But by the way, what does a refurbished smartphone look like?

Grade A+, B, C… Refurbished smartphones catch your eye, but you don’t understand the grading system? We received three refurbished and refurbished phones from Recommerce. Here’s what they look like out of their box.

At a time when new smartphones are selling for more and more, the refurbished market is more and more interesting. The main advantage is obviously economic since the refurbished allows you to enjoy a recent and high-end smartphone at a price much lower than that of a new model.

The second advantage is ecological. Refurbished smartphones are devices that have already lived a first life. The second life offered to them is a good way to fight against the overproduction of smartphones and the waste of functional devices that drag on in drawers.

That being said, when buying a refurbished smartphone, there is always the fear of coming across a phone in an unsatisfactory state. That’s why we asked Recommerce to send us three smartphones to check out what they really look like.

A simple and clear notation

When choosing a refurbished smartphone, we are necessarily interested in the first place in the model and the brand of the device. But there is an additional parameter to consider: the cosmetic grade. This is a rating system implemented by refurbishing services to indicate the overall condition of a phone. This only concerns the aesthetics of the smartphone and does not reflect the reliability of the mobile or the condition of its components. The closer the rating is to A+, the better the condition of the phone.

At Recommerce, there are four grades. Here is what they correspond to:

  • Perfect condition (A+);
  • very good condition (A);
  • good condition (B);
  • good condition (C).

In concrete terms, a Xiaomi Mi Note 10 in grade C (or “correct”) will show more micro-scratches and signs of wear on its chassis and screen than a Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 in grade A+ (or “perfect condition”). That said, it is always possible to take a shell and a protective film to hide these small defects and protect the device.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 in “perfect condition” (grade A+)

For this unboxing refurbished smartphones by Recommerce, we received the phones the same way as any customer: packed in a blue and white cardboard box. Of course, the grade of the phone does not affect the quality of the sending. Inside the box, the phones are held in place by a plastic film so as not to suffer damage during transport. Delivery takes place within 24 to 48 hours after ordering.

A protective film holds the phone // Source: Johana Hallmann for Humanoid XP

Let’s start by looking at the best student of our lot: the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 in “perfect condition” or grade A+. Aesthetically, it is simply impeccable. Traces of use are visible on the edges… Only on the protective plastic film that covers new telephones. Just take it off and you’re left with a perfectly good phone.

The only flaw we found on this copy: a micro-scratch is barely visible on the back. And that’s all. The corners are in perfect condition, like the hinge. Finally, the 6.7-inch AMOLED foldable screen is not affected by the slightest impact. From near and far, we are faced with a smartphone in excellent condition of which we cannot guess a previous use.

What about performance? Recommerce guarantees it: all its refurbished smartphones are 100% functional. The service controls each device according to 56 points ranging from the state of the buttons to the proper functioning of the charging port through the stability of Bluetooth connectivity or the quality of the display. Even the main point of concern for users, the battery, is tested thoroughly. The French company ensures that the charging time offers optimal operation, close to that of a new product. And on some models, Recommerce offers an option at 25 euros, called “Energy Pack”, which allows you to take advantage of a new battery on your refurbished phone.

The box even includes a charger, absent if you take it new // Source: Johana Hallmann for Humanoid XP

The software part remains. Again, it’s flawless. The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip runs Android 11 natively, but a simple update when you first launch the device gets you the latest available version of Google’s operating system. Since November, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 has benefited from the One UI 5.0 overlay, based on Android 13. More fluid, this version also offers greater interface customization. You can change the color of the icons to match the phone theme. It is even possible to magnify the quick settings panel by integrating tiles of shortcuts to functionalities from third-party applications.

Currently sold new at a price of 999 euros, the refurbished Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 in “perfect condition” (or grade A+) is offered at 609 euros at Recommerce, i.e. a discount of 390 euros. It is supplied with a power cable, a jack adapter and a SIM card ejection key. The charging block is optional and free. On the other hand, you will have to pay a few extra euros to benefit from wired headphones.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 in “good condition” (grade B)

Smartphones in grade B (or “good condition”) are primarily aimed at those looking for a high-end smartphone at the best value for money. We want for example the Samsung Galaxy S20 that we received.

Aesthetically speaking, the smartphone looks great from a distance. Up close, it’s still a nice phone, but traces of previous use are visible. The corners and edges have micro-impacts and very small scratches. Same observation on the back of the phone.

However, like the Galaxy Z Flip 3, this Galaxy S20 is fully functional. Its Exynos 990 chip always ensures excellent performance in all uses, while its screen offers a superb display. Even autonomy, controlled by Recommerce, is there.

Once again, Recommerce provides all the necessary accessories // Source: Johana Hallmann for Humanoid XP

With the recent deployment of One UI 5.0, the Samsung Galaxy S20 can also rely on Android 13. It therefore benefits from all the new features, including extensive customization and better interface fluidity.

New, the Samsung Galaxy S20 is still trading around 500 euros, despite its two years of existence. Refurbished, this smartphone has a cheaper price of 324.90 euros at Recommerce. And, like the Galaxy Z Flip 3, it comes with a power cable, jack adapter and SIM card eject key. Again, the charging pad is free and the earphones are chargeable.

The Xiaomi Mi Note 10 in “fair condition” (grade C)

Only the “lowest” grade remains: grade C. So, is the minimum grade synonymous with a smartphone in poor condition? Recommerce proves us not and that they are perfectly adapted to a daily use.

Few aesthetic defects ultimately affect this refurbished Xiaomi Mi Note 10. Impacts are visible on the corners and edges, and a scratch can be observed on the screen.

Performances are not lacking. The proper functioning of the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 has been verified by Recommerce according to the same 56 points as the Galaxy Z Flip 3. We are therefore faced with a phone in perfect working order, both in terms of characteristics and endurance. Even the software part has nothing to envy to recent phones since the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 will benefit from the MIUI 13 upgrade, based on Android 13.

The smartphone is perfectly functional despite its “correct condition” // Source: Johana Hallmann for Humanoid XP

When taken new, the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 displays a price of 270 euros. That said, if you opt for a refurbished version in “correct condition”, you will only pay 229 euros at Recommerce.

Be careful though, the prices mentioned in the article were noted at the time of writing. They are subject to change.

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