How Much Is My Phone Worth?

By now, we all know that there’s hidden value in our unwanted things. And that by selling things on, we’re doing the planet a favour by not adding more waste. 

The lifecycle of smartphones and tablets ranges from 15-30 months, which is interesting, because for an item that’s with us for such a short amount of time, they sure do cost a lot. Especially if you choose to buy them brand new.

We upgrade our phones to take advantage of the features and capabilities that newer models have, and to iron out the issues now present in our own dated devices. Battery life, storage, shattered screens - you know how this works by now. Each year, smartphones get (a bit) smarter. Technology moves fast, and most people want what’s better and faster.

To break the habit of throwing your old device out so it ends up in landfill, or leaving it in the drawer to gather dust, you can sell it or trade it in and earn a pretty penny. This can recoup some of the cost of your new phone or go towards something else you need. Critically, instead of letting that old phone go to waste, you’ll be extending its life. After all, one person’s trash is someone else’s treasure - and your unwanted phone could be a huge upgrade for someone.

Here, we’ll address the biggest question you might ask before selling your old mobile phone.

“How do I know what my phone is actually worth?”

Firstly, it depends on the online marketplace you choose to sell your device on. It’s important to look for trusted refurbished tech marketplaces, including ones that can offer you a warranty for extra peace of mind. A certified vendor will be able to offer you a warranty from 6-12 months, depending on the phone’s brand and model.

The worth of an old handset depends on its condition. Has it got a cracked screen? Water damage from taking it into the shower to sing along with? How’s the condition of the battery? All of these things are considerations that a buyer will make.

At Doji, we’ve put together a list of all factors that can determine the worth of your mobile phone. You’re welcome 😎

The phone’s cosmetic condition

In this case, looks do matter. Wear and tear on the screen and on the back or sides will reduce the value of your phone. Cracked, scratched, or broken screens degrade the condition to “damaged” and reduce its resale value. Makes sense, right?

Follow these 3 tips to prevent cosmetic damage before it happens

  1. Avoid throwing it in pockets and bags together with other sharp objects like coins and keys. These items can dent the metal casing or scratch the display of your phone. Easier said than done though, so...
  2. Get a case. This will make a huge difference to the longevity of your device. Usually, the best option is to go for a case that covers the front of the phone, too. There are endless shops that sell functional yet stylish ones, so it doesn’t have to ruin the overall look.
  3. A screen protector can be a life-saver for keeping ‘pristine’ condition. There’s a huge variety of durable and scratch resistant screen protectors available on the market, ranging from plastic to full tempered glass.

How’s the phone battery’s health?

iPhone about to placed on charger

In the good old days, phones used to have external, easy-to-swap batteries. Remember when yours would run out of charge and you could switch batteries with someone? Ideal. But smartphones now have a unibody design which makes replacing their battery difficult, and not something us non-techies can do on our own. 

The good news is that smartphones usually have lithium-ion batteries that charge faster and last longer. So, it’s easier to keep your phone’s battery health in a good condition. As we’ve mentioned in our article “What are refurbished phones,” there’s an 80% standard, which means that phones should be able to retain 80% of the battery life to be considered ‘excellent’ condition.

There are some simple tips and tricks you can follow to extend your smartphone’s battery life, and increase its value once you decide to sell it or trade it in:
  1. Don’t fully charge it. When your phone is on a low power level and you start charging it, don’t let it reach power level of 100% as this will reduce the battery’s lifespan. On the other hand, take caution not to let the battery go fully empty.
  2. Don’t charge it with another device’s charger. For example, don’t use your iPad charger to charge your iPhone, even if it fits in. If you lose your charger, don’t buy a random one, as different chargers may supply the wrong amount of power to your phone and damage its battery. Make sure you’re using a charger specifically designed for your phone.
  3. Charge it little by little. The rule of thumb is to keep your battery level between 45%  and 75%. So try to charge your phone whenever you get the chance, even if only for a few minutes. Most people charge their phone overnight so that it has enough battery for the next day, but that’s a habit that can harm your battery health (and potentially even put you in danger).
  4. Don’t charge a cold phone. You’ve probably noticed that phone batteries drain quicker when the weather is cold, which is unfortunate if, like us, you live in the UK. That’s because the chemical reactions that produce electricity in the smartphone’s battery will slow down in a cold environment. Part of the energy that should be transformed into electricity, is instead used to warm the battery up. Charge your phone only when it’s been in a warmer environment for at least 30 minutes.

The phone’s brand and model

We touched upon whether phones are good value for money earlier, but some are going to be better value than others. After all, there are certain brands that dominate the smartphone and tech market. 

Do you own a flagship Samsung, Apple, Sony or Huawei device? If you do, you’ll probably get a higher resale value for your old handset. Obviously these cost the most in the first place too, so it’s a shame to have a widely desired device just sitting in your cupboard. 

Apple and Samsung devices retain their value better than any other brand, losing only around 35% of their value in a year, but that doesn’t mean that other major tech companies such as LG, HTC, Google, Nokia, Microsoft or Redmi haven’t got their place in the refurbished market.

Here are the top 10 models of Samsung and Apple that have the highest value in the global used and refurbished phone market today.

 Apple

iPhone 12  

iPhone 12 Pro

iPhone 12 Pro Max

iPhone 12 Mini

iPhone SE 2020

iPhone 11

iPhone 11 Pro

iPhone 11 Pro Max

iPhone XR

iPhone XS

Samsung

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G

Samsung Galaxy A71 5G

Samsung Galaxy A11

Samsung Galaxy A51 5G

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S20

Give it a good clean

We all like shiny things, right? That’s probably why clean phones can bring more cash. So take a few minutes to clean out any dirt in the microphone area, headphone jack, speaker grille, volume buttons, and charging point. A toothpick and disinfecting wipes will do the trick.

It’s also important for the phone to be clean of any personal data - so protect your photos, messages, documents, login details, passwords, and any other sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands. Here you’ll find our complete guide on how to back up and wipe iPhones and Android phones easily and securely. It’s much easier than you think!

Assess the phone’s condition

There are testing points that refurbished phone companies check to decide the value of a phone. These include:

  • Touchscreen 
  • Battery
  • Cameras
  • Buttons and parts
  • Bluetooth, WiFi, data connection
  • Touch ID and face ID
  • SIM card reader
  • Speaker and microphone
  • Storage
  • Is it blacklisted? (link article “What are refurbished phones?”)

The criteria for valuing the condition of a resale phone will range from store to store, but most buyback companies break them down into the following categories:

  • Brand new: Mobile phones that are unused. They’ve been bought and returned within a few days because the buyer changed their mind. Usually come with their original box and accessories.
  • Mint: Pre-owned with no visible signs of use. Looks brand new, in pristine condition. 
  • Very good: Minimum wear and tear, probably only a few very small marks on the back or sides.
  • Good: It has a couple of visible scratches or marks, but are in full working order.
  • Needs repair: It has cracked, scratched, or a broken glass screen. This also includes phones that need software or hardware repair.
  • Parts-only: Cracked screens, bad ESN numbers and any other damage that would make the device useless to anyone besides a repair shop looking for scrap parts. 

So, can I sell my phone for a good price?

A newer model (around 1 to 2 years old) in full working condition with no cosmetic defects, a good battery, and clean of all data will be a great help in recouping some of the costs of a new one. But realistically, the option is there for any condition. You’ll still get some cash and be able to say “I didn’t add to the waste problem”.

Tip: Neutral colours such as black, white, or grey always fetch the best prices on the resale market.

Looking to make money on your old device?

The smartest way to sell and trade in your smartphones. Powered by data, we’re building the next generation of tech resale platforms, giving you access to buyer data in real time, plus freedom and control to set your own price for someone else to bid on. We’ll even pick the phone up from your front door!

Learn more, here: www.doji.co.uk

Sell your used tech on Doji