Should You Get the New Phone?

October 09, 2015

By Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor for BBB serving Mainland BC

It’s so tantalizing isn’t it? A year after you bought your last cell phone the powers that be unleash a barrage of new phones to tempt your eyes and ears. Once in awhile they make dramatic changes, but usually it’s a few tweaks here and there. A slightly better camera, a few more pixels on the screen and more often than not a bunch of stuff you might not really use or need. So given that your current phone is barely two years old, should you be hoping on the bandwagon and getting the shiny new hardware?

Firstly as a consumer you may want to ask yourself does your current phone meet your needs? There will always be the first adopters who must have the latest and greatest, but for the general public a new phone every year probably isn’t necessary.

The arguments for:

  1. If your phone is older than a 5 (Apple) or S5 (Samsung), experts say there is a big enough difference – both in speed and capabilities – to make the switch worthwhile.

  2. Battery life is a legit reason to make the switch. New generations of cell phones often have increased battery life and simply changing the battery on your old phone can be costly and time consuming.

  3. Is your phone beaten up within an inch of its life and being held together with duct tape? You might want the upgrade.

  4. Your current ‘youngish’ phone still holds value in a private sale or trade in.

  5. If you’re a heavy user or gamer and download a lot of apps, you may require more space and a faster device.

  6. Screen size; newer phones tend to get bigger if that’s what you require.

  7. Renewing a contract with a carrier makes it more affordable to upgrade.

  8. Our wants often over power our needs...naturally.

The arguments against:

  1. Waiting every two years means you might catch the wave of bigger, more dramatic changes to hardware. Apple, for example, usually make big changes every two years, while the ‘S’ models come out in between those years.

  2. Does your current phone meet your needs?

    1. Enough space

    2. Fast enough

    3. Good condition

    4. Big enough screen

    5. Camera meets your needs

  3. Are the software upgrades worth the extra cost getting a new phone carries? Much of this is subjective of course but should be taken into consideration.

  4. If you use your phone for core things such a texting, email and and calls, you may not need the extra power a newer model offers.

  5. The newer model may not show much of a difference in specs to the average user.

  6. The waste created by people constantly upgrading is massive and toxic to the environment.

At the end of the day you need to assess what it is you need in terms of a phone. Do your research about what each company offers and compare the hardware. And certainly find out what consumers are saying.