Tablets are available at a wide variety of price points; but savvy shoppers know that there are plenty of bargains out there, especially if you're willing to buy a pre-owned rather than a new tablet. Within just a few years, the market for used and refurbished tablets has skyrocketed -- and so has the demand. As with any other electronic device, however, it's important to know exactly what you're paying for, especially when you're buying something that's pre-owned.
Advantages of Buying a Used Tablet
Thanks to the used tablet market, buyers can get a top-quality brand-name tablet at a fraction of its current retail price. This means that, in many cases, a refurbished or used name brand, with all the bells and whistles, can be purchased for less than the price of a cheaply-made basic tablet by an unknown maker. Another advantage of buying used is that extra storage only costs a fraction of the price. This means that a 16GB tablet, if it's used or refurbished, can cost even less than a comparable new tablet with only 8GB of storage.
Buying Used Tablets Online
Thanks to the online market, used tablets are available at a huge variety of prices. As long as the site and dealer are reputable, there shouldn't be any problems; but some key essentials should be mentioned in the product description.
Here's a quick overview of what to look for in a used tablet:
Tablet Features: What to Look For
Holding a charge: Does it charge properly, and how long does it hold a charge? Are the charging cables included, and are they in good condition?
Inputs: Do the headphone jacks and other inputs work properly, and are the connections secure?
Condition: Cosmetics aren't as important as functionality, although a case that's too scratched may indicate that the tablet wasn't taken care of properly. Most buyers are willing to put up with a few dings on the case if it saves them a few hundred dollars. Screen scratches, however, are a problem, so make sure that dents and scratches are limited to the case only.
Compatibility: Before buying any tablet, used or new, it's important to make sure that it's compatible with your current Internet carrier. It's also important to check its compatibility with popular Android apps such as Google Play. A surprising number of tablets still won't take Google Play or other popular android marketing apps, so this is essential information.
Serial numbers: Make sure that the device has its original serial numbers. If they've been scratched off, then something isn't right.
Storage capability: Before purchasing a new or used tablet, decide how much storage you'll need. Be aware that some applications, such as videos and audiobooks, take up larger amounts of storage, so if you tend to keep audiobooks or videos loaded on your tablet you might want to consider opting for a 16GB instead of an 8GB tablet. Many users prefer to keep these items in cloud storage in order to save room -- plus, you can always use SD cards if you need extra space.
If a tablet is factory refurbished, this means that it has been completely overhauled by the manufacturer until it's as good as new. Refurbished tablets also come in factory-sealed packaging and retain their original accessories, as well as their original warranties. Generally speaking, refurbished tablets can be a great deal, especially if the tablet has little or no cosmetic damage.
Before shopping for a used tablet, it's always a good idea to do a bit of homework on tablets that interest you. That way, you can find out if there's a history of manufacturer's problems or user complaints for that particular model. Be sure to make a note of all the features and accessories that should come with that model, and try to find a used version that's as complete as possible.
Shopping for Used Tablets
When shopping online for a used tablet, make sure that the seller has a return policy, and always check seller feedback. Don't hesitate to ask questions, because a reputable dealer will be happy to answer any questions and clarify any condition issues. Also, be aware that "as-is" means just that. Unless you're willing to buy a non-working tablet just for parts, it's best to steer clear of "as-is" products.
Finally, before shopping the used market, make sure that you can't get a new "older generation" tablet for around the same price. Many manufacturers will sell their older stock at a substantial discount, so if you're willing to settle for last year's model, you might be able to get a brand new tablet for virtually the same price as a used one.