Buying A Used Android Phone – The Checklist


Have always have been lover of a change , unno the type who use this today and would want something new tomorrow, thus i have to sell a device and buy another with time, sometimes my budget for a new smartphone don’t add up so i would be forced to the option of buying a used android phone(what we refer to as second hand phones).

Its so unfortunate that no one is trustworthy today that even the dealer of a used device would want to make as much possible gain from a selling even cheating (but its the Nigeria business way sha), so its left for that smart buyer to know his way around to get the best of such deal.

When buying a used android phone in Nigeria(or any used phone whatsoever) I stick to two rules:

Rule 1: Don’t be in a hurry to deal.

Rule 2: Don’t be the rich guy

And most importantly

Rule 3: Don’t be the JJC (johnny just come) type

Now you probably asking why you should read this kinda long article from me telling you how to go about buying a used android phone because it might sound as easy as pay and collect deal.

Here is why;

I have made deals like this so many times(i cant count), unfortunate to say, i have been in their trap a few , but just as they term life and experience the teacher, i have learnt a lot about how to make the best of any deal so trust me, if you are not careful about this, you might just blame the devil at last.

So put on your seat belt, as we take this ride together on what to check when buying a used phone.

What To Check When Buying A Used Android Phone In Nigeria

Examine The Phone’s Case Outward Appearance

You optioned to buy a used smartphone for a reason or two don’t mean you should settle for a scrap(i mean the old roger is dead and gone to his grave kind of device).

To put it clear, you don’t have to go for a rough handled device, my kind of device must be clean to an extent, cool, i mean something worth showing a friend, like “guy look at my new device“.

Its true the outer looks can be replace (or might have already been to cover one core hardware issue like that), but what do they say, a step before another .

Here is what i would do:

I would examine the outer case to make sure there is no major damage because this will tell me if this device have hit the floor so many times and by doing so incurred a major havoc which will definitely pose a risk with time.

Check Buttons And Screen

Next after being satisfied with its case when buying a used android phone is to move forward to check the touch pad and all buttons on this device.

Its important to certify that every section of its screen is working with respect to touch input.

Check for screen crack (this might be caused from a fall which most probably might cause an unresponsive touch).

Check for uniformity in display (a blur screen might entells that this device may have taken a water bath once in a while which might lead to a touch problem too).

An unresponsive screen touch can also tell us that our to buy device have a software problem (more on this to come).

Here is a tip;

No matter how clean a device looks the button responsiveness can tell how old it is(that’s technically though, too soft or too hard button) so its important that you make sure all buttons are intact and responsive too.

You wont like a device which after a few days have a hanging screen (like our well known Blackberry Bold 2), so i will examine its screen responsiveness very well.

This will help:

Try playing a Game, Soccer will do.

A bad Display and button tells a lot about our device, Check for screen cracks and button responsiveness


The Joy of a device is its battery trust me.

In Nigeria where we see less of power, getting a used device which its power is nothing to write home about can be heartbreaking.

Here is what most dealers do;

Dealers know the worth of an original battery (thats Gold if you ask me) so before a deal for most device with removable battery they remove and switch it with a fake for a resale later, however thanks to some recent device which feature an inbuilt battery (bad market got them abi)

So this is what you should do:

Flip the device and pull out the battery for an examination some ideas on fake batteries like its weight, size e.t.c should be used to examine it for its originality.

You can also switch on your data, browse with this device a while, if possible download a heavy game like PES and play, this will tell its reduction speed.

Your Battery is the power house of your device, if its fake, make sure you cut down the price during negotiation as you can put the money together to get an original one later.

I’d Hate a blackberry battery for an Android Device, so check for battery’s originality.

Check All Ports

Many buyers skip this section most times and have themselves to blame later, once did too, only to get home and discover my charging port got issues which cost me extra bucks to fix.

Its important that when buying a used device all ports should be checked which include charging and USB port, its headphone jack port and any other port this device might feature to ascertain they function without any sort of fault.

How can you do this ?

How dose going with all necessary accessories sound(Not stressful right 🙂 )

For the USB port its advised you go with your Laptop, connect your device and try sending a file. If you find that too bulky or don’t have any, try a power bank which will check its charging.

For the Headphone jack, fix in your headphone and try playing a music, if its working, try pulling out and pulling back in to grow your confidence, if ok with that, move to the next on this checklist of buying a used android phone.

All ports on this device should be functional ie its headphone jack, charging and USB port etcertra , go with a laptop or a power bank and your earpiece for confirmation .

Check The Camera

Having a high Pixel dose not mean the camera is better than a lower pixel, therefore the camera of the device should be tested rigorously.

I will start by checking the lens to spot any form of damage, none found?, would move forward to running the camera App and take a few snapshots, video shot too and observe carefully if you experience any hitch.

Hitches to check out for include:

Blur camera: This might be due to a damaged lens, you might end up being the transfer my pictures through xender

Flash: if you noticed any issues with the flash, take a step back, if you can live with it, fight the hard battle to cut down the price of that device.

This is important if you do love taking lots of pictures, me i cant recall the last time i took a pic.

Be Sure That the Camera is functional to your taste before any money talk.

Examine Native Apps

A user might just want to sell his device due to it lost some key functions probably due to a virus attack on his native apps .

Are we buying that? Hell No.

These native app are inbuilt apps which makes your device what it is and i noticed buyers of used device don’t put this into consideration due to ignorance, they have their story to tell later so when buying a used android phone we got to be careful.

Take a quick stroll around this device to be sure we are good with all internal apps, if so we move forward to check its sim card accessibility with making and receiving calls.

Make Sure All Native Apps Are Working With This Device To Avoid Being Handicap Buying This Device

SIM Card And Calls

Why should anyone buy a smart phone which cant make and receive calls effectively, its like “its like a human without a heart” if you get the phrase.

Why should this be even coming now(please allow me leave it at this part of this article)

One key feature of a device is to make calls effectively, browse the internet and other network related stuffs, thereby bringing the need to do a network check when buying a used android phone .

How can i do this?

Make sure you have an internet data bundle and airtime prior to the test. Insert your sim card into the device properly, remove and insert again to confirm it properly working ie with full network receptor, now try calling a friend.

During the call check the receptor speaker, ask your Friend at the other end if he/she is hearing you loud and clear to check if its mouthpiece functions.

Make a call with this device to test its speakers and mouthpiece and browse the internet too to confirm network coverage

CPU-Z And Z-Drive For Software Test

This is one cool tip 70% of buyers don’t implement when buying a used android phone due to prior info.

This apps are cool for checking the specs of your device with respect to both hardware and software, you just have to download this apps and run them on the device to check its functionality.

Use CPU-Z and Z-Drive to run a check on that device

The Price

This is really the place you should be hard like rock, your ability to fight the price battle.

Prior to the battle some online stores which sell used phones like jiji will help give a benchmark for the costing and you should try to beat down the price according to your rating of the device(where it failed)


Applying this checklist am convinced you wont be the one to lose out in a deal when buying a used android phone.

If you discovered any problem with the device or the seller insist on a price not cool for the device bone the deal, you can always find another.

I might have missed a thing or two(the human brain sha) you can help me out in the comment section and i will definitely update this article.

What’s your funny story buying a used device ?, what do you think of buying a used android phone? Lets chat through the comment section.


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