Is It Time to Upgrade Your Phone?

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Though most wireless providers allow for a phone upgrade every two years, it may not be necessary to upgrade your phone quite yet.

There are many factors to consider before upgrading your cell phone and in the end, there is no one right answer. What matters it what makes the most sense for you. Read below to determine whether or not it’s time to say adios to your current handset…
Is it time to upgrade your phone?

Physical Damages

Physical and cosmetic problems with cell phones can be quite bothersome, but nowadays there are options available to combat them, which eliminates the need to replace your phone entirely. If your screen is cracked, you may want to take it to a repair shop that can quickly fix it for you. Note that the testing and work that goes into replacing a screen can sometimes make the whole process take up to a few days.

Remember that prevention is always a better option than a remedy; protecting your phone (or tablet) with a protective and stylish case is much cheaper than finding yourself with a cracked screen.

Internal Errors

Flaws in the actual functionality can make daily use of a cell phone a major pain in the neck, as well as serving as a constant reminder that your device is subpar. One common problem with aging cell phones is battery life. A battery that won’t hold a charge is without a doubt a huge inconvenience, but it may not necessarily warrant the purchase of a new phone. Try replacing the battery and see if that solves the issue.

Another common problem is memory. There are plenty of times a cell phone user might wish they would have purchased a phone with more memory when they realize they’re running out. First, check to see if you can replace your internal memory card with a larger one, or add another memory card. Additionally, look into cloud storage. Storing photos often takes up lots of memory, so you could set your device up to download media to your computer every time you plug it in, or even use a site like IFTTT to find a recipe that will send the photos to DropBox, Google Drive, or another cloud storage service automatically.

Old Age

Many of us replace our cell phones once we feel like they’re old and unstylish, but it becomes too easy to perceive your phone as outdated when we’re constantly bombarded with new models sporting shiny features. Ask yourself this one question…

Aside from physical features, like a bigger screen, or a fingerprint scanner to unlock, can your phone handle an upgrade to the latest operating system? If the answer is no, it might be time to upgrade.

New To You Is Still New

That said, upgrading your cell phone does not mean you need to purchase the latest device through your carrier. Many phones that are one or two generations behind are still excellent phones, and you can save big when you buy a refurbished or lightly used phone from a source other than your carrier. When a new model is released, the price on the previous model will drop dramatically, even if it’s still pretty cutting edge. Do some research and determine what the major upgrades were in the last and second to last releases. If there was nothing too major, think about whether or not its worth the extra money to have the absolute latest release.

Another benefit of not purchasing your phone through your carrier’s upgrade program is that you can easily downgrade your monthly plan, or even consider getting a prepaid plan (many carriers now offer these with unlimited talk, text and data), if you’re not getting your money’s worth from the service. The cost of buying an older phone outright and choosing a prepaid plan will actually be cheaper than upgrading through your carrier, which locks you into another 2-year contract at higher monthly rates. Learn more about the difference between unlocked and no-contract phones to see which is right for you.

Don’t Fall for the Early Upgrade

On that note, the top four carriers in the country now offer early upgrade plans that give consumers the flexibility to upgrade their phones more often than every 24 months. While this may seem like a good deal, it’s very important to look at the numbers in detail. With these plans, the consumer is paying a premium to be able to upgrade so frequently; and while it may seem like a nominal fee to join the program, there are often hidden fees baked in. The Verge wrote a great article summarizing the costs of each carrier’s offering if you’d like to take a look.

I hope these tips were helpful in evaluating whether or not it’s time to upgrade, and what your best course of action is when you do decide it’s time. Now, we want to know — how often do you guys upgrade your cell phone? Tell us in the comments!

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Author: Rishon

Rishon is a millennial to the core, enjoying the spoils of modern life & documenting it on social media. Never one to be suckered into paying full price, Rishon is skilled in hunting down a deal. If only she could reconcile the satisfaction of saving with her tendency toward impulsivity (she's an Aries). When not at BLINQ HQ, Rishon can be found watching live music in DC.

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