The cheapest iPhone is a refurbished phone, rather than building one yourself, says Scotty, the DIY iPhone Guy
By: +David Herron; Date: November 3, 2017
A couple months ago an amazing video popped up on YouTube, a guy had built his own iPhone from spare parts. He followed that up with another video about hacking an iPhone 7 to have a headphone jack. As a result, Scotty (his name) has been getting lots of questions about whether building your own iPhone is the cheapest way to get a new iPhone. His answer, "No", falls in line with my observation on the cheapest way to get an iPhone X, Apple's newest iPhone that goes on sale today for over $1000 apiece.
Apple is playing a game on us all. They've learned how to make us lust after the latest gizmo, and how to make us think a 2-3 year old phone is worthless. Apple has one of the largest Market Cap's in history by playing that game. However, we can play that game a different way and save ourselves a ton of money.
Getting back to Scotty for a second. In the video below he points out that the iPhone he built from spare parts is essentially a refurbished iPhone. The logic board itself was refurbished, while the case and some other parts were new.
Therefore the cheapest way to buy an iPhone is to find a 2-3 year old refurbished phone. So long as you buy from a reputable dealer, the phone itself will work fine and look great. Sure it won't have the latest is gee-wow-gizmo's. If you really truly must have those latest things, understand that Apple will make you pay through the nose. If you simply need a mobile computing device (smart phone) with a telephony application that's fairly up-to-date, the phones from a generation or two back are perfectly fine.
For example - my girlfriends iPhone 4S became unreliable enough that we needed to find her a new phone. She'd bought the thing brand new 6 years ago for full price, which was about $300 at the time. Since she barely uses her cell phone it didn't make sense to spend lots of money for the latest iPhone GeeWow model.
After some searching I found a refurbished unlocked iPhone 5S with 32GB of storage on eBay for $140. After $40 for a high quality glass screen protector, and another $14 for a good quality case, total cost is less than $200. The iPhone X is over $1000 for the phone itself.
The iPhone 5S form factor is so popular that Apple still sells it -- the iPhone SE. The 5S has a decent camera, a decent size, the thumbprint sensor, the Lightning jack, and so forth. It's a fine phone and should work for my girlfriend for several years.
In other words - Apple has made people think the iPhone 5S is worthless. That's made the iPhone 5S price very low. An iPhone 4S is even cheaper, at about $80.
It means that WE the Consumers can leverage this to our advantage. Why not buy an older phone and save lots of money?
While looking for this iPhone 5S I found an upgrade possibility for myself -- The current price (on eBay) for an iPhone 6S is $360, while the current price for the iPhone 6 (what I have) is $330. I might have the exact prices wrong, but the point is that for a cost differential of $30 I could switch up to an iPhone 6S. As I recall, brand new my iPhone 6 cost about $700.