Best Old Phones to Buy 2022: Find Great Deals

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Could a flagship of the past be your ideal phone?

High-end flagship smartphones appear in advertisements and dominate review headlines, but these innovative smartphones often cost $1,000 or more. There are also cheaper options today in the $600+ range, but we also see manufacturers like Samsung, Google, and Apple who have been offering firmware updates for years, making older flagships and other earlier high-end phones totally in for many people are okay.

Smartphones today have high-quality components, long-lasting features, powerful cameras and the ability to receive software updates for years. The flagship you’ve longed for in the past for a year or two can now be yours at a cheaper price.

The following are excellent smartphones to consider if you ignore the hype surrounding the shiny new phones coming in early 2022. They’re not in any order of precedence, but they’re all very capable phones that are definitely worth considering.

For more phone buying tips and how we make our recommendations, click here.

OnePlus 8T

Affordable, colorful and powerful

At the end of 2020, OnePlus launched a T series phone and we wondered if there would be a place for a T series as the two OnePlus phones were already extremely capable. The OnePlus 8T proved to be a solid phone with high-end specs that is now available for just $499.

The phone is available in a beautiful Aquamarine Green or Lunar Silver with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage. It is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor with support for super fast charging with a 65W Warp Charging system. A smooth 120Hz refresh rate is also found on the display. If you’re thinking of new mid-range phones in the $500 price range, I highly recommend considering a flagship of the past with the OnePlus 8T.

Advantages:

  • Affordable
  • Fast charging

Disadvantage:

  • No headphone jack
  • No support for wireless charging

Must read:

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

The latest Galaxy Note is still expensive

Samsung-Galaxy-Note-20-Ultra.jpg

The new Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is quite possibly the best business phone available today, and while it’s not a Note by name, it has all the features previously found on a Galaxy Note. If you want to own the last real note, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is still worth considering. Samsung no longer sells it directly, but places like Amazon still offer it.

The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is still a very expensive phone, even 18 months after its release. It has specs to rival the S22 Ultra with full 5G network support, a large AMOLED display with 120Hz adaptive refresh rate, full S Pen support, a very capable rear camera setup and much more. The new S22 Ultra features the latest Qualcomm processor and other software improvements.

Advantages:

  • S Pen features
  • 5G support

Disadvantage:

  • Expensive for an older model
  • Quite large

Must read:

Samsung Galaxy S21 series

Three sizes to meet your needs

Samsung-Galaxy-S21-Series.jpg

Image: Samsung

The Samsung Galaxy S21 series was announced in January 2021, with several models ranging from a smaller one to one with Samsung’s latest camera technology and support for the S Pen. There’s no silo for the S Pen, but if you don’t mind carrying the stylus around you can enjoy many of the features of a Galaxy Ntoe.

The Galaxy S21 is offered in the form of the S21, S21 Plus and S21 Ultra. There are some differences in the cameras, as well as the display and battery sizes. Samsung still sells the S21 series with prices starting at $799.99 to $1,199.99.

The cool contour-cut camera array was a nice design element, while the camera performance, especially at telephoto, was stunning.

Advantages:

  • Great camera
  • Various sizes to choose from

Disadvantage:

  • No silo for the S Pen
  • Ultra is expensive

Must read:

Apple iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max

The 2020 Pro models are still great

Apple-iPhone-12-Pro-and-Pro-Max.jpg

Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Apple’s iPhone models are sold annually, but Apple has been a leader in keeping its phones updated for years after launch. While the four iPhone 13 models are impressive, you can save some cash and grab the iPhone 12 Pro or Pro Max for 2020 and maintain a high level of productivity.

The 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max differ only in screen size and battery capacity with the Apple A14 Bionic chip and three internal storage options. The latest version of iOS is available on these phones, and the triple rear cameras help you capture amazing still photos and video content.

The iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max have a high level of water resistance and will last a full day. There are also many accessories at reasonable prices. The 12 Pro and Pro Max are no longer available directly from Apple, but can be found at other online retailers. Amazon sells refurbished iPhone 12 Pros starting at $849.

Advantages:

  • Triple rear cameras are excellent
  • Supports the latest iOS

Disadvantage:

  • 5G is not widespread enough to be really useful

Must read:

Google Pixel 5A with 5G

Google’s affordable phone with imaging capabilities

Google-Pixel-5A-with-5G.jpg

Image: Google

The Pixel 5A brings almost the same amazing viewing experience to a mid-range processor phone with a reasonable starting price of just $449. Clearance sales are common, with the price falling as low as $399, so keep an eye out for these specials. While Google continues to tweak the Pixel 6’s firmware and reliability, the Pixel 5A is a rock-solid phone with excellent camera performance that rivals flagship phones from Apple and Samsung at half the price.

With the Pixel 5A, you get a classic, fast rear fingerprint sensor, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage, a 12.2MP camera, an 8MP front camera, and a capable Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor. It’s even IP67 dust and water resistant, so you can use it anywhere you travel.

advantages

  • Great camera performance
  • Inexpensive and sales are common

disadvantage

  • No 5G mmWave support
  • No wireless charging

Likewise: Pixel 5A review

Which Old Phone Is Right For You?

While all of these options are solid, it ultimately comes down to personal preference as to which phone you choose. If you’re an avid Apple user, stick with the iPhone. However, if you’re an Android fan, the Samsung models or the Google Pixel 5A are great older phones that still offer plenty of must-have specs.

Be sure to take a look at each phone’s specific specs if you’re looking for a better camera, cheaper price point, or more storage.

phone

price

camera

camp

OnePlus 8T

$499

48MP quad camera

256GB

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

$999

108 MP triple camera

128 GB (up to 1 TB with separate MicroSD card)

Samsung Galaxy S21 series

$799-$1,199

12MP-108MP

128GB-512GB

Apple iPhone 12 Pro/Pro max

$999/$1,099

12 MP triple camera with a wide-angle, ultra-wide-angle and telephoto lidar sensor

128GB-512GB

Google Pixel 5A with 5G

$449

12.2 MP Dual Pixel and 16 MP Ultra Wide

128GB

Are there alternative old phones worth considering?

Here are a few other options to check out:


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