Apple's iPhone is a better investment than any other smartphone because it has a higher resale value than an Android device, and it's also less expensive to own. That's according to a study from Priceonomics.
The bottom line: If you own an iPhone for 18 months and decide to resell it, you will get more money for it than any other comparable Android or BlackBerry smartphone.
The iPhone retains 53 percent of its value, versus 42 percent for Android and 41 percent for BlackBerry -- this means some $312 in cash if you resell your old iPhone on eBay or Craigslist.
The data comes from price guide site Priceonomics, which keeps track of used phones and compares the current used price to its new price (without a contract) the day it was released. The study looked at all the iPhone models and some 70 Android devices and 30 BlackBerry models.
The study also measured the hardware ownership costs of an iPhone versus Android, if you resell your phone at the end of an 18-month contract. It found that this way, the iPhone hardware costs you only just over $13 per month, while it’s some 40 percent more for Android phones.
"You can buy an iPhone 4S today and sell it a few months later on the secondary market for almost what you paid for it. However, if you buy the latest big fancy Android phone, a few months later it has lost hundreds of dollars in value," the study said. "At every stage, the iPhone retains more of its original value than Android and BlackBerry phones. Even four years later, you can sell a first generation iPhone for $110."
However, inexpensive pre-paid Android phones don't lose as much of their value as their pricier, high-end siblings. The research found phones such as the Motorola Triumph, HTC Wildfire, and Samsung Exhibit 4G, retain almost 86 percent of the original value on average.
One interesting takeaway from the Priceonomics study is that if you shell out extra dollars to get a higher-capacity iPhone, that won’t add much to its resale value, as an extra $100 upfront only adds $10 to the used device price.
Also, the study does not mention software for used smartphones, but it would seem the fact that iPhone users can update easily to the latest OS version also adds value to its resale value, unlike Android phones, many of which launch with old software and never get updated.