10 Worthwhile Deals On Older Smartphones That Are Still Awesome

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Every year, companies release the best smartphones they have ever released, and it's always tempting to spend the money to get them. After all, new phones usually provide faster performance, better photography, and more enticing designs. However, as the metrics climb, so too does the price. Modern smartphones can easily go for well over $1,000, and those new phone prices aren't coming down anytime soon. The yearly refresh cycle means that there are always new phones on the horizon.

That said, just because a new set of phones comes out doesn't mean the prior generation suddenly goes bad. In fact, with the yearly refresh cycle the way that it is, phones are only gaining incremental updates from their predecessors, and you can get largely similar performances by shopping one or two generations back from what's out right now. The benefit of doing so is that you can sometimes get most of the same experience for vastly less money, especially when retailers are trying to get rid of old stock. 

As such, it's actually not a bad idea to shop for older phones. You can still find older generation phones on sale in brand-new condition, and there are many great deals on certified refurbished devices that are like new out of the box. Such devices can go for massive discounts from their MSRPs as retailers and OEMs look to sell their older stock to make room for new devices. Don't sleep on these deals, though — they won't be around forever. 

Samsung Galaxy S23 — $485

Let's start with the Samsung Galaxy S23. This phone is only one generation back from the excellent Galaxy S24 and it's already being offered at a steep discount. Right now, you can get a factory refurbished model from Target for $484.99. Given that the phone has an MSRP of $799.99, that means you're getting the phone at a 39% discount and over $300 off of its MSRP. That's not a bad deal for a phone that is still actively supported by Samsung. 

We were big fans of the Galaxy S23 when it originally launched. It features a gorgeous 1080p display with vibrant colors and deep blacks. Additionally, it gets very bright and comes with a 120Hz refresh rate for smooth visuals. The performance jump between the Galaxy S23 and S24 isn't massive, so the phone still works wonderfully even compared to today's modern smartphones. Everything else is well above average as well, including the camera system and battery life. Even the design is clean, and there are a ton of cases available

Samsung has already delivered the latest versions of Android and Samsung's One UI to the S23 series and has promised four years of Android OS updates and five years of security updates for the device as well. That means if you buy this right now, you'll get three more years of OS updates and four more years of security updates. For under $500, it's hard to beat this refurbished S23 deal, even if you shop for brand-new phones. 

Apple iPhone 12 — $250

The iPhone 12 was released in 2020, making it a bit older than many phones you can still buy brand new or refurbished. It originally launched for $799, but these days you can get a factory-refurbished model for $246.95 at Walmart or $300 at Amazon. That is well over half off for what was easily one of the best smartphones of 2020. Plus, as of this writing, the refurbished models come in most colors from both Walmart and Amazon.

Surprisingly, the iPhone 12 still comes with modern hardware. The A14 Bionic chip from the iPhone 12 is still used to this day in the current base Apple iPad model that Apple released in 2022, which means the iPhone 12 will perform nearly as well as a brand-new iPad — very solid bragging rights for a four-year-old phone. The rest of the phone is nice as well. In our review of the iPhone 12, we note the excellent cameras, solid feel, and a display that we described as having "incredible colors, viewing angles, contrast, and detail." 

Apple tends to support its devices for five to seven years on average, and the iPhone 12 has iOS 17, which is the latest version. Since Apple uses the same hardware in the current generation of the iPad, it would be surprising if the iPhone 12 didn't continue to get software updates for at least the next few years. In all, getting a $799 phone for under $300 that is still actively supported by Apple is an enticing deal no matter how you look at it.

OnePlus 10 Pro 5G — $418

The OnePlus 10 Pro launched in 2021 and was the last phone that OnePlus worked on before it merged with OPPO, at least in China. In any case, the OnePlus 10 Pro had an original MSRP of $899, which put it in direct competition with Samsung, Google, and Apple. You can still buy the phone brand new for less than half of its original price on Amazon for $418 or renewed on Amazon for $279.

That's a pretty stellar price for this smartphone. Our OnePlus 10 Pro review highlights the excellent Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, which is still perfectly competitive today, even for gamers. Additionally, it comes with a good screen, an absurd amount of software customization, an above-average camera experience, and decent battery life for its era. It even gets 5G, so you can take advantage of faster mobile phone data. The OnePlus 10 also packs fun little extras like the physical mute slider switch that is similar to what iPhones have. 

For the price, it's hard to argue with the OnePlus 10 Pro. A brand-new phone at half off its original price is the kind of deal you usually only find on Black Friday, while the renewed price is nearly 70% off its original price. For that, you get a solid phone with relatively modern specs and tons of good software customization. OnePlus doesn't have the software update policy of Samsung or Apple, but the OnePlus 10 Pro should be supported through the rest of this year and next year at least. 

Samsung Galaxy S22 — $499

Samsung phones like the Galaxy S22 are relatively easy to find refurbished. The phone originally started at $799 and is still available new for $699 today from select retailers. It is also currently on sale at Walmart for $500. It's not the most eye-popping deal on the list, but this is for the upgraded 256GB model, which retails for $859.99. It's also for a brand-new phone and not a factory-refurbished model, all of which adds a bit of wow factor to the price. 

We reviewed the Galaxy S22's larger sibling, the Galaxy S22 Plus, but the two are pretty similar outside of size. That means you get a wonderful display, quick performance from the still-relevant Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, decent battery life, and a good camera. The Walmart deal above only applies to the black version, but most people put cases on their phones anyway, so the color isn't terribly important. 

The Galaxy S22, like the Galaxy S23, is eligible for four years of Android updates and five years of security updates. The phone was originally launched in 2022, so it's about halfway through its software support life cycle. Samsung has already updated the phone to Android 14 and One UI 6, so you're not missing out on any software features by buying the older handset. If you buy this phone, Samsung will continue to support it through 2026 for OS updates and 2027 for security updates. That's not bad for $500. 

Google Pixel 6a — $299

The Google Pixel 6a launched in 2022 alongside the rest of the Pixel 6 lineup, and even then it was a budget-oriented device with a much lower MSRP than most at $449. You can currently find the phone on sale at Walmart for $299. That's a savings of $150, and you'd be getting a brand-new phone rather than a refurbished model. That drives the price of an already good phone down to levels that allow it to compete against far inferior phones in the same price range, which makes it worthy of consideration. 

In our review of the Pixel 6a, we called the phone "undeniably decent," and that's a great phrase for it. It doesn't run flagship-level specs, but it's more than powerful enough for day-to-day tasks and most mobile games. You can even play higher-end games, although you may need to turn down the settings a bit. Paired with that is an above-average screen, the truly excellent camera experience that Pixels are known for, and a reasonably good display for its price point. In short, it's not a powerhouse, but it more than justifies its price tag.

Google promises five years of software support for the Pixel 5a from the date it first became available, which means it'll continue to get Android OS updates until July 2025 and security updates until July 2027. That gives you plenty of time to enjoy your steeply discounted smartphone before you need to start worrying about upgrading to another one.

Google Pixel 7a — $374

The Google Pixel 7a is very much like the Google Pixel 6a, except it's one year newer. The phone launched in 2023 for $499, a $50 increase over the prior generation. It's already a reasonable price for another reasonably decent phone. However, it's currently on sale at Best Buy for $374, which is $125 off of its list price. That is for a brand-new phone, so you still get that fresh out-of-the-box experience. Even better, Best Buy also has all three color variants on sale as of this writing, all of which look quite good. 

Google added some extra stuff with its 2023 refresh of the Pixel a series phones, including a 90 Hz display for smoother scrolling, better battery life, and improved internals. Thus, it is objectively better than the Pixel 6a in almost every respect, including cameras, performance, display, and battery life. The extra $50 seems to have paid off pretty big for Google, as there is very little wrong with the Pixel 7a at its price point. With its discounted price, it's highly competitive and definitely worthy of consideration. 

Google's software update policy applies to the Pixel 7a as well, so the device will continue to get Android OS updates until May 2026 and guaranteed security updates until May 2028. That gives you two more years of OS updates and four more years of security updates before the phone officially loses support. Not bad for a phone that costs less than $400. 

Google Pixel 7 ($270) and Pixel 7 Pro ($309)

As it turns out, the larger, more powerful siblings of the Pixel 7a are also on sale for very reasonable prices. The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro debuted for $599 and $899, respectively. They're still sold in new condition for close to their original prices, but it is possible to get certified refurbished models for much less. Currently, you can get Geek Squad Certified Refurbished models at Best Buy of the Pixel 7 for $269.99 and the Pixel 7 Pro for $309.99. You can also choose between all three colors of each phone, although the price varies slightly. 

Google really hit their stride with the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro. They're available at reasonable prices with good performance numbers and plenty of fun little extras. The camera experience is among the best of any mobile phone from its launch year, regardless of which variant you choose. They also come with good screens, battery life, and a classier, more mature design than the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, even if it's slightly subtle. You also get a smooth and dependable Google Android experience. 

For software updates, the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro get the same treatment as the Pixel 7a. Both devices will get Android OS updates through October 2025 with guaranteed security updates through October 2027. That gives potential buyers two years of Android OS updates and three years of security updates, which is very reasonable for phones that cost $300.

iPhone 13 Pro Max — $603

Despite being two generations back from the iPhone 15, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is still a very capable device. The very top end of the iPhone 13 lineup garnered an expectedly high price tag of $1,099, which isn't inexpensive. You can buy a renewed version on Amazon for $603 at the time of this writing, which is a massive discount for a like-new device. Amazon carries five different colors for the iPhone 13 Pro Max, although the prices change slightly depending on which model you pick up. 

For your troubles, you'll get the best iPhone released in 2021. That includes excellent battery life, a gorgeous screen, outstanding cameras, and the fast A15 Bionic chip. It also includes some modern features like a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate display that can go down to 10 Hz on static images to save on battery life. Pop a case on one of these things, and you have a reliable, powerful daily driver that, as Apple products so often do, just works. 

The iPhone 13 Pro Max is also still supported by Apple in terms of software, and it should remain that way for at least a few years to come. The phone comes with the latest iOS 17 and it should continue to get iOS updates for the next couple of years. Apple's official position is five years, but many phones go as high as seven. Thus, this phone may continue to receive updates until 2026 or 2028, depending on how Apple feels about it.

iPhone 14 Plus ($599) and iPhone 14 Pro Max ($770)

The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro Max series phones are only one generation back from the current models, but you can still get them at pretty steep discounts. They debuted at the tail end of 2022 for $699 and $1,099, and Walmart sells refurbished versions of both models go for $599 and $770, respectively. The iPhone 14 Pro Max is the bigger discount, but both are fairly hefty price reductions for phones that you can still buy brand new at their original retail prices. 

In terms of performance, the two phones are fairly close, although the iPhone 14 uses the same A15 Bionic as the iPhone 13 Pro Max while the iPhone 14 Pro Max uses the A16 Bionic. No matter which one you choose, the iPhones will run all of the latest apps and games without breaking too much of a sweat. Both models also come with good battery life, excellent cameras, and a great-looking display. This is also the year that Apple debuted the Dynamic Island feature, which makes the screen cutout more useful if you use one of the supported apps. 

It's true that these two devices are more expensive than most deals on the list. However, they have only received one year of software updates from Apple, which means they still have most of their support still coming. If Apple holds true to its five years of software updates, these devices will continue getting updates through 2027 and possibly into 2028 or 2029. That's quite a long time and you'll likely be ready to upgrade again by then anyway. 

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G — $279

The Galaxy Z Flip 3 was originally launched in 2021 at a very respectable $999. It's certainly not cheap, but for foldables in 2021, it was more reasonably priced than the much larger and more expensive Galaxy Z Fold 3. You can now buy the device for way less than its original price. Currently, you can buy manufacturer-refurbished modes at Target for $279.99. That is nearly a quarter of its original price and one of the best deals on the list. 

The Z Flip 3 was among the best phones released in 2021. It had up-to-date specs for its era along with 5G, a 120 Hz display, and a vertically folding phone that is reminiscent of cell phones from the early 2000s. The device also houses a smaller screen on the outside that is mostly used for things like notifications or looking at yourself while taking a selfie with one of the phone's two reasonably good cameras. The phone doesn't benefit from advancements in the durability of newer foldables, but as long as you take good care of it, it should be okay. 

Samsung initially promised three years of software updates for the Z Flip 3, which would've put its end-of-support date in 2024. However, Samsung has since committed to five years of updates, meaning that the Z Flip 3 should continue to get software updates until 2026. That gives you two good years of support, which isn't bad for a phone that old and that inexpensive.

Samsung Certified Re-Newed phones

Most of the deals on this list will come and go. However, Samsung has a pretty decent little thing going that not many people know about in the Samsung Certified Re-Newed program, through which Samsung renews its own smartphones and sells them at a discount. You'll rarely see the kinds of crazy discounts that you would see from other online retailers, but Samsung has something that those other retailers don't have — consistency. 

As of this writing, Samsung will let you buy certified renewed devices as far back as the Galaxy S21 and as recent as the Galaxy S22 Ultra. The deals are actually fairly reasonable as well. For example, you can get the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra for $829, down from its original $1,199.99 price tag. Unlike refurbished or renewed models from other retailers, you can buy Samsung Care+ with these devices, which will protect against drops, spills, and mechanical breakdowns. That adds some peace of mind since you're getting a recycled phone. 

Certified renewed phones directly from Samsung also come with a one-year warranty on top of the optional Samsung Care+ plans. That means you can get a first-party warranty, a first-party protection plan, and a pretty good discount on a fairly excellent older smartphone directly from Samsung. The only thing you'll need to contend with is stock availability, as not every phone in every configuration or color is available all the time.