Important tips for buying genuine value for money refurbished and used phones in Kenya

We understand “New” is not for everyone especially if you are limited financially but still prefer to get some Oomph from your hard earned money. Even though the situation has not always been so especially when it comes to buying new smartphones here in Kenya but most have come to appreciate and embrace used devices as a way to own great phones without paying handsomely.   

There are a ton of places you’d easily be able to purchase a great phone, at the same time as time can tell, we also need to be careful so as not to purchase devices that have been stolen; and let’s face it phones that most muggers in Nairobi streets steal from unsuspecting Nairobians usually end up on some of these markets. We therefore need to have a list of minimum threshold so that as we maximize value for our hard earned cash, we also don’t profit thieves.

Here are some of important tips we need to adhere to when buying refurbished and used smartphones;

Source / market – where the refurbished phones are sold

Local classifieds platforms have sprung up as one of the most common places to buy used or refurbished phones, however we also must consider these platforms can as well be used buy scrupulous Kenyans to dispose items acquired illegally. We therefore need to be careful unless the seller has a physical shop and ca issue some type of documentation. From my experience, popular online platforms such as amazon and ebay have been my go-to whenever I need a used device. Some sellers will go as far as to avail background checks on the device such as IMEI and so forth. Otherwise I’d be at peace buying from a friend or someone I can hold accountable in case I have a bad run with the law enforcement.

Type of smartphone – I always prefer previous flagship devices and for a good reason

Phone manufacturers usually unveil two or more devices in a financial year targeting two of the most important niches on the market. More than often you’ll see the likes of Samsung and Apple unveil a smartphone targeting the so called power users of high-end marketing with a price tag of a thousand dollars as well another device within the hundredths range targeting those who are keen to spend less. Occasionally; after a period of two or more years, you’d be able to purchase these flagships with just a few dollars – and this is what I call value for money.  

Software Support – in the world of custom ROMS, this is a big deal

Except for iPhone users, popular flagships such as the galaxies and phones from Taiwanese manufacturer – HTC come with an unlockable bootloader. This basically means you’d be able to install the newest versions of android OS long after the manufacturers have stopped supporting the device. I’ve always had a good run with HTC as the manufacturer offers an ample way to unlock the bootloader through the HTCdev tools.


The specs must have been on the killer side within the period that device was unveiled. We don’t just buy because it cheap but has to meet some basic requirements such as amount of RAM, internal storage and whether or not supports an external MicroSD.


Examine the photos to make sure the device is presentable and still usable. You’ll be at peace with a device with all of its hardware in a usable condition than one having to be repaired or parts replaced. Finally, be ready to purchase a new battery, it’s a small price you’ll have to pay for a longer lasting device.


  1. Thanks for your enlightenment, please advice on phones compatible with our networks (both data and voice) especially Samsungs


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