Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
The upgrade cycle of smartphones

The Wrap – When should you refresh your tech?

With a new iPhone out this week, we’re finding out when is the right time to upgrade your devices? We’ll talk Android, iPhone, speakers, laptops, and more. When should you refresh your tech? Find out in five minutes.


For the week ending September 20, you’re tuned into The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and it’s not unusual to hear that your latest gadget is out of date the moment you buy it.

That’s one of the catches of technology, because it’s always getting updated and upgraded and refreshed and revived. All the time. It just doesn’t stop.

That’s certainly the case in computers, where there are new chips yearly, and changes galore. Just this week, HP offered an ultralight computer, managing to hit just under a kilogram, making the Elite Dragonfly one of the lightest machines you could find, and one that’s both a laptop and a tablet put together.

It’s just one of the year’s new computers, and there’s certainly quite a bit on the cards. With new chips from Intel that have just launched, plus a focus designed get battery life into the 16 hour mark, laptops are undergoing a change.

So when do you know when to upgrade? It’s probably not when something new comes out, because that’s all the time. We’re expecting new Apple computers in the coming weeks, plus there’s a Microsoft Surface event scheduled for October, giving you a heads up on what’s to come.

But you might want to upgrade when you feel your current computer is letting you down. If you need more performance, a more capable battery, or think you could get more achieved with a new machine, it might be time to move on.

Depending on how old your computer is, you might find a newer machine serves you better, and it should definitely make an impact on battery life and performance, as well as that whole thickness and weight thing. Laptops definitely make better use of space nowadays than they used to.

The same is true for phones, with newer phones offering bigger displays inside thinner bodies, and that’s just the start.

If you bought a new phone just last year or the year before, you’re probably fine. Unless you live on the cutting edge, you may not need something brand new. Take the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro, which are both out today.

They sport two and three cameras with new processors, but if you have an iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, or iPhone XR, you might not see much of a difference. You could probably wait a little longer until your next upgrade cycle, because you don’t need a new phone every year.

There are also other phones on the way, such as the Huawei Mate 30 Pro, a phone that’s been stuck under the question mark of will it, won’t it get an official version of Android. And the answer appears to be that it won’t, but that it will get a big 4500mAh battery, four cameras, and a lot of storage. It will have a version of Android, but if you want it to use your apps, you’ll apparently need to side-load those apps, installing them outside of how you’d just use the Google Play Store. That’s going to make it a phone that won’t be for everyone, and given there’s no pricing, that’s no real shock.

But it’s not the only new phone on the way, with at least two new Google Pixel models coming in the Pixel 4, set to be announced next month, not to mention all of the other Android phones.

So when should you upgrade your phone?

Again, when you feel you need to. If the battery isn’t performing up to expectations, check the reviews and find out what matches your need.

The camera is a big part of what we buy in a smartphone these days, so make sure to find one that deliver what you need. Every major smartphone can make calls, surf the web, check emails, and work with Spotify, but in terms of battery life and camera quality, that can differ greatly.

We’re in the back half of the year, which means you can expect quite a few headphones and speakers, so when should you upgrade them?

It’s going to sound like a broken record, but you shouldn’t upgrade just because something new is out. You’ll go broke that way. Upgrade as and when you need a gadget.

If you need a new speaker, there are a few of those out in the next week. If you want several speakers to talk to each other around your home, both Bose and Sonos have options on the way, the former in the aptly named Bose Portable Home Speaker, while Sonos has the water-resistant Move speaker. If you need a new pair of headphones, there’s change afoot there, too, with noise cancelling headphones and truly wireless earphones.

In fact, there’s a lot coming that will be out by the holiday season, so if you want to know when to upgrade, you might consider waiting until either then, or maybe just after it. New Years sales can see prices drop considerably on some devices, though sadly the iPhone is not one of those things.

They’ll drop in price a little with the new model, but that’s about it.

And that’s all that we have time for on this episode of The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. You can find out about what was on this show and more at the pickr website.

A new episode of The Wrap can be found every Friday on Podcast One, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts, but until then, have a great week. We’ll see you next time on The Wrap. Take care.

Read next