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iPhone best at retaining resale value and offers lowest total cost of ownership

A study by Priceonomics "indicates that Apple phones are a better value than smartphones on other platforms," adding, "the market has spoken, and Android and Blackberrys do not age well."

The report notes, "If you wanted to figure out the best cell phone, you could look at all the reviews, test out all the phones, talk to all the experts, but still your assessment will be subjective. Or you could let the market tell you which phones are the highest quality by seeing which ones best retain their value over time."

Based on its sales data, which compares "a phone’s current used price to its new price (without a contract) the day it was released," Priceonomics reports that after 18 months, iPhone retains 53 percent of its retail value, compared to 42 percent for Android and 41 percent for BlackBerry.

The firm also states that "the cost of ownership of an iPhone is the lowest of all platforms," noting that an iPhone only costs $13.20 per month if you resell it at the end of 18 months. An Android phone costs 40 percent more.

Phones in general depreciate most rapidly in their first year, after which their value begins to drop more slowly, the firm notes.

However, in some situations the depreciation of a given model is completely different. "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," the site points out

"However," it warns, "if you buy the latest big fancy Android phone, a few months later it has lost hundreds of dollars in value."

In charting relative values of iPhone, Android and BlackBerry models over four years, the group notes, "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 dollars."