Smartphones on a budget

Nafisa AkaborCache This, Latest

The cost of smartphones has gone up, and consequently, people are hanging onto their devices for longer. Contracts have also increased from the standard 24 months to 36 months.

Holding onto a smartphone for longer makes financial sense when there are guaranteed software and security updates. Two brands that excel at this are Nokia and Apple.

Nokia smartphones promise monthly security updates for 3 years and Android promises software updates for 2 years. Whereas Apple’s latest iOS 14.5 OS update supports the iPhone 6S upwards (released in 2015).

However, if you’re in the market to buy a new smartphone on a budget, I’ve listed some key considerations below:

Trade-in programs

Tech trade-in programs have gained popularity over the last few years amongst select manufacturers and retailers. Did you know Samsung allows you to trade in over 6,000 devices or laptops, including non-Samsung ones for new products from their stores? This is also a good way to ‘recycle’ old tech you may have lying around.

Incredible Connection has an offering where you input the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number into their site to get a buy-back offer that can be used for anything it sells – not just phones and laptops. WeFix buys phones, as well as iStore, but as expected, they only accept iPhones and Apple products.

Demo models

One of the best ways to shop high-end tech brands (like Apple) on a budget is to buy demo models. If you’re in Johannesburg, the iStore on 1 Sandton Drive has a factory shop in the basement. For everyone else, there’s

Demo units from all iStores end up at the Johannesburg factory shop, and sell at less than retail. The devices iStore accepts as a trade-in are reconditioned and then sold as a certified pre-owned (CPO) product with a warranty. This is great for peace of mind if you’re hesitant. The website also has a condition guide with three gradings: good, better and best. Good and better come with 12-month warranties. It beats buying a second-hand product from a stranger.

Second-hand marketplace

Depending on the product you’re after, including photography equipment or tablets, it might be a good idea to scout second-hand marketplaces. Facebook Marketplace is popular due to sellers using existing profiles with their real identity to list products, vs an anonymous person on Gumtree or OLX.

Another great option is Yaga, which acts as a middleman to facilitate the sale of goods. Despite being a primarily clothing marketplace, Yaga has a decent technology category with all types of products on offer. So if you’re not happy with the proposed trade-in value from a manufacturer or retailer mentioned above, you could also go this route. You just need to decide if your time is worth the trade-in offer vs. dealing with potential time-wasters or worse, scammers.

One more tip when buying second hand

At the end of the day, it’s your hard-earned money you’re parting with, so try to get as much info about the pre-owned product you’re considering. A handy tip is to ask for battery health status screenshots to determine if you’d need to fork out for a replacement battery, and if so, negotiate a lower price.

If you’re able to sell your older devices to friends and family (word of mouth is king) factor the possibility of the resell into the cost of buying a new phone. Despite Apple being expensive, there’s a big demand for it in the second-hand market.

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Technology is an ever increasing part of our lives and let’s be honest, many of us like gadgets. There is also an abundance of new online services and apps taking over the traditional services we use. Nafisa Akabor has been covering everything tech for well over a decade and she’ll be writing on how we can do tech within a budget and reviewing some of the new online services. Cache This is published on the last Tuesday of every month.