As much as we love hearing about announcements for brand new phones and seeing how manufacturers push the limits of their portfolios, we definitely aren’t fans of hefty prices that manufacturers are charging for their latest and greatest. If you’re like us and want a decent phone for less while making your upgrade a bit kinder to the environment, refurbished smartphones are where you want to be looking. They are gaining popularity and offer ‘like new’ functionality at a fraction of what you’d typically pay for a brand new device.
Here are our top picks for any budget:
Best Refurbished Android Under £500: Samsung Galaxy S10e
The Galaxy S10e was Samsung’s first try at “budget flagships” and although Samsung decided not to upgrade the S10e this year with an S20e or similar variant, the experiment resulted in Samsung releasing the Note 10 Lite and S10 Lite on their own in January this year to appeal to the customers who are after a flagship experience in a smaller body with competitive specs.
The specifications of the S10e don’t make you sacrifice performance over build quality as it comes with a premium Samsung OLED display at 5.8 inches with 2280 x 1080 resolution, a generous battery at 3,100 mAh, the same chipset as on the S10 devices, 6GB of RAM and up to 1TB of expandable internal storage. In order to achieve a greater depth in shots, Samsung fitted a 12MP wide angle lens with variable F/1.5-2.4 aperture with OIS and autofocus paired with a 16MP ultra-wide lens.
The S10e also comes in vibrant colours and has a less curved screen which will appeal to those who find curved screens inconvenient because let's be honest they trigger accidental touches on the screen. The Samsung Galaxy S10e does beat its rival in the budget flagship space - the iPhone XR hands down. If you’re new to the flagship experience and Android is your choice, then the S10e will be a superb handset. Although, the retail price at launch was £669, by choosing refurbished you can save additional £200. You can pick one for yourself through our comparison of refurbished S10e deals.
Best Refurbished iPhone Under £500: Apple iPhone XR
The refurbished iPhone XR includes the basic features that make the iPhone XS a flagship for a very accessible price. The Apple iPhone XR has a traditional notch housing industry leading FaceID authentication technology at the top centre of the 6.1-inch LCD display with a more defined bezel. A 2,945mAh battery will get you through the day, and the A12 Bionic chipset with 3GB of RAM will act more intuitively when it comes to system management settings.
The XR offers one of the best single rear camera setups. It’s a wide-angle 12MP camera with F/1.8 aperture, OIS and auto-focus and it won’t fall behind what XS models' camera is capable of in low-light conditions. The refurbished iPhone XR delivers a perfect balance of features and value for money. It doesn't feature an old-school design and if you don’t mind embracing FaceID technology and a powerful single camera sounds like enough for you, the refurbished XR should be your pick. On our comparison you can search for your perfect match, and an unlocked iPhone XR 256GB in Good condition is for as low as £449.99 now.
Best Refurbished Android Under £400: Google Pixel 3a XL
Pixel phones are known for game changing smartphone photography. Add timely systematic stock Android updates to the offering, and this completes the recipe for a great handset. Google managed to deliver a clean phone with a revolutionary camera and flagship specs for a low price.
The Pixel 3a didn’t arrive without a few limitations however. This includes a missing IP rating, lack of expandable storage and wireless charging, and a less powerful Snapdragon 670 processor. Nonetheless, the Pixel 3a is an extremely good take on the revolutionary Pixel formula and the identical camera to the flagship Pixels is what makes the Pixel 3a stand out. Our merchants offer great deals on both Pixel 3a and 3a XL, and you can find an XL variant with 64GB in Very Good condition under £400.
Best Refurbished iPhone Under £400: Apple iPhone X
The iPhone X shifted the iPhone offering to a whole new level back in 2017, moving away from boring design upgrades year after year. It features a fantastic first-time-ever-on-an-iPhone OLED display, Face ID authentication technology, and a dual rear camera. The 5.8-inch display is edge-to-edge display and comes with a resolution of 2436 x 1125. The camera consists of a wide-angle 12 MP lens and a 12 MP telephoto lens with dual optical image stabilisation.
Since the iPhone X release, Apple has announced newer iPhones with more advanced cameras and processors, however the iPhone X is still an outstanding piece of hardware running on A11 Bionic and offering better value than iPhone XS models, as some might argue. Comparing deals on a refurbished iPhone X will help you save a considerable amount of money and you can pocket yourself an unlocked iPhone X 64GB in Very Good condition for under £400.
Best Refurbished Android Under £300: Huawei Mate 20 Pro
The Huawei Mate 20 Pro has distinctive features and offers premium specs in an elegant body. The display tech is comprised of an OLED panel at 6.39 inches with 1440 x 3120 resolution and will deliver a crisp and sharp content viewing experience. The device is powered by a 7 nm large Kirin 980 processor and offers up to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.
Spectacular shots in any lighting condition will be delivered by the triple rear camera setup which features a wide-angle 40 MP lens, a 8 MP telephoto with 3x optical zoom and a 20MP ultrawide sensor. The Huawei Mate 20 Pro can easily be titled as one of the most feature-packed devices, even though it is over a year old now. In addition to a fantastic front 24MP camera, rear camera array and top quality screen, the Mate 20 Pro offers a long-lasting battery and plenty of AI tricks.
Huawei has revealed that it will be bringing the Android 10 update to the Mate 20 Pro along other popular existing devices despite the ongoing trade ban with US. There are no definite timelines, but Huawei supports pre-ban devices making the Mate 20 Pro a decent pick for under £300.
Best Refurbished iPhone Under £300: Apple iPhone 8
Although, the newly released iPhone SE rightfully took the iPhone 8 spot, the refurbished iPhone 8 will deliver on what you need from your daily driver. It comes with a good old bezel design, convenient TouchID, and is powered by a great A11 Bionic chipset. Running the latest iOS, the iPhone 8 sounds like a perfect handset for a first phone for your child or for your personal use if you’re not chasing the latest tech.
Our merchants have a myriad of refurbished iPhone 8 deals to choose from with unlocked iPhone 8 64GB in Very Good condition starting from £289.99.
Best Refurbished Android Under £200: Nokia 7 Plus
The Nokia 7 Plus is a well-executed phone that feels durable and has very capable specifications. The Nokia 7 Plus is powered by a Snapdragon 660 mobile platform, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of expandable storage and can be updated to Android 9.
If you’re after something reliable with software experience close to stock Android, the Nokia 7 Plus can be your choice, and we can ensure you won’t find a flaw in it for the price of under £200.
Best Refurbished iPhone Under £200: Apple iPhone 7
When it was first announced, there was a lot of hype around the new and improved features on the iPhone 7, and even more around some of the features that Apple decided to leave behind. But this time has passed, and no headphone jack on an iPhone isn’t a big deal anymore.
With Apple releasing big devices year after year, the iPhone 7 has cemented the compact phone spot in our hearts. Being one of the most popular headsets that get traded in daily on Compare and Recycle, it is still a capable device and Apple’s generous software support makes it a good option for under £200.