I want a phone. Buy or exchange?


For most ordinary cell phone users, a new gadget appears either due to the fact that the previous one simply stops working (gets lost, breaks, drowns), or if it ceases to meet the requirements for its capabilities. At the same time, the replacement cycle of devices for such users is different. It can be once a year, or maybe once every five years. It depends more on the circumstances than on the wishes of the user.

I want a phone.  Buy or exchange?

However, there is a layer of people (and not a small one) for whom changing the apparatus to an actual one is a kind of hobby, and also an urgent need. Not because the previous one stops working, or for any similar reason, but simply because you want to, which means you need to.

Such people are usually called geeks. Even if the current device meets all the requirements and does everything that they want from it, with the release of the new model it loses one parameter that is extremely important for the geek – it is no longer the very thing. It is the geeks who chase new products, track the release of new devices and arrange whole battles on the network about which of the new products is cooler and which is worth buying and which is not.

I want a phone.  Buy or exchange?

In addition to geeks, there are also people who have made technology and, in particular, smartphones not the meaning of life (like geeks), but just a hobby, because they are interested in it and because they just can afford it (or so they think because of distribution of priorities).

For such users, the novelty of the gadget as such is not fundamental, rather they periodically want changes due to the fact that the previous device is bored. They are no longer interested in the current gadget. Such users are ready to upgrade to a device of the same level, but, for example, from another manufacturer, or even to a previous generation device, if it differs from their current one both in design and in the set of functions and capabilities. Sometimes this transition turns out to be even a minus from the point of view of these very opportunities, but it still gives positive emotions.

I want a phone.  Buy or exchange?

In most cases, the problem of both is finance. And if a geek turns a blind eye to this and gives the last one for a coveted novelty, then a person for whom changing a gadget is just a hobby will weigh the pros and cons before purchasing.

One of the options for a partial solution to the problem of finance is selling the current device on the secondary market at a reasonable price. Most often, this very reasonable price will be much lower than the price of the desired new thing, which means that the one who takes such a step loses part of the money deliberately. But this is not the main problem either. The main thing is the oversaturation of the secondary market, which makes it extremely problematic to sell the previous smartphone, and a person involuntarily becomes a collector of smartphones.

I want a phone.  Buy or exchange?

Additional problems for such collectors are created by retail chains, which, together with banks, sell smartphones under tempting schemes, such as installments, leasing, and so on. In this case, a potential buyer will think three times whether to pay a certain amount for a used gadget with an unknown history, or significantly overpay for a new device, but buy it in installments that will not hit the budget (in theory).

It seems that these are the reasons behind the huge number of ads on the secondary market that hang for months. In the end, the devices are either sold with a reduction in price, or the ads are simply removed by the owners, and the device is sent either to the closet or to older relatives.

The trade-in programs from various retail chains that have appeared not so long ago make life a little easier, but only a little, since with rare exceptions such offers turn out to be extremely unprofitable for the gadget giving away because of the bargain price that is assigned by the trading network that accepts the device in the trade-in . Rare exceptions are surcharges that are most often sponsored by a particular vendor when exchanging an old device for a new one from that vendor.

I want a phone.  Buy or exchange?

But back to our collector who wants to change their gadget. One of the options for acquiring a new toy is the opportunity to use the same trade-in, only without the participation of an intermediary in the person of the buying company.

This is a banal exchange. In the same announcements, one can often find postscripts about the possibility of an exchange or a request not to offer this very exchange.

I want a phone.  Buy or exchange?

And if a few years ago such proposals looked extremely suspicious and the first association was associated with the possibility of deception, today, when a large number of fans appear, simply change the phone, because they want, and change the perception of a smartphone from a luxury item and status to an everyday tool (not for of all, of course) the possibility of exchange became the very option to realize your Wishlist with little blood.

Such an exchange will not always be in favor of the changing one – sometimes people are ready to exchange their device for a simpler device, but at the same time they ask for a surcharge. After all, situations in life are different, and perhaps someone just needs money.

Yes, despite all the arguments, the exchange is still a risk, and the risk is great. Indeed, in addition to lovers of novelty or people who have fallen into a difficult situation, there are still a lot of scammers among those who want to change, thus selling restored, defective, or even just stolen devices.

I want a phone.  Buy or exchange?

That is why many sellers on private classifieds sites separately point out the impossibility of exchange and ask not to bother them with such offers.

On the other hand, if you have a certain set of knowledge and be careful, you can minimize the risks.

Information about what exactly and how to check when receiving the device from hand can be found on the specialized forums in the topics of discussion of a particular model.

In addition, there are a number of parameters that can be considered mandatory for such operations. Here I include:

  • obligatory presence of a complete set (boxes with matching IMEIs, receipt, warranty card and other contents of this box).
  • installed stock (original, not modified) software.
  • for some devices, the presence of IMEI on the cover, which matches the IMEI on the box and in the device firmware.

It will also be useful to ask in advance to provide the IMEI of the device in order to check it through official channels for repairs or other restrictions and manipulations.

Although, as a person involved in repairs, I do not consider it a problem when it comes to repairing, for example, a display module (replacement) or any other part of the case, which was made in an official service center, since often the officials make these repairs using only original spare parts, after which the repaired device is no different from the new one.

I want a phone.  Buy or exchange?

But this is only true for repairs that do not affect electronic components on the board and do not require soldering. In the case of repairs associated with the manipulation of a soldering iron, I would definitely refrain from such an exchange.

Particular attention should be paid to devices that are protected from water, since in the case of repairs by third-party organizations, there is no question of maintaining protection from water, alas. In the case of officials, protection from water is most often preserved, since the repair is mainly modular and is carried out on professional equipment. From personal experience – the warranty replacement of the display module on the Galaxy S8, after which the phone has repeatedly experienced submersion under water and nothing happened to it.

I want a phone.  Buy or exchange?

If in doubt, then on the same specialized forums there is information on how to test the device for water resistance without water procedures, and using simple tests, such as a barometer test, for example.

An extreme, but no less effective way to make sure the device is in good working order is to hand it over for diagnostics to an official service center. This is not always possible for various reasons, but in itself a way to protect yourself from deception is not bad.


In total, for those who like to change phones like gloves, there are only three main ways to fulfill their needs.

The first is buying a new device from a large retail chain at full cost. This method is the most expensive, but the safest (with rare exceptions). It is also expensive because after or before the purchase there is a problem of selling your current gadget.

The second is buying the desired device on the secondary market. This method is most often much cheaper, but carries the risk of running into Frankenstein's monster in one form or another. Well, the complexity of selling the current gadget has not gone anywhere.

The third is the exchange of your current device for the desired one. In fact, this is an analogue of the second method, only even cheaper due to the absence of the need to sell your current device for a song. The risks are the same as in the second method, but, oddly enough, they are lower in this case, since there is a higher chance of meeting the same enthusiast among the changing ones with the same goals.

Well, the fourth is not to chase after novelty and use what is. But since we wrote about three, then this method is for those who do not need to change the device at all without objective reasons, which means that this method is irrelevant in the context of this material.

As for me, I recently changed my Google Pixel 3 to a Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus and made the right decision (yes, cheating on the Korean was short-lived?).

Tell us which of these three (four) ways do you find the most acceptable for yourself and why?

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