The iPhone 5 is out, and maybe you want one. Or you're just sick of your phone, so you want to sell it and upgrade ahead of your carrier's two-year plan. You can sell yours on eBay, but that can be mighty tricky. So what should you do?
eBay itself is, obviously, a well-tested means of selling things. But let me ask you a few questions. Which carriers does your phone work with? What international bands does it support, for those looking to use it outside the U.S.? How, exactly, would you describe its condition? Is your phone "unlocked"? Do you mean carrier-unlocked, or software-unlocked? Which baseband version does it have installed?
Those are not hypotheticals. Those are all questions posed to me, at one point or another, by potential eBay buyers of phones and tablets I've tried to sell. This is why I am going to point out some sites for selling your goods and getting a decent price for a decently easy transaction.
Gazelle: If you listen to podcasts or read nearly anything about the iPhone 5 these past few weeks, you've likely heard of Gazelle, because they are on a "Sell your iPhone" advertising blitz. Gazelle has picked up more than $26 million in venture investment, because they are inching closer and closer to the perfect midpoint between "Tell us about your thing" and "Here is some money." Gazelle's interface is simple, the questions are kept to a minimum, and, according to ReadWriteWeb, Gazelle is paying $287 to $313 for the iPhone 4S, without it be unlocked. Gazelle offered me $139 for a "like new" Galaxy Nexus phone made for Verizon's network, as a point of comparison.
NextWorth: Basically a direct competitor to Gazelle, with almost the exact same questions asked. More than one news site jumping on the "Where to sell your phone" wagon this week (ahem) claims that NextWorth offers a few bucks more than Gazelle on most iPhones. On that same Verizon Galaxy Nexus, NextWorth offered $63.72. Which leads me to ...
Swappa: Swappa is an Android-only site for buying and selling, and they go out of their way to state that they are merely a facilitator of person-to-person sales. As a result, you can get more for your device if you know what is special about it: lots of accessories, extra batteries, modified to run a newer version of Android, and so on. The front page shows a Verizon Galaxy Nexus starting at $280. You'll have to do a bit more to prove your veracity as a seller (including taking a picture of your device with your seller code written out on paper), but the right device can fetch a nicer price.
RadioShack: Seriously. Did you know you can trade your phone in at RadioShack? Online, or, if you're leaving town and need to drop off your phone right now, they'll take your iPhone, or Android, or other device, and give you money for it. $300 for the iPhone 4S isn't too bad, in any case.