The secret and cheapest way to upgrade your phone and tablet

It’s time to ditch your old gear for 2015

These days a spring clean means much more than just taking a feather duster to a few cobwebs in the kitchen. Gadget fans also need to consider freshening up their phone or tablet.

Things don't stay new for long anymore, but we're going to try and make the transition from a musty old iPad 2 to a shiny new iPad Air 2 as painless as possible. It's not just about finding the best deal, but what to do about your old gear too.

There are now plenty of places that'll take old gadgets off your hands, all without having to worry about the fees, the fraudsters and the faff of eBay. But who'll give you the most for your stuff, and what should you upgrade to? Let's find out.

iPad 2

MusicMagpie — £95

CeX — £103

Mazuma —£80

Fonebank — £90

iGadgets Recycled — £118

O2 Recycle — £90

The iPad 2 used to seem like the future, but now it's fustier than an old pair of trainers. Funny how things change in just a couple of years, eh?

There are two main things wrong with the iPad 2. Design isn't one of them: it's still a looker. But some games and apps have stopped supporting the older tablet and the screen looks Minecraft-grade on the pixellation scale.

Maybe it's time to retire the old mare, eh? The obvious choice for an upgrade is an iPad Air 2 (£399), although the original iPad Air (£319) is still available is you like the feel of being ever-so-slightly off the norm — like wearing a waxed jacket out to a night club.

However, if your experience with your iPad 2 has left you sick of Apple, you might also want to think about the Nexus 9 (£319). It's Google's slightly shonkier impression of the iPad Air, one that might not please those who like their gadgets with two double dollops of luxury, but it's still pretty good and a fair bit cheaper than the iPad Air 2.

There's a fair bit of variance in the amount of money you can get for an old iPad 2, but iGadgets Recycled offers an impressive £118 for a 16GB Wi-Fi model if it's in good condition.

iPad mini

MusicMagpie — £85

CeX — £93

Mazuma —£80

Fonebank — £90

iGadgets Recycled — £108

O2 Recycle —£90

Our love affair with the iPad mini has been one of ups and downs. At first we were smitten, and our affection only got stronger when the iPad mini with Retina display turned up. Our lives had never been so pixel rich.

Then things changed. The iPad mini 3 came along and… things just weren't the same. That lust for life just wasn't there anymore and we started growing apart.

So, yeah, Apple dropped the ball a bit with the third generation of iPad mini, so we probably wouldn't recommend that as an upgrade over the first one unless you really need a fingerprint scanner. TouchID is the main difference between the second and this iPad mini. Many of you might want to think about sticking with the second-gen model (£239), as plenty of bargain-price deals are out there if you look.

As the iPad mini 2 has the same processor as the newer model, it's pretty much guaranteed to be supported by developers and Apple alike for exactly the same duration.

Once again, iGadgets Recycled offers the most cash for an old iPad mini. £108 covers almost half the cost of a newer model. Nice.

iPhone 4S

MusicMagpie — £70

CeX — £96

Mazuma —£90

Fonebank — £60

iGadgets Recycled — £72

O2 Recycle — £70

Apple didn't half cling onto the idea that smaller phones are better, that small phones are what people should and do want. All of that has been forgotten with phones like the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, though. The iPhone 4S seems comically small these days, and actually pretty chunky too, compared with Apple's latest.

However, thanks to the amazing way even ancient iPhones hang onto their value you can still get almost £100 for one. If you spent £500 originally that may not sound like a whole lot, but let's remember: it's not even 4G.

If the idea of going with the crowd and jumping into bed with a much, much larger phone is a turn-off, there are a couple of obvious upgrades. iPhones are off the menu now, but what about the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact (£400)?

It's one of just a few smaller high-end phones, and is a corker. Alternatively, the current 4G version of the Moto G (£140) has a smaller screen and is much cheaper than either. You shouldn't have to fork out all that much more after flogging you iPhone 4S. One downside: the Moto G's camera is worse than the iPhone 4S's.

If you're not sick of iOS, the iPhone 6 is fantastic. As usual, it's not cheap starting at £540 SIM-free. However, unless something very unfortunate happens to Apple's street cred you can expect it to hold its value when, a couple of years down the line, it's time to start afresh all over again.

Samsung Galaxy S3

MusicMagpie — £73

CeX —£54

Mazuma —£70

Fonebank — £72

iGadgets Recycled — £73

O2 Recycle — £62

Two-year contract at a close? We can imagine there are a lot of Galaxy S3 owners out there

desperate to lose the plastic albatross in their pocket having snagged one with a contract back in 2012.

The Galaxy S3 is still a decent phone but, well, we've come on a bit since then. You'll get around £70 for the phone from the recycler sites. That's a bit less than the iPhone of the same year, but then nothing holds onto its value like Apple gear.

The best price you'll get for the Galaxy S3 at present comes from some of the phone recycling places, which offer significantly more cash than CeX.

Tips for upgrading? Our main one is not to necessarily jump straight back in bed with Samsung. The Galaxy S5 is good, but there's plenty of competition on offer and it won't be all that long until Samsung unveils the Galaxy S6 too.

Also consider the LG G3, our top pick for top-end value. It's available for £300 if you shop around and gets you everything you could ask for in a top-end phone.

Kindle Touch

MusicMagpie — £14

CeX — £29

Mazuma —N/A

Fonebank — £4

iGadgets Recycled — N/A

O2 Recycle — N/A

The Kindle is a device that ages pretty well. Unlike phones, they don't seem out of date within a year or so. But the Kindle Touch is sadly past-it as it doesn't have a light. Bed-side lamps are so 2000 and late, as the Kindle Paperwhite taught us.

There's an issue when trying to sell a Kindle, though. Not only do fairly few gadget recycling programmes accept Kindles, the ones that do sometimes offer just a few pounds, when the thing is worth a lot more. £4 for a Kindle Touch? Hardly a good deal, is it?

CeX is by far the best way to offload an old Kindle, getting you around twice as much as anywhere else. Take it into a CeX store and they'll need to thoroughly test it before you get your cash, though. They need to make sure you haven't jammed a load of hob nobs down its microUSB slot, and so on. This normally means they keep it overnight, making you come back for the cash.

The hot news in the ereader world is the Kindle Voyage (£169), the latest-ten version of the E Ink Kindle, which gets you a lighter body and sharper screen than even the Kindle Paperwhite. The basic tech hasn't changed a good deal, but it's still pretty exciting for the bookworms out there.

Sony Xperia Z

MusicMagpie — N/A

CeX — £89

Mazuma —£60

Fonebank — £80

iGadgets Recycled — £77

O2 Recycle — £51

The Sony Xperia Z line has come a long way since the days of the Sony Xperia Z, now remembered as a bit of a dud among Sony's flagships. It's the screen that lets it down, offering nothing like the contrast and viewing angles of the latest Sony Xperia Z3.

It's quite strange to think that the original Xperia Z was only released in 2013: mostly because Sony has trotted out so many other replacements since. It's almost as if Sony was trying to bury the old thing and pretend it never happened. Having been so rapidly consigned to the past, the Xperia Z isn't worth all that much today, with some recycling services offering as little as £51.

However, at the time of writing the slightly slow-on-the-uptake CeX will give you £89 for the phone — not bad, although around the same for a year older Samsung phone.

You are going to want to get one of the current top phones to feel like you've actually upgraded, though. The most obvious upgrade would be the Xperia Z3, which gets you a much better, larger screen and better battery life. If you're not too bothered about sticking with Sony, be sure to have a fondle of the HTC One M8 and LG G3 too. They have a different style, but just as much substance.

Disclaimer: The above information is provided for comparison only – T3 accepts no liability with issues regarding recycling nor endorses any of the recycling sites listed..

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