You don’t want a new smartphone

Chris Burns - Jul 10, 2018
15
You don’t want a new smartphone

Here in the summer of 2018 there’s a lull in technological advancements in smartphones. You don’t need a new smartphone – you can get a device released last year, or even the year before that, that has most or all of the same essential features released in phones coming this year. There’s a bit of a trick going on that only those that’ve been buying smartphones since the start of this phenomena understand already.

When I started writing about smartphones a decade ago, the difference between one device and the next was significant. Not just significant for the hype of the situation, but significant in size, shape, and functionality. A smartphone manufacturer wouldn’t release a smartphone unless they had a new model with easy-to-recognize upgrades compared to its predecessor.

But things have changed. It’s nobody’s fault on their own, really. We’ve gotten to a place where there’s still a lot of profit to be had by smartphone manufacturers, and the way to have that profit is competition in hype. One-upping opponents in advertising and features that have no real-world necessity.

The difference between a Samsung Galaxy S and a Samsung Galaxy SII was major. The difference between a Galaxy S8 and a Galaxy S9 is practically non-existent. The same is true of an iPhone 7 to 8 or even 8 to X, regardless of how different it feels to have a display that covers just a tiny bit more of the front of the device.

Here’s what I use a smartphone for, basically:
1. Browsing the internet in a web browser.
2. Playing music with an app.
3. Sending and receiving messages.
4. Sending and receiving emails.
5. Capturing photos and videos.
6. Sharing photos and videos with my friends and family.

In the past several years we’ve reached a place where it’s more difficult to find a smartphone with a bad camera than one with a camera that’s highly capable of capturing high-quality media. I just received a Nokia 3.1 in the mail this week for review. It’s a $160 USD smartphone. It has a SINGLE camera at its back that snaps photos that are FAR better than what the most capable cameras on smartphones from half a decade ago – and the device costs a FRACTION of the price those most capable devices used to cost.

The only reason I can currently see that a new smartphone should be purchased by the average consumer is as follows. A consumer has a smartphone, handles important documents, business, and/or personal data on a daily basis, and wants to make sure they’ve got the most updated security for said data. For those people, a smartphone that’s one generation older than the newest model is a perfectly legit option.

SEE TOO: An article I wrote back in December of 2017 covers a subject very close to what you’re reading now. That article went by the name of A costly new phone doesn’t beat a free software update. That remains legit.

We’re in a place very similar to the car industry right this minute where the only real good reason to buy a brand new model is because the consumer has an excess of money burning a hole in their pocket. What say you?


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