When and Why You Should Upgrade Your Phone or Not | Robyns.World

How do you know when it is time to upgrade your smartphone? Should you repair any issues with your current phone instead? Should you limp it along? Or is now the time to take the plunge and upgrade to a new device?

Our world is a busy place and we are very much an on-the-go society. Over the past 10+ years we have come to rely on our smartphones more and more. For many of us it was a novelty to start with, but the more we used our smartphones, the more apps that were created for them, and the more features they offered led us to rely on them to make life easier for both personal and work life. Since technology is constantly expanding there are new smartphones released regularly and, unless you have money to burn, buying the newest and coolest smartphone as soon as it comes out is a bit expensive.

Not only do our smartphones make regular life easier and even more fun, they have also become tremendously important in times of emergency. A couple of weeks ago I hosted the #MobileLiving chat about emergency preparedness and how smartphones can play a huge part. Because we do live in a hi-tech world and a world with chaos (the chaos has always been part of life), it is important for us to have reliable smartphones and reliable carriers for our devices. I highly suggest Verizon as a carrier. Yes, I have been working as an ambassador since 2011 but I am also a personal customer and I pay for Verizon service on my own for myself and my family. Even if I stopped working with Verizon I would still continue to be a customer on my own. Peace of mind is priceless always.

7 Questions to Consider When to Upgrade Your Phone

  1. Can You Afford It?
    This may seem obvious but a lot of folks are impulse buyers so it is not as obvious as it should be. Phones can be expensive. There are various price points and multiple purchasing options. You can buy a device at full price, get discounted price by purchasing via your carrier, and you can even spread out the cost of the phone by adding a portion to each month’s bill from your carrier.
  2. How Old Is Your Current Phone?
    Unless you just absolutely must, would-die-without, have the latest and greatest device then consider the age of your current smartphone. On average, Americans buy a new phone every 22 months. I think, currently, the 2-year rule is a good average for most people. Don’t fall for peer pressure – you do not have to upgrade constantly to keep up with the cool kids.
  3. How Is Your Battery Holding Up?
    While our phone batteries are rechargeable that does not mean they last forever. Batteries start to degrade right from the start. Is your phone charge lasting for shorter periods of time? Does it take longer to fully charge your battery? These are signs your battery is nearing the end of its functional life span. If this is happening then you need to consider how much it will cost to replace the battery. Can you easily open up your phone and take the old battery out and put a new battery in? How much does a replacement battery like this cost? Some may have a non-openable phone where you cannot just easily swap out the battery. It can still be done by professionals or manufacturer but this will be at an additional cost. Compare the cost of battery replacement to the cost of replacing the entire device.
  4. Does Your Phone Struggle or Freeze?
    It could be that your processor and/or memory is not robust enough any longer. Even though not everyone has the latest and greatest phone, app developers tend to create for those phones. Since smartphone tech has advanced so quickly you may be left behind. Games and video and photo editing are some of the heavy hitters in using up device resources. Try doing a factory reset to help with this issue. It may help a bit, but if your device is old it really may be time to update.
  5. Is Your Screen Cracked or Device Damaged In Some Way?
    The struggles of living with a cracked screen are real for many. There are ways to get a cracked screen repaired including do-it-yourself kits, returning device to manufacturer to repair for a fee, or third-party service repairs for a fee. Replacing a screen does not always result in a fixed phone though. Compare the price of the options to repair with the cost of a brand new device.
  6. Can You Take Decent Pictures and Video Still?
    Most of us only use the camera built into our phones instead of independent cameras these days. If you like to take a lot of photos and/or video than this is an important feature that needs to be working well. If you have fuzzy images be sure to check the camera lenses (front and back) on your phone and clean really well and check for cracks. Cleaning can do wonders. Cracks in a lens are pretty much a deal breaker though and it is time to upgrade your device.
  7. Do You Get Out of Storage or Not Enough Space Messages?
    Older phones have smaller storage areas. Some phones have options to easily insert an external memory card (usually MicroSD card) to help with storage but devices have limits on the size of these also. Clean up your current device to free up space. Delete unused apps. Remove old downloaded files, music, photos, video, etc. Be sure to setup your photos to automatically backup to a cloud service which allows you to delete the file sitting on your phone directly but still have access to the pictures from any device. Many carriers provide a certain amount of free cloud storage with your plan, like Verizon Cloud.

Features to Consider When Purchasing a New Device

  • Battery Replacement
    Can you easily buy a replacement battery and pop the back off your device and insert the new one or do you have to take your phone in (or mail in) to manufacturer or service to get the battery replaced? If you keep your devices for a longer time, more than 2 years, then I would opt for a device that allows you to easily replace the battery yourself.
  • Security Features
    Another aspect of technology growth is security features. Sadly, this is not something we pay enough attention to on a regular basis. When you are upgrading a phone consider the security features it has built in. Fingerprint sensors, facial recognition, and encryption capabilities should all be considered. On a side note, take this survey about security and see how you compare to others http://www.pewinternet.org/quiz/cybersecurity-knowledge/
  • CPU and Memory
    These stats are really confusing for most people. A faster CPU gives faster operations. More RAM (memory) will give you better multi-tasking and background speed. Compare these numbers in new phones you are considering.
  • Price
    Again, an important consideration, see #1 on the first list above.
  • Screen Size and Display Features
    The larger the screen size generally means the larger the phone. I happen to love a big screen and do not mind bigger phone dimensions. However, some of you like smaller phones. Comparing phones side by side can really help you see the difference of the actual screen size. The more important part is actually the tech behind the screen size. This technology keeps improving with each new year making the clarity of your display better and better. Again, look up the terms being used in phone advertising to find comparisons that actually test the claims.
  • Wireless Carrier and Data Plan
    Your phone may be the latest and greatest but if the carrier you use has poor coverage, older infrastructure, inadequate data plans, or poor customer service those benefits of the device can be lost. Again, I do work with Verizon but it truly is the provider I find to be at the top in all ways and I enjoy having that reliability. RootMetrics and J.D. Powers both have put Verizon at the top for many years. Also realize that plan options are continually changing these days and, even if you have a contract, you can still usually call your provider and change your current plan to one that suits your needs better – whether that is a greater or lessor plan.
  • Camera Specs
    Because we use our phones as our primary cameras these days the quality of the photographs and videos it can produce is really important. People get caught up in the MP (megapixel) number when looking at new phones but that is not the most important number. You need to look at the aperture, or f-value, of the camera to have better photos. Remember to check the specifications for both front and rear facing cameras on the devices you are considering.
  • Internal and External Storage Capability
    As we rely on our phones more and more we also store things on them more and more. The amount of internal storage is the most important, the more the better. Also consider if the smartphone has the capacity to add an external memory card (MicroSD card usually) and the highest capacity of that as well. Cloud storage also can do a lot, but it is nice to have on-board storage, internal and external, on our devices as well.
  • Device Materials
    This again is a tricky area because the terms used are used for branding and they all make it sound like each material is the most amazing thing ever. When comparing new phones do some research and look up tests done on those materials in phones to help you decide. A good case is still always a wise investment for any phone though to help protect from injury.
  • Accessory Availability
    Compared to some of the other things to consider the availability of accessories may seem inconsequential but many of us like having lots of options for cases and such. If you are one of these people that is really an important consideration. The iPhone line definitely has the most options, Samsung devices also have quite a few choices. With Bluetooth currently being the major player in connecting devices to accessories we all can generally not worry about this area of accessory.
  • New, Refurbished or Used
    While I am a brand new type of gal when buying phones I know that not everyone is. You also have the option of buying refurbished or factory reconditioned devices which carry the same warranties generally as brand new, but at a lower price. This does not mean they will last as long as buying new, but they are covered for the same time as buying new generally. Used devices, like you would buy on eBay, Craigslist, or from a friend are another option but there are no guarantees with these at all but the price will be the lowest.

Whew, that is a lot of information! Did you find something useful from this post about whether or not you should buy a new device now or wait? Were the tips on buying a new device helpful? What other questions do you have?

Robyn