2019 has shown some really cool phones. 5G is now officially a thing, screens are now fingerprint sensors, and paint jobs are very similar to magic. The temptation to pick up one of them is pretty strong, especially when we grab our current phone and see how it no longer has the new car smell. Here's a crazy idea though – the features we would like will still be there next year, and the phone we already have probably still does all the things that made us want it in the first place.
New phones are fun and can be worth it. But your phone probably still works fine.
This may be an unpopular statement on a smartphone enthusiast's side, and I imagine the people who work tirelessly to show these new phones feel very different, but you probably don't have to buy a new phone every year.
All of us know the person who holds on to a phone that is four or five years old and says they will use it until it is no longer turned on. While I admire the decision, I know that most of us just can't go that way because we are enthusiasts (read: junkies in need of a technofix) and several years are like forever in the tech world. But if you have a Pixel 3 or a Note 9 or a OnePlus 6T, you could probably sit out this year and be perfectly fine. And save a lot of cash you can use to buy into another occupation.
That’s not to say that 2019 didn’t bring (or will bring, because Google likes to hold out until the end) some really innovative stuff. Design improvements – both hardware and software – are everywhere, and whatever you love most about having a smartphone probably got better with this year's phones than it did last year. I am not trying to claim that these improvements are not worth having. I is to say that they will still be there when the phone we spent a lot of money on last year is so old that we no longer appreciate it.
Of course, this is not always the case. If you want everything a Galaxy S phone has to offer but hate the rounded display, the S10e was a gift. If you had a Pixel 2 XL and the screen burned holes in your eyes, the Pixel 3 XL might have been worth buying even with that notch. OnePlus moved to a battbot robotic camera thingy. Huawei has the camera and its cool AI. If you find something you really want to see, it may be worth buying a new phone. The only right and wrong thing is what you decide. I am simply saying that upgrading just because something new is usually wrong. Fight with me.
If you're lucky, your boss buys your phone. Enjoy the perks!
Throw all of this out of the window if your boss buys your phone or you have some crazy deal from a carrier that gets you a new one at the drop of a hat. But if it's not you, think about what you can do with that money in a minute. Let's call the average cost of a new flagship phone $ 800. If you buy a new phone every two years instead of annually, you save $ 4,000 over 10 years. Do you get the extra $ 4,000 pleasure because you bought a new phone every year? Or would you rather buy Fill in the blank with the cash? I'd rather buy a pony made of diamonds or something myself.
I am happy with my current phone and the money I save if I do not upgrade.
I'm not immune to this, but I'm really scaled back. I got a company-supplied Pixel 3 last year and get a company-delivered Pixel 4 this year. I need one to do my job, and since I'm not paying, I gladly take the new model when it arrives. But I'm also really happy with my other phone and the BlackBerry will have to wow me with a KEY3 before it can convince me to send money. All the things I liked about it when it was new are still things worth liking, and while a new or two feature is cool, they should be cool enough to justify the cost of upgrading. In most cases, I don't see that reason from phone manufacturers now.
Maybe we've reached the top smartphone, or maybe phone manufacturers like to hold back every two years. All I know is that no matter how nice the Note 10 or Pixel 4 look looks, I just don't see any reason to throw away a working phone that I liked enough to buy in 2018. If you do so, go for it. Be happy. That's what really matters.
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