Back Market review: Changing the way people buy refurb iPhone models, and we like it

Back Market Iphone 11 Review
Back Market Iphone 11 Review (Image credit: Jared DiPane / iMore)

It's not a surprise that above all other makes and models the phone that tends to hold its value the best is Apple's iPhone. There are tons of people out there still using old models, and often when people are looking to upgrade they don't exactly care about the latest and greatest in terms of specs. With people facing monetary concerns and wanting to make sure they are spending each dollar smarter, it makes sense to look for a used iPhone, and that's where Back Market can help.

We know, you are probably wondering who Back Market even is, what they do, and why we think you should consider their service, but don't worry. We've been talking to the team for a few months now to better understand the processes that go into securing the devices and refurbishing them, how they gain trust of users, quality measures that are in place, and more. We worked with Back Market to have its warehouse send us a random device (which happened to be a Purple iPhone 11, 128GB) so that we could see for ourselves how things worked.

Overall, the experience was very positive and we believe that Back Market is a great resource for anyone looking to pay less than market value for a phone that comes with a warranty. Let's break down the good and the bad now, and see if your next phone may be from BackMarket.

What is Back Market?

Back Market is a company that was founded back in 2014 in an effort to try and change some of the thoughts around refurbished gear and bring a better name to the space. Normally, people don't like hearing the word refurbished and tend to avoid it, but over the years Back Market has done a great job of changing the narrative for its brand and making people want to consider the phones.

It works with only the best recertification factories to ensure top-notch quality from its devices.

How does buying a phone from Back Market work?

The process is pretty simple. The website is clean and easy to use, and you can search by device or keyword to narrow down the results. Back Market has things organized well so you can easily see all the iPhone models at once or the monitors together, and from there you can then sort down further by brand, model, or price point. Once you find something you like all you have to do is click the product to see the conditions it's available in, and then you can make your purchase.

Are these phones new or used?

Back Market Iphone 11 Plastic

Back Market Iphone 11 Plastic (Image credit: Jared DiPane / iMore)

BackMarket sells refurbished phones. They are not brand new, though some of them will look like they are, and they are not "used" and in "as-is" condition. BackMarket honors a full-one year warranty on the devices, and as we mentioned above there are various device conditions you can select from when buying. Every seller that joins Back Market has to go through a rigorous testing procedure which includes questions about their operations, quality, and more.

The company says:

Our mission is to restore trust and desire for refurbished devices.

It also offers a behind the scenes look at the refurbishing center and process, which is detailed in the video below.

What I enjoyed about using Back Market

Back Market Iphone Accessories

Back Market Iphone Accessories (Image credit: Jared DiPane / iMore)

I'll be the first to admit that I am a little bit OCD about my phones, and scratches still bother me. When I am looking to buy a new device I tend to only look at new options because I know they won't be scratched, dinged, or have any other blemishes. When I was looking through the Back Market site I was a bit skeptical at first, but then I realized that the company actually breaks its devices down into five different ratings which are: Stallone (the worst), Fair, Good, Very Good, and Mint (the best). When talking with Back Market I asked for a device in Good condition, and let me tell you that I was quite surprised when it arrived.

As a reference, Back Market describes "Good" condition on its site with the following comments:

Light scratches on the body that may be visible from more than 8 inches away. For smartphones and tablets: the screen is completely intact and without scratches.

While that sounded great, I wondered how it would translate in real life, and when the device arrived there was not a scratch to be seen at first glance. Now, full disclosure I did go hunting for "scratches" by taking it outside in the bright sunlight and if you look pretty closely (closer than they state) you can see some micro-abraisions on the display, but the body was in mint condiiton.

Iphone 11 Back Market Camera

Iphone 11 Back Market Camera (Image credit: Jared DiPane / iMore)

Once it passed my visual test I went ahead and got it set up to start using it as my daily driver for a bit. The phone comes in a generic box with a non-Apple charging brick and Lightning cable. This isn't exactly shocking considering they are refurbished devices, and there's also a SIM tool and some basic information about it as well.

Back Market Iphone 11 Side

Back Market Iphone 11 Side (Image credit: Jared DiPane / iMore)

After it was all set and ready to go, I realized something that wasn't mentioned anywhere was battery percentage, so I hopped into the settings and was presented with a 100% battery health which was great to see.

Everything from the ordering process to shipping went quickly, which has not been my experience when buying used or refurbished phones from other places.

What I didn't enjoy about using Back Market

Back Market Iphone Accessories

Back Market Iphone Accessories (Image credit: Jared DiPane / iMore)

Overall, the experience with Back Market from start to finish was very positive, but there are a few things that would be nice to see changed. In some cases, the pricing is a bit confusing. I reached out to Back Market for an understanding and while it makes sense, it could be viewed inconsistently by those shopping. Back Market deals with various refurbishers who are listing devices, and sometimes you'll notice that a phone in Mint condition is selling for less than one in Good condition.

Back Market is working on making this more consistent, but if you are a first-time purchaser who doesn't understand the difference it may make you feel uneasy.

It would have been nice to get Apple accessories in the packaging. I am pretty stringent when it comes to the Lightning cables that I use to charge my devices for a few reason, even though the Sharkk-branded cable said it was MFi-certified, I would prefer using something that I knew a bit better. Again, that's personal preference, and I am sure that they are tested and completely safe to use or they would not be included.

Should you buy from Back Market?

Backmarket Iphone 11 Package

Backmarket Iphone 11 Package (Image credit: Jared DiPane / iMore)

If you are in the market for a new phone and want to save some money on your purchase, it's definitely worth giving Back Market's inventory a check. Back Market has a wide variety of Apple devices in stock ranging from the iPhone to iPad, iMac, MacBook, and more. There are several models and configurations of each, so odds are what you are looking for you can find. Be sure to check often as the inventory does change, so if you are looking for one in mint condition and it isn't there today, that doesn't mean it won't be there tomorrow. Also, Back Market has a variety of non-Apple devices like laptops, unlocked phones, gaming consoles, and more.

Between the 30-day money-back guarantee and the one year warranty that Back Market offers, there is very little risk involved with saving the extra money here. Some products even offer a 24-month warranty on it, and all of the warranty options cover normal defects that can take place.

Depending on personal preference there is an esthetic condition available for everyone, and some of the savings are just too good to pass up. Right now, Back Market is offering iMore readers an extra $35 savings on any iPhone 11 with the coupon code iphone11june, so be sure to check out what's available and grab one today!

Apple iPhone 11

Apple iPhone 11

Take your pick of the iPhone 11 models on sale while you can at Back Market and use the below code to take a further $35 off. These refurb handsets are backed by a 12-month warranty. Order before things sell out or the code expires.

Jared DiPane

Jared started off writing about mobile phones back when BlackBerry ruled the market, and Windows Mobile was kinda cool. Now, with a family, mortgage and other responsibilities he has no choice but to look for the best deals, and he's here to share them with you.