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(Pocket-lint) - These days, we pretty much all have mobile phones. And chances are it's always with you and does way more than just make calls and send texts.

But as they've got cleverer, phones have become more expensive. If you're buying a new phone, then usually the best way to save money is to choose last year's model (which is always slightly annoying) or to go for a refurbished handset

Why choose refurbished?

Most significantly, you can save money. Buying a used phone isn't the same as buying refurbished. With a used phone any faults or issues will still be there. When you buy a refurbished phone, especially when you go to a reputable company like Quick Mobile Fix, you can be sure that the handset you're buying has been rigorously checked over to make sure it's working perfectly, not to mention tested and reconditioned.

What does refurbished mean?

Usually it means a handset which has been returned because of a fault, or because the original buyer changed their mind about it. Then it's been repaired if there was anything wrong and tested, ensuring the battery charges and buttons and cameras and so on work. It will have been wiped of data so it's as fresh as new.

What about the looks of the phone?

If you've plumped for a refurbished phone, again from a reputable company, then you can specify the quality of the phone's looks. Grade A or Pristine, for instance. These mean you're getting something which looks as good as brand new, with no marks or scratches. But again, the price will be noticeably lower than buying new.

What other benefits are there?

Well, for one, you can still have a cooling off period after you buy, which doesn't happen when you buy a used item. With a company like Quick Mobile Fix there's a full 14-day money back guarantee so you can make sure you're happy with your purchase. This means you can buy with confidence. Say you've bought an Android phone after years on an iPhone and you just can't get used to the different operating system: then it's easy, quick and free to return it. Oh, and if you like the phone but not the condition, then you've got a 30-day exchange period.

What about the network?

One of the coolest benefits of buying a refurbished phone is you're not limited to a particular network. In almost every case, refurbished phones are unlocked so they'll work with every network and if that's not the case you'll know it up front. The other advantage of an unlocked phone is that you're not tied down to a contract for any period of time, either. And since the majority of contracts now are two years - or sometimes even longer - that's a big difference.

Anything else?

Actually, yes. There's the environmental aspect Although it looks like and works like new, buying refurbished means less waste, and an improved environmental footprint to boot!

What about a warranty?

This is an important one to check on. When you buy a used phone there's little guarantee it will work or for how long. With a refurbished phone from a decent company like Quick Mobile Fix, you get a warranty which, depending on the model, ranges from 60 days to a full year. So if there's an issue in that period with a part becoming faulty, you're covered for its repair or replacement. What's more, since Quick Mobile Fix uses only top quality parts when its repairing phones before it sells them, chances are nothing will go wrong anyway. But you're sorted if it does!

Are there any differences between refurbished and brand new?

That depends. The price will certainly be lower on refurbished, and it's worth checking if the refurbished phone comes with all accessories like headphones for instance. The box is likely to be more basic than when the phone was originally bought but beyond that, there are likely to be few differences, assuming you go to a reputable seller.