Samsung wants to make upgrading to your next smartphone a little easier on your wallet. Samsung Upgrade, the company's just-launched buyback program, lets folks trade in their current smartphone for up to $300 in cash when they purchase a new Samsung Galaxy device.
Like many other trade-in programs, consumers receive a quote for their current device online and then are mailed a check from Samsung within 30 days of shipping the device. However, like its namesake, Samsung Upgrade requires that you purchase a Samsung Galaxy device, meaning you can't just pocket the money you just earned like you would with other trade-in services. (You'll need to provide Samsung with proof that you purchased a Galaxy device before receiving your check.) But with so many trade-in and recycling programs to choose from, we wanted to know what makes Samsung's stand out.
Shop Around for the Best OffersTo get started with Samsung Upgrade, head to the company's Facebook page. Then plug in your phone's make, model, and service provider and you'll have a quote within seconds. We tested this service and got a quote for our Apple iPhone 4S 16GB smartphone for Verizon Wireless: $210. By comparison, Gazelle, another popular buyback program, which we've recommended multiple times, offered us $260. Even better, Gazelle offered $280 for a mint condition iPhone. Unfortunately Samsung Upgrade doesn't distinguish between good condition and mint condition and offers a max cash back of $210. This lack of distinction between new and good is a big drawback for gadget owners who keep their smartphones in pristine condition in hopes of selling at a higher price.
We then tried selling our iPhone 4S at BuyMyTronics, yet another trade-in service, and were quoted $252 for an "excellent" condition iPhone. A "new" condition (i.e. flawless) iPhone at BuyMyTronics goes for $279 — again comfortably beating Samsung's quote of $210. For our third comparison, we tried NextWorth, who offered us $263 for our iPhone 4S. All in all, Samsung's upgrade program offered the lowest return credit for our iPhone.
While not a trade-in service, we also decided to check eBay to gauge what resellers were getting for used iPhones. We saw bids on our same iPhone model reach as much as $360. What's more, we encountered similar results when researching the HTC Evo 4G for Sprint. Samsung Upgrade offered $40 for the Evo; BuyMyTronics offered $48; NextWorth $39; and Gazelle $34. With the HTC Evo 4G, Samsung's buyback price was better, but it was still not the top offer we could find.