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How to buy a refurbished PS4: What to know before you buy

Save money and make the right purchase with our guide to buying a refurbished PS4

Gaming is an expensive hobby. A new console will set you back upwards of £200, and that’s before you’ve considered the £50 you’ll have to fork out for each new game or controller, and the cost of a subscription to online services. Money you spend on your console could be money spent on games, and there’s no harm in looking for a cheaper alternative to a brand new machine. But where do you start? Buying refurbished can become a bit of a maze, and it’s easy to lose faith if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Never fear: we’re here to help. Read on for our exhaustive guide to purchasing a refurbished PS4. We’ll tell you how to avoid the most common pitfalls, find the right place to buy and protect yourself against buyer’s remorse.

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What to know before you buy a refurbished PS4

The single most important thing to bear in mind when buying a refurbished PS4 is that these items have not been completely re-fitted or cosmetically repaired. The definition of the term ‘refurbished’ has become a little looser over time when it comes to consoles, and is now taken to mean a console that’s generally ‘better-than-secondhand.’

The most common refurbishment process involves updating the console to the latest firmware, completing necessary checks on external ports, peripherals and software functionality; and ensuring that the device is factory reset.

No self-respecting seller of refurbished PS4s is going to stock products that are faulty, but it is worth noting the specifics of the refurbishment process on the company website/in-store before you buy. And as your PS4 will be pre-owned, it’s important to ensure that it’s in the best condition possible.

Where are the best places to buy a refurbished PS4?

1. Amazon

The Amazon Renewed section offers a wealth of refurbished PS4 consoles. Plenty of these are refurbished and sold by Amazon itself, while those that aren’t will be sold by an Amazon-certified retailer. If that’s the case, do your homework. Are they are a reputable outlet with a good reputation or are they known for not delivering or selling sub-par goods?

Amazon offers a simple grading system to differentiate between products that are in good condition, and those that have suffered cosmetic damage. If an item is described as ‘graded,’ it will be marked or scuffed in some way. All items will come with one controller and all necessary cables (an HDMI lead, a power lead and a charging cable for the controller) and all will come with a one-year warranty, which is absolutely crucial when buying refurbished.

Buy now from Amazon Renewed

2. eBay

eBay is very much the online marketplace it always has been, and as such it is especially crucial to check the seller’s credentials before you make a purchase. You need to make sure your seller is legitimate and the PS4 in good working order, and you also want to check that they offer some kind of warranty.

eBay protects the buyer with a money-back guarantee: if you receive anything other than the item you paid for, you are entitled to your money back. It’s also helpful to watch out for high-street retailers who have accounts on eBay such as the Tesco Outlet or PC World. These retailers are obviously a safer bet and, in the case of the Tesco Outlet, will often offer refurbished PS4 consoles at a knockdown price.

Buy now from eBay

3. Game

Like the other entries on this list, Game hosts a marketplace of second-hand and refurbished products that have all gone through a rigorous testing process. As with the other entries, you will sometimes be purchasing an item from a third party seller through the Game website, but, luckily for you, Game offers a 12-month warranty on everything they sell, so you’re well-protected against any potential faults.

Buy now from Game

What about a secondhand, non-refurbished PS4?

If you’re dead set on saving as much money as possible, you might consider buying from an individual on eBay or a site like Gumtree. In this case, it’s important to keep in mind the potential risks and pitfalls, so you might want to take the following steps when buying from a private seller.

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Buying secondhand: A brief checklist

1. Ask for proof of purchase

It’s always a good idea to make sure that the seller can provide proof of purchase for the item they’re advertising. It ensures that the item was purchased legally in the first place; ask for a receipt, paper or electronic, and make sure that you keep a copy.

This point also stands with regards to any transactions. The more evidence you have of the purchase, the easier it will be to prove your case should something go wrong.

2. Check for a returns policy

Be sure to have a back-up plan in case the item you’ve purchased has been falsely advertised (or just isn’t quite what you’d wanted). It’s unlikely that Dave from Gumtree is going to offer anything by way of buyer protection, so factor that into your considerations. Buying from a larger establishment might cost you more, but you’ll be grateful should your new PS4 croak in six months’ time.

3. Meet in a public place

Speaking of Dave from Gumtree: if you’re meeting the buyer to make the transaction, make sure to do it somewhere safe. At the risk of sounding like your parents, we think it’s important to meet somewhere open, well-lit, and busy. A shopping centre or coffee shop is perfect, especially when dealing with a high-value transaction like a console purchase.

4. Check as much as you can before you buy

You may not be able to plug the PS4 in and play a game right there on the high street, but that doesn’t mean you can’t check the console to make sure it’s up to scratch. Your first step should be to check that you’re receiving everything you were promised: a regular secondhand or refurbished PS4 ought to come with a controller, an HDMI lead, a power cable, and a USB-to-micro-USB charging cable for the controller.

Next, check the ports and buttons on the console and gubbins. Does the controller have any sticky buttons? Can you see any damage to the HDMI or USB ports/cables? If something looks off, don’t commit a single penny.

5. Pay securely

Hopefully, this is a no-brainer. If at all possible, pay securely using an app like PayPal: it’ll keep the money secure throughout the process, and you’ll also have a satisfactory paper trail should you need it later. If you must pay in cash, just don’t go flashing it about, okay?

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Forget refurbished or secondhand: which PS4 should I buy?

The spectrum of consoles is ever-expanding, and though you might think you’re simply picking between PlayStation or Xbox, the decisions don’t stop there. Fortunately, we can lend a hand in this respect, too: it’s just as important to know what you’re buying as it is to know where you’re buying it from.

The PS4 family of consoles can be split into three separate units. The regular PS4 was originally released in September 2013, making it the oldest and by now the cheapest option. An updated model, the PS4 Slim, replaced the original in September 2016. The Slim launched with an updated DualShock 4 controller as well as 5GHz Wi-Fi and HDR support, and cost £259 at launch. It’s worth a little extra if you have the option, though the original model has been patched to support HDR as well.

The PS4 family received its first significant update in November 2016 with the launch of the PS4 Pro. The supercharged PS4 will run games at 4K resolutions and even upscale games to 4K to make them look as good as humanly possible. It has a faster CPU and more graphics processing power than the straight PS4, while the console itself has had a makeover. Yet the price (£350) is actually no different to that of the original PS4 at launch.

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In terms of storage, the PS4 family gives you two flavours. The PS4 and PS4 Slim come in 500GB and 1TB versions, costing more or less depending on the storage size you choose. The PS4 Pro, meanwhile, only offers the 1TB storage option, so your hands are tied. Still, with so many classic games that take so much space, you’re likely to want more storage capacity, not less.

The PS4 is a nice luxury, particularly if you have a 4K TV, or are planning on an upgrade, but the PS4 and PS4 Slim are no slouches either. For most people the PS4 Slim is the console of choice, simply because it’s lighter, smaller, and newer than the original. But if you want to save as much cash as possible, the original PS4 can be found for as little as £80, either secondhand or refurbished.

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