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eBay shells out big(ger) bucks for your old iPhone 4

Instant Sale device recycling program paying more than $300 for like-new iPhone 4s.

Earlier this week, I told you about the cash cow that now lies dormant in your soon-to-be-outdated iPhone 4 and how sites like NextWorth are upping the ante--offering to take them off your hands for as much as $250, so long as you commit to sell before the anticipated iPhone 5 announcement on Tuesday.

Turns out eBay is offering even more beef for those old devices--as they were quick to inform me. I checked it out, and currently an iPhone 4 16GB in good condition is fetching upwards of $260 at eBay's Instant Sale site.

Instant Sale is separate from the regular eBay auction site, and you won't find these offers by searching from the front page--although there is a link under the "sell" pull-down there. eBay launched Instant Sale last year in partnership with an electronics wholesaler that provides instant offers to buy old devices based on their condition. iPhone 4s in excellent condition are currently fetching in excess of $300.

Screenshot by Eric Mack / CNET

Instant Sale offers cash via PayPal for devices, paid once they've been sent in with the prepaid free shipping label you print out after accepting a price and their condition assessed and verified.

Unless you want to roll the dice and take a chance with the regular hordes on eBay, where some iPhones are fetching even higher prices (it helps if they're unlocked or come with a free Otter Box, apparently), it seems like this is the best way to unload an old iPhone.

NextWorth's deal does offer one advantage, though. You can lock in $250 for an iPhone 4 now, and they'll honor that price for 21 days, which just might be enough time to get setup with a new iPhone 5 without having to endure an intolerable period of iPhonelessness. By comparison, eBay Instant Sale requires you to send in your device within 10 days of accepting a price.

For those of us currently wandering lost in a life devoid of iPhone, the terms are not so sweet. I looked into how much the HTC Tilt sitting in my drawer might fetch from Instant Sale and found that the $15 I was offered wouldn't even be enough to buy that Otter Box case that eBay sellers are giving away free with an old iPhone.