With the iPhone 5 release looming, here’s one way to get paid to trade

trade iPhone for cash

By Geri L. Dreiling, Esq.

Gadgets are expensive. I always weigh the benefits of having the latest iPhone, Android or Blackberry against the cost of acquiring the new device, the time needed to get it set up and the learning curve involved in getting to know a new smart phone.

Once I get to know my cell phone, I am reluctant to give it up. That’s why I still rely on my oh-so-familiar 8 gigabyte iPhone 3G which replaced an early Blackberry Pearl model.

But, living in a household where the iPhone 4 dominates, I am well aware of my phone’s limits. I envy the speed of the 4G, the front and back cameras, the quality of the photos, and the wider selection of apps available to the iPhone 4 user.

Having been eligible for an upgrade for over a year I thought now might be the time to nab the 4G or make plans for buying iPhone 5. But only if the price is right.

From iPhone 5 to iPhone 3G

I decided to compare Radio Shack’s Trade & Save program with the offerings from my carrier, AT&T.

Trading in Your Old iPhone for a Discount

Radio Shack’s Trade & Save program accepts in-store and online trades of several different cell phones made by a variety of manufacturers including Apple, Samsung, Microsoft and Toshiba.  It will also purchase a variety of other electronic devices such as game consoles, cameras, computers and MP3 players. Owners receive a discount on their purchase or a Radio Shack gift card.

As an authorized dealer for AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile, Radio Shack can check your upgrade eligibility.

I went to a Radio Shack in St. Louis where a very helpful employee, Devin, walked me through the process. I learned that my iPhone 3G would bring me $78.95. The cost of a new iPhone 4 with 16GB was $199. I could also pick up an Incipio cover and screen protector for $20.

iPhone 3G vs iPhone 4

Just up the street from this Radio Shack is an AT&T retail store. At AT&T, the iPhone 4 was the same price. The sale associate advised that AT&T doesn’t buy back old phones but did offer to give me a discount on an iPhone 4 case. I could purchase a $60 Otterbox for about $30. Another brand that retailed for around $30 could be picked up for about $15.

The Radio Shack offer was clearly the better deal, allowing me to get a new phone for just over $120.

But ultimately I decided to hang onto my old phone just a little while longer. With the iPhone 5 coming out soon, I am wondering if the price of an iPhone 4 will drop. Perhaps the iPhone 5 will be priced at a level that would tempt me to leapfrog over my iPhone 4 family members.

Whichever phone I opt for, I plan to go back to Radio Shack and asking Devin to set me up.