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The newly-announced Samsung Galaxy S4 will be released on April 26 — much sooner than many folks expected. Yet despite this quick trip to market, waiting to buy the S4 could actually yield a decent discount; about two to four months after the S4 makes its way into consumer hands, we should start seeing deals that take as much as 50% off the subsidized price, dropping the 16GB model to about $99.
However, we realize that not everyone wants to wait for an undisclosed length of time for a deal, especially when it comes to the latest, buzz-worthy tech. But even if you want to snag the S4 on the very day it hits shelves, there's still a way to offset the cost: trade in your old smartphone and use the cash to buy the S4.
Although we're accustomed to the value of most electronics diminishing rather rapidly, smartphones are a slightly different case — at least from the consumer perspective. If you purchased a smartphone in conjunction with a new contract from your wireless provider, then you likely paid a fraction of what the device is actually worth. Wireless providers offer such subsidies in order to lock consumers in to lengthy contracts, which thereby guarantees revenue. While there are some definite cons to this model, one benefit is that consumers potentially end up with a used device that has a resale value comparable to the cost of a newly-released subsidized phone.
Most of the time, if you're at the point in which you're eligible to purchase another subsidized phone, then you're probably sporting an older model. For example, if you're buying the S4 and thus continuing along the Samsung Galaxy lineage, then you might currently have an S II. If you're crossing over from iOS, perhaps you have an iPhone 4.
Currently, the best trade-in price for a 16GB S II is $221 through Glyde. This service sells your phone on your behalf, and after associated fees, your S II will net $196.32. Meanwhile, the 16GB iPhone 4 can fetch $196.25 via Amazon Trade-In. Note that both of these quotes require the device to be in pristine condition; scuffed up devices and missing accessories will yield lower trade-in values. Considering that the 16GB S4 will likely cost $199 with a new 2-year contract, you'd end up paying just a $2 to $3 difference to get the S4.
Keep in mind, however, that trade-in rates may change as April 26 approaches. To fetch the highest price for your current phone, it's advisable to trade in your device now. However, unless you have a backup phone to rely on, you could be smartphone-less for a few weeks. And while there are trade-in sites that offer locked-in rates, Glyde will turn around and sell your phone as soon it's registered. The site estimates that, on average, the S II sells in about 48 hours, and you have to be prepared to part with it relatively soon thereafter. Meanwhile, Amazon allows a grace period of up to 30 days to send in a device, with the quoted trade-in price locked in.
If you're thinking about upgrading to the S4 and don't want to wait until the summer for a deal, trading in your current smartphone could help foot the bill. While there are a number of parameters to meet, trading in your smartphone for cash not only means your old device gets repurposed instead of tossed into a junk drawer (or landfill), but that you won't have to wait months to get your hands on the latest tech.
Not ready to trade in your smartphone? Sign up for an email alert to be notified the moment we post any deals on the S4.