “pushes” I finally gave up and learned to manually install the update myself.
Lastly, if you purchase your phone on Ebay, be tech savvy enough to manually update the phone yourself. Or be ok with living with your phone just as it is and will not update.
If you look on youtube you will see countless videos on how to manually update your smartphone. After much research I found a youtube video on how to update my newly purchased phone. As it came with Android 6.0. I was able to manually update it to Android 7.0. (check in the videos comments section for details described specifically in my comments). After that I got three updates automatically via wi-fi; yet as of this date it will not update to Android 8.0? Still I’m ok with this. If I can get a couple of years out of this phone it will have paid for itself. As I also switched carriers from Straight Talk to Crickett. My monthly fee went from $45.00 to $30.00 a month. I use the least expensive data plan which is 2.0 gigs a month and I’m fine with that.
Buying a phone on Ebay, took a little work, but I’d do it again. Since it is new it has a new battery - I got it at the price I wanted and it is fairly updated. The S7 is a quality phone and has many new improvements. And the camera is much improved over the S4. All in all I’m very happy with my purchase!
My recommendation for buying a refurbished smartphone with disclaimer:
I would suggest if you are to buy a refurbished phone to get it from the wireless carrier that you have your phone service with and that it comes with a good warranty. This way their tech support can help you with any problems with updates you might run into and you will also be covered for at least a year under their warranty. Typically they are a locked phone which can only be used with their wireless company. And just know that if the phone is waterproof it probably has the original (used) battery in it and therefore may not last as long as a new battery would.