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Should you upgrade?

The latest iPhone is here. Is it time to step up your mobile device? Year in and year out, tech companies submit their bids for the most FOMO-inducing phone on the market. Be it…

The latest iPhone is here. Is it time to step up your mobile device?

Year in and year out, tech companies submit their bids for the most FOMO-inducing phone on the market. Be it the annual offering from Apple, which recently unveiled its latest iPhone 11 lineup, or competitors like Google, which will soon launch its highly teased Pixel 4 lineup; it’s hard for consumers not to want a taste of the latest and greatest.

Despite the greatest on display, many consumers aren’t necessarily in the position to pull the trigger on a new device purchase. These days, a top-of-the-line mobile device with the latest camera technology and the large-format display will easily run you $850-1,200. On top of that, you need to consider fees associated with new accessories; you’ll need to keep your prized possession intact, wireless provider fees and more. Simply put, getting a new phone can be a costly affair. It’s something you do occasionally – like leasing a new car.

So how do you determine when it’s the right time for you to make the jump to the latest and greatest? Here’s a few things to take into consideration before making the leap.

Be the holdout

You can make virtually any phone last beyond its two-year contract life. While it may begin to falter in some areas, so long as you don’t destroy the device, keep it clean, update it frequently and properly charge it throughout its lifespan, you can make its essential functions carry you well into the five- or six-year marker – just ask my father who stubbornly carried an iPhone 4 into the eighth generation. If you’re not hellbent on taking the best images, using many mobile apps and are oblivious to the new accessibility features that regularly come with software updates, perhaps you should just wait things out until the device you have kicks the bucket.

If you want the best price

It never hurts to save some money. Waiting for phones to price drop is a bold tactic, but it often pays off. While you won’t be a first adopter, you can typically save $200-plus on your device if you wait for seasonal sales that follow a release. These sales come when demand has begun to wain – but don’t forget you’re getting the same product for much less, even if it comes at the cost of being the coolest kid on the block with the latest gadgets. Hold off for six months post-release for the best prices – typically on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. You might even save yourself from buying a first-edition model that has design flaws or might be amended in a rollout of updated models.

If your phone is still fairly new

If you were an early adopter the last time you got your phone, you might want to continue that streak to ensure you’ll get a trade-in bonus. Most mobile carriers will take that old phone of yours back if it’s in good condition and provide some savings on the purchase of your new device. However, if you wait too long, they might not take your device as it’s no longer a device they sell and cannot be offered as a refurbished model or sold for parts. The newer the device is, the more you’ll save.

Go for it

If you’re a techie and are eligible for an upgrade, you may want to go for it. You are the consumer who is likely to begin noticing the lack of new feature compatibility, changes in photosensors and image quality, and other smaller issues that arise as phones begin to age and have been used heavily. In addition, your phone might be new enough still that you can get a solid return on it.

Very little beats the giddiness you’ll receive from getting your hands on your new mobile device, so before you select any phone be certain to do your research. For most people, this is going to be your new best friend for the next two years, so be sure it’s one you’re willing to live with and comes at a cost you’re willing to pay. Each phone is different, and many come with features average consumers won’t ever use, so take the time to find a phone that meets your needs, budget and expectations.


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