Busted Galaxy S21? Now is the best time to trade it in for a Galaxy S22

Close up of corner of Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra showing crack in glass
(Image credit: Future)

When it's time to buy a new phone, trading in your old gear is a great way to recoup some of its value, while keeping your junk drawer clear of aging lithium batteries. Unfortunately, a cracked screen can also put a crack in your dreams of buying a fancy new Samsung Galaxy S22

Usually, phone makers like Samsung will still accept a damaged phone as a trade, but at a much-reduced value, this offer tips the scales more in your favor.

Samsung is now offering a bonus to buyers looking to trade a damaged phone in. If a cracked screen is your only problem, Samsung will give you up to an extra $250 more for your trade-in phone than it normally would. 

This deal is available when you buy from Samsung directly via Samsung.com. Other than the cracked screen, the phone has to power on and function normally.

Samsung will take cracked phones as a trade for any device, but this bonus is only available to buyers looking for a phone in the Samsung Galaxy S22 family, or a Galaxy Z Flip 3, or Galaxy Z Fold 3.

For a cracked Galaxy S21 Ultra, you can collect up to $715 when you buy a Galaxy S22 Ultra, and while it may have been worth more as a trade-in, in the past, now may be the best time to strike before the upcoming phone launches reduce the value of these aging handsets even further. Samsung clearly rewards loyalty, as a cracked Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max will only net you $400 in trade. 

The deal could save you some cash if you have an old treasure buried somewhere – even an ancient, cracked Galaxy S9 from 2018 will earn you back just shy of $200.

In addition, Samsung throws in a set of Galaxy Buds, either in the form of Buds Live or Buds 2, depending on your style choice.

Analysis: dump it now before it's worth nothing

Trading in an old phone makes plenty of sense. The resale and trade value of older phones can plummet suddenly. This is especially true when a new flagship model is released. 

The older model usually drops in price as a bargain option, and that forces the trade in value much lower. When a new phone launches, sellers will offer much less for cracked screens on older phones, if they accept damaged phones as a trade at all. 

If you have a cracked screen and are thinking of a replacement instead of a fix, you're not going to find much better than the Galaxy S22 Ultra, Samsung's premiere 'flat' phone

Not even for the jam-packed foreseeable future that includes new folding Samsung phones, a new iPhone lineup, and much more before the next Galaxy S. 

Samsung's newest foldable phones are only a couple weeks from their big reveal, but we're still finding new things to love about the flagship Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, especially in when it comes to the camera's Space Zoom feature. 

Similarly, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 was a big step forward for Samsung's foldables, bringing water resistance to the flexible devices. Tomorrow's generation of Samsung foldables is rumored to be even more expensive, so now could be the best time to take advantage of a trade-in deal on today's model.

Philip Berne
US Mobiles Editor

Phil Berne is a preeminent voice in consumer electronics reviews, having reviewed his first device (the Sony D-EJ01 Discman) more than 20 years ago for eTown.com. He has been writing about phones and mobile technology, since before the iPhone, for a variety of sites including PCMag, infoSync, PhoneScoop, and Slashgear. He holds an M.A. in Cultural Theory from Carnegie Mellon University. 

Phil was the internal reviewer for Samsung Mobile, writing opinions and review predictions about top secret new devices months before launch. He left in 2017. He worked at an Apple Store near Boston, MA, at the height of iPod popularity. He has been a High School English teacher at Title I schools, and is a certified Lifeguard. His passion is smartphones and wearables, and he is sure that the next big thing will be phones we wear on our faces.