Latest Phones (2020)

Cheapest Refurbished Phones – Top 5 Best Cheap Refurbished Phones

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If you are looking for the cheapest refurbished phones in 2020, I created a list that can help you.

Refurbished phones are previously owned phones that are being resold to consumers at a lower price. These phones went through various checks to ensure that they are working as intended. If needed, these phones were repaired or their parts were replaced.

Buying a refurbished phone is not an easy task. It can save you a lot of money or it can give you a headache if you don’t know what to look into.

So before you jump into buying refurbished phones, there are things that you must check first.

Contents
I. Things to Check When Buying Refurbished Phones
II. Things to Check after Receiving the Refurbished Phone
III. Top 5 Cheapest iPhones – Refurbished
IV. Top 5 Cheapest Samsung Phones – Refurbished
V. Top 5 Cheapest Google Phones – Refurbished

Things to Check When Buying Refurbished Phones


1. Seller Guarantee – Duration of Refund and Replacement


Every seller of refurbished phones has their own seller guarantee. Only buy from sellers that provide a refund or replacement in the event that you are not satisfied with the product.

Amazon.com and Gazelle.com are trusted online sellers of refurbished phones and they offer excellent seller guarantee.

On Amazon.com, if a product has an “Amazon Renewed Guarantee” on the product page, the renewed or refurbished phone is eligible for replacement or refund within 90 days of receipt if you are not satisfied. If the unit is a Renewed Premium iPhone, the replacement or refund is within 1 year of receipt. The return of the item is at no cost. Their guarantee also includes quick support for claims and free troubleshooting with Amazon Customer Service. Their guarantee does not apply to accidental damage, tampering, and theft.

On Gazelle.com, they accept returns for 30 days following the date of delivery as long as the item is in the same condition in which it was delivered. You will be refunded within 5 days after they received the returned item. Gazelle charges a $15 restocking fee which will be deducted from the refund. Gazelle also offers WarrantLife for eligible items on top of their 30-day return policy. This includes a 1 year warranty from accidental damage. More details of WarrantyLife can be found here.

Official stores of popular brands like Apple and Samsung also sell refurbished units. Apple, for example, has a one-year warranty for refurbished iPhones. However, official stores like Apple and Samsung offer a limited selection of refurbished models, and sometimes they are out of stock. The prices of their refurbished phones are also NOT very cheap.


2. Seller’s Inspection and Preparation of the Refurbished Phone Before Reselling


Sellers of refurbished phones must ensure a certain level of quality on their products. Only buy from sellers that explicitly state the inspection checks and preparations that they performed before selling their refurbished phones.

On Amazon.com, their Amazon-qualified and performance-managed suppliers perform full diagnostic tests, replace any defective parts, and thoroughly cleans the product. Their refurbished iPhones that need parts replacement are repaired with new or like-new official Apple components. Although the extent of their full diagnostic tests is not fully disclosed, they listed the promised conditions of their refurbished phones in the next section.

On Gazelle.com, they label their refurbished phones with “Gazelle Certified Guarantee”. They only sell refurbished phones that passed their 30-point inspection. The 30-point inspection includes checking if there are no dead pixels, glass is free of damage, device charges normally, the phone can connect to a network, and more. These 30 checks are listed when you click More info on every product page.


3. Seller’s Promised Condition of the Refurbished Phone


The seller’s promised phone condition also vary and can be classified into two categories: (1) cosmetic condition and (2) working condition. Only buy from sellers that explicitly state the condition of their refurbished phones.

On Amazon.com, all refurbished phones that are labeled as “Amazon Renewed Guarantee” on the product page are expected to look and work like a new unit and the battery has at least 80% capacity. Their refurbished phones may have minimal scratches or dents, so if you’re lucky, you can even get a refurbished phone with no scratches at all. The accessories such as cable and charger are not original and whether they come with the phone or not will vary per product page so you need to read the product descriptions. Also, don’t expect any headphones unless it’s stated as well.

On Gazelle.com, the prices of a refurbished phone depend on the cosmetic condition of the phone. They classify the cosmetic conditions as Fair, Good, and Excellent. Excellent is almost like a brand new unit or almost like it was just taken out of the box. Good has few cosmetic defects only and the scratches or blemishes are smaller than the diameter of a pencil eraser. Fair has blemishes or scratches that can be as large as the width of the smallest fingernail or the diameter of a pencil eraser.

Regardless of the cosmetic condition, Gazelle certifies the working condition of their refurbished as 100% functional as described in their 30-point inspection. Also, for each product page, they have information on what’s included in the package that you will receive.


4. Customer Review Comments


The most important check that you have to do is read customer reviews. Note that some refurbished phones may fail customer expectations and sometimes reviews can be subjective. Some defects can also be isolated cases. Look for trends in the comments for similar reviews to identify consistent great comments and consistent bad comments.

On Amazon.com, they have many Amazon-qualified and performance-managed suppliers. So in the user comments, you can check which Amazon third-party suppliers are getting many complaints so you can avoid them. Also, if the product shows different suppliers and one of the suppliers has a slightly higher price but with a good supplier rating, buy from that supplier even if it will cost you just a few bucks.

On Gazelle.com, they don’t have various third-party suppliers like Amazon. They perform the checking of their refurbished phones. They also have customer reviews per product page and you also need to check those.

Things to Check after Receiving the Refurbished Phone


One you received the refurbished phone, you need to perform one-time checks on the cosmetic condition and regular checks on the working condition during the warranty period.

For the one-time cosmetic checks, the phone should have no big scratches and big dents if you are buying from Amazon.com and Gazelle.com. Also, the SIM tray or MicroSD Card tray should not be broken.

The following checks on the working condition should be performed upon receipt and regularly (e.g. weekly) thereafter.

  • Network: Connects to the compatible network and has a strong signal (depending on location and network bands such as 3G, 4G, or 5G)
  • Calls: Without using a headphone, the call volume is good and the recipient can hear you well during the call. Perform another call quality check while using a headphone.
  • Display: No dead pixels, the screen is responsive, no dead spots, and no ghost touch (e.g. when you touch one area but detected by the phone in another area)
  • Battery Life – The device charges normally and the battery life is not shorter than the seller guarantee
  • Buttons: All buttons (e.g. power on/off, volume up, volume down, home button, etc.) are working
  • Internet: Can connect to the internet through Wi-Fi and Data usage
  • Ports: Audio and charging port are not loose, wired headphone works, data cable works with laptops
  • Camera: The front camera takes great selfies and works during video calls. The rear camera capture sharp images and videos.
  • Speakers: Clear and reasonably loud
  • GPS: Correctly identifies your location on Google Map
  • Bluetooth: Can connect to Bluetooth devices
  • Temperature: Does not get too hot when you are barely doing anything. Note that the phone’s temperature may rise in certain cases only (e.g. when you are heavily using it for high-graphic games).
  • Performance: Boots fine, no unexpected restarting or freezing, no constant error messages, touch ID is working

Top 5 Cheapest iPhones – Refurbished


#1 – iPhone SE (Released: Mar. 2016) – 1st Gen


Display: 4.0 inches; 640 x 1136 pixels (326 PPI); IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
OS: iOS 9.3.2, upgradable to iOS 13.5.1 (June 2020)
RAM: 2 GB
Storage: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
Camera: Rear – 12 MP, f/2.2, 29mm (standard), 1/3″, 1.22µm, PDAF; Selfie – 1.2 MP, f/2.4, 31mm (standard)
CPU: Apple A9 (14 nm) Dual-core 1.84 GHz Twister
Battery: Non-removable Li-Po 1624 mAh battery

Price Range: $94 – $159

The iPhone SE 1st Gen is perfect if you want a smaller phone. Even though it was released back in 2016, its OS can be upgraded to iOS 13.5.1 that was released last June 2020. It can also smoothly run various apps and games.


#2 – iPhone 7 (Released: Sept. 2016)


Display: 4.7 inches; 750 x 1334 pixels (326 PPI); Retina IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
OS: iOS 10.0.1, upgradable to iOS 13.5.1 (June 2020)
RAM: 2 GB
Storage: 32GB, 128GB, 256GB
Camera: Rear – 12 MP, f/1.8, 28mm (wide), 1/3″, PDAF, OIS; Selfie – 7 MP, f/2.2, 32mm (standard)
CPU: Apple A10 Fusion (16 nm) Quad-core 2.34 GHz (2x Hurricane + 2x Zephyr)
Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion 1960 mAh battery

Price Range: $179 – $199

The iPhone 7 is your normal size iPhone. It has a great camera and the OS is upgradable to iOS 13.5.1. This iPhone model uses the proprietary Lightning connector port as the headphone jack.


#3 – iPhone 7 Plus (Released: Sept. 2016)


Display: 5.5 inches; 1080 x 1920 pixels (401 PPI); Retina IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
OS: iOS 10.0.1, upgradable to iOS 13.5.1 (June 2020)
RAM: 3 GB
Storage: 32GB, 128GB, 256GB
Camera: Rear – Dual: (1) 12 MP, f/1.8, 28mm (wide), 1/3″, PDAF, OIS (2) 12 MP, f/2.8, 56mm (telephoto), 1/3.6″, AF, 2x optical zoom; Selfie – 7 MP, f/2.2, 32mm (standard)
CPU: Apple A10 Fusion (16 nm) Quad-core 2.34 GHz (2x Hurricane + 2x Zephyr)
Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion 2900 mAh battery

Price Range: $219 – $269

The iPhone 7 Plus has a bigger screen and RAM compared to the iPhone 7. It also has a dual-camera that can capture better quality photos compared to a single camera.


#4 – iPhone 8 (Released: Sept. 2017)


Display: 4.7 inches; 750 x 1334 pixels (326 PPI); Retina IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
OS: iOS 11, upgradable to iOS 13.5.1 (June 2020)
RAM: 2 GB
Storage: 64GB, 256GB
Camera: Rear – 12 MP, f/1.8, 28mm (wide), PDAF, OIS; Selfie – 7 MP, f/2.2
CPU: Apple A11 Bionic (10 nm) Hexa-core (2x Monsoon + 4x Mistral)
Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion 1821 mAh battery

Price Range: $294 – $349

The iPhone 8 has a glass back cover. It has a better camera, faster processor, and can charge faster compared to its predecessors. It also uses the lightning cable port for audio.


#5 – iPhone 8 Plus (Released: Sept. 2017)


Display: 5.5 inches; 1080 x 1920 pixels (401 PPI); Retina IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
OS: iOS 10.0.1, upgradable to iOS 13.5.1 (June 2020)
RAM: 3 GB
Storage: 64GB, 256GB
Camera: Rear – Dual: (1) 12 MP, f/1.8, 28mm (wide), PDAF, OIS (2) 12 MP, f/2.8, 57mm (telephoto), PDAF, 2x optical zoom; Selfie – 7 MP, f/2.2, 32mm (standard)
CPU: Apple A11 Bionic (10 nm) Hexa-core (2x Monsoon + 4x Mistral)
Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion 2691 mAh battery

Price Range: $359 – $389

The iPhone 8 Plus has a larger screen and RAM. The camera and charging time was also improved.


Top 5 Cheapest Samsung Phones – Refurbished


#1 – Galaxy A20 (Released: Apr. 2019)


Display: 6.4 inches; 720 x 1560 pixels (268 PPI); Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
OS: Android 9.0 (Pie), One UI
RAM & Internal Storage: 32GB 3GB RAM
SD Card: microSDXC (dedicated slot)
Camera: Rear – Dual: (1) 13 MP, f/1.9, 28mm (wide), AF (2) 5 MP, f/2.2, 12mm (ultrawide); Selfie – 8 MP, f/2.0
CPU: Exynos 7884 (14 nm) Octa-core (2×1.6 GHz Cortex-A73 & 6×1.35 GHz Cortex-A53)
Battery: Non-removable Li-Po 4000 mAh battery

Price: $115

The refurbished Samsung Galaxy A20 is one of the cheapest refurbished phones with a mid-range processor and a very vivid display. It has a dual-camera too and longer battery life.


#2 – Galaxy A50 (Released: Mar. 2019)


Display: 6.4 inches; 1080 x 2340 pixels (403 PPI); Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
OS: Android 9.0 (Pie), upgradable to Android 10, One UI 2.0
RAM & Internal Storage: 64GB 4GB RAM, 64GB 6GB RAM, 128GB 4GB RAM, 128GB 6GB RAM
SD Card: microSDXC (dedicated slot)
Camera: Rear – Triple: (1) 25 MP, f/1.7, 26mm (wide), PDAF (2) 8 MP, f/2.2, 13mm (ultrawide), 1/4.0″, 1.12µm (3) 5 MP, f/2.2, (depth); Selfie – 25 MP, f/2.0, 25mm (wide), 1/2.8″, 0.9µm
CPU: Exynos 9610 (10nm) Octa-core (4×2.3 GHz Cortex-A73 & 4×1.7 GHz Cortex-A53)
Battery: Non-removable Li-Po 4000 mAh battery

Price: $165

The Samsung Galaxy A50 has a bigger RAM and a mid-range processor. The triple rear camera is amazing and the battery life can also last longer.


#3 – Galaxy S7 (Released: Mar. 2016)


Display: 5.1 inches; 1440 x 2560 pixels (577 PPI); Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
OS: Android 6.0 (Marshmallow), upgradable to Android 8.0 (Oreo), TouchWiz UI
RAM & Internal Storage: 32GB 4GB RAM, 64GB 4GB RAM
SD Card: microSDXC (uses shared SIM slot) – dual SIM model only
Camera: Rear – 12 MP, f/1.7, 26mm (wide), 1/2.55″, 1.4µm, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS; Selfie – 5 MP, f/1.7, 22mm (wide), 1/4.1″, 1.34µm
CPU: Exynos 8890 Octa (14 nm) Octa-core (4×2.3 GHz Mongoose & 4×1.6 GHz Cortex-A53)
Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion 3000 mAh battery

Price Range: $129 – $144

The Samsung Galaxy S7 has a better battery life and upgraded hardware compared to its predecessors.


#4 – Galaxy S7 Edge (Released: Mar. 2016)


Display: 5.5 inches; 1440 x 2560 pixels (534 PPI); Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
OS: Android 6.0 (Marshmallow), upgradable to Android 8.0 (Oreo), TouchWiz UI
RAM & Internal Storage: 32GB 4GB RAM, 64GB 4GB RAM, 128GB 4GB RAM
SD Card: microSDXC (uses shared SIM slot) – dual SIM model only
Camera: Rear – 12 MP, f/1.7, 26mm (wide), 1/2.55″, 1.4µm, dual pixel PDAF, OIS; Selfie – 5 MP, f/1.7, 22mm (wide), 1/4.1″, 1.34µm
CPU: Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 820 (14 nm) – Version: G9350; Exynos 8890 Octa (14 nm) – Versions: G935FD, G935F, G935W8
Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion 3600 mAh battery

Price Range: $154 – $179

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge has a larger screen and has a curved screen edge design.


#5 – Galaxy S8 (Released: Apr. 2017)


Display: 5.8 inches; 1440 x 2960 pixels (570 PPI); Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
OS: Android 7.0 (Nougat), upgradable to Android 9.0 (Pie), One UI
RAM & Internal Storage: 64GB 4GB RAM
SD Card: microSDXC (uses shared SIM slot) – dual SIM model only
Camera: Rear – 12 MP, f/1.7, 26mm (wide), 1/2.55″, 1.4µm, dual pixel PDAF, OIS; Selfie – Dual: (1) 8 MP, f/1.7, 25mm (wide), 1/3.6″, 1.22µm, AF (2) 2 MP (dedicated iris scanner camera)
CPU: Exynos 8895 (10 nm) – EMEA version; Qualcomm MSM8998 Snapdragon 835 (10 nm) – USA & China version
Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion 3000 mAh battery

Price Range: $239 – $279

The Samsung Galaxy S8 already uses USB Type-C. It also has upgraded hardware and a larger screen-to-body ratio like the newer Samsung models.


Top 5 Cheapest Google Phones – Refurbished


#1 – Pixel 2 (Released: Oct. 2017)


Display: 5.0 inches; 1080 x 1920 pixels (441 PPI); AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
OS: Android 8.0 (Oreo), upgradable to Android 10
RAM & Internal Storage: 64GB 4GB RAM, 128GB 4GB RAM
SD Card: No Card Slot
Camera: Rear – 12.2 MP, f/1.8, 27mm (wide), 1/2.55″, 1.4µm, dual pixel PDAF, Laser AF, OIS; Selfie – 8 MP, f/2.4, 27mm (wide), 1/3.2″, 1.4µm
CPU: Qualcomm MSM8998 Snapdragon 835 (10 nm) Octa-core (4×2.35 GHz Kryo & 4×1.9 GHz Kryo)
Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion 2700 mAh battery

Price Range: $169 – $199

The Pixel 2 can be upgraded to the latest Android OS (10.0). It has one of the best camera quality when it was released.


#2 – Pixel 2 XL (Released: Oct. 2017)


Display: 6.0 inches; 1440 x 2880 pixels (538 PPI); P-OLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
OS: Android 8.0 (Oreo), upgradable to Android 10
RAM & Internal Storage: 64GB 4GB RAM, 128GB 4GB RAM
SD Card: No Card Slot
Camera: Rear – 12.2 MP, f/1.8, 27mm (wide), 1/2.55″, 1.4µm, dual pixel PDAF, Laser AF, OIS; Selfie – 8 MP, f/2.4, 25mm (wide), 1/3.2″, 1.4µm
CPU: Qualcomm MSM8998 Snapdragon 835 (10 nm) Octa-core (4×2.35 GHz Kryo & 4×1.9 GHz Kryo)
Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion 3520 mAh battery

Price Range: $169 – $229

The Pixel 2 XL is perfect if you like a larger version of the Pixel 2. Unlike Pixel 2, it has a P-OLED display but the difference in display quality compared to AMOLED is subtle.


#3 – Pixel 3 (Released: Oct. 2018)


Display: 5.5 inches; 1080 x 2160 pixels (443 PPI); P-OLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
OS: Android 9.0 (Pie), upgradable to Android 10
RAM & Internal Storage: 64GB 4GB RAM, 128GB 4GB RAM
SD Card: No Card Slot
Camera: Rear – 12.2 MP, f/1.8, 28mm (wide), 1/2.55″, 1.4µm, dual pixel PDAF, OIS; Selfie – Dual: (1) 8 MP, f/1.8, 28mm (wide), PDAF (2) 8 MP, f/2.2, 19mm (ultrawide), no AF
CPU: Qualcomm SDM845 Snapdragon 845 (10 nm) Octa-core (4×2.5 GHz Kryo 385 Gold & 4×1.6 GHz Kryo 385 Silver)
Battery: Non-removable Li-Po 2915 mAh battery

Price Range: $269 – $289

The Pixel 3 has a larger screen-to-body ratio compared to its predecessors. It also has a faster high-range processor. The camera is also one of the best cameras when it was released.


#4 – Pixel 3 XL (Released: Oct. 2018)


Display: 6.3 inches; 1440 x 2960 pixels (523 PPI); P-OLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
OS: Android 9.0 (Pie), upgradable to Android 10
RAM & Internal Storage: 64GB 4GB RAM, 128GB 4GB RAM
SD Card: No Card Slot
Camera: Rear – 12.2 MP, f/1.8, 28mm (wide), 1/2.55″, 1.4µm, dual pixel PDAF, OIS; Selfie – Dual: (1) 8 MP, f/1.8, 28mm (wide), PDAF (2) 8 MP, f/2.2, 19mm (ultrawide), no AF
CPU: Qualcomm SDM845 Snapdragon 845 (10 nm) Octa-core (4×2.5 GHz Kryo 385 Gold & 4×1.6 GHz Kryo 385 Silver)
Battery: Non-removable Li-Po 3430 mAh battery

Price Range: $289 – $329

The Pixel 3 XL has a sharper and bigger screen display.


#5 – Pixel 3a (Released: May 2019)


Display: 5.6 inches; 1080 x 2220 pixels (441 PPI); OLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
OS: Android 9.0 (Pie), upgradable to Android 10
RAM & Internal Storage: 64GB 4GB RAM
SD Card: No Card Slot
Camera: Rear – 12.2 MP, f/1.8, 28mm (wide), 1/2.55″, 1.4µm, dual pixel PDAF, OIS; Selfie – 8 MP, f/2.0, 24mm (wide), 1/4″, 1.12µm
CPU: Qualcomm SDM670 Snapdragon 670 (10 nm) Octa-core (2×2.0 GHz 360 Gold & 6×1.7 GHz Kryo 360 Silver)
Battery: Non-removable Li-Po 3000 mAh battery

Price: $259

The Pixel 3A has a fast mid-range processor and also has one of the best cameras. The photo quality can closely compete with the Pixel 3. The battery life is also outstanding.

Summary


When buying the cheapest refurbished phones online, you should always purchase from a reputable online store. The online store should have a reasonable warranty period for return and replacement. It should also explicitly state the processes performed to refurbish the phone before selling and the specific cosmetic and working conditions of the phone.

Since refurbished phones are a lot cheaper than brand new phones, you can even select from a variety of premium phones from Apple, Samsung, and Google at a VERY LOW PRICE.

Also check out our posts about:

What do you think of the Top 5 cheapest refurbished phones from Apple, Samsung, and Google? I would love to hear from you.

Just leave your comment in the comments section below. ?

2 thoughts on “Cheapest Refurbished Phones – Top 5 Best Cheap Refurbished Phones

  1. This is very timely information because the refurbished Samsung A50 that I just bought was not working well after two months of use. I just read your article regarding  things to check in buying refurbished phone. I found out that I was not able to do your suggestion which really made sense. Now I know what to look for and what to do the next time I’ll buy a refurbished phone. This post is very helpful.

    1. Hey Brian, thank you for sharing your experience. It seems like you bought from a seller with a very short warranty replacement period. You are welcome.

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