It seems hardly a week goes by without some must-have (or must-avoid, depending on one’s allegiance) mobile device clamoring for our attention. Apple continues to garner the most publicity every time it releases its latest and greatest product, but let’s not forget about the arsenal of Android devices that have proven their worth in the mobile battlefield.
Add some BlackBerry and Nokia devices doing their best to stay relevant, and there’s a good chance that once you get comfortable with your current smartphone or tablet, you’ll be tempted to upgrade to your company-of-choice’s newest offer.
So what do you do with your perfectly functional yet slightly outdated device? You can relegate it to that bottom drawer in your office, keeping it out of sight from polite company and small children, kind of like how the Fratellis kept Sloth chained up in the basement in The Goonies. You can use it as a device for listening to music or snapping photos, essentially employing it as a specialist, like a lefty middle reliever in baseball or a punt returner in football. Or you can cash in before the product becomes grossly outdated.
Cashing in is the practical choice, as it can add some coin to your pocket while the device goes on to live another day in someone else’s pocket. Here are some tips on getting the most out of your old gadgets and early smartphone iterations.
Good Resale Value Is Key
If you’re not sure how popular a device is, a good place to start is looking on Craigslist.org, eBay.com or Amazon.com to gauge interest.
You could also scroll through the various trade-in sites, according to an article in The New York Times. There are many such sites out there, but here are a few:Swappa.com for Android devices; Glyde.com for gadgets and games; Gazelle.com for Apple products and Android, BlackBerry and other phones; NewtonsHead.com for Apple products (including broken iPhones); BuyBackWorld.com or BuyMyTronics.com for all electronics; and NextWorth.com for phones, cameras, tablets and games.
Apple products are the most popular on many of these sites. In a recent study, Priceonomics.com found mobile phones lost much of their value right away, and then continued to lose value more gradually over time. The exception was the iPhone. After 18 months, the iPhone retained 53 percent of its value, compared with 42 percent for Android phones and 41 percent for BlackBerry, according to The Times.
It Pays to Keep Your Device in Good Working Order
It’s sound advice to protect your from physical damage with cases and covers. Another smart move is to buy an extended warranty from the maker — for example, Apple Care+ for iPhone — or from a third party like SquareTrade. When it comes time to sell, having a warranty that you can transfer has value.
If the screen is cracked, replace it yourself with a kit, or send it to a professional service like Phonedoctors.com or iCracked.com. A flawless iPhone can be worth $60 or more over the value of one in good condition at trade-in time, according to The Times.
Timing Is Everything
Like any other market, it all comes down to timing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t employ some crafty tactics. Decide.com, a website and mobile app that tells when to buy electronics, sifts through millions of pieces of data to guess when a new product is coming out. Decide advises shoppers to buy or wait, using proprietary price and model predictions, according to The Times.
Based on observations of the market for used iPhones and iPads, “the best time to sell is a few weeks before the new iPhone is announced,” Josh Smith of GottaBeMobile, told The Times. “It is possible to get a great price for a used iPhone right now, but many users aren’t willing to go without an iPhone until October.”