You can still break even on iPhone 3GS upgrade

Used iPhones have incredible resale value! Put yours up on eBay or Craigslist and you should be able to recoup the full cost of an iPhone 3GS--maybe even a little more.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read
Your mileage may vary, but you should be able to sell your iPhone 3G for the same price as a refurbished 3GS.

So it has come to this: My iPhone 3G is a year old and out of warranty. Its battery ain't what it used to be. And, heavens, does it seem slow sometimes.

Needless to say, I've been eyeballing a 3GS for some time, but I still don't qualify for a price break on an upgrade--not until April, 2010, according to AT&T.

So if I want to replace my 16GB 3G with a 32GB 3GS, it'll cost me $499. It'll be a warm January day in Michigan before I spend that kind of money on a phone.

Ah, but there's another option. I can get a refurbished 32GB 3GS for $349 (provided I sign on for another two years with AT&T, of course). That's a little more reasonable, and here's the kicker: Guess what a used iPhone 3G will fetch on eBay these days?

You guessed it: right around $350. (Sometimes even more.) That amazes me right down to my sneakers, but I guess people are willing to pay handsomely for an iPhone that's free and clear of AT&T and ready for jailbreaking.

So--and this is what I'm telling my wife--I'd be crazy not to do this. After all, I do write about the iPhone for a living. I should have the latest model, right? Right? Honey, put down the rolling pin!

I'm kidding--I do most of the baking in this house. But I'm not kidding when I say I can't see any downside to making this move. Even if my old crank-start 3G brought in only $300 on eBay, I consider $50 a perfectly reasonable upgrade expenditure.

Obviously your mileage may vary, like if you're moving from an original iPhone or looking at a 3GS with 16GB instead of 32GB. Heck, you might be able to come out ahead on the transaction.

Thoughts? Discuss.