Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

When should you upgrade your phone?

There’s a new phone out every couple of weeks, sometimes more, so when is the right time to upgrade?

It’s a question few ask, but it’s definitely front of mind for many customers. We all have phones, but when is the right time to upgrade. Do you change your phone when it’s running slow, or do you change because your plan tells you to?

Unfortunately the answer isn’t necessarily easy to get to, and most of the reasoning will come down to your own opinion, your own feelings, and if you have the resources to, well, spend.

But if you’re watching the ads pop up for new phones, browsing websites like Pickr and comparing your phone to what’s on the horizon, it might be time.

First, though, let’s answer some questions you might have.

My phone is slow. Should I upgrade my phone?

The most common reason we hear from people keen to upgrade has to do with phone speed.

Simply put, your phone is a computer, and like a computer, after using it for an extended amount of time — a good six months to a year or two — chances are that it’s not going to perform like when you first bought it.

Out of the box on day one, it was blazingly fast. You told your friends, your family, and everyone you knew that this was the fastest thing around, and they squinted your way and wondered why you spoke so glowingly, almost as if you had invented the thing. But you were in love, and it was performing like an extension of your body.

Fast forward to now and it’s not quite the same. Sure, you don’t turn it off and on every few days like the experts tell you to, but even so, it doesn’t feel the same. You hesitate to use the phrase “sluggish”, but it’s not far off, as apps take a little extra time to load, and as multitasking doesn’t quite feel as slick and seamless as it should.

Overall, your phone isn’t as fast anymore, prompting you to ask the obvious question: is it time to get something new?

We can see the argument on why you should upgrade your phone, but we’d try something first: backup and factory reset.

It seems crazy, but backup everything of yours and get the phone to start again. Your contacts should be on a service like Apple or Google or Microsoft Exchange, and your music might be on a cloud service so it should keep playlists and stations you listen to on that easily. Email is likely on a service like Gmail, Outlook, or something else, so provided it’s backed up and you can reconnect to it, no worries there either.

Those other files — photos, videos, audio files, documents, and anything else downloadable — can be backed up to a computer easily enough, or even sent to the cloud, stored on Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft’s OneDrive, or Apple’s own iCloud, just make sure they’re some place safe because a phone reset generally wipes everything from the device.

Once that’s done, however, your phone will be back the way you bought it, at least from an operational point of view. If you’ve made a few dents and screen cracks, a reset won’t magically restore that hardware damage, but if the inside is still good, your system should return to the excellent condition you bought it in, and you can gradually return the files and apps and connections you use to that device over time.

In the world of computing, this sort of reset and restore has been advised for years, because the way software and hardware is installed can also slow down a computer over time. So it makes sense to try the same reset and restore procedure on a phone if speed issues are the major concern.

Worst case scenario, it fixes nothing and you have a reason to upgrade.

My phone’s battery doesn’t last a day. Should I buy a new phone?

Another common one, your phone battery is a serious reason to why you might want to upgrade, and it’s one a phone reset won’t fix.

There are technical reasons for this, too. It might be because the most recent version of an operating system has changed the battery optimisations, or it might be an application that is draining the life altogether like how some known social networking applications can.

Or it might even be that the battery was never fantastic on your phone to begin with, and your usage has changed.

Regardless of how things feel with the battery, it’s ideal to see what is consuming your battery life by heading to your phone’s power settings. Revealing the apps that are draining battery life could be a good way to prevent the battery from draining as rapidly, giving your phone a new lease on life.

That being said, the battery is one of the better reasons to consider a new phone, though it’s also one where reading the reviews is completely necessary. It’s not enough to just see four or five stars and go “yep, that suits me fine”, because phones that don’t have the best battery performance can score great reviews, too.

My phone’s screen is broken. Is it time I bought a new phone?

One thing a new phone purchase will fix is the screen: goodbye cracked display, hello shiny new reflective surface with its glass pane fully intact.

From the get go, a new phone will not be scratched, broken, or dented, and you get to set the clock back to zero, protecting it with a screen protector, a case, and doing your darnedest not to let the phone crash, burn, and turn into the one you’re thinking of upgrading from in the first place.

But you don’t necessarily need a new phone in this instance either.

In fact, if your phone has seen some wear and tear, taking it to a phone repairer is a less expensive way to fix your phone.

If you are considering upgrading to a new phone, however, and you’re still concerned by the idea that you might drop and break your screen, it might be wise to consider a phone from a manufacturer that offers a screen replacement policy, such has been the case with both Huawei and LG.

There’s a new phone out! Should I get that new phone?

Easily one of the weaker (and more dangerous) arguments for a new phone, buying one solely because it’s new and shiny and awesome and new isn’t an amazing reason.

And here’s why: there will always be something new just around the corner.

In the world of computing and smart devices, there is always something new around the corner. Even outside the field of technology, there is always something new waiting to pop up, but no more so than the field of consumer technology, where there is a product announcement mere days after the other.

That means the whole feeling of being on the cusp of the next big thing is rather short lived.

Really, this argument only works if you’re rich enough not to worry about it, and if you are, there’s a good chance you’re not reading an article about whether or not you’re worrying if you should buy a new phone.

I have the money for a new phone. Do you think I should buy a new phone?

About the only argument that always works for buying a new phone out of the blue is this one.

If you have the money and this is what you want to spend it on, go nuts. You’re an adult (or something close), and you can make your own decisions, so go nuts.

Just be sure to check the reviews before you do. That’s what they’re there for.

Read next