Samsung announced the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3 today at its Galaxy Unpacked event. Although both phones got a price cut, at $1,799 and $999 respectively, most buyers are probably looking to avoid paying the full retail price.
Samsung has a number of pre-order offers available including up to $800 off when trading in up to four phones. Looking through the offer, I was shocked by some of the trade-in values, depending on your trade-in you may want to look elsewhere.
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I will give Samsung credit, it does reward loyalty well with devices like the Galaxy Z Fold 2 ($900) and Galaxy S21 Ultra ($750) commanding some of the highest values. Even the lowly Galaxy S20 FE ($400) delivers a solid return considering it has at times been available for just $499 new.
Samsung also is looking to lure in those Apple fans with comparable trade-in offers for the iPhone 12 Pro Max or iPhone 11 Pro Max ($750) and iPhone 12 ($650). Even the four-year-old iPhone X ($250) still carries a pretty solid return.
If you are trading in an Apple or Samsung phone, these are reasonable values and in a number of cases even generous. However, when you get to more than one device or any other brands things look a lot less rosy.
Look before you leap into these trade-in deals
During the pre-order period, you get an extra $100 on the first device that you are trading in. The values that I listed above all include that $100 bonus. The values even on the Samsung and Apple devices are still fine, but reasonable rather than generous.
Other brands are where things get downright insulting. The Pixel 4XL for example was $899 when it launched two years ago, Samsung will give you $200 for it. Again that includes the $100 bonus so they are actually only offering $100 if you trade it in with any other phones. That's the same amount that Samsung offers for an iPhone XS with a cracked screen. Pixel 5 or Pixel 4a 5G owners can forget about it as Samsung doesn't have a listing for those devices.
Are you an LG fan that is ready to move on? Things aren't looking great for you either. The last of the LG flagships, the LG Wing ($350) and the LG Velvet ($250) combined would only get you to about 60% of the $800 maximum trade-in value.
Finally, while Samsung is looking to win over Apple fans, it is apparently not worried about taking any of Motorola's foldable customers as the trade-in value for the Moto Razr 5G is a mere $150. And I'll remind you again that is with a $100 bonus applied to it.
Now trade-in values are almost always going to be lower than selling the phone yourself. You are saving a lot of hassle and the company has to now deal with those devices. It's also worth noting that Samsung has a number of other aspects to its pre-order deals like a $200 Samsung credit for Galaxy Z Fold 3 buyers. However, some of these trade-in values are just outrageous even factoring all of that in.
Unless you are trading in a Samsung or Apple phone you should look to sell your phone on Swappa, Facebook Marketplace, eBay or some other service. In most cases, you can get two to three times what Samsung is offering and you'll still be eligible for the rest of Samsung's pre-order deals.
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Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more. Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.