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Getting your hands on the latest and highest quality versions of a phone can be a thrilling prospect. However, the accompanying high price tag of these premium handsets might dwarf the excitement, as they can take a considerable toll on your pocket. Notably, the ever-evolving technology means these phones will inevitably be replaced by a new and more advanced model within the next 12 months. As a result, many consumers are looking for alternatives to escape this cycle.
Enter the refurbished phone market, a treasure trove of high quality, lower-cost phones that not only save you money but also help reduce waste. By choosing a refurbished phone, you're opting for an eco-friendly solution that doesn’t compromise quality or performance. These pre-owned devices generally meet like-new standards and come with warranties or guarantees to ensure customers are totally satisfied with their purchase.

What is a refurbished phone? It's a handset that has been returned, traded in or had its box opened by a previous owner, before being tested or repaired to working order. It is then re-sold for a cheaper price, which is determined by its physical condition.
Now, let's delve into the top 5 refurbished phones of the year for price-conscious yet quality-seeking consumers.

1. Apple iPhone SE
Display: 4.7in LCD | Storage sizes: 64/128/256GB | Cameras: 12MP main, 7MP front-facing
Our collection of best-refurbished phones of the year presents a high-quality solution for those seeking efficiency and affordability. In the spotlight stands Apple's most affordable iPhone SE (2020), a treat not only for your pocket when bought refurbished, but also a delightful tribute to the classic design. Featuring a physical home button and chunky bezels, this device is perfect for anyone who appreciates the traditional iPhone aesthetic. Despite its compact size and light weight, it's a powerful companion for daily tasks such as browsing social media, email management, and website exploration. It's one of the most wallet-friendly ways indeed to experience the elegance of iOS.

2. Apple iPhone 12
Display: 6.1-inch OLED | Storage sizes: 64/128/256GB | Cameras: 12MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 12MP front-facing
Super Retina XDR Display, 6.1 inch (Diagonal) All Screen OLED Display, HDR Display, True Tone, Wide Colour (P3), Haptic Touch, 2000000:1 Contrast Ratio (Typical), 625 nits Max Brightness (Typical); 1200 nits Max Brightness (HDR), Fingerprint-resistant Oleophobic Coating, Support for Display of Multiple Languages and Characters Simultaneously.
The iPhone 12 is rightfully included in our list of the top 5 refurbished phones of the year, with its state-of-the-art features earning it a spot amongst the best. Despite being two generations old, this phone continues to stand its ground amongst newer models. It boasts a design that is remarkably identical to the latest iPhone 14, and with versatile cameras, MagSafe technology, and the patented iOS software, users are assured smooth operations every time. To top it off, its OLED screen provides an immersive viewing experience. Even years after its initial release, the iPhone 12 remains, undeniably, a smart and budget-friendly acquisition.

3. Samsung Galaxy S21 5G
Display: 6.2-inch AMOLED | Storage sizes: 128/256GB | Cameras: 12MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 64MP telephoto, 10MP front-facing

Get the best value with our top refurbished phone of the year – the Samsung Galaxy S21. Although the Samsung flagship smartphones may be on the S23 series now, don't discount the S21's powerful performance and premium quality. The device offers a large and vibrant 6.2-inch display, perfect for streaming videos or catching up on your social media feeds. iPhone might be king, but for Android lovers, this device makes a compelling case.
It's got an impressive triple camera feature, including a 64 MP telephoto shooter, ensuring your photos always look sharp and stunning. While it may not have all the bells and whistles of the Ultra line-up, it still packs a punch with its sleek design and enjoyable user experience. For budget-friendly yet high-quality options, it serves as an excellent alternative to the Google Pixel 5.

4. Google Pixel 6
Display: 6.4-inch OLED | Storage sizes: 128/256GB | Cameras: 50MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 8MP front-facing
In the realm of superior quality and cost-effective smartphones, it's undeniable that we hold a high regard for the Pixel series. Having extensively trialed the recently released models, we discovered that these phones repeatedly score well for their performance and cost efficiency. The Pixel 6 - a refurbished model of exemplary quality, celebrated as the 2021 frontrunner. It not only sashays a generous 6.4-inch display to enhance your viewing experience but also equips a leading-edge camera system that produces striking photos with great detail. Moreover, the Pixel series eschews unnecessary pre-installed applications guaranteeing a bloatware-free user interface. Those who prioritize aesthetic value will be delighted to note that the Pixel 6 upholds the same distinctive design principles as exhibited in the current models.

5. Samsung Galaxy S20
Display: 6.2-inch AMOLED | Storage sizes: 128GB | Cameras: 12MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 64MP telephoto, 10MP front-facing
The refurbished Galaxy S20 continues to impress, despite Samsung having released its S23 lineup of smartphones this year. Initially appearing on UK shelves in 2020, the Galaxy S20 was once the cream of the crop in Samsung's arsenal. Its top-tier build quality is still performing high-end tasks flawlessly. This refurbished phone features a high resolution, 120Hz display providing a smooth viewing experience. One of the standout aspects of the Galaxy S20 is its ability to capture exceptional images in low-light conditions. The phone might seem elusive if you're looking for a brand new piece, but it's available in 'good' condition as a refurbished model. A perfect choice for tapping into top-quality smartphone features in a budget-friendly manner.