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Here's the extensive process followed by reputable smartphone resellers – so you can feel more comfortable buying a pre-owned phone

Matt Hopkins

This article is sponsored by numobile, offering you an alternative solution to buying new. »

Buying pre-owned is still a concept that's met with a degree of uncertainty by some, particularly when it comes to products like smartphones. But if you know how to pick the dodgy providers from the reliable ones, straying from the brand new option can save you a decent amount of money.

A reputable smartphone reseller will always test its products rigorously to ensure the device you purchase is in good working order and of high quality. Most will even ensure that there are no external marks or scratches, essentially making the product the next best thing to purchasing a brand new phone, only without the huge price tag.

Exactly how these companies test their products comes with a certain level of secrecy. Most won't divulge all of their processes, given some of those will be where they get their competitive edge. That being said, the details we do know reveal the extent of the testing that pre-owned devices go through before they hit the shelves.

For a local example, pre-owned specialist telco numobile hand-picks devices before rigorously testing them, cleaning them, and packaging them up in a new box with a new charger and data cable. The term rigorous is used for a reason here. Each phone is put through a 51-point test before it goes anywhere, covering nine main functionalities of the phone, listed below.

1. Phone calls, texts, and data

Every device must be able to send and receive all of these.

2. Front and rear cameras

All aspects of all cameras are tested to ensure images are sharp and that the flash works correctly.

3. Buttons and touch screen operation

Every button on the device must be in working order, along with the all-important touch screen functionality.

4. Wi-Fi connectivity

The connection must be solid and uninterrupted.

5. External condition

The screen and housing will have no visible marks or scratches.

6. Battery function

To ensure the unit can maintain a sufficient amount of charge.

7. GPS function

Tested for location services such as maps.

8. Speaker and vibration functions

While you may only rely on one, it's important that both operations work as they should.

9. Reformatted hard drive

All previous data is wiped so there's no trace of the previous owner for their privacy and yours.

Few places will go into detail about the exact processes for each of these procedures, but it's comforting to know they cover absolutely all bases. It won't be a brand new device, but no one will know unless you want them to.

On top of making sure the pre-owned phone looks and performs as good as it would brand new, many providers will offer a guarantee on the product as well. Apple and numobile, for example, offer a one-year warranty on pre-owned phones, and the latter will even let you swap it out for a completely different device if you want to anytime after that. Furthermore, if you’re not happy with it – you can return it.

Seeing as sales of smartphones are down pretty much across the board, there's a good chance many consumers are fatigued by expensive new models with few new and appealing features. Pre-owned could be the way to go if this is you.