Americans replace their cell phones every two years or so on average. Searching for the latest and greatest technology while on the hunt for a new device, you may look for increased speed, battery life, screen size, resolution, or the hottest new features. Millions of Americans rushed out to purchase iPhones in 2010 and 2011, when Siri, iOS 5, and iCloud were among the new and exciting features.
For someone who purchased an iPhone 4S for a price of $300 and resold that device two years later, was this phone worth the cost? Considering a resale value of around $120 for a device in good condition, a purchaser ended up paying $90 per year, or $7.50 per month, to own his or her own iPhone 4S. Considering this amount is less than many people spend in a given week on their morning coffee, it may very well be a worthwhile expense.
When you’re looking for a phone that’s worth it, what do you look for? With sites such as Gazelle and Usell now providing an easy means by which a device owner can sell an old phone, future cell phone resale values are actually a factor to consider.
We have complied a list of devices that appear to be worth their price. To determine the candidates, we examined features, lifespan, owner reviews, and resale values of current and previous editions. Phones that are considered worth their price are those that should last longer than the two-year contract term and get you a little money back to invest in a new device.
1. Apple iPhone 5S
First introduced in September, the iPhone 5S hit record sales, selling 9 million models within its first three days of release. Although this device may not look shockingly different from its predecessors, the 5S has a lot to offer as the first 64-bit smartphone. It has a touch ID fingerprint identity sensor and a pretty advanced camera that allows you to take slow motion videos and 10 images in a single second.
For a 32GB model, you’re looking at a starting cost of $299, with some 5S phones priced up to $849. An abundance of wireless carriers offer the device, ranging from AT&T to Cricket Wireless. Most carriers offer some sort of low-cost option with a two-year contract or an option to make monthly payments on the device. Sprint, for instance, offers the device for around $200 when you sign a two-year agreement; you also get the option to make monthly payments of $27.09 for 24 months.
Owners of earlier iPhone models were able to sell their phones for up to 50 percent of the new price, and if you sold a 5S today, you would receive between $275 and $330 from Gazelle for a 32GB model in good condition.
The phone has greater than four out of five-star reviews from Engadget, CNET, and Best Buy. Users compliment the device’s speed, ease of use, and even the price. A major complaint this phone receives is a lack of a substantial difference between it and the previous model. Some owners also complain about battery life.
2. HTC One
The second-generation HTC One was released in March, and it comes with a price tag of between $200 and $250 with a two-year contract plan. Amazon is selling a Verizon Wireless version of the phone for a lower price of $99.
The One M8 attracts buyers with features like BoomSound front-facing stereo speakers and a duo camera. The camera has a dual lens and is designed to capture depth. The HTC One M8 runs on Android 4.4 KitKat, has a 2.3 GHz Quad Core Processor, and 2GB of RAM. The processing power of this budget-friendly phone is impressive, and it surpasses several of the more expensive models. You can also expect clarity from its 1080p resolution screen.
For older HTC models, such as the HTC X, owners are able to recover between 25 and 50 percent of the phone’s original cost after two years. If you’re able to get a deal on this phone, you may be able to recover a substantial portion of your cost if you sell your phone after a few years. This phone also has excellent ratings. It received 4.8 out of five stars on Best Buy, 4.7 out of five stars on the HTC website, and 9.1 out of 10 on Engagdet. Reviewers compliment the phone’s sound, ease of use, speed, and battery life. A few owners have complained of the phone occasionally freezing up.
3. Nokia Lumia 1020
Is it a phone or a camera? Well, it’s both. The Lumia 1020 was introduced to the world in July 2013. The device runs on Windows 8 and has 32GB of internal memory, a 1.5 GHz dual core processor, and a 41 megapixel camera. Some call its professional-level camera the best in the industry. When you take a picture, not only does the image come out crisp and clear, but you can also print it from a photo print app on your phone.
You can purchase this device for right around $200 with a contract. On Amazon, you can purchase a 32GB 1020 for as little as $49. If you were to trade a used, good-condition Nokia 1020 into Gazelle today, you’d get back around $150.
The Lumia 1020 has good reviews overall. It has four out of five stars on CNET, and Nokia and Best Buy users gave the phone 4.7 out of five. Owners appear happy with the phone’s camera and many of features relating to its appearance. On the other hand, some say it is a bit complicated to use at first. Some owners also complain about a lack of apps and say that other app stores, such as Apple’s, are far superior.
4. Samsung Galaxy S5
If you go out and purchase a Galaxy S5 with a contract, you’re going to pay between $150 and $200. Many carriers offer the Galaxy S5, including T-Mobile and Sprint. This device is water- and sweat-resistant and it runs on Android Kitkat 4.4. As for power, there’s no shortage: It has a 2.5 GHz Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, expandable memory, and up to 19 hours of talk time. Plus, you have access to old favorites like the Google Play store. It even has a heart-rate sensor.
If you’re looking for value, you’re in the right place. Older Galaxy models have pretty decent resale values. If you trade in a Galaxy SIII, for example, you can recover between $80 and $100. A little over a year ago, when the S4 was released, wireless providers began selling the SIII for right around the $100 price point.
The Galaxy S5 has good reviews, with 4.6 out of five stars on Best Buy and 4.5 out of five on CNET. Purchasers compliment this phone’s clarity and resolution, size, and its durability. Some users complain of freezing and reception issues.