Wholesale cell phone distributors often have vastly different phone functionality test and grading standards. While both are critical, it is important to understand that testing and grading are fundamentally different. Grading is largely subjective. Suppliers create their own grading scales based on the visual appearance of devices, as well as the size and frequency of blemishes found on the various surfaces (screen, housing, corners, edges, etc.). On the other hand, cell phone functionality tests are objective and based on the device’s functionality. A reputable distributor’s mobile phone testing procedure should always test for the same key indicators of functionality.
Resellers should be aware that one supplier’s definition of “fully functional” can look very different from that of another. In other words, while most wholesale cell phone distributors that market devices as fully functional test for basic functionality, they may not test for full functionality according to your expectations. Cell phone functionality tests are in the eye of the supplier.
It is important not to be fooled by marketing gimmicks that focus only on the number of phone functionality tests. You have likely come across suppliers that proudly market their 100-point tests. On paper, a 100-point mobile phone testing procedure sounds better than a 20-point test, but in reality, certain key metrics of functionality matter more than others. The reality is that cell phone functionality tests aren’t a numbers game. Quality of tests matters more than quantity of tests. Your first priority should be to make sure that the fully functional devices that you purchase pass the tests that matter most.
How to Test Cell Phone Functionality
The Tests that Matter Most
The best phone functionality test systems give resellers the most accurate description of a device’s capacity to meet customer expectations. Companies that buy used mobile phones in bulk need to know that the devices they order will be fully functional — as defined by end-users. At WeSellCellular, we have identified certain key cell phone functionality tests that are absolutely essential for determining whether a device will satisfy the needs of end-users. Here’s how to test cell phone functionality:
Battery Charging Test
The battery must charge and hold a charge.
A user must be able to hear clearly through the earpiece.
The headset jacks must work. Sound must transmit through a headset attached to the device.
A user must be able to clearly hear sound through the speaker.
Microphone 1 and 2 Tests
The top and bottom microphones must work. Recorded messages must be clear and strong, with no crackling.
Front and Back Camera Tests
Both cameras must take good quality photos, with accurate color and no blurriness.
Camera Flash Test
The flash must engage when On or Auto is selected.
Camera Video Test
The front camera must take good quality video with accurate color, clear sound, and no blurriness.
All areas used during normal operation must register and respond to touch.
Screen Dimming Test
Screen brightness must adjust when a user changes the associated settings.
Screen Pixel Test
100% of a device’s pixels must light up and function normally.
Proximity Sensor Test
Buttons must deactivate automatically when a handset is close to a user’s face and the screen must go dark when the device is covered.
The display must rotate with the device.
Devices must detect and connect to Wi-Fi networks.
Devices must detect and connect to nearby Bluetooth devices.
SIM Card Test
Devices must recognize the SIM card.
SD Slot Test
A device’s SD slot must recognize the presence of a card, and the SD symbol must display.
Devices must be able to make outgoing calls.
Devices must vibrate when vibration is turned on.
Face ID Test
The facial recognition feature must work.
Physical Buttons Test
All buttons (volume/home/power button/back/multi-screen/etc.) must work as intended — and smoothly.
Touch ID test
Scanners on devices with fingerprint recognition must be able to scan consistently.
Non-Critical Functional Tests
Certain tests performed by wholesale cell phone distributors fall into a gray area. Some suppliers don’t test for any low-frequency issues — especially when the cost of testing outweighs the potential benefit. Others don’t test for issues that are unlikely to bother most end users. At WeSellCellular, on the other hand, we perform numerous additional tests to cover the full spectrum of phone functionality, but we also recognize that these tests are “nice to have” rather than essential.
Battery Health Test
This cell phone functionality test measures battery health (defined by capacity). It’s important to note that regardless of the result of a battery health test, a fully functional phone’s battery will still charge and hold that charge.
Microphone 3 Test
Some phones have a third microphone, which is tested, too, even though it’s more important that microphones 1 and 2 work.
Back Camera Flash Test
This test confirms that the screen flash engages on devices with back camera flash capabilities. However, it’s much more important that the main camera flash functions and that the back camera can take photos.
Additional Camera Test
Any additional cameras are tested to ensure they take a good photo (using the same guidelines of color and blurriness), even though the likelihood of additional cameras failing when the other cameras work is low.
This extra test makes sure that multi-finger gestures such as pinching and zooming work. Most devices have no issues.
Screen Discoloration Test
The screen is tested for discoloration or burned images, but not all resellers treat this as a functional failure. Given a discount, some end users will be okay with minor display issues.
White Spot Test
Screens are tested for white spots, and they must be free of any significant spots to pass. Again, some consumers might buy phones with white spots for a lower price.
GPS Signal Status Test
This test confirms the GPS signal comes on, even though few phones have issues with GPS.
Pick Your Supplier Wisely
This article has examined in detail exactly what to expect from a good wholesale phone distributor’s testing procedure. You’ll want to remember that distributors vary in how they conduct testing, and in how well their grading matches customer expectations. This quality variance makes your choice of supplier an important business decision, because it will determine the resale value of your inventory.
Resellers considering where to buy cell phones in bulk must be sure that potential suppliers test for critical functionality. Resellers don’t need to know everything about how a wholesale cell phone distributor tests their devices, but they must be confident that the devices they’ve ordered meet key functionality requirements. Practically speaking, the only way to know for sure is to buy a small sample of devices and evaluate their quality.
At WeSellCellular, we test for all key functionality and strive to do as many additional tests as possible. Our goal is to develop a transparent and consistent industry-wide standard so resellers around the world can buy phones online with confidence. For more information about how we test and grade, visit https://wesellcellular.com/grading.