Why it Doesn’t Make Sense to Buy Every Upgraded Device

Every year, Samsung and Apple release new smartphone models with multiple options in the lineup. Apple also releases new iPad models each year. About 14% of people take advantage of the opportunity to get an upgraded device yearly, although some choose to wait another year or two. However, whether it’s a tablet or a smartphone, it isn’t necessary to upgrade so frequently.

The most obvious reason to hold back is the cost. A decent smartphone can cost over $600, and that’s a lot of money to spend every couple of years. Most people justify their upgrades because they’re getting newly released features. However, when you upgrade often, you may not actually be getting a better device.

Unless you have endless cash flow to space, here are all the best reasons to hold out for a few years or more before upgrading your device.

Your favorite protective case might not fit the latest model

Protective cases are a minor expense compared to the device, but it’s still frustrating when you’re forced to buy a new case every year when the size or shape of the newest model changes. For example, the 9th generation iPad released in 2021 was 10.2”, but the next year Apple released a 10.9” iPad.

If you look at the Apple iPhone release dates, you’ll notice a lot of differences in the size, shape, and thickness of each new device. Every person who has upgraded their phone from the beginning has had to purchase a handful of new cases along the way.

Popular case manufacturers like SUPCASE always update their inventory with new cases designed to fit new devices, so you can always buy the right case. However, if you buy a new case every year or two, those expenses will add up fast. 

If you just hang on to your device for a few more years, you can keep using it without going through the hassle of spending more money on accessories.

Marketing hypes up smartphone specs

You’ve likely seen the commercials and online ads for new smartphone models that boast about cameras with more megapixels and different lenses, new processors with additional cores and faster speeds, and other specs. All that sounds good, but that won’t necessarily translate into any discernible benefit compared to your current device.

Can you really tell the difference between photos taken with a 10-or-12-megapixel camera? Do you need 5x optical zoom or will 3x work just fine? The truth is, megapixels don’t matter unless the device also has a large sensor, and most phones have sensors too small to make a big difference. Another issue is that too many megapixels can reduce video quality through oversampling.

Don’t get caught up in the hype around phone specs. It’s just a marketing tactic designed to get you to pull out your credit card and buy the latest model.

Upgrading your devices is expensive

If you buy a new device every two years, at around $800 per device, you’re basically spending $400 per year on a new device. After ten years, that’s $4,000. If you upgrade your phone and tablet every so often, you can double those numbers.

Imagine what you could do with $4,000 or even $8,000 if you saved that over a 10 year period of time. You could buy a used car or fix things around your house. You could also put the money toward your child’s college education or take a vacation.

Devices last longer than you might think

Phone and tablet manufacturers want you to believe that you need to buy a new device every year. Their main marketing message revolves around selling you on new features, but they also make it known that they’ll slow down your device and stop providing security updates after a set number of years. You definitely want a phone that will receive security updates, and that’s where Samsung and Apple differ.

The average Samsung Galaxy receives security updates for just four years, while Apple provides security updates for phones up to eight years old. This makes the iPhone the better choice if you don’t want to get a new device very often.

Don’t upgrade unless you have a good reason

Spending hundreds of dollars on a new device every year or two just doesn’t make sense unless there’s something specific about that device that calls to you. For example, maybe you upgraded your iPhone recently to get access to the AI features. There’s nothing wrong with spending money on something you want to use. Just don’t let the marketing messages convince you to spend money every year when you don’t actually need a new device.

Written by Callum Jackson