We know how satisfying it can be to own a brand-spanking-new handset, but there are two very good reasons to consider a used one instead: dollars and cents. If you're willing to stay a step or two behind the cutting edge of mobile tech, you can find some big discounts on the best smartphones on the market, just in time for the holidays. And with some owners upgrading on a yearly cycle, your chances of finding a gently-used flagship with standout features are greater than you'd think.
We've rounded up prices for the most popular used smartphones from top retailers and re-sellers. Whether you're eyeing last year's big iPhone or Galaxy, or are looking to maximize your discount by snapping up something a little older, you're assured to find something here to put an end to your smartphone search.
1. iPhone X
The iPhone X is more than two years old now, and Apple has just added its 2017 flagship to its refurbished resale program. These devices start at $769, though you could do a bit better than that if you decide to go with a third-party vendor, like Swappa or Glyde, which are offering unlocked versions of the handset starting at $479 and $619, respectively. Of course, these models are not guaranteed to be in perfect working order as Apple's certified refurbished devices are, but secondhand retailers still ensure protections for buyers, like refunds if the item received is not as described. And that peace of mind is worth every penny, because the iPhone X — with its powerful A11 Bionic processor, Face ID technology and full-screen design — holds its value better than any other smartphone out there. Just be wary that these prices are falling even lower since the iPhone 11 series emerged in the fall.
What you'll pay for a used iPhone X
2. Samsung Galaxy S9
The Galaxy S9 was something of a modest evolution of the S8, with a more powerful processor and new dual-lens cameras with adjustable aperture. Although it may lack the futuristic Infinity-O Dynamic AMOLED panel of the newer S10 series, as well as ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensing and reverse wireless charging, the S9 is still a power-packed handset that will undoubtedly last you a long time if you choose to buy one now. And now is the right time, because its cheaper than ever to score a used unit, and Samsung's 2018 flagship has since been updated to run the firm's new OneUI Android software. In fact, thanks to a promotion at Best Buy right now, you can snag a brand new S9 for the same price you'd typically spend on one secondhand.
What you'll pay for a Samsung Galaxy S9
3. Samsung Galaxy Note 8
Samsung's S Pen-equipped, 6.2-inch Galaxy Note 8 is a fine choice for those who want something a bit more versatile than an ordinary smartphone, but much more portable than a full-on tablet. However, it's always been a bit too expensive. Thankfully, since the Galaxy Note 10 has hit the market, Note 8 prices have dropped to the point where you can snag a used example of one of Samsung's workhorse phablets for a low price of well under $400, depending on where you look. And that's a great deal for a dual lens-equipped, Snapdragon 835 handset with 6GB of RAM and a microSD slot for expandable memory up to 512GB.
What you'll pay for a used Galaxy Note 8
4. Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+
Many criticized the Samsung Galaxy S9 for its design, which remained virtually unchanged from the previous generation. The benefit to Samsung playing it safe, though, is that you can nab a 5.8-inch Galaxy S8 (or, for that matter, a 6.2-inch Galaxy S8+) with the same great exterior and AMOLED Infinity Display as the newer model, but for an extremely low price. The Galaxy S8's Snapdragon 835 processor may not be the most powerful anymore, but it's still plenty speedy for practically everything, perhaps aside from running the most demanding games at the highest graphical settings. And now that the Galaxy S10 is out, the S8 generation is far cheaper than its ever been — even under $200 from Swappa.
What you'll pay for a used Galaxy S8
5. iPhone 8 and 8 Plus
Since Apple's 2018 iPhones went with a notched display, the 4.7-inch iPhone 8 was truly the last to offer the original iconic iPhone design, with its Touch ID-equipped home button and 16:9 LCD display. That said, it was a design many people loved, and the iPhone 8 modernizes it with Apple's still-speedy A11 Bionic processor and wireless charging. With newer iPhones in stores, the iPhone 8 can be had for a couple hundred dollars less than what it cost new at launch (and less than the reduced $599 asking price for a new model at Apple). While the savings might not be as remarkable as other phones on this list, these are still excellent all-around handsets that will certainly last you a couple of years — especially if you spring for the larger 5.5-inch iPhone 8 Plus with its extra RAM and dual-lens cameras.
What you'll pay for a used iPhone 8
6. LG G7 ThinQ
Although LG's share of the global smartphone market has dwindled in recent years, and although the company's latest handsets aren't quite as compelling as competitors from Samsung, Apple and Google, LG still makes good phones. Last year's G7 ThinQ was one of them, thanks to a respectable pair of cameras on the back, an expansive, 6.1-inch LCD display on the front with a notch and slim bezels, and strong power from Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 chipset. The phone's Boombox speakers get extremely loud as well, owing to an acoustic chamber design that puts other flagships' tinny, quiet audio to shame. With the LG G8 and V50 5G now out, the G7 has fallen in price considerably — making now a great time to buy one of 2018's most underrated phones.
What you'll pay for a used LG G7 ThinQ
7. Google Pixel 2 and 2 XL
Now that Google's Pixel 4 is on its way, the Pixel 2 has seen prices slide across both 5-inch and 6-inch models. These handsets are still among the best camera phones available that can rival any current flagship, as well as Snapdragon 835 power and two more years of software support in addition to the upgrade to Android 9 Pie that was issued late last year. Most Android devices are fortunate if they see two major updates over their lifespans, so Google's handsets enjoy a notable advantage here. Bear in mind, though, that you'll have to make some concessions depending on the variant you spring for — the smaller phone has pretty massive bezels and a relatively small screen, while the XL's plastic OLED display isn't the most stunning we've seen. At $399, the newer Pixel 3a also offers comparable performance, better battery life and an improved camera without forcing you to go used.
What you'll pay for a used Pixel 2
8. iPhone 7 and 7 Plus
So long as you can do without wireless charging and Apple's screaming-fast A11 Bionic processor, there's a lot to like about the iPhone 7. The 4.7-inch LCD display in the 2016 model is pretty much the same as the one in the iPhone 8. The design hasn't changed significantly either, aside from the shift from aluminum to glass for the back. Even in terms of water resistance and battery life, the iPhone 7 compares favorably to Apple's latest products.
You should note that if you try Apple's store instead of a reseller, you'll be assured of an iPhone 7 that's been tested and refurbished by manufacturer itself; it also comes with a one-year warranty.
What you'll pay for a used iPhone 7