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Tuesday, March 5, 2013
When it's time for a new phone upgrade, take some great advice from Jill Duffy over at PCMag:
"Rush into buying a new mobile phone, and you could lose a lot of money or end up with a model that leaves you totally dissatisfied, despite its hype for being the 'next big thing.'
If you want to become someone who always seems to have the hottest new phone on the first day of its release, you'll need a plan of action. The advice in this article will help you figure out how to choose a new phone and think through some strategies for reselling your old phone.
Which Comes First: The Phone or the Carrier? Not every phone is available from every carrier, so which should you choose first: the phone model or the network? 'When buying a cell phone, usually the most important thing for people is to choose their carrier first,' says Jamie Lendino, senior mobile analyst at PCMag, 'either because you're staying with the one you have now, or because you're selecting one based on the network coverage area and plan (prepaid, contract, family, etc.) that works best for you.'
If you decide to switch carriers, get to know your contract details. Sometimes it's in your financial interest to ride out the contract, but it depends on the terms of the agreement and how much time you have left with the plan. You might even decide to overlap two services for a short time while your old contract runs out (provided you aren't too concerned with keeping the same phone number).
For U.S. coverage, PCMag runs an independent annual test called Fastest Mobile Networks in which we find out which networks have the best service. When looking at the 2012 results of the fastest mobile networks test, be sure to find your city or region, as the availability and strength of different service providers does indeed vary.
Features, Features, Features The second consideration in choosing a new phone is features. If that hot, new model isn't substantially different from the one you have now, ask yourself if you really want it now or if you're willing to wait for the next release.
Compatibility with the latest operating system could also be a huge factor, especially if you're a version or two behind, as it affects the available apps and features.
Lendino says to also consider how much you will rely on the phone to double as your everyday camera or music player, as that could influence how much you're willing to spend and how soon you want to upgrade.
Trading In Your Old Phone Another major factor in deciding when to upgrade is the price you'll get for selling back your old phone. If you're organized with your sell-back strategy, you can maximize your return and thus increase your budget for a new phone.
Jeff Trachsel, chief marketing officer at Nextworth (a cell phone buy-back company) says there are three main factors to mull over when it comes to selling an old phone: residual value, desirability of the newest phone, and contract end date.
'The strategy for trading in your old phone actually begins when you buy a new phone,' says Trachsel—at least for most people. The problem with that strategy is that the residual value of a phone drops after a new model is announced.
Take Apple for example. 'The iPhone 5 was about to come out. The press got invitations, and that's when residual value starts to take a steeper dive,' Trachsel explains. 'The values dropped 20 to 25 percent.'
When the rumors of a new phone start to sound solid, that's the time to lock in a resale value to maximize your return. NextWorth offers a 21-day quote lock value, says Trachsel, which allows early adopters to secure a better resale price early and still have time to wait for the officially announcement to happen.
Usually when people has this kind of sell-back strategy, they'll keep an older phone on hand which they can use as a backup in case there's a period of time between when they need to let go of the phone they're selling back and when the new one arrives. In other words, if you have an old flip phone that has little to no resale value now but still functions, you might hang onto it for just this sort of situation.
Retail vs. In-Store When selling back an old phone without a ton of pre-planning, you might choose to stop into a brick-and-mortar store instead of using a by-mail option. Nextworth, for example, partners with in-store retailers, which gives the customer two huge advantages, according to Trachsel.
First, you get the immediate gratification of receiving your money on the spot. Second, there's instant feedback about the condition of your phone and its value, which is something that might be disputed over weeks and weeks when you trade by mail.
On the other hand, when buying a new phone, Lendino says to shop around online. 'Research a little on the Web first. Often you'll find better online deals than you will in retail stores.'"
More on phones:
Decluttering Your Mobile Phone is a Good Way to Start the Year
Need Some Christmas Cash? - How to Sell your Old Phones, Equipments and Gadgets
5 Best Apps for Getting and Staying Organized