If you’re looking to change up your phone, buying a used phone is one of the smartest decisions you could make. While snagging the newest and latest flagship is certainly appealing, it’s not always the best choice.
Buying a premium pre-owned smartphone has all sorts of advantages. For one, you get to save money by taking advantage of the price cut that often happens whenever a new device is launched. Plus, by buying used, older models, you’ll get to be aware of and avoid any bugs or issues that get discovered and fixed only after release!
With how frequently new phones get released these days, it’s never been easier to find and buy gently-used phones online. A great way to save money without sacrificing quality, buying used is a great way to get a device decked out with most of the latest features for just a fraction of the price.
Apple iPhone 11 (2019)
In the months after its release, the iPhone 11 was the best-selling smartphone around. While it has since been succeeded by Apple’s iPhone 12 (2020), the iPhone 11 is still one of the best devices to have. The most publicized upgrade that the 12 touted was 5G connectivity, but with 5G not exactly widespread yet, the iPhone 11 is super comparable to Apple’s latest lineup.
With a dual-camera system, 4K video capabilities, all-day battery life, and the superfast A13 Bionic chip, the iPhone 11 is a high-quality device that no longer has a high price tag. Originally sold for $699 for the lowest storage option, a premium pre-owned iPhone 11 can now be found on online marketplaces for hundreds of dollars less.
- Great performance with A13 Bionic chip
- Dual-camera system
- Watch up to 17 hours of video on a single charge
- No 5G connectivity
Apple iPhone X (2017)
Released in late 2017, the iPhone X ushered in Apple’s newest features, including the sleek full-screen display with no home button and Face ID. It’s the perfect option for those who want to have a device that is as close to the latest design while still being on a budget.
Being on the older side, the iPhone X is a few generations behind in some areas (older processor, limited camera features, etc.), but is still well worth the price it goes for these days. With a starting price of $999 when it was first released, getting a used iPhone X for less than half of that is not uncommon.
- Gorgeous OLED display that’s comparable to later iPhone models
- First iPhone with Face ID
- Portrait lighting for photos
- No 5G connectivity
- No Night Mode for photos
- Limited front camera (7MP vs. 12MP in newer iPhone models)
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 (2019)
With a gorgeous 6.3” FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED display and the unparalleled experience of the S Pen, the Galaxy Note 10 is the perfect phone for artists, note-takers, or other creatives who would love the extra advantages a stylus can bring to a device.
Since the 2020 release of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 20, which also boasts 5G connectivity (only the Galaxy Note10+ 5G has that), the Note 10 can now be found for a much lower price, but still with most of the latest tech. Launched with a starting price of $949, a used Galaxy Note 10 can be yours these days for as low as $375.
- Built-in S-Pen functionality
- High-resolution triple-camera system
- All-day battery life + Samsung’s Adaptive Battery technology
- No 5G connectivity
- Only one storage option + no microSD card slot
- No headphone jack
Samsung Galaxy S10 (2019)
With a huge 6.1” 3,040 x 1,440 resolution display, four cameras (a single front camera and a triple-camera system on the back), and a 3,400mAh battery, the Galaxy S10 was packed with some of the best that Samsung had to offer when it was released in 2019. While it’s been overshadowed by the release of the subsequent S20 and S21 lines, the S10 still has all the makings of a high-performing device that’s well worth the market price today.
Launched with a price of $899 for the 128GB model and a whopping $1,149 for the 512GB, the Samsung Galaxy S10 was one of the pricier devices on the market at release. Today, though, a premium pre-owned Galaxy S10 can be found for a fraction of the original price, going as low as the mid-$300s on online marketplaces.
- Gorgeous nearly bezel-free Infinity-O Display
- Wireless Powershare (reverse wireless charging)
- In-display ultrasonic fingerprint sensor
- Poor low-light selfies
Google Pixel 4a (2020)
Google released the Pixel 4a as the mid-range alternatives to the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4a. As with most of its devices, the tech giant takes a back-to-basics approach with the Pixel 4a. With no crazy specs, the 4a is a no-nonsense phone that gets the job done without cutting corners. It’s also known for Google’s top-notch photography software.
Selling for only $350 at release, the Pixel 4a shocked many with just how good it was for a device with such an affordable price tag. And if you’re looking for just a bit more of a discount, a premium pre-owned Pixel 4a can be found for slightly less on online marketplaces.
- Sleek design with a 1080p OLED display
- Beautiful portraits with its smart image processing software
- Great cameras for the price
- Clean software
- No high refresh rate display
- Bare minimum design
LG V60 ThinQ 5G (2020)
While LG has recently announced that it has quit the phone-making business, there are still some LG great devices out there that are worth investing in. One of the best LG options out right now is its latest flagship: the LG V60 ThinQ 5G. With 5G connectivity, a detachable Dual Screen case, and a huge battery, the V60 ThinQ incorporated much of the latest tech while still managing to be affordable compared to other flagships.
Priced at between $799 and $999 at release, the smartphone was praised for being a great 5G option for the average customer. Today, a gently-used V60 ThinQ can be purchased on online marketplaces for a fraction of its original price.
- Detachable Dual Screen
- 5G connectivity
- Amazing battery life
- Cameras are nothing special
Motorola Edge Plus (2020)
Motorola impressed many when it released the Edge Plus, its first device in years that had the specs to compete with other flagships. With a beautiful “waterfall” display and multiple high-quality cameras, the Edge Plus is a great smartphone option for any user out there. Though it was considered quite expensive at its release, you can get a Motorola Edge Plus at a much lower price these days (starting at around $553) when you buy a pre-owned device.
- Triple rear camera that includes a 108MP lens
- Impressive 6.7” FHD+ Endless Edge display
- Great specs
- Design is thicker than many smartphones
- Zoom capabilities don’t compare to other flagships
The Bottom Line
There are lots of used phones out there. Our favorite for 2021 are:
- Apple iPhone 11
- Apple iPhone X
- Samsung Galaxy Note 10
- Samsung Galaxy S10
- Google Pixel 4a
- LG G60 ThinQ 5G
- Motorola Edge Plus
Of course, there are plenty of other options out there. We chose these phones based on affordability and performance in 2021. And if you want to browse some of these phones are great prices, you can do that on the Glyde Marketplace.