Longevity of used phones

Dimitri

Member
I need to buy a new phone and I'm in a dilemma between going for a new budget phone or a better, used phone.

I'm fearful of used phones, because back around 2016/17 I bought a used Samsung Galaxy II and in about 2 years time the phone became slow to the point of unusability. It took like 15 sec to open the list of apps or the pull down menu.

So, I'm wondering, suppose I were to buy a used phone that was released sometime in the last 3-4 years, could I count on that phone to work for the next 5 years? And by work I mean work smoothly and not become unbearably slow like my Galaxy II?

I don't play games on my phone, I only use undemanding apps like Google Drive and Google Keep (note taking app).

I haven't narrowed down my choice of phone, so I'm curious about used phones released in the last 3-4 years in general, but let me also name a specific example: Asus Zenfone 5. Could I trust that one to last me 5 years?
 

porterjw

Moderator
Staff member
This is like asking "Will my Commodore run modern software?" No, and why would you expect it to? A new budget phone will run circles around anything from 2017. Certain apps need specific software versions as well, and older phones most often just aren't supported by Carrier/Manufacturer updates after 2 years or so.

Getting an older phone as a nostalgia thing or to have just to have is fine (I still have my S2, S3, Note 3, and S4), but all of them have been fully unsupported (won't even connect to my Carrier's network at this point) for several years. A new budget phone is a no-brainer.
 

beers

Moderator
Staff member
I bought a used Samsung Galaxy II and in about 2 years time the phone became slow to the point of unusability
Bro that phone was already over 5 years old by the time you got it, which is an eternity in that space. Doing the same strategy again will net a similar result. In the used space I'd consider ~2 years to be the absolute maximum and wouldn't buy anything older than that, and would vastly prefer something newer than that.

Before I got this iPhone XR (which is still pretty snappy) the Moto G series seemed to be the best cost/perf offering.

What budget are you shooting for?
 
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johnb35

Administrator
Staff member
I wouldn't go anything older than an S10 which is already 2 years old. Apple tends to support phones longer than android, though I would never go Iphone, personal preference for me. Also look at the samsung A series.
 

Dimitri

Member
But if I were to go with a used phone that has better specs (CPU and RAM-wise) than a new budget phone, presumably that would last longer than the new budget phone (setting aside that some apps would eventually not be supported by the old OS it's running).
 

Darren

Moderator
Staff member
Honestly no. New budget phones are better than flagships of a couple years ago. My Grandpa picked up some Samsung A series phone and I saw it sitting on the counter and it was almost indistinguishable from my Samsung S20 FE (which in itself is not the top flagship, but the cheaper variant).

Buy latest you can get at whatever budget you have, software updates and a new battery matter way more than perceived specs. Phones are overkill for 90 percent of usage anyway. I'd say about 2016 we really started seeing diminishing returns with noticeable differences year to year. Usually gimmicks and inflated stats that don't translate to real world differences are all that's selling new phones.
 

Intel_man

VIP Member
My Grandpa picked up some Samsung A series phone and I saw it sitting on the counter and it was almost indistinguishable from my Samsung S20 FE (which in itself is not the top flagship, but the cheaper variant).
The Samsung A52 is a pretty sweet phone. Honestly... the general use of that phone is very smooth. Like the very small micro stutters in it's scrolling is hardly noticeable unless you're use to a flagship and A/B testing it. Definitely not $500 difference that's for sure.
 
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