The Big Question: How Often Do You Upgrade?

The Big Question: How Often Do You Upgrade?

If you haven’t been paying attention, there’s two major conferences on tomorrow morning. From 3:00 AM, Apple will unveil everything to do with the new iPhone. From 5:00 AM, Sony will be officially revealing PlayStation Neo — or whatever the new name is — and probably the PS4 slim.

Question is: are you ready to upgrade your phone or console just yet?

I mentioned the iPhone because it’s been mentioned by analysts and in other quarters that the smartphone market is precisely what has warmed consumers up to faster upgrade cycles. It’s partially influenced by the nature of phone plans — most plans only run for two years, at least in Australia — but in general, nobody keeps a smartphone for more than three years.

Most are done by two; a lot of people switch out every 18 months. And if you add up all the costs, they cost a hell of a lot more than a console does.

But when I purchase a console, I’m expecting to get at least 5 or 6 years utility out of it. The last couple of years have made me question if you would even get that long out of the first generation of VR headsets, let alone a current generation console.

So am I ready to upgrade? My phone, probably yes. Its performance has dwindled substantially, although I use it far more frequently for work, pleasure and everything in between than I do a console.

Microsoft’s manoeuvring with the Xbox has also encouraged me to focus more on PC than anything; if I’m going to get all the first-party titles there, and I’ve already got the PC Remote Play app for the PS4, why not just play on the PC?

So I’m not ready to upgrade my console just yet; I don’t feel like I’ve got my money’s worth. That said, I’m still keen to see what’s announced, particularly when it comes to what the Neo can do with PSVR.

What about yourselves? How often do you upgrade, and are you primed to upgrade your phone or console right now?


  • I generally hold out for as long as practicably possible. If my phone, PC, or console are still running every I need fine then there’s no reason to upgrade.
    I held onto my HTC Velocity 4G for nearly 4 years before finally upgrading to an LG G4.

      • My Galaxy S5 is working fine. Before that, my Nokia 8850 did the job. I was able to make and receive calls. What more did I need?!

      • I’ve been tinkering around with Mum’s old S3 recently and the thing’s fucking haunted. Totally ready to just destroy it.

  • I upgrade my phone when the contract ticks over. For consoles, if I purchase a console at launch, take the PS3 for example, I’m happy to stick with it until the very last model is released in it’s product line. There seemed to be several versions of the PS3 released over the years, I updated my PS3 to the most recent version at the beginning of the year knowning that’ll likely be the final iterration. I’ll likely take the same approach with the PS4.

  • phones, i generally upgrade every year and a half.
    consoles i generally wait until they are under $200 or there abouts. my PC was built in 2009 and i only just upgraded my gpu from a HD5850 to a R9 280X and a ssd and some ram somewhere a couple of years ago. pc still has a Phenom II 985 BE its getting a little long in the tooth, but still runs everything i want to play and no important components have died. ill just keep going until i cant, then ill work it out from there.

  • I upgraded my phone a month or so ago, only because of after 3 years of Windows Phone (which I genuinely like) I finally gave up on it due to the lack of apps, so have switched to Android.

    I don’t intend on upgrading to the Neo unless my original PS4 dies, same with the Xbone Scorpio. I only have the consoles for exclusives and have a pretty nice gaming PC so tend to get the best looking versions of multiplatformers on that.

  • Xbox one is the first and onky console I own. And I don’t think I will upgrade to Scorpio unless it has vast performance boosts on a standard HDTV. So I will upgrade once I have finished playing all games I want to play on Xbox One

    I am keen on buying the PS4 neo though.

  • I’ve had an XBox 360 since 2007, my PC was built in 2010, and I got a PS3 in 2013. How often do I upgrade? Clearly not often enough.

    Edit: I also have an iPhone 6+ but that’s an insurance upgrade from when my 4 got dropped.

  • Years back I would upgrade my phone every year, even if on a 2 year contract, I’d usually pay it out (cheap contract, cheap phone, easy to pay out). With smart phones these last 5 years I haven’t seen that much advancement and I’ve only upgraded twice in 5 years now. I have my sgs6 and I won’t be upgrading that for a while. Even then it’ll be buying outright not going on a plan again.

  • In general, every 3-4 years. I get a fairly consistent tax refund, and it drives my upgrade cycle. Its enough that on a rough 3 year cycle, I’ll upgrade phone one year, laptop/tablet a second year, and some other tech the third year then start again. This year its tablet time, looking at a Surface 4.

    Not set in concrete though, I might find the phone is going strong, or I dont really need a new laptop/tablet, and pump a bit of money into a console, or tele, or just a new vid card on the PC. It depends.

    But generally, that cycle is a solid upgrade plan that makes for a good starting point.

  • Phone every 3 years as that is what work provides. Last pick was a Nexus 5 and it’s still going strong. Probably jump on the new Pixel phone at the end of the year.

    Console wise I have a launch week Wii U and will pick up an NX on day one (putting pennies away already).

    PC wise, last time I upgraded was probably 6 years ago. Bit long in tooth but it’s not used for anything intsense anymore (or a whole lot at all anymore) – hello mobile devices. Might get a laptop next to save on space although I’ve always liked having a PC where you can easily swap out something that fails and upgrade easily.

  • Phones: My wife and I have phones on a plan so we upgrade every 24 months, which will next be March 2018, conveniently around when the iPhone 7S will be reasonably accessible.

    Tablets: I have an iPad 3 (you know, the infamous one that wasn’t compatible with Australia’s 4G networks) which I won as a lucky door prize around when it was released, an iPad mini with a cracked screen I bought in a salvage auction for $50, and my wife has an iPad mini 3 which is the only tablet I’ve sunk real money into. The iPad never gets used and the mini 3 is going strong. I think I’ve had the mini for about 2 years (obviously it’s older than that) and it’s really showing its age at the moment, struggling to run certain apps, slow even to run streaming apps like Netflix and Stan. I will make a conscious effort to upgrade this, most likely early next year around bonus time. I think 3 years is a good cycle for tablet upgrades but it depends what you use them for.

    Gaming consoles: We are trending upwards in this space. With Xbox/PS2 we had one of each. Last gen was plagued with hardware issues and revisions. We bought one PS3 which was hardly used which was probably why it survived so long. We got a 360 one year post-launch and played it to death. It RROD’d and we sent it away once. The second time it RROD’d we sent it away and bought a replacement, and gave the refurb to a friend in exchange for a 120GB hard drive. Later, when the 2nd unit started to have issues and the 360S was affordable, we bought a 360S and set the other unit aside as a backup.
    This gen my wife and I started with one Xbox One (at launch) then bought a second unit a year later so we could play Destiny together. I don’t see any reason at all to buy the XBoneS unless it’s as a replacement when one of our original units fail (even though I’m finding the 500GB HDD constraining). I might upgrade one unit to the “Scorpio” at some point and the second unit eventually, but it will depend on what features it offers and whether there are exclusive titles for it that won’t perform on older units.
    We also have a PS4 but like our PS3, it doesn’t get used a lot and we have it mainly for platform exclusives (so far that’s just been Until Dawn and Uncharted. With both Firewatch and the Witness coming to Xbox One, and the possibility that No Man’s Sky will as well, there’s no incentive to pick those titles up on PS4 at this stage. Given the absence of regular PS4 usage (apart from Presto, since the Xbox One doesn’t have a Presto app) I don’t plan to upgrade to a PS4 Slim and as I have no interest whatsoever in VR I don’t have any plans for the Neo or the VR upgrades.

    PC: I literally run my PC into the ground. My current PC is about 4 years old, I think. It has a decent processor and RAM but unfortunately is hampered by a crappy graphics card so has never been a gaming beast. I use it for older games, streaming media (Netflix/Stan/YouTube), web browsing and office. My PC needs have diminished with the rise of console features and smartphones so when this one dies I will probably look into a gaming laptop. I could probably throw a better graphics card in but given the age of the CPU I feel like it’s not really worth it at this point, it’s really something I needed to do two years ago but I didn’t care enough which really underscores my feelings on the matter, I suppose.

  • Phone every 2-3 years. Console about 5 years. Not interested in these mid-cycle console upgrades. I guess if my existing console dies mid-cycle then I might get the improved version as a replacement, but I wouldn’t buy one purely as an upgrade.

  • Bought both the first iPhone and iPad on 1st day. I haven’t done that since and generally will upgrade every 3 years or so (I have a iPhone 6 and the 1st iPad Air.) Currently on PS4 and XBone (glorified Blu-ray player) through my gaming monitor (overkill at 27 inch 1440p) and will not upgrade until the next major update PS5 but not XBox as I have a gaming PC with a 4K monitor.

  • PC every 3 – 5 years, Consoles when they are dirt cheap (still running a 360 and Wii U), Phone as long as physically possible (still on Nexus 5).
    These are all luxury items really so I want to get as much mileage as I can.

  • Well, what about the iPhone?

    You can’t talk about consoles copying this trend and not apply it PC either, the graphics card arms race has just begun anew as we know, but would AMD and Nvidia adopt the same mentality and treat PC gamers more like console users (than they already do)? Shorter lifespans and egregious planned obsolescence strategies for PC components doesn’t sound fun at all.

    I remember when the Apple Watch was on the horizon, before release. Didn’t we all count on the watch industry being on borrowed time and this meant we’d be upgrading yet another piece of consumer friendly catch-all technology every few years, so as to stay current?

    No puns intended.

    The console ecosystem changes when the market leader makes it so. PlayStation will make this the new normal.

  • If there’s a reason to upgrade I will, the primary reason being device health. Consoles give me less incentive to upgrade than phones because within a generation the changes aren’t a big value add. I have upgraded a DS and 3DS before because of bigger screen sizes but the New 3DS was not enough of a value add despite the new hardware because games were still viable on the older hardware. (with a few worrying exceptions performing badly on the old hardware despite being compatible with both)

    The Neo will only be something I upgrade to if either a) My current PS4 carks it, or more worrying b) Despite Sony saying both forms will be supported by games, developers continually focus on making games work on Neo to the detriment of the standard PS4’s performance. Although, in that second case I’ll be seriously considering if I really want to support that kind of deception.

  • I don’t do phone contracts anymore. Currently have an outright Oppo RS7s and it will do just fine for 18-24 months. Consoles, I tend to go in early. Day One XB1 a couple of months later for PS4. No Neo for me, even with the upgradeable components rumour. Might take the plunge on Scorpio if powerful enough. PC is just for media storage not gaming.

  • I don’t really consider getting a new console as an upgrade – the implication there is that you’re replacing the old with the new, but I just get the new one when it releases and the old one remains alongside it. I don’t get remodels though, just the original.

    Phones, I’ve upgraded… three times now. Once in ’03 or so because Dad used to just randomly pick up phones people had chucked out at work, and one of them that had appeared was a slightly newer model of my previous one but with a ringtone composer, and I didn’t want to have to SMS myself ringtones across from Mum’s phone any more. Then again in ’09 when the microphone on that one just decided to stop working after a flight home from Brisbane (again grabbing a random pickup from the drawer). And then in ’13 when I found a cheap plan with data that would cost similar or less than the prepaid I’d been using that whole time, and I’d been carrying around a phone I’d bought to use as a camera/navman/computer for an overseas trip at the start of the year. It’s still doing me well and I don’t see anything else around that’s in any way an “upgrade”, so I’ll stick with what I’ve got.

  • I upgrade pretty slowly. Had my iPhone 4 for 6 years, finally upgraded to a Samsung SG5 this year just after Pokemon Go came out. Kind of needed to upgrade earlier because the iPhone 4 was clunky and worked semi-reliably, Pokemon helped push me over the edge though.

    As for console, my latest and greatest is the Xbox…360. I’ve pretty much given up on consoles at this point. Rarely played my 360, even at the height of its popularity.

    I’m a PC gamer at heart…although even that is 5-6 years old now and will keep getting older. That’s more due to a lack of funds to upgrade rather than any inclination that I don’t need to.

  • I honestly think Sony and Microsoft are going to struggle somewhat with the Neo and Scorpio. Console owners have never really been used to the annual/biennial PC style upgrade cycle. They’ve always been a “plug and play, forget about it for 5 years” kind of deal. It’s a big mindset change.

    Console players have also always been used to getting the “best possible” game for their platform by default. Of course PC has usually had better graphics/faster framerates, but the price differential is massive. This is the first time console players will be seeing other users of the “same” platform getting a better experience.

    For what it’s worth, my upgrade cycle is:

    – Phone every two years, with renewed contract.
    – Console has just been whenever the newer generation has come out, so generally the 5-6 year region.
    – PC wise, I’ve upgraded my GPU every two years. CPU/motherboard/RAM is every 3-4 years.

  • I update my phone at the end of every contract, I get the new Playstations normally at or around launch, and I typically update my PC every 5-6 years, with small upgrades in between

  • I generally don’t upgrade until something is broken. I never upgrade my consoles mid-life. Only when a new generation rolls out and there is a game I wanted to play on it.
    These new smart phones don’t last long which annoys me. My s3’s battery was a pain so upgraded to s5 after around 18 months, and the s5’s screen died after 18 months so I upgraded to s7. Hopefully this one lasts longer.

  • I honestly expect my entertainment devices to last quite a long time. A console I’m probably more happy to upgrade more often, however that is as long as they still get a decent serviceable lifespan. OG Xbox, 3 years? Not too bad. Xbox One S however at one year? Or under a year if you’re waiting for a black unit? Nope.

    My last TV lasted me 7 years before I gave it to my sister, and it’s still going two years later.
    My last surround sound lasted 6 years until I gave it to my mum, and it’s still going. Dodgy Samsung fan would die at around the 12 month mark on the dot under warranty, so once the warranty ran out I opened it up and soldered a better fan in, never had an issue again.

    Laptops however I don’t upgrade often enough, I need to stop buying fringe devices and buy something with better mainstream appeal and resale value so I can upgrade every 18-24 months.

  • Pc: the one we build in 2014 (3rd quarter) is still doing fine with the 4GB 770. Mostly because we have a 1080p/60 monitor so it isnt having much asked of it really.

    Consoles: I have a day 1 x1 and a 2nd shipment ps4.
    I wont touch the slims as i dont need one. I’ll get the scorpio day 1 and hold off on the neo till there is an game I really want. I barely use my ps4 as it is.

    Smartphone: Generally between 2-3 years between upgrades. Went from a Galaxy s4 to an s7. Very happy with it so far.

  • I bought my first-ever Xbox (a 360 Slim, 320GB model) a couple of weeks ago for $138. It may not be new, but it’s new to me. As an added bonus, a friend lent me a bunch of his 360 games that he’s no longer playing, so I’ve got most of the major titles for the platform without any additional outlay… although I did drop the princely sum of $25 on Diablo 3. I’m thoroughly enjoying it, at a cost that’s negligible – essentially, for the cost of a single night out, I’ve now got hundreds of hours of amusement lined up.

    Until I dropped it earlier this year, I was perfectly happy with the refurbished Nexus 4 I picked up for $178. Currently I’m back on my old Galaxy Note 1, which, despite being about 4 years old, still works reasonably well (although, sadly, it can’t handle Pokemon Go). I was looking at the S7 and Note 7 with interest, but I’ll probably end up getting the S5 (or maybe the Note 4)… because I can pick up an S5 for about $350, whereas the S7 is about $760 at the moment, and the only substantial feature difference that I can see is that the S7 has Quick Charge, which is certainly very appealing, but it’s hard to justify spending an extra $400 for it.

    I used to be a tech-obsessive who always wanted the latest and greatest, but I’ve come to realise that, lately, most stuff is already good enough. I mean, we’re at the point now where they’re putting 6GB of RAM in phones. Does anyone really need that? I’d rather have a $300 phone that gets the job done and that I’m not going to cry over when I inevitably drop it.

  • phone every 2 years, console every time theres a more powerful one, will be getting both the neo and scorpio

  • Phones and PC (which I no longer dare use for gaming) I will hold onto as long as physically possible.

    Console I’ll upgrade either at the launch of a new generation or when my existing console dies. I got a PS3 super-slim when my slim’s blu-ray died. I got a launch PS4 and will likely keep that until there is a sufficient difference in game appearance/performance to signal that a new ‘generation’ has started.

    Interested in the PS4 Neo but will wait to see what effect it has on the games that will be released on it. My feeling is that Sony is hedging its bets too much by stipulating that all games must run on PS4. The result will likely be games that have better graphical options on PS4 Neo but that will not convince the majority of PS4 owners to upgrade. Early adopters will, but that’s a given with any hardware release.

  • I upgrade my phone when I can…. but, I use my phone MOST of the day and is by my side for literally 23 hours a day…. my PS4 can’t even fit in my pocket :/

  • I upgrade phones/tablet/pc when there is a new feature that I feel will enhance my use of said device. Consoles I have generally bought at launch, though with the Neo/scorpion I will probably have to wait as I am hoping to start post grad study next year and won’t have the time or money to play games.

  • My wife upgrades her phone every 2 years or so – I just get the old hand-me-down (typing this on a perfectly functional iPhone 5!)

    My Xbox 360 Arcade lasted 6 years (2009-2015) before I replaced it with a Pre-Owned E model

    Bought my Xbone in 2014, don’t foresee upgrading to a Scorpio but maybe the iteration after that (at which point there’ll be Xbone games lacking features rather than just the best graphics)

    Considering a PS4 in the next year for the exclusives (Bloodborne, Uncharted) but if NX looks good I may ditch that idea altogether (bought a 3DS when Mario 3D came out but that system has disappointed as Nintendo has put its best exclusives on the WiiU)

    • bought a 3DS when Mario 3D came out but that system has disappointed as Nintendo has put its best exclusives on the WiiUWait what? You’ve gotta be like the only guy on the internet that thinks that 😛 Feels like the rest of the time it’s more “ffs Nintendo give us some Wii U games stop giving everything to the 3DS”.

      • Haha probably – I just think 3DS was mostly JRPGs whereas WiiU had a lot of games I find interesting but I could justify that console given its lack of 3rd party software, 3rd party software really dried up on the 3DS as well after the first year – hopefully they can bring it around with the NX cuz I really like the idea of their console and handheld divisions merging

        • Yeah, they both kinda went a bit quiet recently (especially if you’re not great fan of JRPGs like myself :P), and was surprised to find that my Wii U collection had actually overtaken my 3DS collection.

  • Not until the first one breaks.

    Got a DS lite when my DS pharmaceuticals got headache inducing screen flicker.

    Got a 360 slim when my 360 died.

    Recently got a 3DS XL (thanks to the glory that is @blaghman [one day I’ll send a gift]) because the battery died in my original.

    I’ve only ever owned 4 mobile phones only two have been smart phones.

    Bought my second ever compiled, first desktop, because Vista won’t update & browsers don’t really support Vista anymore.

    The more the world embraces the quick turnaround of products, the tighter my budget seems to get. But even before all my funds were tied up in bills, I was never the type to throw money away on shit I already have.

  • I used to upgrade my phone once my contract was up. However, I had a string of bad experiences with mobiles over about 5 years which saw me upgrade close to every year. However, my iPhone 6s seems to be pretty solid. Got it about 6 months ago and will probably keep it for the whole length of the contract. Especially if apple make the stupid move of getting rid of the headphone jack.
    Got a PS3 around the time the PS3 slim came out. That was my first console. Don’t really feel the need to upgrade. May look at upgrading with whatever the new PS4 is though. But I don’t have a lot of time for gaming anymore.
    PC gets updated piecemeal over the years. Probably looking at a 5 year cycle for full refresh.
    Had my MacBook Air for 5 years and it is still fine for what I need. So probably won’t upgrade that for a little while. A lot depends on works BYOD policy though and I may get something that works both as my home and work laptop.

  • I was looking at the Samsung Note 7, but that idea went up in smoke…

    I’ll see myself out…

    Phone every 2 years as I’m on a plan, so I’ll have my Note 6 for another 12 months.

    PC is a funny one. It used to be every 3-4 years. My current rig has been going strong for 5 years and it certainly can’t play things in 4K but it meets every need I ask of it atm. Dunno when it will be upgraded/replaced.

    As for consoles… I’ve stopped after barely using my PS3 after the first year it came it out.

  • Phone these days is pretty much supplied by my work, they turn them round every two years or so, so never far off a latest version, likewise with the iPad.

    On the console front like others here I generally buy them a generation behind when they are discontinued and Ebay has an oversupply of them just to play th games that don’t come to pc.

    For pc I am always buying new bits and cycling old bits through older builds – recycling.

  • Usually I up grade my phone every two years, 24month contract. This time I’m going to push it out another 12 months (iPhone 6 plus). Performance is fine.
    I usually get both consoles in a generation, one at launch and the other about 3 years after.
    Will be interesting to see Sony’s and Microsofts new platforms in the future.

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