Several phones side by side

Should you upgrade your phone?

Smartphones have become an essential tool for work and play, but like all technology, they will eventually become out-of-date and less useful. Knowing when to upgrade your phone can be tough, but there’s some good advice we can give you.

In this article, we’ll be giving you a guide on buying a new phone, including how to know when it’s time to upgrade and how to find the best deal.

Should I buy a new phone?

If you feel like buying a new phone, don’t let anything stop you, but consider keeping your phone for as long as possible if you’re on a budget or looking for the best deal. You’ll save money, and the longer that your current phone is still in good working condition, the more time you have to figure out what phone you want.

That being said, if your phone is lacking in battery life, is several years old, isn’t getting regular updates, or is much slower than you’d like it to be, it could be time to upgrade. Nobody wants a phone that doesn’t get the job done – so maybe it’s worth shopping around for a newer model.

Here is a selection of postpaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database with a minimum of 10GB of data, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use Canstar Blue’s phone plan comparison tool to see a wide range of plans on offer from mobile providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

Here is a selection of prepaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database with a minimum of 10GB of data, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see a wide range of plans from other providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

When is the best time to buy a new phone?

The best time to buy a phone varies from model to model, although generally speaking, buying a phone at peak sales times (like Black Friday, Amazon Prime Day, during Click Frenzy or on Boxing Day) is a good idea.

Other than that, it’s good to buy a new phone at the time a new model is released. The launch of a new device is often a good time to buy an older model phone; existing handsets usually go down in price at this time, so consider picking up last year’s model if you don’t need the latest and greatest device.

When is the best time to buy an iPhone?

The last four months of the year (September to December) are the best time to buy an iPhone. Apple reveals its new range of iPhones during that time, and prices for older model iPhones historically drop as the new models are released. iPhones don’t typically go on sale often, so it’s good to save some money when you can.

When is the best time to buy a Samsung Galaxy?

Samsung typically releases its Galaxy S series phones within January and February, and its Galaxy Note series phones in July and August. As these phones are released, the prices of older model phones are dropped.

However, Samsung does frequently run limited-time sales across older and new smartphones, much more frequently than its main competitor Apple. These discounts are also usually passed on to telcos, so keep an eye out for offers if you’re considering a Samsung phone.

How long should a phone last?

A smartphone can last you anywhere between two years and five years, although nothing would be stopping you from holding onto one after that time period. Just be aware that security and software updates might not be released for your older handset after a two or three-year period, depending on your phone’s manufacturer.

Samsung has announced it will support software updates for all of its phones released after 2019 for three years, and security updates for phones released after 2019 for four years. After this time, your Samsung phone likely won’t be officially supported.

Apple’s iOS 14 update in 2020 was released on all iPhones all the way back to the iPhone 6S, which was released in 2015. If we can use this as any guide, it’s that Apple supports software updates on phones for up to five years. Apple also considers phones to be ‘vintage’ after seven years, ‘obsolete’ after nine years; while vintage phones will still be supported by security patches, obsolete phones won’t receive any further updates.

Do I need a new phone?

If your device is more than a few years old, it’s worth at least considering upgrading to a new phone. If your smartphone is lagging, has glitches, has a poor battery life, the screen is cracked or if it just isn’t as reliable as when you bought it, you should definitely shop around for a new handset.

Signs it’s time for a new phone

  • You’re no longer getting updates: If you’re no longer getting security patches or operating system updates (such as iOS or AndroidOS updates) it’s a sign that your phone is old, and might be easily compromised by malware, or riddled with bugs. If this is the case, consider shopping around.
  • Your phone is super slow: If basic things like swiping between screens and scrolling on social media are a hard task for your phone, it’s time to think about an upgrade.
  • Your phone battery isn’t lasting long: If your phone’s battery life is getting shorter, consider getting either the battery or the phone itself replaced.
  • Apps are crashing often: If apps are crashing from time to time, it’s a sign that your phone is lagging behind, and might not be able to process applications like it used to. If this is true for your phone, consider an upgrade.
  • Physical damage: If your phone is scratched, or if the screen is covered in cracks, it’s worth considering a new phone altogether rather than repairing the device, depending on how damaged the device is.

Should I buy a phone outright or on a plan?

Depending on your financial situation, telco deals, or simply how you want to approach your phone payment, you could be satisfied with either buying your phone outright or getting it on a plan. Here’s a quick comparison between the two options.

Buying a phone outright Buying a phone on a plan

One big payment

Small payments over time (over 12, 24, or 36 months depending on the provider and your choice)

Could be coupled with a deal

Could be coupled with a deal

Choose your own provider

Need to purchase and sign up with a provider and plan (you can leave later)

Could be better value in the long run by going with a cheaper provider

Could be more expensive in the long run depending on the provider (Usually Telstra, Optus, Woolworths Mobile, Vodafone)

What should I do with my old phone?

Just because you bought a new phone, doesn’t mean your old phone is suddenly useless (or worthless!). Up to 80% of phone parts are recyclable, so don’t let it waste away in your top drawer! There’s plenty of things you can do with that old phone – here’s a few ideas:

  • Sell it (or give it) to a phone refurbishing company
  • Sell it (or give it) to someone else, such as one of your kids or friends
  • Find a new use for it, such as for your smart home, or as a backup phone

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