While we would wish that we have bottomless bank accounts, the fact remains that we cannot afford to buy a new gadget every time we’d want to. The question then arises: how often should we upgrade them?
Unfortunately, the answer is “it depends.” Since everyone leads different lifestyles, these play a factor in deciding when to get an upgrade for your gadget.
Hence, here are 5 guide questions that can help you decide if you really need to get that new phone or laptop:
What and where do you use it for?
Of course, the smartphone that you use for work needs an upgrade more than a tablet that you just pick up at home. Yet it’s also important to think about what exactly do you use your smartphone for. If you just use it primarily for messaging and calling, and the only app you use is Facebook, you may not need an upgrade yet. However, if your smartphone’s camera has replaced your digital camera, and your work requires you to take a lot of photos, then an upgrade is definitely an option.
Where you work is also an important consideration. If it involves a lot of fieldwork, the latest gadget may not always be the best option—especially if there’s a risk that you may lose or break it.
How often do you use it?
The answer to this question is best weighed against your answer to question number one. If you use it every day, think of it as long-term investment or being paid in installment.
For example, you’re thinking about buying the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Multitouch for PHP 130,000. You can see it as a very, very expensive laptop. But if you use it every day of the year for intensive stuff such as gaming for 5 years, it would only cost PHP 71.23 per day. And if you travel a lot in a fairly secure environment, its lightweight frame is definitely a great plus.
Is there any major upgrade to its specs or are there any new major features?
Back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, it was easy to justify upgrading your cellphone every year due to how fast major upgrades—both hardware and software—came out. But not today.
Some types of gadgets, such as tablets, have not seen substantial upgrades in the past few years. It’s also safe to say that smartphones and laptops are fast approaching this plateau as well. After all, many updates for phones come in the form of software updates delivered over the air. And as the comments on this 2012 Gizmodo article goes, most people only replace their phones every 2 years, while laptops go every 3 to 4 years.
So while a 16 MP camera on that new smartphone is nice, do you really need it for something else than taking selfies? If you answer no, then it’s safe to pass up on the upgrade in the meantime.
Can you sell the old one at a good price or trade it in?
This primarily applies to higher-end gadgets that are still in good condition. If you have the time to sell your old unit, and if it fetches a good price, then you can think of it as a discount on your next gadget.
Can you upgrade it part-by-part?
Sometimes it’s more economical to do a piecemeal upgrade than getting a new gadget. The top example is a desktop computer, where almost all parts can be replaced, from GPU to processor.
But other gadgets can be also upgraded little-by-little. For example, if your entry-level or mid-range Android smartphone is starting to slow down, try upgrading its expandable memory if possible. Then you can transfer files and installed apps to the new SD card to free up more space (root required). Meanwhile, laptops can also benefit from RAM or hard drive updates.
Hopefully, with the help of these questions, you can arrive at a decision to upgrade (or not) without breaking the bank.