Smartphones can be expensive for what they do. Even if you consider that they're actually handheld computers with a very small phone feature, do you really want to pay full price for something that will go obsolete without the ability to upgrade as easily as desktop computers do? If not, consider a few important specifications for finding used cell phones and smartphones that fit your usage needs and budget.
Processor Speed Is Key
It's important to hammer in that modern smartphones are simply handheld computers more than they are phones for this point. Do you buy phones to use apps? Are you tired of slow performance or poor quality when watching videos or playing games? The biggest part of your purchase should be for the processor and memory power, with everything else being vague afterthoughts.
The processor determines how fast your phone calculates instructions, and everything you do is an instruction. From turning on the phone to swiping across screens to opening apps and answering calls--because your call feature screen is simply a built-in app--your device depends on fast processing speed to get things done quickly.
As of mid-2017, 6 core and 8 core processors are the norm with 8 core processors falling behind. Cores are basically a concept that gives you the power of multiple processors in a single processing unit, as if you were able to link multiple brains together to think more efficiently. They share the load and increase speed, meaning that your apps can open, function, and close faster.
Go for nothing less than a 6 core, following processor names such as Snapdragon. Memory follows a much easier "more is better" concept, but you need to be aware that memory is sometimes incorrectly--or dishonestly--misrepresented by storage capacity.
Understanding How Memory Works
When speaking of computer memory, it's all about double data rate (DDR) memory that stores the most commonly used files. This allows the apps and information you use the most to be quickly delivered to the processor for faster calculation instead of searching your entire phone's storage for the information.
The more memory you have, the more files you can keep in this fast deliver queue. The memory speed also increases by generation, but you're not likely to find a smartphone (or any computer) that has a current generation processor and other components that somehow has old, slow memory. Newer phones in 2017 have memory speeds around 1866MHz (megahertz), which is an average speed to look for.
Many people incorrectly think that the small microSD chips/cards that you can put inside your phone for more storage are called memory. In many cases, the brands even label themselves and can be used as a type of memory for unrelated purposes. Extra storage is nice, but don't let anyone push you towards bigger SD cards when you're actually looking for memory speed. They're unrelated options.
If you need help finding a phone that's just under the current generation speeds (and prices), contact a used cell phone sales professional to discuss specifications and available stock.