Apple iPhone 4
iPhone 4 lands Thursday. Here's how to afford it:

Hey, Boston Apple Fans: You’ve already ordered the iPhone 4, dropping on Thursday, so what are you going to do with your current iPhone 3G?

(The new iPhone operating system, iOS4, launches today so you can check it out on your current iPhone, but you’ll surely be left wanting more…)

Why not sell it?

While this sounds like the ideal option, it isn’t easy if you don’t have an existing account on eBay, a desperate little brother, or some other go-to way of exchanging your iPhone for cash.

That is, unless you know about Gazelle and NextWorth — Two local companies looking to buy your iPhone 3G, clean it up, and re-sell it to an audience of buyers aching to get their hands on your ostensibly outdated hardware. These companies both fall under the online sales tagline of “reCommerce,” or eCommerce for the reselling crowd, and they’re both offering a considerable amount of money in exchange for iPhone 3G.

Both NextWorth and Gazelle ask fairly similar questions about your product:

1) Does it make phone calls? 2) Is it free of water damage? And 3) What’s the condition? (bad, fair, good, perfect?)

Once you have answered these quality control queries about your iPhone, each site quickly notes your answers and makes you an offer.

If you’re down to sell your iPhone to a reCommerce store, which local buyer do you use?  This is the question we set out to answer. Here is what we found to help you make a decision on how to best sell your old iPhone*:


Gazelle LogoPrice offer: $116

Payment method: Check, PayPal, or you can donate your money straight to charity

Shipping: Gazelle pays for shipping and handling

Key Takeaways: According to Gazelle’s website, this is how they decide on a price: “Gazelle has a sophisticated pricing engine. It gathers tons of data on your item’s value. Based on your answers to our questions, we make the best offer possible.”

Gazelle Chart
Gazelle's price time line for iPhone 3G

If you go through checkout, Gazelle will hold this price for you for 30 days, so checkout now for the best deal. A graph below the price (inset right) shows that just two months ago the same phone was worth just under $200 – and the price is dropping fast. …Also, we hear tell that Gazelle is going to launch a special marketing campaign to buy up iPhone 3Gs so be on the local lookout for that.

Green Initiatives: Gazelle is not just about buying products; they also offer a recycling initiative they call “Green is Good.” In this program, they have partnered with a number of recycling businesses that you can search for on their site. These resources will take any products that Gazelle will not accept through online transaction.


NextWorth LogoPrice offer: $107.95

Payment method: Check, gift card or e-gift card

Shipping: You can print out a pre-paid shipping label right after checkout

Key Takeaways: NextWorth not only provides free shipping, but also has partners nationwide that allow for in-store exchanges. This option allows you to not only avoid shipping and waiting for a check, but also to not only sell, but exchange as well. This way you can upgrade in one stop instead of having to overlap the new and old items.

While NextWorth does not explain how they pinpoint the amount they offer, it should be noted that Gazelle’s description does not reveal the calculations behind actual process either.

Green Initiatives: NextWorth offers to pay for the shipping of your item even if your item is not worth anything. This is a product of their push to reduce overall waste.

The Verdict

Both options have benefits, and both have drawbacks. NextWorth’s price assurance is good for only 21 days where Gazelle’s is 30 days. Gazelle does not have in-store drop-off locations, so instant transactions cannot take place. Both provide ways to recycle unwanted and worthless gadgets.

If I were to sell my iPhone 3G 16GB this week, I would choose Gazelle. The price is slightly higher and if I knew my iPhone 4 wasn’t coming for another month, I could lock in my price in advance without having to go iPhone-less. For other products, I might choose NextWorth because of their partnerships with drop-off locations.

*To demonstrate which reCommerce buyer is best, we ran numbers for the iPhone 3G 16GB with all accessories included and in “fairly good” condition. This is the phone most of the Apple geeks at BostInnovation, including myself, are currently sporting. We’ll keep trying to convert the Android fans at our publication, but I’m sure the battle will rage on long after the iPhone 4 drops.

What sorts of hoops are you jumping through to make sure you have the new iPhone? Let us know in the comments section below.

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