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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Should I buy a new smartphone? Three questions to help you decide

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Every smartphone manufacturer, be it Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi or anyone else, wants you and me to buy new smartphones on a regular basis. They bombard us with juicy marketing campaigns, beautifully explaining why every change in a new model is a real revolution, without which you simply cannot live any longer.

And although the new items, for the most part, do not differ much from the two or three previous generations, the message of the brands is something like this: the smartphone that you have is no longer good enough, but the new one has a better camera, a brighter screen and a new super-fast chipset.

In addition, now autumn is the time for big announcements when on the eve of the New Year and Christmas holidays, manufacturers are trying to show as many new products as possible so that you and I will certainly want to get them “under the Christmas tree”.

This state of affairs provokes an annual dilemma for many: is it really time for an upgrade?

What could be wrong?

We all know that after a few years (or even months) our smartphone is not working as well as it used to be. Probably, it already sluggishly “digests” modern software, slows down, does not receive software updates, or some components begin to fail. At some point, the purchase of a new device really becomes relevant, for example, if the cost of replacing a part is too high, or, in principle, nothing can be done with a smartphone.

But if we talk about relatively fresh devices a year or two old, then often the upgrade will not be so rational, also because some things that can upset or annoy us are quite easy to fix.

One way or another, buying a new smartphone is everyone’s personal business, but we will help you ask yourself three specific questions that will help you decide whether to upgrade or not. Here they are!

Am I unhappy with my smartphone? If so, why?

The first step is to objectively assess your satisfaction with the current device and determine a specific list of claims if any.

The list of the most common complaints includes:

  1. Significantly decreased autonomy – if the new device kept a stable charge during the day, but after a while began to “demand” the outlet before the evening.
  2. Decreased performance – if the device starts to slow down and dull where it used to work flawlessly.
  3. Out of memory – if the smartphone starts to issue a notification from time to time that free space is running out.

You can try to solve each of these problems without major investments in repairs or in a new device.

The problem with autonomy is solved trite – by replacing the battery. Yes, modern smartphones do not allow you to do it yourself, but you will be happy to help at service centres. On my own, I can recommend contacting only authorized partners, a list of which can always be found on the manufacturer’s official website. The fact is that only an official service can guarantee that it will install an original and high-quality battery with which the smartphone will live as long as it did immediately after purchase. In handicraft services, they can deliver anything they want, and there are no guarantees that autonomy with a non-original battery will return to its original value. And even if it does return, it is not a fact that it will be for a long time.

Of course, it will cost more for “officials”, and in the case of Apple smartphones, even several times. But this is exactly the case when the miser pays twice. It is better to put the original battery and forget about it for a couple of years than to hand over the smartphone to the service almost every six months. And yes, the battery is consumable, this should be borne in mind if you are not used to changing your smartphone every year.

Performance problems can be attributed to two reasons. The first of them is also a battery, since some smartphones, for example, the iPhone, automatically reduce the processor frequency when the battery life drops. This allows the device to remain more or less autonomous, but at the same timeless nimble. The way out is to change the battery.

In the case of Android devices, the reason may lie in the formation over time of a large amount of system junk that hangs in the RAM and built-in memory and makes the device “dull”. You can return the device to normal life using a full reset with a preliminary backup of all important data and their further restoration. Yes, the process is labour-intensive, but free, unlike buying a new smartphone. Moreover, with the new device, you will have to do the same.

The problem with a lack of memory is also easily solvable, you just have to pull yourself together and remove unnecessary applications and files from the device, and upload some of the photos and videos to some cloud storage or save on a computer. From my own experience, I can assure you that scheduled cleaning every six months or a year often allows you to live comfortably even with 32-64 GB of internal memory, not to mention devices with 128 GB or more drives.

If your dissatisfaction with the device is related to the quality of the photo or video shooting, then first you should try third-party applications. In the case of Android, you can find and install some Google Camera mod, which activates exclusive features from Pixel smartphones like HDR + or night mode. For example, on Xiaomi Mi Note 10, I managed to significantly improve the photo capabilities, despite the fact that even by default the device shoots pretty well.

In the case of the iPhone, you can try apps like Halide, Pro Camera, ProCam 8, Focus, Slow Shutter Cam. Of course, you will have to deal with a variety of settings and switches, but if you wish, even with a relatively old device, you can learn how to take amazing pictures by combining the capabilities of certain third-party applications.

In the event that the smartphone starts to openly junk, for example, the microphone or speaker malfunctions, the device starts to lose reception or there are cracks on the display, then it makes sense to contact an authorized service. It is likely that it will be possible to solve the problem with little blood: either under the guarantee, which, according to the ZoZPP, is valid for 2 years from the date of purchase, or for several thousand rubles. If the cost of repairs will exceed half the cost of a new device, then, of course, it makes sense to think about buying something new.

Are software updates coming to my smartphone?

It is always pleasant to receive new software versions, especially when it is not only security patches and fixes of minor bugs but full-fledged system updates with a mountain of new functions and chips. In this regard, of course, Apple is ahead of the rest.

The other day iOS 15 was released, which brought most of the innovations not only to the current iPhone 12 and iPhone 11 but even to the iPhone 6S, released in 2015. Just think 6 major OS updates over 6 years!

Android updates are much worse. It’s good if the device gets at least one new version of Android, and if there are two, then it’s just amazing. And then another year or two security patches and that’s it, goodbye.

But one way or another, if your smartphone is still receiving system updates, then buying a new one is probably too early. Moreover, each major update brings more functions and capabilities, and you have in your hands, albeit familiar, but to some extent still a fresher device. You will definitely get some new impressions.

If you have an Android smartphone that continues to receive only security updates, that’s not bad, and you can walk around with it for a while.

But if both those and other updates for the device no longer come out, then it’s time to study new items and consider options. Buying a new smartphone in this case acquires a certain and rational meaning. Moreover, if finances allow.

How will a new smartphone change my life?

This is the last question to help you make the right decision. For example, if you have a baby soon, then it makes sense to take something with a good camera and a lot of memory, so as not to miss important moments of the first months and years of his life. In order for him to look at himself with pleasure after a few years, it is important to take good pictures and shoot videos at least in 4K.

Another case is if the new product allows you to be more productive and mobile, create more content or close some new tasks that previously required a laptop or computer. For example, if it is a smartphone with a large display, or even something like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold, replacing both a smartphone and a tablet.

Each of us can have our own scenarios of use, and if the new device will definitely make it possible to change life for the better and maybe even pay for itself with professional activity in a couple of months, then buying it will definitely make sense.

At the same time, if you use a smartphone for basic tasks such as calls, communication on the Web, social networks, web surfing, music and TV shows in the subway, then the update may not make much sense. The main thing is, to be honest with yourself when answering all the above questions.

And the last piece of advice – do not change what works perfectly just because there is some new, even more, “brilliant” version. It is often better to spend 30-50-100-150 thousand rubles on a trip, new impressions or invests them in learning something new than to buy a new piece of hardware, which is only 15% more productive than the current one. Is not it?

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