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Do certified refurbished smartphones make for value proposition?

Certified refurbished phones are a good proposition for those willing to let go of a few goodies present in the retail box in favour of a more powerful handset which might have a minor blemish

Abhik Sen  |  New Delhi 

mobile, phone, smartphones

The prices of flagship phones have been going up each year. And, in the past few years, there have been some very capable flagship phones in the market. And everyone knows that with the launch of each new flagship, the prices of the previous year’s flagship falls. But the past few years have seen many older flagships exiting the market. When the recent flagships were launched, I reviewed a few of them and found that they were a good upgrade for people who had bought phones a couple of years or so ago.

Therefore, Samsung’s Galaxy S9 series was good for people upgrading from the S7 line; and the iPhone 8 certainly made sense for people upgrading from the and the OnePlus 6 was a definite upgrade for anyone on the That said, all these old phones are still very capable devices and could still give many mid-range handsets a run for its money.

Now if you’re in the market for a flagship, but don’t want to spend too much, yet want these older models, chances are you’d find only the with some retailers. What if you still wanted these phones? Unboxed and refurbished phones make for a value proposition.

To help understand how good or bad these refurbished phones would turn out to be, I got in touch with popular platform Quikr, who were kind enough to loan these three phones for a week. Thus, I got hold of a rose gold (Rs 25,454 for 64GB); a Samsung edge (Rs 27,800) and the (Rs 19,506). Now, one must understand that these were the prices at the time of the loan and they fluctuate depending on supply and demand. Thus prices now could be different. All three were Quikr-certified handsets, which essentially meant they had gone through 35-plus rigorous quality checks. Plus they also had a six-month warranty provided by Quikr.

The first thing I noticed was they didn’t come in the retail box, nor did they have original chargers bundled. That said, the chargers weren’t cheap Chinese ones. That said, in terms of performance, the phones were equal to their retail counterparts — I tested them against the retail versions of the iPhone 6s and the But of course, there were some differences. For example, while the S7 edge looked as good as new, the other two phones had a few marks on the edges (which weren’t noticeable unless you actually took a magnifying glass to it). Plus, especially in the case of the iPhone and S7 edge, you missed a number of accessories provided in the box. Also, by virtue of the original charger being absent, quick charge didn’t work on the OnePlus 3T (but then, one can always buy the original charger from the manufacturer’s website, and yet save a packet).

That said, I had a more powerful phone at a price lesser than the entry-level retail phone. And without any major hit to performance. Thus, the only thing one needs to be worried about is battery life. But if you’d rather not buy a refurbished phone, there are always the unboxed ones available at a discount, though that isn’t as deep as for certified refurbished ones.

Thus, certified refurbished phones are a good proposition for those willing to let go of a few goodies present in the retail box in favour of a more powerful handset which may have a minor blemish. But you’re getting flagship performance and a big brand name at mid-range price.

First Published: Tue, June 05 2018. 14:09 IST