The 2021 holiday shopping season is quickly approaching, which is really just another way of saying if you haven’t already bought a gift — now is the time to get started. You’ve likely been paying attention to any hints that may have been dropped, and you likely even made some notes of your own. Now comes the time when you review the list and figure out what you can purchase without blowing your budget.
We suspect a fair amount of shopping lists will include an iPhone, and while buying an iPhone sounds simple and easy enough — there are actually quite a few options to consider. You could head over to Apple and pick up the newest iPhone 13. But while the iPhone 13 is the latest release, it may not be the greatest release for everyone. In fact, lots of people will be better served by getting a gently used model that is a year or two older.
Buying a gently used model means getting tech that meets your daily-use needs with ease, and it also means spending less money. Of course, the Swappa marketplace has more than just iPhones, so continue scrolling to see our recommendations for a variety of different device categories.
Whether it is being used to capture memories, manage a daily schedule, listen to music, watch videos, or waste some time with a mindless game — our top pick for an iPhone is the iPhone 11 due to the mix of hardware and software features versus price. For example, the iPhone 11 camera is a dual 12MP ultra-wide and wide setup with features such as Night Mode, Portrait Mode, Portrait Lighting, and Deep Fusion for image processing.
Runner-Up Pick: The iPhone 11 is a great phone, and while prices have been getting better and better, you may be looking for something a little less expensive. Our runner-up pick for an iPhone is the iPhone SE (2020).
The iPhone SE (2020) has a home button, uses Touch ID, and is powered by the same Apple A13 Bionic chip found in the iPhone 11. The iPhone SE (2020) is also about half the price of an iPhone 11.
Our top pick for an Android smartphone is the Samsung Galaxy S20. The Galaxy S20 was released in March 20202, so it is a model that will easily last several years into the future. The Galaxy S20, as we’ve come to expect from the Samsung Galaxy line, has a top-notch camera setup. It also has support for 5G connectivity, which will help keep this phone current as we move from 4G to 5G.
Runner-Up Pick: The Google Pixel 4a 5G was released in September 2020, and is a slightly more affordable option as compared to the Samsung Galaxy S20. The Pixel 4a 5G has a great camera to capture memories. The rear camera is a 12.2MP dual pixel with features such as Night Sight and Top Shot, and the front camera is an 8MP. Otherwise, the Pixel 4a 5G features a 6.2″ FHD+ OLED display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor, 128GB of storage space, and launched with Android 11 (it can also be updated to Android 12).
If the person you’re buying a gift for is often on the go — an Apple Watch will make a great gift. An Apple Watch can help keep track of everything without always having to pull out a smartphone. An Apple Watch also handles fitness tracking such as counting daily steps, or time and distance if they are into running. Our top pick for an Apple Watch is the Apple Watch 6.
Runner-Up Pick: Our runner-up pick for the Apple Watch is the Apple Watch Series 5. The Series 5 Apple Watch offers many of the same features as the Series 6, such as an always-on display — but you can find a Series 5 at a lower price.
Smartwatch / Fitness Tracker
Apple products are top sellers in the Swappa marketplace. But since not everyone uses an iPhone, we have some additional wearable picks — a non-Apple smartwatch and a fitness tracker.
Our smartwatch pick is the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2. The Galaxy Watch Active2 has a round design, more like a traditional watch, and it can also be purchased for under $100. That said, the Watch Active2 isn’t just about being cheap — it is feature-packed with goodies such as health and fitness tracking, as well as being able to get alerts for upcoming calendar items, messages, or phone calls.
Our fitness tracker pick is the Fitbit Versa 3. The Fitbit Versa 3 is a great fitness tracker, from a company that set the standard for fitness trackers. But unlike some of the earlier Fitbit models, the Versa line also has many features that you’ll find on a regular smartwatch. For example, the Fitbit Versa 3 will notify you when you get a message or phone call. You can also track your sleep, use Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, and make payments using Fitbit Pay.
The iPad is the gold standard of tablets. The iPad is good for everything from reading a book to watching movies, surfing the web, trading text messages with friends and family, and much more. Apple has several models of the iPad, but the regular iPad is the best option for most people because it features the perfect mix of features and functionality, and you can buy one without completely breaking the bank. Our recommendation for the best iPad is the 8th generation iPad.
Runner-Up Pick: The regular iPad is often the better choice, but it isn’t necessarily the most fun choice. For this reason, our runner-up pick for an iPad is the 4th generation iPad Air. This isn’t the cheapest model available, but it does come in a variety of colors (Space Gray, Silver, Rose Gold, Green, Sky Blue), and who doesn’t want a colorful iPad? The 4th generation iPad Air was released in late 2020 and because this is a higher-end iPad (as compared to the regular iPad) — it should easily last several years without feeling sluggish.
Video game console
We realize that not everyone is a gamer, or even wants to play video games. But the Switch is a little more fun for everyone — including those who are not hardcore gamers. Playing a family-friendly video game such as what you find on the Nintendo Switch makes gaming fun for everyone, so our top pick for a video game console is the Nintendo Switch.
Runner-Up Pick: This next pick isn’t necessarily a runner-up pick, but an alternate suggestion. If you are often on the go — a Nintendo Switch Lite is a perfect choice because it means being able to game anywhere, without the need for a big screen.
Earlier in this guide, we mentioned that you can save money if you buy gently used instead of new. This is certainly true — and Swappa makes buying even easier with Buy Now, Pay Later, which lets you get the tech you want today, and pay for it in 4 easy installments spread over time.
But saving money is only one of the perks of getting your tech from Swappa. The Swappa marketplace is also easy-to-use, and perhaps more importantly — it is the safest marketplace for used tech, and we do not allow junk, which means you can shop with confidence.
If you need a bit more convincing, make sure to also read some of the Trustpilot reviews that have been left by other Swappa buyers (and sellers).
Snag the best deals on gently used tech wherever you go. Download the Swappa App today!